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Comments regarding National Arbor Day Foundation

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73 positives
27 neutrals
77 negatives

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RatingAuthorContent
Neutral Toots1960
(1 review)
On Nov 28, 2012, Toots1960 West Hamlin, WV (Zone 6a) wrote:

I sent them my $10 and am still waiting on my trees. They told me it would be between Nov. 3rd and Dec. 11th. I had to complain to get my tree book and subscription. They are already wanting $10 more. If and when I get my trees I think I will do like the one person and put them in gallon buckets to see if they are gonna make it first before I take the time and energy to dig the holes. Yes they do pass BBB's standards for charity but they could at least send better plants. I didn't see any complaints on the BBB's website against the Arbor Day Foundation. Sounds to me like whoever ships the orders just grabs whatever is within reaching and sends them.

Positive rpk1210
(1 review)
On Sep 6, 2012, rpk1210 Henrietta, NY wrote:

I find Arbor Day Foundation to be a wonderful charity with many wonderful programs. Providing nursery stock is just one small part of what the organization does. I personally have been happy with the trees I received and plan to order from them again. About 4 months ago I ordered from them for the first time and received 3 pink dogwoods, 1 norway spruce, a snowdrift crabapple, and one free red maple. Everything arrived in good condition, and were the size advertised, except for the red maple had been snapped in half during shipping. I didn't contact Arbor Day about it since that tree was free but I planted it anyway.

Four months after they were planted, everything is doing well except the broken red maple. The dogwoods have branched out and got lots of leaves on them and have each grown about 4-6" already. The norway spruce is taking slowly but that too has grown a few inches and is starting to look good. The crabapple has grown about 6" and is doing well. The red maple is actually still alive but didn't get and leaves and looks pretty bad so I plan to replace it.

My advice when deciding whether or not to order from Arbor Day is to do so knowing your trees will arrive very small and will require patience and diligence as they establish. I am putting in a fall order for some shrubs, a peach tree, and another free red maple and hope they do as well as my spring shipment. I will update on my next order!

Negative shalomkjg
(2 reviews)
On Jul 7, 2012, shalomkjg Olympia, WA wrote:

I am sad to say I am also extremely displeased with this company, the service, and the hazelnut trees program. I am a novice gardener, but doing quite well overall, especially with my 4 other hazelnut trees bought locally. I am also successfully self propogating lilacs and mock orange, etc. Hazelnuts are somewhat hardy, tough trees, well usually. I live in the Pacific Northwest, hazelnut capital, so they tend to thrive here. However, Arbor day could not tell me when they shipped, just a general idea, but the three tree twigs were in the mail for at least 2 weeks from what I understood (I waited 6 months for them due to the ship date). I then received 8 inch thin, sickly twigs with white mold/fungicide/ or something on them. They were alive at the time so I planted them same day/time received and in a great location, well draining, not too deeply planted, not too shallow, etc. and they died (no green on the stem if rubbed) within a month, no leaves, etc. Customer service was polite but would not refund my money or send a replacement when I called to see what they intended to do, basically they said,"Thank you for the donation." They did not reply to my two emails as well with the questions, concerns, and complaint about the trees. I do not plan to purchase from Arbor Day Foundation again nor recommend them to others....

Neutral PamelaBaja
(3 reviews)
On Jun 11, 2012, PamelaBaja Sierra de San Pedro Mártir, Baja,
Mexico (Zone 8b) wrote:

Posted on May 14, 2012, updated June 11, 2012
Won't be rejoining no matter what the cause...the trees I "purchased" ( not freebies)were VERY sad twigs-WAY too much junk mail as well from them-save your money and trees by sending me less!!!ARGH!! Their gaurantee-send them more money for replacement twigs? Don't think so:(


On June 11th, 2012, PamelaBaja changed the rating from negative to neutral and added the following:

I was contacted and a refund was issued for the plants that never came to life.
Negative a1spec
(1 review)
On May 31, 2012, a1spec Sutton, MA wrote:

I stupidly order trees from this org. several times. Fool me once.....The 1st batch of trees included "paper birch". I understand that the prices are low but if you sell yourself as people trying to introduce more trees into the world, and experts, shouldnt you know hat you are selling? They sold me 10 twigs which I nursed and fussed over and spent $$$ & time on and they are not paper birch. They are some variety of birch but they are nowhere near white. This is 5 years down the road, the twigs are now 12' tall with dark brown bark. of ~ 25 conifer I bought maybe 3 are alive. Lastly I bought 3 eastern Redbuds - I got twigs with NO ROOT BALL - NONE. 1 root like someone yanked it out of the ground and threw it in the box.

