I have purchased over 300 trees from online companies that send them bare root. I judge the trees by the quality of the roots that on them.
Willis always has a huge amount of roots and they don't trim the top so I have the choice on how I want to trim them.
This year I ordered two apple trees from them (Pink Lady and McIntosh). I needed a 6 foot and a 7 foot. This is my only compliant. every tree I have received from Willis is 4 foot and since they are untrimmed they were not cut to fit in the box. They were 'really' 4' but labeled 6 and 7 foot.
However, the trees take off right away and it is now August and they are hitting a second growth spurt.
I never let the trees set fruit the first year. The Pink Lady tried but I pinch them off to give them a year to grow.
I learned that the trees are 4 foot no matter what I order but I have 100% success rate with their trees, so I will continue to order and recommend them to others.
On Jun 20, 2015, StephanieMC Winterville, GA wrote:
I'm giving Willis Orchards a positive review, even though my experience with their trees hasn't been perfect. Part of why I'm doing that is, I had one experience with an online nursery this year (Garden Delights aka Online Plant Nursery aka TN Plant Nursery, which is in NO WAY affiliated with Willis, they just also happen to sell bareroot) and that was truly, terribly horrible, and frustrating, and, by comparison, Willis Orchards is doing okay in my opinion, so far, depending on how things go in the fall. Let me explain.
Last summer I ordered 5 trees from Willis: A 6 ft. Chickasaw Plum, a 4 foot Loblolly pine, a 6 foot Sycamore, a 6 foot Tulip Poplar and a 6 foot Southern Crabapple. All these trees were bareroot, and so, they did look a little like sticks in the box they came in. The pine is still pretty spindly, but it's alive and green for the most part (not the full pine I was hoping for but...) the Sycamore is doing well, and the Chickasaw plum, though it had a good bit of breakage on the branches in the box, is doing okay. I wouldn't describe any of these little trees as looking super strong and I think I've learned the hard way not to order bareroot if possible, or at least only to order smaller bareroot trees--I feel like it traumatizes the tree a little to be shipped bareroot--but the three trees I've mentioned are living and putting out new growth.
Anyway, the tulip poplar and the crabapple were the problems. the poplar tree just stuck there like a stick, on into May. I kept tending it and waiting. It tried putting out a few leaves at the base, but the top was completely dead. As for the crab apple, it never came back to life at all, poor thing. I should say, I babied ALL these trees equally, had pre-dug square, not too deep more wide holes for them, soaked them prior to planting, took them out of the box and had them in the ground almost immediately from the time they arrived, researched where to plant each species of tree, have many other trees and shrubs from different nurseries that I planted and cared for last fall that are now thriving...I don't think the fact that two of them died was my fault.
Fortunately, Willis didn't act like it was my fault either. I took pictures of the dead trees, and had no problems in my dealings with an employee at Willis named Cynthia. She issued me a $69.90 credit, and although I will have to wait until the fall to plant things once again, I'm still not incredibly upset about it because at least I have credit so my money is not completely gone. I spent hundreds of dollars on bareroot trees from that online TN nursery Garden Delights place, on over 50 trees, to have only THREE survive, and their customer service is horrific, they sent me trees that weren't even the species I had ordered, demanded that I mail the trees back to them if I wanted even a store credit, and had the rudest customer service I have EVER experience. That was not the case with Willis though. They assured me that I have a full 69.90 dollar credit, the replacement trees they will send me in the fall will also be under warranty, and they do seem to know how to properly dig bareroot plants (I think the other place just dug trees out of the woods the day before they sent them to me, with no root pruning the season before or anything, knowing they would die).
I will write again about Willis, depending on what happens with the trees I receive in the fall and how healthy they are, but at least this company shows *some* good faith in terms of making it right if some of their plants die on a customer, and I appreciated that. I guess bareroot trees are higher risk, so I'm glad they offer some form of guarantee. Also, all the trees I got from them were, in fact, labeled correctly, and, sadly, I don't take things like that for granted now either!
I ordered 5 trees from Willis Orchards back in March. The trees were shipped and all were well branched and large, very impressive. Unfortunately some failed to come out of dormancy. When I contacted Willis Orchards, Jay Willis got in touch with me. He explained that if I had used any fertilezer in my potting media, it could have compromised the roots of the trees. But, Jay was so sweet, courteous and professional, and offered to replace all the trees which failed to emerge from dormancy.
Jay patiently explained their t policies, and that my new trees would be shipped in the fall. I am so happy that my trees are to be replaced, but also am delighted with the service I received from Willis Orchards. The nursery is one that offers mature fruit trees, which is difficult to find. But, they also stand behind their guarantee and service.
I wholeheartedly recommend Willis Orchards and would love to use them again. Unfortunately, I live in a townhouse, and I turned my tiny backyard into a stone patio, so I have to grow my trees in large "smart" pots.
Thank you, again, Jay, and I wish you and your company great success!!!!
Posted on November 29, 2014, updated May 24, 2015
I\'ve just received my first order from Willis ... its almost Dec. now, I was expecting the plants to come in the spring because the nights are already getting below 20 deg. here in Missouri ... so I am alittle nervous about their survival chances ... I ordered 3 pear trees and I have to say that if these stay alive I feel that I really got my money\'s worth .... the trees are a very good size for the price I paid ( when compared to some tiny crooked \" twigs \" you get from some other online outfits.) They also have a good shape , nice straight and normal looking ( not rejects or picked-overs ) ...I wish that they had left a few more roots on them when they pruned , but we\'ll see what happens.... of course the real test will be in the spring , if these trees survive the MO. winter and wake up .For now , I have to leave a positive rating because I got these at a good price , the trees are large and of a nice shape . So I will report back in the spring and let you know if they woke up or not.
