In February of 2005 my husband ordered 10 European White Birch trees from this company. The description said 2 year old 1-3 ft. trees. When we received them none of the trees were more than a foot long and they looked pretty dead. But we hoped that they were only dormant. To increase the trees’ survival rate we planted every one of them in separate containers with rich soil, made sure they got plenty of light and got watered regularly. Only one tree showed any signs of life and that was a sprout from a root. So in fact none of the original stems made it. Of course, this did not become obvious until months after we received our order. So we did not see much point in trying to get in touch with Musser Forests. Their instructions in regards to claims say “notify us in writing within 3 days after receipt of nursery stock”.
So 2 years later we have a young birch tree that is about 3 feet tall now. It still has a dark brown stock. So it is not clear yet if we actually have the white birch. The truth is that for the amount of money we paid for this order we could’ve gotten a tree of this size 2 years ago from one of local nurseries…..
On Apr 18, 2007, thecollector Farmville, VA wrote:
I ordered 10 potted Green Giant Arborvitae, which arrived last week. The plants were robust, very well packed, and, something important to me, were uniform--all were nearly exactly the same size. This place seems like a good source for trees in bulk. Prices are very reasonable and at least in my experience, stock is good.
I ordered five Lynwood Gold Forsythia that were so inexpensive it's hard to believe. Were they small? Yes, but this cultivar grows fast. I have a lot of time and patience when it comes to gardening and saving money. Were they rootbound? Yes, I cut ends off the longer roots, untangled the rest and spread them out over a small mound like a bare-root rose. No problem, they are growing beautifully. Were they well packaged? Absolutely. The only better packaging I've seen is from Logee's and Marj Gossler (that lady runs an incredible nursery). Were these small plants well branched? Yes, all except one had multiple branches. Was it worth a little over $20.00 (including S & H) for five beautiful plants? Duh, I challenge you to find them for less. These were potted not bare-rooted. Would I buy from them again? Definitely.
Ordered or the first time from Musser (5 bare root Hetz Wintergreen) and must say was quite impressed. The trees were all larger than ordered and had healthy root systems. They were packaged very well and arrived in VA healthy and moist. Planted them upon arrival yesterday and now it's just wait and see!
hi, i just joined and want to tell you that last spring i bought 10 rosa rugosa. when they got here i had to call them because they were 2ft long sticks. they were extremely friendly and advised me to just plant and wait i have to say by the time fall had crept up here in zone 7 they were HUGE! blooming and even full of hips. i am sold on them. do not be discouraged by the fact they are bareroot and look like twigs there are roses in there!! thanks musser my front yard will be gorgeous again this year im sure.
On Nov 24, 2006, steffinger mahaffey United States wrote:
I worked at this company in the 70's before I left for college. In my opinion they have not changed that much in that they use those folks who earn minimum wage. (Nothing against the employees) I was personally treated as a second class citizen; watered down like cattle, yelled at, etc. (If I knew then what I know now.....) My vehicle broke down in front of their store a few years ago and they would not even let me use their phone! I have ordered trees from them, which in bulk are a pretty good buy-but I live nearby and can pick them up. I think they charge a bit over most though for trees and flowers at the store.
I have ordered many times from Musser over the years. While their upper PA climate has little in common with mine in the deep south the results have always been satisfactory. The best "deal" from them is the potted plants. I recently bought two potted bald cypress trees. Both had extremely healthy root systems. I also purchased two chinese dogwoods. Since we were in the middle of a drought I planted the trees in clay pots until conditions improved. When I finally got around to planting the trees, about three months later, their roots had filled the pots! Be more cautious about the bare root trees, but I would have no hesitation ordering any potted tree from them.
On Jun 18, 2006, StarhillForest Illinois, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:
I had ordered from Mussers several times, many years ago, and the plants I received always were fine. But this spring I combined on an order with another person, and it was a disaster. Half the plants were dead or had such poor root systems that they couldn't be expected to live. Some of them were mislabeled (and not just a missed cultivar name -- spruces were called firs!). Replacements were sent, but the replacements were DOA. They looked like someone had carelessly pulled wild seedlings from a vacant lot and mailed them to us. I suspect this fine old company must be going under, and I will never order from them again.