Their resolution is to send me more twigs - which I do not feel compensates me. I spent time & $$ and could have gone in other directions if they kept their end of the deal. I think they are all about a few people at the top lining their pockets while they, and I have no proof of this, probably get Agriculture students to work for nothing.

I would not buy anything from them. They cannot be trusted. The vast majority of thier trees are non viable.

Negative Everfreeflora
(1 review)
On May 5, 2012, Everfreeflora Blackfoot, ID wrote:

Im not sure this organization(company) truly cares for its cause. I donated last year and got the 10 free twigs, i wasent expencting anything amazing as it was just a donation, but none of them lived, i wasn't upset or anything since it was only $10 and i didnt have room for that many trees to begin with. However i recently placed an order for two japanese cherry trees with them since the National Cherry Blossom Festival had them listed as their prime source for people wanting to have their own... i received one of the two today, about 3 feet long with spinly hairs for "roots", now unfortunaly for me i don't forsee this taking off to a wonderful start with suck lackluster roots on a brance this size. I would completely recomend you use a more competent nursery for your tree needs, one wich will make sure their plants are well rooted before they send them to you, one that actually cares for their image and the fate of their plants.

Negative caterino1
(7 reviews)
On Apr 10, 2012, caterino1 Newburgh, NY wrote:

donated to this foundation and just received my ten free moldy, smelly trees. This is the last time I will have any kind of dealings with them. Last year I bought trees from them and all I have to show for it are a few sticks, they did nothing but sit there last year, no growth, just sticks, I have been a member for a few years now, but no more. To whoever reads this don't waste your time or money

Positive stephdosha
(2 reviews)
On Apr 2, 2012, stephdosha wrote:

I had no problems with Arbor day so far. I joined and gifted a membership. I also donated another $15 for 5 rose of sharons. All the trees and shrubs had good roots and still had water with them! I see way to may people complaining about the size of the trees! What do you want for FREE. You just donated $10 to a good foundation and they give you free trees. I paid Michigan bulb for the same size trees and more than $10 for one. Both places sent me healthy bare root trees. I'm very happy with both places, I'm just saying if you didn't want a small tree than go spent around $100 for a big one and stop complaining!!

Negative sideeous
(1 review)
On Mar 19, 2012, sideeous Claremore, OK wrote:

I bought a membership, for $10.00, then went head over heels and trusted the foundation, bought $800.00 in northern privets to make a hedge wall around my property, everyone of the 400 plants i bought were small and had very small roots, i planted them in early March, they said the hedges grew 3-6' per year, a year later they are the same size as when i planted them, about a third of them died, the other two thirds grow leaves but have not expanded at all, they are the same twigs sent to me when i planted them only they have some leaves on them. False advertising probable, and the size of some of these hedges are really a joke, they also shorted me around 30 of them had to have them send me the other 30 or so. They sent me some crepe myrtles to replace the third that died in December when i asked them to send them to me in the spring. I went ahead and planted them and they aren't doing anything 3 months later not even a bud. I would avoid these "foundations" they are only fronts for the super rich to hide their wealth in, and don't really care that i spent $800 dollars on them, they said after sending the crype mrytles that dont do anything it was all they could do. Sorry company "foundation" whatever.

Neutral aimeemendel
(1 review)
On Dec 25, 2011, aimeemendel Marietta, GA wrote:

Last spring I sent the foundation $10.00. I was told that I would receive ten free trees in the fall. I emailed them last month and they said that I should receive the trees by December 10. It is Christmas and I still have not received my trees. I emailed them again yesterday and am waiting to hear back.

I wouldn't mind giving them a donation without expecting a product, but when they promise same they really need to deliver.

If I do not get my trees by the first week in January I will post a negative review.

Negative lazybear
(1 review)
On Aug 25, 2011, lazybear Redmond, WA wrote:

The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit that sells retail seedlings by mail. The foundations only objective is to sell more trees and memberships. This company should be paying taxes like other for-profit retailers because the ADF is no charity. I'm going to request an inquiry from the Commerce Department in to their shady business.

I bought trees from the ADF and most of them lived. I'm really soured by the way the ADF has disrespected me as a customer with loads of junk mail, and sending membership renewal notices every other month after I purchased a year of membership in exchange for trees.