On May 24th, 2015, Feodosia added the following:
Well, its spring now and I just wanted to report that all 3 of my Willis pear trees have waken up and are popping out leaves .... they seem to be nice trees ...
On May 12, 2015, TonyAdams Wethersfield, CT wrote:
Posted on May 5, 2015, updated May 12, 2015
I purchased a Katherine Havemeyer lilac from Willis. I have wanted this lilac for many years. I gave it a prominent place in the garden I have designed and built from scratch. As expected it bloomed this week, but I am very disappointed to find that it is NOT Katherine Havemeyer! Today, I sent an email to Willis with the order # and complete information and have asked them to please send me the lilac I ordered and paid for. I think they may assume that most customers will not know the difference, but this lilac is nothing like the one I ordered. I will change this review only if I get the right one, and if they send it to me promptly. Of course, I will have to wait till it blooms in 2016. I am not getting any younger...
On May 12th, 2015, TonyAdams changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
After discussions with folks at Willis and after their review of the photos I sent them, they decided that I was right about not having received the lilac I ordered. They gave me a refund promptly. Fair enough!!
Last year I purchased a variety of trees and vines from Willis including a 4 in 1 Apple tree, a 4 in 1 Cherry tree, an English Walnut tree, a crimson grape, a merlot grape, a blueberry grape, and a blueberry bush. I received my items on March 21st and planted them the next day. Although the roots were packed with gel, I personally felt more care could have been taken to ensure all of the roots were secured inside of the plastic packaging, some of them slipped through the folds and were not exposed to the gel, leaving them dry and brittle. The Apple tree showed signs of life right away and actually began to produce fruit on two of the branches, though I picked them off before they could mature into anything. Soon after the blueberry bush leafed out and the crimson grape after that. The Cherry tree, merlot and blueberry grapes, and the English Walnut tree never made it. As per their 1 year guarantee, I followed their instructions online which were to remove the dead trees/vines from the ground, and ship the lower half back to them for a replacement. Their return process was fairly painless, the only time I called was midway through March to get an idea of when I could expect delivery. My replacements arrived today, a little later than I would have liked (the Cherry tree has broken dormancy) but overall they all look good. I still feel that more care could have been taken in packing the roots, but the root structures on these trees are a little less butchered than I remembered them being last year. Though I have not had a chance to see if these replacements take, it is irrelevant from my perspective as their guarantee only applies to a single replacement. However, I do feel the company deserves a positive review for a quick and easy replacement process. Aside from the packing of the roots, both the original shipment and the replacements seemed in good health upon arrival.
I ordered three of each: 2 year-old Indian Summer Red Raspberry Plants, Heritage Raspberry Plants, and Southern Bababerry Raspberry Plants. They had a shipping window of 11/10/2014 - 04/10/2015 but arrived in November. They were very securely and well packed and had moisturizing gel covering the majority of their roots. They were all fully dormant. I did a nick test and they all had green underneath. I planted the same day they arrived. It's the first week of April now and they have all broken dormancy and are doing really well (some that get more sun even started growing a month ago).
I ordered from Willis Orchard I was so afraid because I found this website after the fact. My order arrived today via Fed Ex and was packaged nicely. My Dwarf Nectarine Tree has buds and is very green. My two Gogi Bushes they are really nice and green. I'm so happy to get everything. My order is beautiful and I couldn't be anymore happier. I never give reviews but when I read all these comments and they were so negative. I decided to give my input. I hope this helps the next person with their decision to order. Thanks Willis Orchard.
Very pleased with my recent order. The Albemarle Pippin apple tree (hard to find elsewhere) was good-sized, well-shaped, and sturdy. The packing was excellent. Very pleased with my purchase. Much better than what I have gotten from some better-known companies!
I was pretty satisfied with my purchase here. My trees arrived 6 days after the order was placed. The root ball was wrapped and packed with ice, and the roots were in very good shape (by my judgement at least). I ordered two 4-5 ft trees and three 3-4 ft trees. You can see from the pictures below that almost all the trees were ~5 ft + 1ft of root, so I thought that was definitely as advertised or better.
I've had bad experiences in the past with other mail order plant companies and have come to realize that there are inherent risks with bare root plants. What I expect from a good company is:
1) You got your order as specified (size, species, etc) and it wasnt *over* pruned, or a younger plant sold as an older pruned plant.
2) It was delivered on time such that the roots didnt dry out.
3) Customer service is good in the case that a mistake is made.
(And for my part I always make sure I plant the trees within 24 hours of when I get them)
I thought this company met all those expectations. Now I just have to take care of the trees to make sure they set in and grow!
On Jan 29, 2015, HeatherCarter Miamisburg, OH wrote:
Posted on December 30, 2014, updated January 29, 2015
I very carefully weighed my options when I decided what and where I was going to order from. I opted to use an online grower for multiple reasons, one being I could check out reviews about them and another being I could fully research exactly what I was buying before I bought it to ensure it would grow properly in my home. The fact that Willis was located in Georgia, to me was a bonus because the record low temperatures in the regions did a number to area growers.