I ordered Canadian hemlocks from Musser last year and they were in good shape when I received them. They were not huge, but were a reasonable size considering the cost and were packed well. I would order from them again.
On Apr 25, 2006, JohninMichigan Delta Township, MI (Zone 5a) wrote:
I ordered 2 Bald Cyprus and 5 Catalpa trees in Spring of 2005. These trees survived the first year and are doing great this year. Musser's Forest is a company that I will use in the future for buying trees. I have had no problems with this company.
On Apr 23, 2006, CT_Ohio Millfield, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:
Just received the 25 Canadian hemlocks (3+3) I ordered and could not be more pleased. The trees have heavy, healthy root systems and well branched, full tops. There were at least 25 trees the size stated in the catalog as well as 4-5 smaller but very healthy trees in the package. Packing was excellent for bare root plants and included instructions for planting were explicit and easy to understand. I am quite impressed with the quality of the plants I received.
Very pleased with the of value of well wrapped plants received from Musser. Ordered both bareroot and potted. Yes, looked like a stick and tiny. But with proper planting and care have been pleasantly surprised with the results especially given my New Jersey clay, heat and drought. When buying any plants mail order or local, highly recommend similar growing climate. Local nursery tried to sell me established evergreens grown in Oregon-don't see how that would work for my garden. Mussers customer service representatives treated me professionally on the telephone and that is how I treat them.
On Apr 19, 2006, Enchantra Farmington, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:
I have ordered from this company and so has my Father. All the trees have arrived packaged in damp paper mulch with plastic wrapped around the roots. There has been no breakage in shipment at all, and the trees all took so far. I ordered several potted Red Japanese Maples from them this year and they were much larger than I expected. The stock seems to be of good quality.
On Apr 12, 2006, provincialblond Lansing, MI wrote:
I've ordered numerous trees from Musser Nursery: Corkbark Fir, Pitch Pine, Mugo Pine, Douglas Fir, Japanese Black Pine, and Austrian Pine; the quality of the aforesaid orders have been excellent. Musser is very accomodating when It comes to shipping: I changed my delivery date 4 times and they followed my instructions accordingly. I plan buying from Musser in the immediate future.
I have placed two really large orders with Musser Forests and been well-pleased with every aspect of the transaction.
The first order had a few 'duds,' which I would expect when I'm paying so little for things. They replaced them quickly and courteously. After the initial glitches, I am pleased to report that these plants have all grown and thrived for several years...through bad winters and droughts (and truly awful soil in some cases).
This year, I placed another huge order. I was amazed at the quality of the plants they sent! The root systems were huge and the plants were well-developed.
There are 'bargains' out there, and there are rip-offs. I would definitely place Musser in the bargain category. Their plants are priced very cheaply. So their 'experts' aren't really knowledgeable. Buy a book! I've found very few mail order nurseries who can tell me how to handle my plants when they are located in different growing areas from mine. Don't expect that! If you receive nice plants...well rooted...alive!...haven't they lived up to their end of the deal? Even some breakage is to be expected. They probably needed to be trimmed back a bit anyway, to ensure successful transplant.
I like them and will continue to do lots of business with them.
we ordered some persimmons and some bald cypress this time. last time we orded jap black pine and bristle cone pine which all died and we got credit for . the bald cypress was bent and broken to fit in the box and the persimmons were very small and had no buds. all i can say is they do stand up to their guarantee and will give replacements or credits but quality is low and packaging is poor compared to other companies like oikos and university of idaho forest research nursery.
I ordered 10 winterberry hollies early this month. They were listed as 4 year old seedlings at 2-3 feet. The total, with shipping and handling, came to just a shade over $30. Okay, the price was very reasonable, but what about the timeliness and quality of the shipment? Well, in less than two weeks, a long cardboard box arrives on my porch. Inside are the specimens bundled together ratherly tightly, with the roots well wrapped in plastic with a finely shredded paper material covering them for moisture retainment. I lightly watered the roots and waited several days to plant. To date, all are doing well. The plants all fell into the advertised size range, and they even shipped me one extra. They are well rooted, vigorous plants. Based on my initial experience, I couldn't discourage anyone from buying from them.