Don't give these dodgy people your address, unless you want a bunch of junk mail asking for money. The surplus nursery stock they liquidate is way overpriced, IMO. But worst, are their business practices, very unethical... After you order, The company continually tries to obtain revenue by deceiving their customers /"members". If you become a member of the "foundation" the company will send you repeated renewal notices by mail asking for more money. I understand they may even try to charge your credit card the membership fee after you don't respond before your membership runs out.

I don't want my money back, I just want this foundation shut down. Capitalism isn't evil, but companies like the National Arbor Day Foundation make it feel that way. -Devin

Negative Dogwood33
(4 reviews)
On Jun 19, 2011, Dogwood33 wrote:

I ordered one dogwood and one japanese red maple. They sent us two trees and both were planted. The Japanese maple died but the other tree prospered and grew and then we realized it was NOT a dogwood but a weeping willow. I didn't want to kill off the tree by removing it but I have to say there is a huge difference between a large water hungry tree like a WW and a dogwood. I called the Arbor Foundation and even emailed and sent pictures of the wrong tree they had sent. Not only did I not receive a response but then they didn't even bother to offer suggestions or even replace it. I would never ever order a tree from them again. They did send a Japanese red maple and its growing in a pot and will have to go out in the ground soon, but like I said I am not very happy with their service. Sending the wrong tree is not acceptable, especially if its in the ground and growing before you even know what it is you planted. I have little trust for them and they have lousy customer service.

Positive davidhil
(3 reviews)
On May 9, 2011, davidhil Wamego, KS wrote:

Ordered about 15 dwarf fruit trees from them. They shorted me 1 Bing Cherry last fall. I called them. They sent me another first thing this spring. I've had a few trees not make it through the winter. No problem. With online companies, this is the best one I've dealt with.

Negative Thunderlilies
(3 reviews)
On May 6, 2011, Thunderlilies Battle Creek, MI wrote:

I hate to give a negative because I love what they stand for, but I have not had a good experience with these folks and will no longer be ordering from them.

I have purchased quite a few fruit trees and green giants from them over the last couple of years... and, at this time, all the fruit trees are struggling and not growing. Over half of the baby green giants have died...
Plants I have ordered from other nurseries have flourished in my garden.

When I contacted them about one of my fruit trees that had died I had to pay 1/2 of the cost of the original to get a new tree.

On the other hand, their prices are low, which is great, if you're willing to take that risk. And the free red maple they send with your order grows very well. So, if the rest of your order doesn't do so great, at least you have that red maple tree!

Negative Gwennie76
(1 review)
On May 2, 2011, Gwennie76 Taylor, TX wrote:

I ordered two almond trees from them. After a few years of growth, they are decidedly PEACH trees, not almond trees. Very unhappy.

Neutral brigidlily
(6 reviews)
On Mar 22, 2011, brigidlily Lumberton, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Philosophically, I am 100% in favor of this organization. I have gotten a couple of pear trees from them that are doing well. But when I ordered those pear trees, I also ordered a weeping willow. They did send me a willow, but not a weeping one. When I emailed them about it 4 years later, having tried to give it time to develop, they responded that weeping willows do not have a weeping habit. HUH?????

It has to be hectic to do what they do, and a mixup in the occasional order should be forgiven. But -- WEEPING WILLOWS DON'T WEEP? Sorry, I'm done with these folks.

Positive JAMIESMITH
(6 reviews)
On Mar 22, 2011, JAMIESMITH Decatur, MS (Zone 7b) wrote:

Posted on December 20, 2010, updated March 22, 2011
Free is free! I received my ten free trees on Saturday and planted them on Sunday. Each tree is about a foot tall. I'm not sure how well they'll grow, but they seem to be okay right now.


On March 22nd, 2011, JAMIESMITH added the following:

Because this is a charitable organization, I won't change my rating from positve, BUT the trees are small and take much more patience than I have to take care of.
Positive Yooper1
(2 reviews)
On Mar 2, 2011, Yooper1 Atlantic Mine, MI wrote:

I have had nothing but great experiences with Arbor Day. 2 years ago I ordered several trees, all arrived in good packaging, and all the tree roots were still moist. Unfortunately 1 tree did not survive (peach). I contacted Arbor Day, and they sent me a free replacement, which is doing great. Last year I ordered several more trees from Arbor Day, unfortunately some didn't survive, but I called, and they will be sending me replacements this spring. GREAT customer service. As far as the "free" trees are concerned, I consider them a bonus. I order enough trees that paying the $10 for the member prices easily pays for its self versus paying the non-member prices. So by paying $10, I save money, plus get 10 extra free trees. The first year I ordered, 2 of the 10 free ones survived, last year, all of them survived. My only "complaint" is that I wish they had a bigger selection to choose from. I will definitely be ordering from Arbor Day again!