-- What I ordered:
Red Delicious Apple Tree, Granny Smith Apple Tree, Stella Cherry Tree, Weeping Santa Rosa Plum Tree, Golden Delicious Apple Tree, Shinko Asian Pear Tree, Blenheim Apricot Tree, Sam Houston Peach Tree, Bartlett Pear Tree, Then three I believe of 3 year old grape vines, and a blueberry bush
What arrived: Everything- Wrapped meticulously and nicely pruned in a box, bare root, with gel. They arrived just as we had begun to warm up a bit and they had not broke dormancy. We had already prepared all the holes as we were expecting their arrival. We purchased mostly Ez-picks, a couple instant orchard size but the Blenheim was young and was the only tree we bought on a whim (without previously researching). The blueberry bush already had some green on it and was the first we planted immediately out of the box in an area with acidic soil just perfect for blueberry bushes. We soaked the roots for the others and added mycorrhizal fungi to the soil when planting to help the roots have the absolute best start. All the trees were planted within a few hours of arrival. The grape vines honestly looked fairly poor. I know dormant vines always do, but these had me really wondering. We planted them along the trellis built for them and crossed our fingers. Within about a month, the Sam Houston just looked pitiful despite it being one of the more expensive trees we bought. I called a neighbor who happens to be a horticulturist and asked for help. He said a lot of peach trees were fairing poorly this year, I explained it had only been transplanted a month prior and he said the best we could do was give it some time to see how well it would do. By late August, a scratch test revealed it was indeed completely dead and we removed it. It was also around that time that my shinko asian pear died of fireblight. The entire tree (that is suppose to be resistant to fire blight) was overtaken and had to be removed as well. Our blueberry bush did not take off either and our grapes remained sticks as well. Dead. Now onto to the good news. The Santa Rosa weeping plum flourished beautifully. The Stella Cherry tree had minimal growth but it is thriving. Our three apple trees had lots of foliage growth and grew wonderfully. The blenheim we purchased was not much more than a 1 year maiden and as such performed like one. A little growth but too soon to say how she\'ll perform. The barlett pair had minimal growth, I am keeping a close eye on him- but being now it\'s winter, we will have to see how he does once breaking dormancy.
So why the neutral-
Well, my experience with their customer service was positive when I ordered. They answered questions in a timely manner and I appreciated that. I was disappointed that my trees did not perform as well as I\'d hoped, but I am still watching carefully. Due to an error on my end (tossing the receipt that came in the box) and being a victim of identity theft, I had closed my bank account so I could not pull up my receipt. After reading their guidelines on their website and other reviews stating the difficulty of attempting to get replacements, I didn\'t even bother and have sucked it up as my loss.
I am now researching to put a new order in for this year for several more trees and some other bushes and grape vines. I am not sure what company to order from. I am on the fence with whether or not to order again from Willis or not. I appreciate that they offer mature trees that other companies do not. In the same breath, I\'m unhappy that my blueberry bush did poorly, and my grapes and a few trees died. I\'d rather pay a little more and have healthy plants and trees than to put all this time, research and effort into a losing battle.
I may update this eventually in the future when my trees get a little older. I did take many pictures when I unboxed my trees that I had planned to blog about, perhaps I\'ll do that this spring and update their growth. I noticed when researching this company there were some but not many unboxing/planting/growth updates online. That is vital information for someone like me with limited land to grow on, and a large family to feed.
On January 29th, 2015, HeatherCarter changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
I am just speechless at the level of customer service. After seeing this on here, they reached out to me to and are replacing the part of my order that did not live and that level of customer care has most definitely convinced me to place another order next month as well. On Jan 29, 2015, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
"On Dec 31, 2014 9:42 AM, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
We are sorry to read that some of your trees did not survive and that you would have redeemed warranty if you had receipt. It's OK that you don't have receipt, as we will have your order record of file. Please contact us and we will gladly replace the ones that did not grow.
On Jan 7, 2015, alanstrees Ellabell United States wrote:
My experiences with this company have met all expectations. All orders were correctly and timely shipped and all plants have survived but one, and I believe that the problem there was may fault. I have ordered, on several occasions fruit trees suitable for wildlife, and they range from paw paws, apple seedlings and crab apples, pears, mayhaws and mulberries over a 3 year period. Most were tubed. All were bare root, and I am NOT a fan of this to start with. I'm an air root prune, accelerators or rootmakers, propagate them myself kind of guy. I just like to plant stuff. But I have to admit that I've done well with the bare roots so far, and I wanted pollinators and genetics from different populations to go with my own. And I give them the proper care.
My reason for this post is to convey my experience and to add that a satisfied customer rarely says thank you to the vendor, much less post on a publicly shared site. I have no stake in the game. But I WILL use Willis Orchard again. They offer selections that I want, the quality so far has been good, and the customer service contact, while limited, has proven to be excellent. They do seem to know what they are talking about. I hope all find this helpful.
On Dec 30, 2014, LeviG1965 Clemson United States wrote:
I recently purchased a few bare root pecan trees from Willis Orchard. They arrived a little later than expected, but they looked excellent. I was pleased with the price, compared to what I saw online from other similar places they were a little below average on the price but a little above average on the quality. I purchased last year from another nursery here in S. Carolina and had less luck.