Last spring we ordered several dogwood, sourwood, and osage orange trees, as well as some crownvetch. All of the trees arrived in standard "stick" form. We planted some and gave others away to friends. With good light, water, and fertilizer, only two dogwood and two sourwood trees showed minimal leafing. Nothing else greened up at all. The only reason that this is not a negative is that we did not attempt to contact the company to see whether they would replace or refund the entire order.
On Mar 6, 2006, Live2garden Waterford, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:
I love Musser forests - in fact, if there ever was something to get me to drive "east" it would be to visit their nursery in person.
Over the years I have ordered many different trees and shrubs. And they all arrive very well packed, very healthy looking - as if they were just dug from the ground. I have tried all their different options - from bare root to the different ways of being potted and each time the plants are very well shipped and arrive in good condition. I only had one disappointment in that I lost all of my shipment a few years back but that was due to very severe drought conditions and a personal illness (I wasn't able to haul water to the transplants) so I do not blame the company. I have never had to ask for replacements.
I haven't had as much success when speaking to the horticulturists though. My impression is that they are reading rote responses listed in some "FAQ" manual and not listening to the specific concerns brought up. Maybe I just hit them on a bad day, we all have them.
I absolutely recommend this company based on my experiences....I am probably known there as the "sky rocket" queen as I order a dozen or so every year. But they are so quick growing, so cute when they are little and I have never lost one due to shipping or handling.
Ordered about 100 trees from Musser in 2005, both spring and fall. Thuja Green Giant, Beech, Red Oaks, Black Walnut, Cornus, Cercis... Only a couple didn't survive and not by fault of Musser. One or two succumbed to the summer drought (cornus kousa and black walnut) and one or two to my neighbor's well-intentioned, though ill-sighted, mowing efforts (was that a tree you planted there? oops). They were shipped quickly or when they needed to be, and always packed well. Yes, you have to untie them and sometimes the roots are a little tangled but I don't see that as anything unusual, you just pull them apart gently and they are fine. I have ordered mail order trees and plants from many companies and Musser has always been reliable for me.
On Nov 16, 2005, RollingAcres Reedsville, WI wrote:
I have Ordered from most of the major tree nurseries and now do most of my business with musser unless their is a species that they do not carry , I'm Sure if i contacted them they would contract grow them for me .
As for other nurseries for the most part the quality of their trees from a growers stand point is i have to toss 1/3 -1/2 because of poor form.Not with Musser.
P.S. I give their trees a workout growing most on in containers and they do fine,as well as ground grown which is healthier for a tree or most any other plants.
On Jun 18, 2005, flash317 Monroe, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:
Just received ten potted Green Giant cedars, which arrived with beautiful, strong root systems and in excellent condition. The were larger than expected, especially considering the very reasonable price. Interestingly, this variety wasn't listed in the catalog--only on the Internet. What I really liked was that Musser waited to ship them until we had a cool window in the heat wave we've been experiencing. That kind of care is what I'm looking for in plant sources; I received my order a bit later, but the trees look wonderful. This was my first order from them, but it won't be my last!
On Jun 18, 2005, treehugger1080 Dousman, WI wrote:
This spring I ordered 12 each of their "hand selected" 5-year Canadian Hemlock and Norway Spruce transplants. On first inspection all of them looked wonderful, with extensive roots. 2 months after planting, 11 of the 12 Spruces are flourishing. However, 9 of the 12 hemlocks have lost their needles and are dead. I have no idea what caused this, as all 24 planting holes were in the same type of soil which has supported other hemlock transplants in the past.
I informed customer service of the situation and they promptly sent me a store-credit for the 9 dead trees. I will do business with them again but will avoid the heavy hemlock transplants.
On June 18th, 2006, treehugger1080 added the following:
I ordered about 15 of the potted Canadian hemlocks this spring to redeem my credit for bareroot trees lost last year. The new trees were small (as advertised) but were full of life and had great root systems. I was so impressed that I ordered another 25 or so. All 40 trees are prospering and have put on nearly the same amount of growth as my well-established hemlocks. If you have bad luck getting mail order bareroots to live, and don't mind starting off with smaller trees to save money, I highly recommend the potted trees from Musser.
