I bought10 American Sycamore seedlings all but 1 was dead or died. They shipped me 10 more just like them. One is all that is doing like it should. Some of them sprouted out at the ground the rest died. Out of 20 1 is all that is doing well. They were the worst looking crooked little seedlings I have ever saw.
Last fall received an order from Musser's where over 50% of the plants were out of their pots with roots exposed. When placing a spring order for 87 plants, mentioned this issue and it was written on order to make sure order is packed well as dirt was out of pots. Well.... received order today and one box was nothing but soil, pots and plants all in a big mess. It looked as though they were never in the pots as pots were stacked together. The other two boxes were adequately packed but tags were scarce and Viburnums look similar when in bud. Received Althea, 10 of them, which I did not order so this means I am short 10 of another plant. This order was meant to be part of a plant sale to raise money for Horticultural Programs but sadly this may not be the case due to Musser's lack of attention in shipping their plants.
Definitely my LAST order to them. Money will be directed to companies that take better care of their plants.
I have ordered from Musser Forests for well over 20 years. Years ago, I was completely satisfied with all aspects of every order. However, for the last 5 years or so the quality of their plants has not been that great. Although they are packed well, most of what I've received (trees) are fairly scrawny, seem to be random sizes, and barely meet the minimum size stated in their catalog. Very disappointing. Bases on comments I've seen on the web, guess I'll give Cold Stream Farm a try. Their shipping costs are fairly high, but the extra cost may be worth it if the quality and size are more reliable.
I received my supposed Whitney Crabapple tree in 2001. It finally bloomed and fruited this year.(2008) Well, it is not a Whitney crabapple. So I called the company and they said they have never had a Whitney Crabapple and could I send them a leaf or something so they could identify it. Ha! I could see where that was going. I am not very happy that after the seven years it took to bear fruit that it is not even what I ordered and then they tell me it is not even theirs. It is the only mail order company I have ever ordered from so I know that it is their tree.Their response is very disappointing.
I ordered several bare root trees and a few potted ones last fall. They arrived at the very end of October. The bare root plants looked pathetic and the roots were almost dry. I suspected they wouldn't survive the winter so I called to ask for a refund. They noted this in their files but said wait until spring. Sure enough, all but 2 of the 15 had no buds that opened this year. The 2 that did had major die back and sprouted very low on the trunk. They won't be ready for open ground for at least another year!
I reported the news to Musser this spring. They said a supervisor had to review my claim and was very busy. I called back 3 times over the next 10 days to get an answer. They never called ME. The third time they said my money would be refunded for the trees I requested and I would receive replacments for the five holly, as requested. At least they didn't fight me on that. The holly arrived and were even more pathetic than the first batch. One was literally the length and diameter of a toothpick!
Yes the prices are good, but what's the point if the stock is substandard and doesn't survive.
I ordered about $130 worth of seedlings on line to be shipped to my house. Shipping added another $26, and Tax another $10 to the order. I asked for confirmation about delivery time, so I could keep an eye out for the order, Musser Customer Service decided to change the shipping method, incurring another $67 in shipping charges (effectively $93 to ship $130 worth of plants) but never sent me an e-mail regarding this change. When I found out that the plant order for $130 was charged on my credit card on March 7th for $230, I cancelled the entire order. Customer Service has assured me repeated that they issued a credit for the $230 on March 19th, but no such credit has been issued either on the March Statement, nor the April Statement to date. How deceptive is this?
I purchased 5 Paulownia Trees that were described on the website as being 3 years old. Being a little familiar this type of tree, upon arrival they looked like others I've had that were 1 yr old. These are not pot grown, they dig them up in the fall and ship them. They could not give me a specific time they would be shipped, but a 6 week window. I asked to be notified when they shipped so I could be on the watch for them. They refused to provide me with any type of notification upon shipment stating that it was impossible to notify customers of shippments (even through email.) The trees arrived in a condition that was less than expected. Hard to tell if they were dormant or dead. All major roots had been cut 6-8 inches from the ground line and very little or no fine roots in tact ....meaning that most of the root system was missing. Even keeping these in good soil and controlled condidtions 45-65 degrees, only 2 have developed any type of root growth, the other three just rotted in the dirt. I don't plan on making any future purchases here.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 Oct 12, 2004, birdgardener Rocky Hill, NJ wrote:
Ordered 5 spicebush and a small American beech. The spicebushes were ok. The beech was totally unsecured to its pot - I could here it banging around before I opened the box. It was dried and fried and was really tiny to start with - only 2 inch roots for a 6 inch pot. The company has a really restrictive return policy. You have to send them a letter. I sent a letter that day asking for my money back on the beech - not going to pay shipping and 50% to receive another puny beech when it was their fault - not the shipping company's, not mine - for not properly packing their plant. Never heard from them; never dealing with them again.
I received a plant that appeared dead - very little if any soil in the pot, dry, and extremely root bound. I went ahead and planted it right away and gave it a good watering and hope that it survives. However, I contacted the company to let them know of my concerns and ask for intructions (since I received none with the plant) on what I might do to get the plant off to a good start. No reply from them. After approximately a week and a half, I followed up again and still no response. I'm not happy with the plant or their customer service.
I ordered a number of trees and shrubs from this company within a couple of weeks of their spring deadline for ordering. They were slow to arrive, and although most of the shrubs were in good shape and of good size and well packed, many of the trees were smaller than listed in the catalog by quite a bit. Over half did not survive even though I planted them the day they arrived and took great pains to keep them happy. I will be very cautious about ordering trees from them again and will only do so if early in the season and if I can't find the plants anywhere else. Eileen in NH
I've ordered from Musser's for the past four years. Their catalog contains accurate descriptions and the plants are always of excellent quality and very well packaged. My favorite mail-order tree/shrub company.
On September 6th, 2007, kwenge changed the rating from positive to negative and added the following:
I've placed orders with Musser every year since my last posting; the quality of both the plants and the packaging has always been excellent. Until this year, that is, and unfortunately this year's order was my largest.
As usual, I placed my order in February. In the past my orders have always arrived in mid-April, but this year I had to call them in late April to get the status of my shipment--I was told that they had been hit with a late snowstorm and shipping was delayed. I received my order a week later.
This shipment was not packaged as carefully as in the past; the viburnums I ordered were leafed out but everything else was still dormant--nothing was dead and the buds loolked relatively OK. I planted the viburnums out and potted up everything else and waited ... and waited ... and waited. By mid-summer they had not leafed out, however, they still weren't dead--the stems didn't dry out and they didn't snap off; it's like they were in a permanent dormant state. (I'm guessing that's due to being in cold storage too long?)
At that time I read their guarantee and found that I would have to shell out more money for replacements and even more for additional shipping.. So, instead of risking a loss of more money, I decided to kiss Musser goodbye. I would almost feel sad if I wasn't so angry at throwing so much money away this year. Makes me wonder, too, if the business is going downhill.
I ordered 20 8-year heavy Candian Hemlocks - the order was confirmed and when I phoned 2 weeks later to check on delivery it had been canceled internally. I wasn't notified and by this time it was approaching the end of the dormancy period. The plants that were eventually shipped all arrived dead. I was told that the new growth would die and they would take a few weeks to bounce back from the transplant - but instead they have all dies - every single tree! The other problem I had was that it was evident that the trees that arrived were not all the same age - they varied greatly but none of them looked like 8 year transplants that I have planted in the past. VERY disappointed with both the quality of the trees and the customer service.