Plants came with washed rootballs, all bundled together with sodium poyacrylate gel and a bit of rotted pine bark potting soil wrapped in black plastic. Not much to look at, but that's how they keep down shipping, I'm sure, and the plants seem to be in decent shape after being potted up. Overall, if you can find the specific variety you are looking for at a local place, you are probably better off going there, but if you are looking for less common varieties and willing to nurture small plants along, Willis has alright prices for small plants and a pretty wide selection of edible plants and some ornamental trees. Be careful on trusting their range maps - they are just the USDA zone maps, and don't really take local conditions into account (i.e. their Zone 8/9 cherries might do fine in California, but probably wouldn't produce in the humid Southeast).
Posted on April 15, 2013, updated April 17, 2013
Unfortunately I'm worried. I do not know if they are a broker... I didn't think so by the catalog on line. 3/31/13 ordered $666.20. 6 large plants. Invoice on Net/do not reply, e-mail orders. OK Money snatched out of account. 2 E-Mails latter have not heard back from them. If you have a mail order business you should have good customer contact. Beware I think they are a broker ! Will put note to shipper to require signature. Not Happy !!!
On April 17th, 2013, yodafannie changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
they are not at address listed. They are in Cartersville Georgia. They are bare-root shippers. The web site is deceiving, Beware! and they represent themselves as having large plant material. The photos are deceptive because you will receive a dormant plant. Their on line communication on e-mail is non-existent. As I researched the Co. Further I decided to cancel my order after speaking with one of the owners. I hopefully have my money refunded within 5 business days. Minus the cancellation fees. I will post on the result.
l ordered two 6-7' heavy branched fruiting sized apple trees. they arrived in a somewhat untimely manner...
These trees are no where near ready to produce fruit...
The pruning on some of the branches was terrible... the lower part of my Arkansas black apple tree only had branches on the left side... All of the branches on the right were pruned off making its shape look hella foolish.
The tops were pruned abruptly nowhere close to the nodes and almost all of the root system was missing... the granny smith looks ehhh.... and alot of the branches were broken in delivery.
i bought a tree for the same price at home depot this year that is already budding with flowers... i would buy from willis again but only for rare variety's the local garden center wont have...
Also for the record l bought a baby cherry tree from gurneys.com 2-4 ft with a way larger root system the 7ft fruiting size tree's from Willis orchards...
On Oct 20, 2011, jeff0and0maria Houston, TX wrote:
Posted on October 11, 2011, updated October 20, 2011
Posted on October 9, 2011, updated October 11, 2011
Posted on October 3, 2011, updated October 9, 2011
I ordered 2 types of guava trees from Willis Orchards about a year ago. This year when I got my first fruit off the tree I realized that they sent me an indian yellow guava instead of the indian red guava that I ordered. I first notified them last week. They requested some pictures then promptly notified me that the correct item was in the mail. Sara made this the quickest and easiest customer care transaction that I have had with any company. It was unfortunate that I got the wrong plant but in the end I am extremely happy that the yellow guavas are delicious, willis orchards made right by their mistake and I also get the red guava that I should have gotten. By the way. Their indian guava plant is my favorite of all the plants in my tropical garden. The plant is attractive, low maintenance and the fruit is the best guava I have ever tasted.
On October 8th, 2011, jeff0and0maria changed the rating from positive to neutral and added the following:
I got my replacement tree very promptly and quickly put it into the pot and soil that was waiting for it. Then WTF I realized that it was the wrong tree again. I still didn't get my indian red guava tree. I got another "Hong Kong" guava tree. The two plants do not look even remotely similar. I was especially disappointed because one of the two guava trees that I ordered a year ago was the hong kong guava tree and it is the least favorite in my garden while the indian guava tree that I got is my favorite plant even though it was the wrong one. The hong kong guava need strict winter protection in my zone and I don't exactly have a greenhouse. I have only had one red guava in my life and it is by far the most delicious and aromatic fruit I have ever tasted. The indian guava plant is also an extremely attractive plant. If only I could get this company to correctly identify, tag and ship me the plant that I so desperately want I would be one of their best customers.On October 11th, 2011, jeff0and0maria changed the rating from neutral to negative and added the following:
I just got an email from willis orchards today stating that their "horticulturalist" is absolutely sure that the plant they sent me is the red indian guava I ordered despite the fact that the pic from their website and the pic of the plant they sent me are completely different. They refuse to correct the error. I cannot believe that a business that is unable to identify two obviously completely different plants is still in business and I will never order from them again. On October 20th, 2011, jeff0and0maria changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Today I got a surprise package from willis orchards. I finally got my red indian guava. They sent me what is obviously a premium specimen. Full root ball and thick trunk. I can now identify this plant as their advertised indian guava. Now I just have to cross my fingers and hope it gives me red fruit next year.