On May 30, 2005, sixhorsefarm Carmichaels, PA wrote:
Excellent in every way. Fast shipping, Large healthy trees, exceptional customer service. We order trees and shrubs every year from Musser . They offer many hard to find varieties and also a choice of sizes . I feel they are very reasonably priced as well.
On May 24, 2005, karenhane Manchester, CT (Zone 5a) wrote:
I ordered 5 bristlecone pine trees, 5 japanese black pine trees and 1 threadleaf arborvitae. When they arrived the plants were all very dry. I emailed musser forest to tell them their plants were really dry and that i soaked them in water to try to rehydrate them. they emailed back that they dont recommend soaking because it drowns the roots and if in 90 days the plants show execssive losses to notify them and they would adjust my account. All of the Japanese black pines have failed to survive and i have emailed musser forest and gotten no replies. their plants arent that bad for the price but their packaging and customer service isnt all that good. i would say expect some losses if you order from musser forest.
I placed 2 large tree orders, one for Musser's and one for Cold Stream Farm, the difference was unbelievable. The musser trees arrived DRY and were not wrapped in any plastic to retain moisture. Crispy dry roots and leaves will probably mean little chance of survival.
Also there was no uniform size of the trees, some were as thin as toothpicks and other were large and these were in the same bundle.
The trees from Cold Stream Farm were gorgeous, fresh and superbly packed and moist. Great customer service with Craig. Already after a week the CSF trees are bursting out with fresh growth while the Musser trees look dead.
Got burned once by Musser, never again. All my business will go entirely to Cold Stream Farm.
On May 16, 2005, greenox New Fairfield, CT (Zone 5a) wrote:
This is a get what you pay for company. No frills. Mediocre customer service. So, I didn't expect big results ; however I was pleasantly surprised. I ordered some hemlocks, the largest they offer (5 year) . I rec'd very substantial and healthy trees. Having grown various sizes of hemlocks, I expect that in about two-three years, they'll be the size my local nurseries sell them for $50-$100 plus. I paid approximately $6.50 each for 30"-36plus" inch trees about 2" in diameter. Looking forward to a lush green hedge. (And yes I do know about wooly adelgid. I just use Dawn detergent and Canola oil. ) -Green Ox
On May 24th, 2005, greenox added the following:
I would add that I would be more cautious in ordering from this company again. The plants did not arrive when promised but luckily just happened to arrive when I could plant them, nevertheless they were packaged well. Still, the call center was not very helpful and did not know much about the plants, in fact they couldn't answer any of my horticulutural questions. In addition to the hemlocks , I also ordered 10 hazelnuts/hazelberts which were just little "whips" compared to the nice solid hazelbert I received this same spring from Saint Lawrence Nurseries. I probably will order evergreens from Musser again, but only if they promised a full credit if I was dissatisfied. Again, I can't complain about the hemlocks I rec'd , they were a good value. On June 2nd, 2005, greenox changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
Out of the ten nut trees I ordered only two have leaves and the other eight are dead. They received the best of care. I have contacted Musser and heard nothing. I am changing my rating to negative. I have asked Musser for a refund. On June 9th, 2005, greenox changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
I did receive a refund for the hazelnut plants that did not make it. The shipping was not credited. It's too hot and late in the spring to replace with better grade trees from St. Lawrence (those hazelberts planted this spring are spectacular!!!) . I would not order from this company again unless I could get (1) A NO QUESTIONS ASKED GUARANTEE IF THE PLANTS DID NOT MAKE IT WITHIN 60 DAYS OF PLANTING. It would also be great to be able to see pictures of the stock you are going to receive before buying. In this case, yes, size does matter!
I ordered 25 lilacs in the middle of winter. They charged my credit card on April 14th, and I still haven't seen the lilacs as of May 10th. Meanwhile, in our area lilacs have already bloomed and we're having 80 degree days. My email wasn't answered, so I called the company (not toll free), and still no lilacs. I've NEVER been billed before shipping by any company before--this is ridiculous.