Positive mnrvoigt
(1 review)
On Dec 31, 2010, mnrvoigt Temperance, MI wrote:

I would just like to comment on the Arbor Day Foundation in a positive light...I have been a "member" for years! I love getting the lilacs, hazelnuts, free trees, cuttings, or whatever you want to call them. I donate the $10 for the work that they do. they educate youngsters and adults alike about trees and how important they are to our environment. Maybe some of you with negative comments should rethink why you give the $10...hopefully not expecting somewhat mature nursery quality trees...these little "twigs" they send, and they are small, are just as viable as the more mature ones you buy retail, in fact somewhere along the line thats how those trees started. Its about nurturing something to grow, watching it mature. Give a "twig" to a child to nurture or donate to your local schools as part of an outdoor education program. If you want bigger more mature trees, then put your $10 with some more money and buy from a wholesale nursery. You cant expect a mature tree for $10! Look at the big picture and think about the good works their charity does!

Negative kathyl0u
(1 review)
On Dec 28, 2010, kathyl0u Corry, PA wrote:

When I sent my $10 "donation" to ADF with the promise of 10 free trees, plus lilac bushes, etc. I didn't expect much, but I did expect some common sense from a foundation that wants to grow healthy plants. Although I sent in late summer/ealry fall the shipment wasn't received till around mid Dec. By then we had 2-4 feet of snow in our yard. We live in the snowbelt. If ADF had done its homework they'd have known that. They claim they'll be shipped at the best time for planting in our area, but Dec. is rarely the best time to plant anything here! We never received the lilac bushes...just as well, I guess. The tiny twigs are still lying out in our back room; no chance to plant them. If ADF really cared about growing things, they wouldn't send the babies to their certain demise by shipping them to a snowy death! Such a shame.

Positive robert693
(2 reviews)
On Dec 8, 2010, robert693 Dahinda, IL wrote:

One reason to join the Arbor Day Foundation is to get fruit trees really cheap. They are small but do grow. I have ordered peach and cherry trees that are doing as well as the 25 dollar trees I bought at a local garden center. The Arbor Day trees were only 4 dollars. The 10 free trees are just a thank you and aren't really that great but do grow most of the time. I wouldn't send them money for the free trees. The Arbor Day Foundation is a charity that has done much to educate about the importance of trees. They were instrumental in educating farmers about shelter belts and in reforestation in this country. It has four stars from the Charity Navigator website and is a Better Business Bureau accredited charity.

Positive cris23464
(1 review)
On Oct 10, 2010, cris23464 Virginia Beach, VA wrote:

Why do I support the Arbor Day Foundation?
1. This is a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity that donates time, effort and money to reforesting our National Parks, teaching children about the importance of trees through the "Nature Explore Classrooms" program, and encouraging adults to create a better living environment through the "Tree City USA" program. It is also working to train inhabitants of Central America's rain forests in improved agricultural and conservation skills so that they can continue to live as they traditionally have without leaving a huge negative impact. It's not all about the free stuff.
2. 90% of the trees I have received have lived. The free trees are tiny but do grow. My only problem was identification through the color-coding.
3. The newsletters help broaden my knowledge of trees.
4. I feel good doing my little part to repair this planet.

Neutral Toni05
(61 reviews)
On Sep 11, 2010, Toni05 Brookfield, IL wrote:

Never send a donation, unless you plan on joining.

I get continuous letters from the Arbor Day Foundation. A few months ago, I decided to send a small, very small donation, without asking for trees, or any other products.

Now, they write at least once a week. They say I'm a member. I am NOT a member, didn't ask to be a member, I don't want to be a member, and sure don't want 10 trees. We don't have room for one, let alone ten!
I don't know if they pay for postage, but so far, by sending numerous letters, they've spent more in postage then I sent as a gift. lol

If anyone decides to send a gift out of the goodness of your heart, there are numerous charities. The Humane Society is a great choice, and foundations for diseases. Cancer, Heart, Lung, etc, etc. Toni

Negative marybe
(1 review)
On Sep 8, 2010, marybe Portland, OR wrote:

I would Avoid this scam at all costs. They tell you the trees are free, but charge you 10 bucks to join...ok, so it turns out what you pay for what you get, a buck a plant, a buck a sick and and paltry plant that is. After 40 years I know what good stock is, and this is not it...and this is the first 100% negative review I've ever given.