I have probably ordered 20 items from them over the past few years. Mostly OK, sometimes surprisingly good roots, some duds - last year put in three cherries and all died. Some Chinese Chestnuts have done great, Customer service mediocre at best. My other main source is Raintree, but wanted to order more locally. Raintree is more reliable. Willis is neither so bad that I avoid it nor so good that I choose them with confidence.
I planned to buy several fruit trees from this company as they had the best selection of large trees in the variety I wanted. Luckily their website was horrible and didn't work properly so I decided to wait a while. In the meantime I checked out davesgarden.com and found all the negative comments regarding Willis Orchard Company. Wow! Am I glad I didn't complete my order! Thanks to all who sent in their comments, you saved me from a costly mistake. I ordered from Stark instead.
On Mar 25, 2011, Eric_OH Columbus, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:
A previous commenter suggested that negative comments about a company are much less significant than praise, because "people who are angry always complain, but people who are satisfied rarely say so."
Here are some stats from the Garden Watchdog main page:
"Since 1994, 3,918 companies have been reviewed in the Garden Watchdog, and 60,684 comments have been posted (42,251 positive, 7,453 neutral, 10,980 negative) by 31,477 customers."
The ratio of positive to negative comments about mail-order firms on this site is close to 4 to 1. So most of those posting on GW are satisfied customers who want to support companies that treated them well (the great majority of my own reviews have been positive as well)..
I have never been able to figure out why someone would read a large volume of complaints about a firm on GW and jump to the conclusion that it's the customers who are at fault for doing something wrong.
In January of 2010, I purchased two Garden Prince Dwarf Almond Trees. They arrived in excellent condition (dormant) ready for planting. The packing was done fairly well; however, one branch was broken at the top where Fed Ex dented the box during shipment. The root systems looked healthy and the trees were "green" under the top layer of bark. I planted the trees two days after arrival and watered them two times per week while still in the dormant state. For some unknown reason, both trees failed to develop root growth and died. I noticed that the roots of both trees were "balled up" in a circular state, as if the trees were "container grown" and not "field raised."
Last week, at my own expense, I sent both dead almond trees back to Willis Orchard for "replacement credit." I decided that I wanted to try to grow "larger and stouter" specimens of the Garden Prince Almond Tree cultivar. I asked for an "upgrade" from my original 4 foot 3/4" caliper Dwarf Garden Prince Almond tree to the semi-dwarf Garden Prince Almond version (7 foot & 1.25" cal.). Willis Orchards gave me some grief about an upgrade in size but eventually relented - as long as I agreed to pay the price difference plus cover ALL SHIPPING COSTS myself. I was not happy that they would not give me any credit for the freight charges I already paid for the first shipment to arrive. In order to get the "upgrade," I had to agree to forfeit the freight charges already paid. To me, it seems fair that I should pay for the added cost of the larger size trees and the added cost (not the full cost) of the freight charges. NOT SO, in the minds of the customer service department. I was told that it is WO's policy is to never give credit for shipping charges if the customer selects an "upgade" in size in lieu of a replacement. It was explained to me that the shipping charges posted on the website for the larger size trees are prices that do not really cover all of the freight charged by Fed Ex. If this is true, it means that in the case of their larger size trees, the cost of the tree is "subsidizing" the freight charges.
Even though I was not happy about the "extra" added freight charges, I placed my replacement order for the bigger trees. Time will tell if I made the right decision. If these trees die, I get nothing of value for the $192.41 that I spent.
I will add that one of the people that I talked to over the phone named Cynthia had a real attitude problem. She was "defensive" and had a short fuse. When I tried to tell her why I felt that the extra freight charges were not fair, she would have nothing further to do with me. She started acting like the "SOUP NAZI" from an old "Seinfeld" episode. I had to deal with Shannon to get the order placed.