On Apr 28, 2005, TuddyE Georgetown, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:
I sent an order via the internet and was billed on my charge on 03/26/05. After a couple of weeks, and 80+ temps, I thought I should call about my conifers. I was told they would arrive during the week of 04/11. On 04/26, I contacted them through e-mail, asking for my trees or I would post this messege. I know it seems like I was impatient, but I have had 'bad' experiences with this company before, and only tried again because of positive reviews I read here. Big mistake! They may very-well be set up for nurseries, but if they take an order form an individual, they should respond and be prompt with filling it or notify you in case you would like to cancel. Needless to say, they didn't answer my e-mail, and I followed with an additional one asking to cancel. Nothing. I have notified my charge not to honor their bill, and I hope they cancel this order, instead of trying to send it at this late date. I am sorry I tried them again, with Forest Farm, Niche Gardens, and even cheap ol'Henry Fields among others available as alternates. I have bought mailorder for over 40 years, and know what to expect. I have more than 53 companies who send me catalogs, and more than 75 websites I visit for my gardening needs. Even if other sites charge a bit more, the customer service is better, as are the plants. Order from Musser long enough and you too will find out just how good they really are. I still have a few acres I'd like to plant, and their merchandise won't be on them.
On April 30th, 2005, TUDDYE added the following:
Well my trees came, they mailed them after the e-mails[ the ones's they did not answer, but read] but with an offhand appology about their lateness. The charge card refuses to persue matter since material arrived, even if late. Their bill says they AREN'T RESPONSIBLE FOR DELAYS, DAMAGE IN SHIPMENT, OR FAILURE TO GROW FOR VARIOUS REASONS. IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A CLAIM, THEY MUST BE NOTIFIED IN WRITTING WITHIN 3 DAYS OF RECEIPT, WITH TIME IN TRANSIT, CONDITION, AND INFO ON PLANTS, THEN YOU MUST REMIT 1/2 OF THE PRICE PLUS CHARGES FOR ORIGINAL SHIPPING AND HANDLING. NEXT YOU MUST PAY NEW SHIPPING AND HANDLING FOR THE REPLACEMENT. ON TOP OF THAT, SOME OF THE TREES WERE SMALLER THAN PROMISED--BUT THEIR BILL SAYS SIZE IS APPROXIMATE AT TIME OF CATALOG PRINTING AND NO,NO ADJUSTMENTS WILL BE MADE IN PRICE FOR SMALLER THAN STATED SIZES. FURTHER THEY SAY THEY ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE QUALITY, PRODUCTIVENESS, OR MERCHANTABILITY OF THEIR NURSERY STOCK! PS, ORDERS ARE ACCEPTED WITHOUT LIABILITY FOR NON-PERFORMANCE IF LABOR SHORTAGE, DELAY IN TRANSPORT OR ACTS OF GOD PREVENT DELIVERY.
Order at your own risk, but be aware, you have no rights with this company!On May 24th, 2005, TUDDYE added the following:
Well, the conifers are mostly dead, even with very thorough watering, mulching and care--just got too warm too soon for the poor things. I have no recourse thru Musser, my own fault, so I'm just out the money. Won't make that mistake again!
On Apr 2, 2005, Debsroots Northwest, MO (Zone 5a) wrote:
Two years ago I ordered Sea Green Junipers, Inkberry Hollies, and Dwarf Barberry. When I placed the order I was well aware that the plants would be small...as that is one of the reasons I didn't have to pay a high price. The plants arrived in great condition, and now two years later...they have turned into great specimens. I will definitely order from them again.
On Mar 20, 2005, treeguy_NY West Seneca, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:
This is the third time I've ordered from this company. Thus far no complaints. This spring's order consisted of four potted trees and one bundle of bare-root kousa dogwoods. The potted trees were all in superb condition and the height advertised. The dogwoods had crooked tops, as if they'd been grown sideways for one season. I don't find this troublesome as it's easily corrected in one season with some ties. More important was that the dogwoods were all healthy with great root systems - they even included an extra one for good measure. All trees were experty packed - the pots tied down and the bare-root dogwoods adequately moist. Will do business with them in the future.