On Dec 30, 2014, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
"On Dec 30, 2014 5:51 PM, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
Willis Orchard provided excellent trees and Jay Young was extremely helpful
I've purchased Apple and pear trees from Willis Orchard in the past and was very satisfied with all the trees I received. I purchased 2 giant Fuyu persimmon trees last spring, unfortunately the didn't survive. I contacted Willis Orchard's Jay Young who was... Read More
Sanford , TN
Good quality fruit trees and customer service.
I went online because I was looking for fruit trees and found Willis Orchard company. I ordered about 9 trees that came on a timely manner and well packed. They are good quality trees and I recently ordered 2 more. I am very pleased with their quality and the... Read More
Very Good Company.
This was the first time I worked with Willis Orchard Company. I hope to do more business with them in the future after my great experience with them. I ordered strawberries from them. I found that they are very prompt with their shipment and their order exceeded... Read More
I ordered three trees from Willis Orchards. I received only two. I emailed them and asked for a record check because I had not received the third tree. They checked their records and apparently their records showed that all three trees had been sent. HOWEVER, they... Read More
New Hampton, MO
Nice selection and great quality, well handled and taken care of.
Willis Orchard Company provides quality products and great customer service. I've purchased from other businesses, but the quality that Willis has is off the charts. They do phenomenal packaging, and everything has been great. Other places usually send me inferior... Read More
Cartersville , GA
Willis Orchard Co was a very good company to work with. They had a good selection of trees and they even helped us plant the trees in our yard. It was a great experience. Read More
Columbus , OH
Much better than I ever could have expected.
Willis Orchard Co provided me with plants with really long healthy roots. I was very pleased with them. They were also in clean tidy packaging, and they were delivered to me on time. At first I thought they would be really small plants, but they are a great size.... Read More
Stand by their products, keep their word!
I have had many dealings with Willis. In just a few cases, the tree did not survive, or I was sent the wrong plant. They replaced each without any problem. Jay in customer service went above and beyond to help me, and even set up orders to automatically ship in the... Read More
Great products, customer service, and delivery.
Willis Orchard Co has very good prices and quality. Whenever they have a desired item in stock, they send it right away. I am impressed with their variety and I usually go there for vines and little trees. Whenever I call them, they always put a knowledgeable staff... Read More
San Tan Valley, AZ
I would like to thank Willis Orchards for being honest, and responsible. I had a problem with some of my trees, they offered some very responsible solutions, which fixed all my problems. I'm now a satisfied customer who wants to let you know that you're dealing with... Read More
Man with brown thumb is happy
Everything with Willis Orchard Co. has been good so far. They have trees that are hard to find in stores. I bought three trees from them, two were an American Chestnut tree, which brought back memories from my childhood. I was extremely thrilled that they sold... Read More
Outstanding Product and Customer Service!!
Over two years I have bought over $2,500.00 worth of trees and berry plants from Jason Willis. I have not had one issue, have gotten sweet fruit on the first year! Cynthia is outstanding in customer service, also knows the product that she sells. I will always... Read More
On Dec 18, 2014, dentednj Califon, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:
This is the first time I didn't check here for a review before ordering from a company. If I had I would not have ordered as their customer service seems to be highly erratic. As it is I ordered 9 fruit trees and an elderberry bush and a week later they arrived looking fine. I planted them the same day they arrived. Since I pruned them after planting I know that they are living. It is Mid-December here in NJ and the soil is still highly workable in my garden so I am hoping they will do okay and I will have spring growth. I will follow this review up once spring has arrived and we see if they will live. I am hoping they are the correct fruit selections of my order since that also seems to be a problem from other customer's comments.
I ordered a persimmon tree several years ago. It took a couple of seasons for the tree to fruit as expected. What was not expected was the variety. I did not think that it was the variety that I ordered. I took a picture and sent it. They double checked my order in their records and confirmed that the picture was not corresponding to the variety ordered. Even after the several year time period, not only did they send me a new tree for free, but they sent me a bigger starter tree than originally ordered to help make up for the time it will take to get new fruit.
Thanks for the great service and for standing behind your product after so long!
Posted on May 27, 2014, updated November 11, 2014
Posted on April 22, 2014, updated May 27, 2014
I placed an order for 6 fruit trees and 2 raspberries in late march 2014. I was a bit nervous because they charged my credit card within a few days even though my order wasn\'t sent until 3 weeks later. But its all good. Just about the time my order was going to ship, I realized that I had made a mistake on my order and selected a tree I did not want. I sent them an e-mail explaining that the mistake was entirely my fault, but that I would really appreciate them changing my mistake tree to one I wanted (a Hachiya Persimmon). I got an e-mail back saying my order had already been put together and was in the shipping area to be sent. Nevertheless, the lady who e-mailed me that said she would try to change it for me. I had little hope, but less than 24 hours later she e-mailed me back and said they had been able to pull my order, go get my replacement tree, take out the try I didn\'t want, repackage the order, and ship it. I am explaining all this detail because I really think it bodes well for the company and their customer service that they went to so much trouble-at absolutely no charge- and all for a mistake that was entirely my own. Many places would have said it was too late, impossible, or at best charge a change order fee. Anyway, as promised, my order was shipped on a Friday and fed ex tried to deliver it the very next day to my door in a different state over 500 miles away. (Fed ex screwed up so I had to wait one more day that was in no way Willis\'s fault) As for my order....the good news continues. All my trees arrived in very good condition. They were incredibly well packaged....bundled all together, with all roots submerged in the gel stuff most places use which was still very much wet. The roots and gel were all inside plastic, which in turn was tightly wrapped with practically a whole roll of shipping tape, then the whole bundle was placed in a perfectly sized box, with bubble wrap occupying all extra space to prevent too much movement during shipment. The condition of all the large trees was outstanding. They were dormant but starting to wake up-enough that you can tell they are most likely going to bud and leaf out. There were less roots that I\'d prefer, but that is fairly common with Bare root shipped trees. The 2 small trees (1-3 feet) and raspberries seemed to be a little more dry that I had hoped, but they were fairly green on a scratch test so hopefully they will be ok. Overall. all the trees appear to be alive and I\'m pretty sure they will be ok. I promise to come back here in a few weeks and update this review to let everyone know whether all my plants survived and, if not, how Willis handled the dead ones. But I am confident most if not all will live, and in view of some of the reviews on here I think Willis Orchards deserves the Positive rating I am giving them for everything that has happened so far (as described above). My experience was a very, very good one and if my plants live-and I think they will- then I believe they have just become my favorite fruit tree source.