On Oct 25, 2010, mommagoose Harpursville, NY (Zone 5a) wrote:
Posted on August 8, 2010, updated October 25, 2010
I was sure I checked Daves Garden before ordering but I guess I must not have. In February , I decided to order some fig trees for my new High tunnel . I found Willis Orchard in a search and ordered three fig trees. An Italian Everbearing, a Brown Turkey and a Desert King and also a Russian Quince. The trees arrived very nice but severely pruned. The Quince was just a very long stick with not much root on it. I planted all four. The figs are doing very well and now in August there may be 6-8 leaves on the quince stick. My problem is my Desert King fig tree isn't. It has 28 dark blue figs on it. Desert King figs are supposed to be yellow. The brown turkey fig also has figs on it but none are ripe yet so I am not sure if it is correct to type. There are no figs on the third tree. I am sure Willis had a way to contact them on line back in February but that link is now gone. I will try to call them again tomorrow because no one is answering the phone today. I will not be mailing back my "Desert King" fig but I really would like to know what kind it is.
On October 25th, 2010, mommagoose added the following:
I finally got in touch with Willis. The woman on the phone offered to mail me the correct tree but I had her wait. I am glad I did because the Brown Turkey isn't either. The third tree never had any fruit on it, The Brown turkey that isn't a brown turkey tastes delicious. Figs 4 fun has not been able to identify it for me. I will probably have to wait until next year to find out what it is. I will keep this note a neutral because while the trees are not as advertised, they are growing well and the fruit is delicious. Order at your own risk.
On May 28, 2010, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
"On Jun 23, 2010 2:22 PM, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
Oh how much Ty Ty owner wishes. But too bad. We get too much pleasure from supplying our thousands of repeat and new customers to sale. Of course, if they want to give an exorbitant amount of money we may think on it. LOL
Note that Georgebb has never used this forum except to make this villainous post. Wonder who it could be?? lol, again. "
I order yellow raspberries 2 years ago. the first plants I received were the size of a tiny dowel with no roots at all. I planted in fall and all died through the winter. when I called to report I was told to return plants. Received next shipment and they were returns from somewhere else. they were much larger and had already leafed out. of course, none made it. I am now told too bad, only one time replacement. I have a difficult time taking all the responsibility, since I own 2 acres that have prolific red raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc. I did request a refund at one time but was told replacements only. I will order elsewhere!
On Dec 24, 2009, ptooming Titusville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:
I took a look at there website.
I wasn't real amused I think if you want to sell something you should offer as much information as possible about what you are offering. There is no mention of suggested growing zones and I just don't think I should have to go else where to find that information. You know like growth habit, size, ect... I gave up within a minute or 2 at there website.
On Dec 24, 2009, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
"On Dec 24, 2009 11:44 PM, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
Actually, every single item page has its own customized map of the U.S. that shows the growing zones for that particular tree/plant. The growing zones are clearly highlighted and numbered on every tree's page. Hard to miss. But we welcome any helpful suggestions you may offer by calling or writting. Best wishes to you."
I ordered 22 fruit trees this spring and received shipment in late March. Most of the trees were larger than expected as I'd ordered the smallest sizes. So that was nice. Most of the trees also had very little in the way of roots, so that wasn't nice. I had no experience planting fruit trees though, so I went ahead, hoping they had enough root to make it.
I don't entirely blame the trees for their failure. I have a new house in a new addition and the soil where the trees went in was unimproved. We had a terrible spring here with a month of heavy, heavy rain followed by a month of average temperatures around 95. Although I watered (when it dried out from all the rain) and mulched and did what I could, 16 of the 22 trees failed. Some budded out and then shriveled and died. Most of those that failed didn't bud out at all. I believe though that they would have done much better if they'd had better root condition to start with.
When I ordered from Willis, I was aware there was no refund and only replacement, so I wasn't surprised or disappointed by the policy. In July I sent the trees back with a letter explaining what made it and what didn't. Today I called them to verify they'd received it. They were nice and said the replacements would ship in November. I hope that fall-planted trees will do better.
I don't know if I will order from Willis again. They had a range of varieties that allowed me to get nearly everything I wanted from one place, but the survival rate was very disappointing. I liked their price, but Lowes had about the same price for their container trees after they went on clearance. Admittedly, a clearance tree isn't the best - but then again neither is bare root with very little root. I suppose my continued patronage depends on the survival of the fall-planted trees. If they do well, then I simply won't buy in the spring in future and I'll buy in the fall.
I have improved the soil where the trees didn't make it, so they'll have a better chance next time.
I've placed two orders with Willis for a total of 10 trees (plums, pecans, pear, cherry, and magnolias) and 6 brambles. From these orders, 1 pecan, 1 plum and both magnolias died, and 5 out of 6 brambles died. All off those that died had insubstantial roots, except for the magnolias which were well rooted. After returning the dead plants at my own cost, I received better replacements in December (as well as two very large magnolias). When I called in Nov., the customer rep was nice and told me to expect replacement trees in Dec or Jan.