Stunted stock that no self respecting nursury would sell. I also made the mistake of ordering a few extra plants...they came dead, and never recovered though they got immedicate and tender care. The few things that did survive were the smallest excuses for nursery stock I've seen in 40 years of mail orders!! Bare none.
And, to top it all off...if you don't watch them, they will renew your "$10 membership" each year without your permission, costing you even more.
To top it 0ff even more, they call themselves a "non-profit", as if they are doing us and the world a favor...well, if the world deserves to get ripped off, by folks selling garbage, and paying no taxes either, they I guess they are right on.
Personally, I stand by my assessment:
AVOID this company, it is dishonest and inept, and doesn't even attempt to approach the quality good gardeners have come to appreciate.

Negative Phrederica_VA
(6 reviews)
On Aug 29, 2010, Phrederica_VA Montpelier, VA wrote:

Sure, they send little twigs that may or may not survive. But the worst part is they always send them at the worst time of year. They claim it is "the best for your area", but June is a terrible time to plant in Virginia! It is not even in their range of when they are supposed to arrive. I read another complaint from someone way up north who got their trees long after the ground was frozen solid.

My theory is that they get the trees at the end of the season from cheap tree sellers at a huge discount. I find it hard to believe that they want people to grow trees when they are so uninterested in the success of their seedlings.

I made the mistake, after receiving half-dead sticks in the heat of June, to order some hazel nut trees. They were beautiful seedlings when they arrived in a timely manner in spring. They looked like they were greenhouse raised, not field raised, and normally I would have carefully hardened them off. But, the directions promised me that the best method was planting them immediately. The first mild frost blasted the bark right off of them.

Neutral pookerella
(9 reviews)
On Aug 12, 2010, pookerella Bellmore, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Posted on June 12, 2006, updated August 12, 2010
Arbor Day, regardless of the questionable donation fund placements you will read below, is an excellent source for education and also a really great website. Their EMAIL customer service is excellent. Paul Knapp, who answers my unending questions with a great deal of patience, is alone enough for the money for his help in figuring out what to do with these trees and shrubs and with help with plant ID. I'm neutral on their telephone support because I had one good and one bad experience. Unfortunately, the only things I remember is that one was nice and one was very mean and nasty.

I wish I could say that I was pleased with what I received, both the 10 free trees and the numerous ones I paid for, but I certainly was not. About 50% of the trees/shrubs are doing OK. I was shipped my PAID trees in very late fall. I told them I wasn't happy about this and they offered to send them "a little earlier for a $25 fee." I planted them and about 8 of them died (I will say, they did promptly refund my money for the trees and also offered, as an option to my refund, to replace them in the late fall). My 10 free trees were shipped after our ground was frozen (even though I begged them not to send them at that time) so I put them in pots and 6 of them actually sprouted and did better than the ones I paid for that I planted outside late in fall (but 4 did nothing). I got the free trees sent again, believe it or not, in early spring because I complained that it was too cold to dig in fall. I actually wrote to them to say "never mind," but they sent them anyway. The second set was even better than the first, even though they were TEENY. I got the "flowering trees" both times, and the first time, I received ZERO redbud trees (didn't find this out till AFTER they grew). I think I got their Prairie crabapple (in addition to the sargeant's crab that is part of their collection) which isn't a terrible thing, but the redbud was the only tree I REALLY wanted! The golden rain trees were duds in both shipments. The Hawthornes only came in the first set; I didn't get any in the second (yes, more crabapples).

Unless you live in a warm climate, take your 10 free trees, pot them in a greenhouse (it's nice cause they can stay outside with no heat all winter) or basement with a grow light and give them food and attention. You'll have a better shot at getting a tree that will live and thrive. As far as purchasing your trees and shrubs from them? There is a about a 50/50 chance they will die. Pay for the "expedited" shipping (you will literally have to beg them to tell you this exists) and take your chances. If not, there are many, many nurseries where you can purchase these trees and shrubs from that will not give you such a hard time about shipping and you will get more than just a stick with a bare root.