On May 27th, 2014, thecityman changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
Well, things didn\'t turn out nearly as well as my original post indicated. As it turns out, I had more tree and plant deaths than with any order I\'ve ever done. I wanted to wait before updating this post to be absolutely certain of what did and did not live. I am now prepared to give you those results. In total, I ordered 5 trees and 3 plants. Out of that, a grand total of two trees lived. Two. That is a 75% failure rate. All 3 raspberry plants died as did 4 of the 6 fruit trees I purchased. Specifically, a plumcot, a Green Gage plum, Tanenashi Persimmon, and a hachia Persimmon died along with the 3 raspberries. A mulberry and Blenheim Apricot lived. I mentioned in my original review that the trees looked alive when I received them but I had some concerns about the roots on some. They were, however, packaged well. I also have to wonder if they held my order back, out of ground, longer than normal in order to make the order change I requested. If so, they didn\'t tell me that and of course I\'d have preferred they not make my requested change if it really did result in all the other trees being left out too long and caused their death. But that is just guess work anyway. Its also possible that fed ex\'s error than caused the trees to be in their hands an extra day and 1/2 could have contributed...who knows. All I know is I spent over $100 and ended up with only 2 trees, one being just 10 inches tall. I also want you to all know that I am quite certain the deaths were in no way my own fault. I got my trees at around noon. I went home immediately unwrapped and put all of them in a bucket of water where they sat for about 6 hours. That very evening I went home and put every tree and plant into the ground into holes that I had previously prepared by slightly amending the good, fertile, well drained soil I have. I watered them in and over the next 4 weeks kept them reasonably well-but not over-watered. I used the same techniques I have on all my fruit trees, and I currently have 62 trees in my orchard and over the last 3 years I\'ve only had 2 other trees die. I have 27 raspberry plants and have lost maybe 5 over the last 3 years. My point here is I may not be a professional orchardist but I certainly have enough experience and understanding to know how to properly plant and care for a new tree or plant. There absolutely had to be something wrong with these.
Now, one very, very important point: I HAVE NOT YET NOTIFIED WILLIS ORCHARDS of my dead plants nor have I requested replacements, so I cannot yet judge their customer service when it comes to warranty/replacement. Their site says to wait a few months to be sure what lives or dies, and that is what I am doing. One could argue that it is unfair to change my review from positive to neutral without giving them a chance to redeem themselves. But I felt a 75% death rate alone warranted a change in my rating. I\'m also not thrilled with their policy of requiring me to pay postage to return dead trees, but I suppose that is to protect them and I won\'t hold it against them. I also hate having to wait until fall or maybe spring to get replacements, but I know trees survive better when planted at those times so I will accept that. To be fair, if they do honor the warranty and replace all my trees and plants without a big hassle, I will probably change my review back to positive. But in the meantime, I believe a neutral rating is appropriate in view of the high failure rate. On November 11th, 2014, thecityman changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
WHile this is a very long review, I think it is important. It has gone from Negative (because so many plants died) to Neutral (because they SAID they would make it right but I wanted to wait until they did) to Positive (because they DID make it right). I've already explained why I gave the negative and neutral, now I want to tell you how they earned a "positive"...............:
I have been absolutely blown away by the level of customer service and the way Willis Orchard's handled the problem once I reported my dead trees. Basically, at the very end of summer I called and reported that 3 of my 5 trees had died and all 3 of my berry plants had died. I spoke to a wonder lady named Sylvia who almost immediately, without any interrogation or accusations or difficulty of any kind, apologized for the dead trees and plants and offered to replace them all or give me credit toward other things. When I inquired about having to mail in the dead stuff or send photos of them, she said they would trust me and that would not be necessary! WHAT!!!! In todays world, that is an amazing position for them to take. Even more amazing, she basically told me that she would leave it up to me to decide who would pay the shipping on the replacement order. WHAT!!!??? I felt that because bare root plants can and do die without them or me being to blame, if they were going to just take my word on what had died then I would pay the shipping on the replacements. Long story short, I put together a new order which included several new trees that had not been on my original order. Sylvia simply processed my new order and deducted the amount I had paid for the original trees and plants that died, added the shipping (with my blessing) and processed my new order.