Over the past decade, I have ordered from Musser about 3 times. Most of the plants were ordered for windbreak plantings and included hedge and evergreens; in quantities exceeding 200 plants per order.
Here is a breakdown of the quality and service...
quality of stock: excellent; plants were of high vigor.
packaging: excellent for "bare root" stock.
value: very good.
In my opinion, Musser Forests is an excellent choice for nursery stock in quanity for mass plantings etc.
I recently placed an order for Spring 2005 and will update this post for that order experience.
On May 12th, 2005, mnfriend added the following:
We are still waiting for our Spring 2005 order. I sent several emails which were answered. I am not sure why there has been such a long delay in shipping of our order, although through one email, we were told that "they were behind in their shipping". After the last email, we were told that our order was shipped that same day...coincidence.
I will update this comment posting when we receive our order.On May 23rd, 2005, mnfriend changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
Sadly, I am changing my rating of Musser Forests from a positive to a negative. Here is why.
1. The plants I ordered (mix of shrubs and trees) did not ship in a timely manner. My payment posted April 15. Plants arrived over a month later.
2. Plants were of low vigor when they arrived: very few leaves and little or no buds. Personally, I believe they were dug around April 15th, but were not shipped for nearly a month.
3. Customer service is lacking. I sent three emails and could not get a definite answer to the question, "When will my order be shipped ?" Rather, the response was a vaue, "We are behind in our shipping, hope to send it in a few weeks."
I am not critisizing Musser for the size of the plants received. Musser is a "wholesale" nursery and the plants one gets are often no more than "sticks". So small size is expected. But it IS also expected that the plants arrive healthy and with evidence of healthy leaves and/or buds. This was not the case. And this poor condition makes it tough for bare root plants to thrive.
In conclusion, I will not be ordering from Musser again and I would advise others to seek nursery stock elsewhere.
On Jan 28, 2005, Old_Farmer Napier, WV (Zone 5b) wrote:
I own and operate North Hills Nursery in West Virginia and have personally visited and purchased several times from Musser Forests, Inc. Their business in primarily designed to sell wholesale to the industry only, even though they will sell to anyone who requests a catalog. They also have a large garden center on site where they sell retail. It should be noted when purchasing small seedling trees from their catalog at wholesale prices, that is what you will get from any wholesale nursery and they will survive and flurish if properly cared for. They have gone out of their way to provide personnel to escort me through out their nursery and assist in my purchases. As a nurseryman myself, I have had exceptional success with all my purchases.
I bought a variety of tree and shrub seedlings from Musser Forests in 2004. The company has a beautiful catalog, but many of the products they shipped me were lacking---undersized and with weak or tangled root systems. They seemed to have been hurriedly packed. Just before receiving my first shipment, I telephoned the company to order several more hybrid poplars. I asked the company to please, please send them as soon as possible, since it was already the first week in April and I wanted to get a jump on the growing season. I let them know I had already ordered several of their products and was likely to order many more in future years. They said they would try to get them to me quickly but couldn't promise to. Sure enough, the weeks passed, the days grew hotter, and my poplars still hadn't arrived despite numerous pleading phone calls (and they don't have an 800 number). Finally in mid-May the poplars came---tiny and thin and less than 1 foot tall. In addition to all these problems, I found the company representatives I spoke with to be rude. I will never again deal with this company. All someone had to do was stick a few sticks in a box and stick them in the mail, at my expense, but I guess they just didn't have the time , , ,
On Jan 10, 2005, nightrust Saint Clairsville, OH wrote:
Ordered five Osage Orange trees and five River Birches this past fall. Packing was excellent. All ten trees had large root systems and all were as large or larger than specified in the catalog. Not sure if it was a mistake or a courtesy, but actually received six of each instead of five! I've ordered trees from other, more "mainstream" catalogs and the Arbor Day Foundation, and what I received was pathetic in comparison to the trees from Musser.
Their tree selection is extensive, and their website is very well-done. Prices are also very reasonable, expecially considering the size and quality of the trees they send.
I highly recommend Musser Forests and will definitely order from them in the future.