On August 27th, 2006, pookerella added the following:

To answer the post from miulloj, I don't mind the "free trees" being not much to write home about, but how about the ones you pay for? 50% of them did nothing, plus the ones I paid for....I didn't even get the right things! I now have 2 purple leafed plum trees growing where there should be 2 SHRUBS and I am not too happy about it!
On August 12th, 2010, pookerella added the following:

Update: My "almond" tree is actually a peach tree. I got a ton of peaches, although I have no interest in having a peach tree. I wanted an almond tree.
Negative egardens
(9 reviews)
On Apr 26, 2010, egardens Hutto, TX wrote:

Ordered months in advance, their website lists old shipping dates, follow up e-mail informed me they ship much later to Texas for dormancy and heat window. I was fine with that. I ordered from several suppliers last year. The Arbor day plants I paid for were the worst performers and most are disposed of now. All the free plants did great, crape myrtles, forsythia, and red maple, all the purchased plants did terrible, so I guess we are even as far as the value is concerned (I spent $60 on many plants, got 8 free plants as a bonus and they are all doing fine, while every plant I bought I discarded or is extremely stressed still). I would especially dissuade anyone from purchasing the evergreen seedlings, unless you want to pot them and nurse them back to health (Which Arbor day themselves say it is best not to do).

Positive Maelynn2010
(1 review)
On Apr 7, 2010, Maelynn2010 Momence, IL wrote:

I have donated to the Arbor Day Foundation for several years now. They send me the twigs in the mail and, believe or not they actually grow most of the time. Yes, they are just little tiny trees, but if you dig a deep hole and put the little guys in there with some good potting mix, you'll be surprised how well they will do. Many of my trees looked completely dead the first year, but the next summer suddenly started growing. Don't give up on the little guys. Keep watering. I have also ordered fruit trees from them with AMAZING success. I have 2 apple, 2 pear, and one peach tree. They are beautiful and grow by, literally, feet every year. By the second year my peach tree was producing fruit. I think this foundation is definately worth the donation regardless of the tiny twigs they send you. And if you are willing to purchase a few trees from them, I doubt you would be disappointed. I have always had excellent experiences with them.

Positive flowers4birds
(10 reviews)
On Jan 9, 2010, flowers4birds Chilton, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:

It must have been at least 20 years ago or more that we sent a donation to the National Arbor Day Foundation and received our 10 tiny twigs. They were pathetic and not what we expected at the time. Some of the species were not hardy in our zone 4 climate so we never expected them to grow.

One was supposed to be a Flowering Dogwood which definitely is not hardy here, but to our surprise it grew. That is because it was NOT a Flowering Dogwood at all, but a Silky Dogwood; a much branched shrub that would have clusters of tiny flowers if it ever bloomed, but it never has. The many long slender twigs would be suitable for basket-making if I were into basketry. We've cut it down many times, but it always comes back again as healthy as ever.

There were a couple of tiny blue spruce that grew just fine and if we'd ever got around to moving them out of the garden nursery they would be beautiful trees by now. The spruces and dogwood are no longer thriving well having been shaded out by the gorgeous oak tree that grew from the tiny white oak seedling they sent us. It turned out to be a Swamp White Oak which is perfect for the moist garden where we planted it. It is now a big tree bearing an annual crop of acorns eagerly foraged by the local deer. It is now many times bigger than the large Swamp White Oak we paid big bucks for at a local nursery.

My positive rating is for all the fun we had watching that oak tree grow and waiting for acorns so we could identify what species of oak it is. The species of dogwood we had never seen before was also interesting, and the fact that several of those little sticks they sent grew amazed us. $10 is mighty cheap for an oak tree like the one we have now. After all this time, I'm thinking of donating another $10 to see what we'll get this time to provide more fun watching it turn into a tree.

If only one of your tiny trees grows, you get more than your money's worth. And supporting the Arbor Day Foundation is a good thing. The world needs more trees to remove CO2 from the air, make oxygen, grow acorns for deer and squirrels, and add shade to our yards.

Positive withad
(7 reviews)
On Sep 8, 2009, withad Warren Center, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:

My first order was for their 10 free trees for a $10.00 donation, 10 little sticks arrived. Wow, got burnt on this one. All 10 planted according to directions( with fencing) WOW all 10 sprouted and are doing well( second year) the crabapples are over 4 feet tall already.
Second order ,15 different Azaleas, all died. Called them, got order replaced for free including shipping and all 15 are doing terrific. So I guess I can't complain, except for the amount of promo they send out I am pleased with their products and customer service.