I simply cannot fathom how they possibly could have been any more polite, accommodating, or better to deal with in any way. They went BEYOND their stated replacement policy by not making me send dead plants or even photos of dead plants, and even expressed a willingness to pay postage-which I do not think they should have to do since the dead plants may not have been their fault. They never questioned my honesty or made it the tiniest bit difficult to redeem my warranty. As icing on the cake, I mentioned that I had one tree which I thought was dead but which still had a very slight greenish tint on a scratch test so I wasn't going to claim it as dead and they went ahead and credited me for that tree as well...even though I hadn't officially tried to redeem the warranty on it yet. In short, Willis Ochards went above and beyond what they needed to do to satisfy me. It wasn't because I'm a big, regular customer because I'm not. They epitomize what any company-not just a nursery-should strive to be in terms of customer oriented.
One last note: On top of all the aforementioned things they did right, the last and perhaps best final compliment is on the replacement order I just received. Without exception, each and every one of the 8 new trees I ordered were larger than the size I specified in my order-meaning they voluntary bumped up my tree size without charging a single cent more-even though larger sizes obviously sell for more money. ANd they are not just longer; they are thicker and healthier too. I am thrilled with my new trees and with the service I have received. If I could somehow give a more positive review of this company than I have just done, I would do so. They deserve it. I'm mystified by the negative reviews I see here. All I can say is my experience has been a 10 out of 10.
I have had 2 separate and positive experiences with Willis orchards. My first was that the tree that I had ordered (damson plum) was not a damson plum. After a few quick emails and some pictures that I sent, they determined that it was if fact a different tree (some kind of rare green plum). They immediately rectified the issue and are shipping a new damson plum at no cost.
My second experience was with their general phone number. A very nice lady (I forget her name, Cynthia, maybe) helped me with selecting what the best cherry tree would be for my area. She also gave me the phone number to my local extension office to make sure the tree suggested was best suited for my area.
I plan to order from them again. Great customer service.
Last Fall I ordered 2 Blenheim Apricot trees from Willis Orchard. I ordered 6' tall 1.25" Cal. Trees. After I ordered them, I read all of the negative feedback about Willis Orchard and I got concerned. My Trees arrived in Mid April , and in Wisconsin, We had very brutal winter and snow was still on the ground in April. My Trees arrived well packaged with Gel wrapping around the roots. and there were a lot of buds coming to fruition on the branches upon arrival . The trees were pruned nicely. and I left the trees for two weeks in the gel because the ground was still frozen. In late April, I was able to plant my trees. I used 50% tree & Shrub soil along with 50% native soil. I also used a local garden centers root stimulator fertilizer. It is now Early august and my trees are flourishing. The buds have all turned to leaves and there is easily 12" of new growth on these trees. I do admit that I have watered the trees religiously and sprayed liquid fence liberally on the trees to keep the deer away. I have no reservations about the products nor the service that I received from Willis Orchards. I couldn't be happier with the trees that I have received I would and probably will buy from them again in the future.
On May 8, 2014, goingtochina Cedar Fort, UT wrote:
Honestly, this order was the most well-packed and high-quality of any garden center order I have ever placed. I ordered 45 bare root trees, 11 bare root grapes, about 60 raspberries/blackberries, and lot more. ALL of it was large and well-rooted, and very well-packed. I was initially afraid to order from them due to reviews on this forum, so when I got such a terrific order, I knew I had better post a positive review. Don't be afraid to order from Willis Orchards!!! They are GREAT!!!
I ordered two saw palmettos from Willis Orchard Company. They sent me an e-mail to confirm the order and another when it was shipped. The plants arrived in good condition. I would order from them again.
Online ordering was extremely easy. It took a while for the order to be shipped but it did specifically say online that it would take up to 14 business days. The tree I received was the correct one that I ordered, however, it was in very poor condition. I contacted "willis" by phone and explained the condition of the tree. I also emailed them a couple photos. They sent me images of another tree in far better condition and shipped it out the same day for free
I order 7 trees, (2x20th century Asians, plum, apple,and persimmon plus 2 walnuts) they arrived very quickly. I must say I was dissapointed when I saw the box and felt how light it was but I got what I ordered and now 2 weeks after planting all seem to be doing very well. Thank You Willis Orchard!
I have read both good and bad and honestly was expecting something to go wrong but so far I'm very happy and will order again.
Don't let the package fool you, they have some sort of jelly around the roots to keep them moist and it is packaged tightly with all the roots together. Anyways it worked.
On Feb 11, 2014, mscratch Millersville, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:
Received the Garden Annie Dwarf Apricot tree
this morning from Willis Orchards. Beautifully packaged. Immediately removed it from the box and checked it over. Height is the size I ordered and no problem with broken limbs. Appears very healthy with nice root ball. Very pleased with this order.
Over the last 12 years I've ordered trees from several large nurseries and never been satisfied with what I've received. I've spent years raising some tree shipments only to find they weren't what I ordered. Things like bartlet pears that turned out to be bradford pears after eight years. Trees that arrived dead or died soon after sprouting. Two years ago I ordered trees from Willis and with the exception of two small trees that I new weren't adapted to my area all have flourished, more than doubling in size in two years. After reading their return policy I didn't bother about the two trees that didn't make it but the other trees I received were much better than those I have purchased elsewhere.