Although in my experience I certainly don't think Willis deserves the TyTy comparisons, I doubt I'll order from them again because I've gotten much better stock, with a much higher survival rate, from other companies (albiet for a higher cost and without a 1 year guarantee,). They honored their replacement policy, so I won't give them a negative. If rock bottom prices were paramount, then maybe I'd probably order from them again.
On Jan 26, 2009, tcacyarbro Kings Mountain, NC wrote:
I had placed an original order for
(2) 3'-4' Desirable Pecan Trees;
(2) 3'-4' Stuart Pecan Trees;
(1) 2'-3' Desirable Pecan Tree
(2) 2'-3' Stuart Pecan Trees
all on 12-24-2008...I received the trees on 01-06-2009 and in inspecting the trees discovered that all the trees were sent correctly but (2) which were the 2'-3' Stuarts that I had received Sumners for instead, so I called Willis Orchard Company and spoke with Cynthia on 01-09-09 and she stated that the trees weren't very different and wanted to see if we would be willing to accept them instead of the Stuarts. The Stuarts were really what we wanted; I was placed on hold and she came back to tell me that if I could send a picture of the tags/trees that she would have them replaced with the correct trees. I offered to send the trees back if they they would pay for the shipping but she said that wasn't necessary. So I sent the email of the pictures as was asked. With all of that said I called to check the status of the trees today 01-26-09 and she answered and said there had been bad weather and they were behind on shipping the trees which was OK with me but she went on to comment that the pictures she received in the email looked bigger than 2'-3' trees that I had ordered, well sorry but I am not the one shipping the orders. She stated I could send the others back. I reassured her that I had offered to do that from the beginning but it wasn't necessary "remember". Anyway, this is to let everyone know that if you have to make a return/exchange/or/replacement WATCH OUT THEIR FRIENDLY GUARANTEE MAY NOT TURN OUT SO FRIENDLY! (Oh, no trees yet supposed to be on their way in the next 7-10 days)
On Nov 22, 2008, twelvethumbs Evansville, IN wrote:
Many of the trees I ordered failed to break their dormant phase, a few started to grow but quickly died, one survived. I found the warranty worthless. I followed all the instructions, mailing the plants and invoice to the supplied PO Box. I inquired how my case was being handled only to be told they had no record of my order. I will place my next order with Burnt Ridge Nursery, the plants I bought from them were larger and have nearly a 100% success rate.
On December 21st, 2008, twelvethumbs changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:
Willis Orchard sent replacements for my trees on Dec 17; I felt better after a local nurseryman said they could still be planted successfully through Dec. On Dec 19th the ice melted and the ground thawed so they are in the ground. As insurance I added a bit of rooting hormone to each of them,
I ordered 10 Sonderegger pine trees from them last fall. The trees came packaged quite well, and looking healthy. However, I'm simply not convinced that the trees are variety that I payed for. They are supposed to be hybrids of loblolly and longleaf pine. But look like plain loblolly, with even shorter needles. The trees also showed much winter damage, and are slowly growing now. I'm very confused on what trees I received. I guess I'll just have to wait and see if they will outlive my Slash pine, which is supposed to be less hardy! who knows!
On May 27th, 2009, andymc499 added the following:
My "Sonderegger" pines have lived another year just fine. They seem a little healthier, but the needles are still quite short. I wonder if they're actually shortleaf x loblolly hybrids??On May 27th, 2009, andymc499 added the following:
My "Sonderegger" pines have lived another year just fine. They seem a little healthier, but the needles are still quite short. I wonder if they're actually shortleaf x loblolly hybrids??
We ordered 6 fruit trees from Willis Orchard about two weeks ago and received them in a timely manner. Their customer service is good and they did keep us up-to-date on expected shipping date, etc. The only problem we had was in the packaging. Like I said, we ordered six fruit trees, each was 2-3 feet tall and the banana palm is probably close to 4 ft. They were shipped all bunched together in one tall, skinny box. When we initially opened it, we thought it was one tree, then we noticed all the name tags hanging on each branch and realized there were six trees there. I knew they were coming without containers, but we definitely didn't expect them to all be shoved together in one piece of plastic wrap. All in all, our experience was just okay (the trees are alive...that's a plus) but I'm not sure I could recommend them to anyone.
On Apr 29, 2008, Willis Orchard Company responded with:
On Apr 30, 2008 10:16 AM, Willis Orchard Company added:
As stated on our website, the trees are packaged in a bare-root state. They are bundled together in one root ball so that the water absorbent gel can be freely added. No plants are individually packaged, as it is not cost effective nor necessary."