Positive henderson9
(8 reviews)
On Sep 8, 2009, henderson9 Camden, SC wrote:

I just don't understand the harshness of many of the comments directed toward National Arbor Day Foundation. Ten trees for ten bucks, what does a person expect for that? I have joined NADF many times. The small seedlings of varying quality are immediately placed in one gallon nursery pots. Generally about 80% live. I leave them in my nursery area from a year to three years and eventually place them in the yard. The plants have done very well over the years, and for only ten or fifteen dollars I supported an important organization, and also ended up with 7-8 trees that eventually made it into the yard as healthy transplants. I've also ordered many trees from the foundation. Those trees are higher quality than the freebies, and are at a very reasonable price. In the next day or two I'll order three of their kousa dogwood trees. I challenge anyone to find as nice a tree for anywhere close to the $6.98 price tag.

Positive gardencurmudgeo
(1 review)
On Jun 29, 2009, gardencurmudgeo Omaha, NE wrote:

We all need to remember that the Arbor Foundation sends bare root plantings. They are often referred by seed companies as "lining out stock" (less than 12") and "whips", up to 3' or so. No body should expect guaranteed success or large potted trees for just a few dollars! I generally order from the Arbor Foundation oak and pine not carried in local nurseries. This is extremely valuable, as most nurseries don't carry some of the best trees, as they can be slow starters or just aren't trendy.
I also research what I will order, finding that some distributors are less frank than others about tree performance, effect of soil, climate and pests. I have learned that the "sticks" referred to by some can be successful if: trees are. planted immediately, as directed. Use of a growth stimulant can make a big difference. So does soil type and initial watering. These are minimal risk offerings where the best results are to a large degree up to the gardener and his/her research and gardening practices. Other
sources have delivered dry root stock to me in poor condition, but I cannot say that of the Arbor Foundation in the last 15 years I have used them in Nebraska.

Negative kentuckywoman2
(1 review)
On Jun 2, 2009, kentuckywoman2 Louisville, KY wrote:

Last spring I gave a $10 contribution for which I was to receive 10 flowering trees and 1 crapemyrtle. I expected the trees to be shipping in the spring or early summer, but by NOVEMBER I still had not received my trees. I called and got no response to my inquiry of "Where are my trees?", so I emailed and finally got a response. However, the response was that since I was in hardiness zone 7, the trees would be shipped in December! First of all, I'm in hardiness zone 6, NOT 7. When I alerted the Arbor Day Foundation to that, they said that they were the ONLY organization to "update" the hardiness zones, and now I was in Zone 7. Then, the customer service gal, Carla, proceeded to tell ME what my weather is like here in Kentucky! I finally escalated the call to speak to her supervisor, who shipped me my trees around the end of November. Unfortunately, we had already had a couple of freezes and since our soil is mainly clay, I had a very difficult time trying to dig deep enough to plant the "twigs" they sent me. Needless to say, THEY ALL DIED. I recently requested a replacement shipment and was told, by the same Carla, that my replacement trees would be shipped in Spring of 2010, unless I wanted them to be shipped in Fall 2009! Unacceptable! Again, the last time they shipped in "Fall", it was actually way past Fall and into Winter. Again, I informed them that their zones were not correct, according to our weather patterns, and again, this Carla proceeded to tell ME what our weather here in Kentucky is like! Finally, I requested a refund of my $10 and I'm now told it will take about 3-4 weeks. At least that's faster than they ship their "twigs." I have been a member since 2003 and this Carla person was the last straw. She's rude and arrogant and if she's the best they can do to represent their customer service department, then they have a real problem. In any case, I'll do my tree and shrub buying from a local nursery. I'll not do business with the Arbor Day Foundation again. They are clueless. Absolutely clueless.

Negative jbarton7
(1 review)
On Jun 1, 2009, jbarton7 Arvada, CO wrote:

I gave a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation over three months ago with the promise from them that I would received 8 free trees and a lilac bush. I have yet to recieve them. I don't expect to receive something in return for a donation but I do expect an organization to honor its promises and to remit promised goods. I cannot respect a company that uses a bait and switch tactic to suck donations out of people. I can respect a company that does simply ask for a donation and doesn't promise anything to me personally in return, and I can donate to those organizations. All I have received from ADF is more solicitations for money and more (empty I'm sure) promises of goods. As a company, I mean organization, that seems very commercially interested, this is very poor business practice as I will never buy a plant from them and will talk anyone out of it who threatens to do so.

To make things worse, I have been trying to email them about my complaint for over a week now and their website is broken and supposedly being repaired. It makes them seem to be hiding from the complaints.

I have little faith at this point that they are interested in anything that has to do with improving the earth. I am sure the only thing they are interested in is taking as much money as they can get their hands on. And they do not care how unethical their methods are to obtain it.