On Dec 16, 2013, GeneDaniels Gravel Ridge, AR wrote:
This is the third time I have ordered from Willis Orchard company. I have been very pleased with the plants received. When I received my latest order I realized that two of the blackberry plants were not the 3-year old plants like I had ordered. I exchanged a few emails and pictures with the staff and they quickly resolved the matter by sending me the correct plants.
Everyone makes small mistakes from time to time, but a truly good company makes their mistakes right - and that is exactly what Willis Orchard company did. Good healthy plants and honest business practice - great company!
On Dec 12, 2013, dogdoc01 Oklahoma City, OK wrote:
Made a small order of bare root trees. Three apples, one crabapple, and one pear tree. All trees arrived in great shape. The roots were packed with moist clay/mud and some type of gel balls and in excellent shape. I was actually surprised at how well the roots looked and the amount of roots on the trees.t The trees were the size advertised and a few even larger. Will definitely order from Willis Orchard again!! Highly recommend.
I made an order from this company becuase they had a great price and an awesome selection.
I went into my order knowing that I was not going to get a nice tree like you can get at the big box stores on every corner. I had experience from Arbor Day and their little twigs and I was hoping that thats not what I was getting. I guess I was hoping for something in between. I called them a few weeks after I placed my order and they answered imediately. Answered all my questionbs about what trees they were waiting on and assured me within the week they should be shipped.
The big day finally came and I saw from the tracking number that I got my trees. I rushed home and there was a HUGE box waiting. I excitedly opened the box and there were the best looking bare root trees I had ever seen. Well bare root is an understatement. they still had dirt around the roots unlike arbor day with no sign of any dirt. The trees were awesome and well pruned for the next growing season. I can't wait for this spring so I can see how well they flourish.
By the way I ordered a peach, nectarine, two blueberry bushes, and a kiwi. The Blueberries were still green with two feet long branches and the Kiwi had numerious two to three feet vines.
I found the staff at Willis Orchard friendly and easy to work with. There was an issue that came up regarding my order and it was resolved to my satisfaction. Because of their willingness to work with me this time, I plan to return in the future.
I have to admit, i was a little concerned about this company because i was paying extra for larger trees, and there were some negative comments. However to my delight, the trees came as promised, fruited the first year as promised, and grew really well. We had an exceptional growing year, but trees were as promised and healthy. I have no concern about purchasing from this company in the future. I used to by cheap small trees when i was younger, now i by older, larger trees that i am older.
Willis was good by me and i am not an easy to make happy.
On Oct 3, 2013, Neworchardowner Pulaski, TN wrote:
I ordered nut and fruit trees and grape vines from two separate Georgia orchard companies last fall. Several trees from one supplier never leafed out and were apparently dead when I received them. The other company was Willis Orchard Company. The trees I received from Willis arrived packed well and were healthy. Since planting, all my trees from Willis Orchard are doing great and I anticipate my first small harvest of apples next year. I just ordered additional nut and cherry trees from Willis to be shipped during the coming season. I am pleased with their products and customer service.
In the spring of 2013 I ordered an apricot, a blueberry, and three muscadine vines from Willis Orchards. The plants arrived promptly, packed with gel. I planted the apricot and the blueberry, but ended up leaving the muscadines on my back porch in a bucket of water for a week. I thought one of the muscadines had died, but three weeks after the other two had sprouted leaves, the third did as well. All of the plants are healthy and thriving, and survived the Texas summer (not an easy feat). I plan on placing another order with them this fall.
I was nervous about placing that second order after reading all of the reviews on here, and other forums, but the issue seems a lot more complicated than just some unsatisfied customers. In 2012, Willis' business partner was arrested for embezzling over $40,000 from the company. Also, the infamous TyTy Nursery is located near Willis. TyTy has a reputation for poor service, launching negative review campaigns, has over 40 false names for its business.
It is very hard to know what to believe and not believe. I'm sure some of the reviews here, both negative and positive, are legitimate. I've had a good personal experience, and will continue to do business with Willis until I have a poor one.
I had placed a order on 3-20-13 with Willis Orchards consisting of 20 assorted fruit trees/vines before i had found the reviews on Daves Garden. I thought to myself i am in trouble now!,but everything went like clockwork and the order arrived soon after. Everything was packed well in the gel and shipping price was reasonable. I had dug 18" holes in the center of 5'x5' tilled beds before the tree's arrived. I took them out of the gel packing and put them in a water bucket for around 45 mins. as I planted them.
I mounded the beds in the center , added a raised border of dirt around the beds and backfilled the holes to get all the trees at proper depth, and watered them in well. The only thing i added was a shovel of fully composted cow manure and azomite rock dust to each hole and used the original dirt from the holes.
I set up drip irrigation to all of the trees and mulched the beds with wood chips. The mulch works wonders and keeps the bed moist for a long time so they dont need water as often as without mulch.
To date all the tree's have leaved out just fine and look very healthy. The apples actually bloomed but a freak late frost came and they made no fruit. the eastern pawpaw was the last tree i was waiting on to bud and it took the longest but has nice leaves now.
one of the redbuds also took a bit of time,but it too has leaved out(its later than the other redbud tree i ordered i guess).
All others(cherrys,plums,nectarine,elderberry,etc are thick with leaves
My grapes have done well so far and are staring to vine.
there is even a bunch of tiny grapes on one vine so far.
the blackberry is doing well and is just now starting to vine.