Positive forsythiasue
(1 review)
On May 19, 2009, forsythiasue Goldendale, WA wrote:

Received my 10 free trees as well as a few things I ordered seperately. Had my doubts about the little twigs surviving but after following the included instructions, weathering a horrible snow storm, being trampled by deer, my little "twigs" are doing great!
My 5 free Forsythia are about 3 feet tall, my Rose of Sharon actually bloomed the same summer I planted them. My Red Bud tree is also about 3-4' tall and I have no qualms about ordering from them again. You only have to follow the directions, read the description of what you're ordering so you understand what they are shipping, and water them faithfully. Ordered last spring and all have been in the ground for only 1 year and show substantial growth. I paid my membership and received 5 free Rose of Sharon 2 weeks ago and they are already leafing out. 5-19-2009

Negative twettie
(1 review)
On May 11, 2009, twettie Petal, MS wrote:

I sent $20 and got 10 twigs, 7 of which had a hair root on each, and 3 with no roots and the size of a pencil. The seven with the roots were about the same size as a pencil. Of the seven planted a month ago 4 are showing some very small growth on them. I pulled the rest out and their roots had not gained any hairs so I threw them away. I should be dead by the time they are full grown trees. I feel dupped. I could have gone to a tree nursery and got a better deal. I will not order any more trees from this organization, and would advise anyone else not to unless they want to give a donation to an organization that is deceptive about what they really send you.

Neutral OneAkela
(1 review)
On Apr 27, 2009, OneAkela Chesterfield, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I was a member for one year, drawn in by the 10 free trees offer. Along with the free offer, I also placed an order. Two of my order trees died. At least two of the free trees died. Some of the others are not growing fast. I am giving a Neutral rating as what they sent me was a mixed bag. Some grew and some didn't. Also, curious note: what they said was a flowering dogwood, seems to be an oak tree.... huh?

Funny thing is, they keep mailing me membership materials every 3-4 weeks. You'd think that after 3-4 mailings, they would get the message that I am not renewing.

Positive LadyAethelwyne
(1 review)
On Mar 22, 2009, LadyAethelwyne Harriman, TN wrote:

I became a member of Arbor Day last year (2008). Received my baby trees in a little bag like the kind newspapers are put in, and I was worried as I've never tried planting baby trees before. The tree roots were moist and covered in hydrating gel. I let them soak in water like the book said, then planted them carefully.
This spring, I've noticed little branches sprouting from all of the "twigs", and two have tiny leaves on them. They are doing so well!
I ordered 8 more trees, a bit worried because I read the feedback here and was expecting more "twigs". However, to my delight, I received a box about 5 foot tall in the mail today. Tied to a bamboo stick for support was a 4 ft tall maple, a kousa with lots of little branches and green buds, a budding saucer magnolia, and three arborvitaes that looked like the baby christmas trees bought in a store. Only the Japanese maples looked like sticks, but all of the trees had very long and (in some cases) very thick roots. I thought I would have to nurse these in my garden like the babies, but I'm thrilled that I can go ahead and plant them in my yard!

On customer service, I made my order but forgot the kousa dogwood. I sent an email, and the kind representative cancelled my order so I could do a new one with the kousa included. My new order arrived in just a few days!

Positive plantgnome
(26 reviews)
On Jan 19, 2009, plantgnome Coram, NY wrote:

Most of the feedback made me laugh-which is a good thing. I received my free twigs in December of 07. I couldn't tell which was which tree. until i noticed microscopic paint spots on them. I planted them the next weekend, after soaking them per their instructions. Kind of hard to do as they kept floating around. They are in their temporary fenced in area, until or if they survive. Since planting them we have had three snow storms and an ice storm. So I really don't have high hopes for them. If they grow, I'll be happy, if not I hope my donation helps with their cause. No big loss. (They were very quick to reply to my email regarding shipping time, however I think they were shipped much too late.)


On April 12th, 2009, plantgnome added the following:

Well my twigs are growing, my crabapple is leafing out and several of the others are getting buds. Needless to say I am astonished, but very happy. I also ordered a downy serviceberry tree with a free red maple. The serviceberry is budding and the maple is doing fine. I am happy with all their products, will get other trees from them in the future. So never say never until you give it a try. I do baby the "twigs" and have treated them with biological tree growth activator, which probably helped a great deal, whatever the reason, they did make it thru the first winter!
On May 18th, 2009, plantgnome added the following:

Out of the ten "twigs" I received eight of them are flourishing, have leaves and have grown taller. So in another year, I can move them to their permanent homes!

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