The raspberries are another story, soon after i got them i noticed something boring into the top stalk and i trimmed it off about 2" to find some black fly type bug. i got rid of the wood i cut off and all seems fine now.
The raspberries have not shown any signs of life but the scratch test shows some green on the stalks still,so i have to assume that they are late to grow here- i don't have have any experience with raspberries here so this may be normal,especially with the odd weather we have had.
i will keep my eye on them and try and report back. I think they will be fine.
I ordered 2 Pindo Palms, and a Banana Plant from Willis Orchard. All three arrived in one box, and were very neatly packaged. The plants were very healthy looking, and were in great condition. My order was processed and shipped within two days. I am very pleased with the product and the service that I received. I will be ordering more tropical plants from Willis Orchard.
After reading the comments here and on another site, I was thinking twice about ordering from Willis. However, they had many of the trees that I was looking for that other orchards did not have. So, I called them first to let them know my concerns and the review I've seen and the guy made a very good point. People are 10x more likely to voice bad experiences than good. There are many people out there with good experiences that don't go around posting it on every site. Which is true. I bought, 3 grape vines, kiwi vine, golden delicious apple tree, asian pear tree, 2 paw paw trees, Quince tree, walnut tree, 4 blueberry bushes & 2 elderberry bushes. When the plants arrived all looked to be relatively healthy and the correct item. Out of all those items I have only 3 that I think may not be doing so good. Not sure if it's the plant itself, but I don't claim to be an expert so it could also be error on my part. I have not called them yet, as it's still early spring and I want to see if they are just late bloomers. My experience with them so far, has been good.
I ordered five fruit trees Feb 9 (Pippin Apple, Green Gage Plum, Elephant Heart Plum, Hachiya Persimmon, and a Fuyu Persimmon). The trees shipped early March which is appropriate for my area (northern Indiana). The trees I received were in perfect shape, very healthy, good color, and the exact size I ordered. I planted them two weeks later (due to bad weather) and now they are budding, flowering, with leaves started to appear on all the branches. I will absolutely buy from them again.
Over the winter months I ordered three pond cypress trees from Willis Orchard and they arrived with full branches and lots of roots. I ordered a fourth eight footer pond cypress and Jason called to let me know they where out of eight foot trees and would I settle for a six to seven foot and he would refund the difference. I accepted he refunded my money and to my surprise sent two six foot nice looking pond cypress trees. They have all leafed out and are absolutely gorgeous.
Posted on March 28, 2013, updated March 28, 2013
I've used Willis Orchards for many purchases: Fruit Trees, fruit bushes, strawberry plants, but mostly their trees.
In the past I've tried Gurney's trees and never had much luck. With Willis the first year I ordered 5 of their cheapest root stock of the "Red Baron" peach. I received them in the fall, planted them and in the spring only two survived. Not a good return on investment, but I REALLY wanted those peaches. The following year I bought 5 Comice Pear, and 5 additional Red baron trees but all of older root stock, maybe $38 per tree vice $18 per tree. I got those trees fall of 2011 and they did great. 10 for 10 so far.
When I first opened the boxes that I got from Willis I noticed how well they were packaged, how healthy and viable the roots are (unbelievable roots on the blueberry bushes), and the material they use to ship. The use a water absorbing gel and triple wrap that in plastic and tape, non of the plants I've ordered have ever showed up with dry roots. Mostly though, there trees are pruned to ship, but they still look like trees. They still have multiple branches, and just LOOK healthy.
The lesson I think I learned is the old one: You get what you pay for. You go cheap and get the youngest most fragile trees, the survival rate is going to be low. Spend the extra money and get the better, older, and stronger trees you won't go wrong.
I've read the reviews, and decided to try another company for my cultivar pear trees. I wasn't impressed. I bought their high end tree not their cheapest, it came in the roots are packed in wet newspaper inside a plastic bag, and it doesn't even look like a tree, it looks like I've planted 3 sticks in my yard. I was hoping I would get trees that would bloom this season to pollinate the Comice Pears, but I don't think there is a chance of that happening. I think I'll have to go back to Willis and order a couple of their 6 or 7 foot trees to get any blooms this year.
On March 28th, 2013, itsbob added the following:
So that was the trees (oh, and the Comice Pear is the Harry and David Pear)..
I've bought blueberries and raspberries from both local nurseries, and Willis. The selection locally is pretty slim, you buy one of the two varieties they have or you go without. I think, at the time, Willis had 8 or 10 different blueberry varieties and about the same if not more for the raspberry. I've planted 24 raspberry bushes, maybe 18 from Willis, and by far there's are doing great. Had berries the first year I had them in the ground, and they spread out and have new bushes coming up all around.
Blueberries, again when I opened the box, just GREAT looking bushes. Roots were amazing. I think I'm up to 15 of their blueberry bushes, and maybe 3 local bushes.
What I like the most is the variety. Blueberries I think I have 4 different varieties, and the rasberry probably 3 different. I'm TRYING to get the right mix so one plant is getting harvested, while the others haven't ripened yet.
Last summer, my then 6 year old would get home from school and head right to the raspberry bushes to get his fill.. we ran out of blueberries too quickly, but we're working on fixing that.
I wasn't real happy with Willis after I ordered the first lot of trees, but I'm real happy I went back to them. Have not been disappointed since.
Now I have to add some apple trees to my "orchard".