Big box fruit trees in short supply this season

Those are potted trees, looked like 3 gallons. They were in the $25 range last year, just the usual: Mcintosh, Granny Smith, and Gala.

This spring Costco had very healthy 5-6 foot bare root trees from Willow Drive bare root for $12. Had I not filled in all of my allocated orchard space spring I would have picked up a couple of stone fruit trees.

Funny how different they are in the same area.

Whenever I read the varieties HD and Lowe’s offer near you, I am green with eny. We’ve never had any interesting varieties around here at those places. Last year it was so bad, the tags said green apple, red apple.

If I want a bit more exciting varieties, it’s at a a local nursery. But a 7 ft trees there cost over $100 per tree. That nursery used to carry several more kinds of fruit including quince and A. pears. Last year, no quince, no paw paw, no A. pears. Only a few peaches, cherries, apples and plums. A lot more boring.

Last November HD had very nice Staymen and Red Delicious trees marked down to $10 each. These were better looking trees than I normally see this time of the year. I bought 4 which filled out my existing space. My plans were to top work these to my preferred varieties. Goldrush, Arkansas Black, Honeycrisp, Liberty, Pristine, and Enterprise. The scions are really taking off and looking good on these trees. Bill


Do you like Arkansas Black for an eating apple? Or do you use it for processing? I found some for sale outside Hood River Oregon last year, but found them tasteless. Does it need to age in order to develop flavor?

None of our big box stores ever have bagged bare root- except a few a tractor supply. Most trees at big bog stores here are $19-$24, but walmart here has a surprising and impressive varieties for $10 this year! That is potted, 3 gallon. In fact, I bought a Arkansas Black there myself for $10 a couple days ago…so I’m interested in Bill’s answer to Chris’s question about that one. I also just wanted a spur apple.

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A local orchard had just picked some of the AB apples and I bought several. They were hard as a rock and difficult to peel but I loved the fresh taste so something must be wrong with me because others say wait a few weeks before tasting them. I’m guessing that most people will prefer to wait and let them mellow a little. Later I bought some from another supplier and they had been stored awhile and I was not impressed with these. Bill

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With your luck, your AB may turn into a Gold Rush or something :laughing:

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry about it…but you are SOOOO right my friend!

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Bill must have very strong teeth.
A few years ago, I picked AB at a PYO orchard. The apple looked nice, very deep dark red. I bit into it. It was so hard, dense and tart.

Needless to say, I threw it away and that was my first and last encounter with AB.

It was much later that I learned that AB is supposed to be stored for a while before eating.


Thanks Bill, I’ll give it another try this fall. People talk about AB and didn’t know if I was missing something, BdB was tastless also. I wonder if they were picked to early??? OR my taste buds are missing something.

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Costco trees here are a big letdown from last year.

Last year the grower they had labeled root stock and fruiting varieties, they looked good and were still dormant. This year the trees don’t give the root stock, and only a few have the fruiting variety; many are just labeled “yellow peach” or the like. And all the trees are at about 1/2" leaf growth.

Oh well, perhaps they are just doing their bit to keep me from having too many fruit trees.

The AB is more different than any of the typical store bought apples that I have ever tasted. My taste range is all over the place but my favorites are like the Pink Lady (sweet tart) and I think that the Goldrush will be excellent. I’m pretty sure most people are not going to like the AB while fresh but I do think that the same people would like it in a pie. Bill

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I didn’t want to mislead anyone about my purchase because the trees I bought appeared to me to have been shifted to this location just to clear out some old stock. They just looked to be in better condition than the other trees that had suffered from a hodgepodge of care over the summer months. These trees just happened to fit my grafting needs at an excellent price. Bill

Home Depot here has all apple so far. Had Vigoro labels on them…It was pouring so i didn’t get a good look at the variety.

I was glad I checked out HD Apple trees because they had some Elliot Bluberry bushes for eight bucks and change. I know Alan had mentioned them as a good late Bluberry. Not very big, but I have other already mature bushes so I’ll have to wait a few years to get some to taste from these ones.

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So, my weak but continuing defense of big box store fruit trees got a huge boost yesterday! I was in Bowling Green, KY which is about 30 minutes from my house in TN. I rarely go to Bowling Green (Nashville is closer to me) and yesterday happened to see a big box chain called Stockdales, which I’d never even heard of or seen before- we don’t have them in TN. Anyway, I noticed some trees so I stopped- and I couldn’t have been more impressed or excited!!!

All their trees were from Freedom Tree Farm, which many of you have ordered from I believe. SO that, to me, was better than the generic, giant nurseries that many big box stores source from. The next big surprise was the incredible size of the trees. Seriously, MOST of these trees had a 1 INCH or more caliper and were 6-8 feet tall. SIX TO EIGHT FEET ! And that height wasn’t just from not being pruned. Many trees (not all) had substantial, plentiful scaffolds starting low and going all the way up to six feet or more. These were big, well shaped, potted trees.

But by far the most exciting thing about these big box store trees was the varieties! They had all the standard fruits and a very strong variety of each of them- more than I’ve ever seen at Big Box stores. But most of all, I was impressed to see several trees that I’ve NEVER seen at a BB and a few that can even be hard to find on line. For example, they had Chocolate Asian Persimmons!!! HUGE, 8 foot tall, 1 inch caliper, some with great scaffolds. They also had 3 Asian Pears: Shinko, Shinseiki, and one I forget. They also had several nectarines, and I don’t see many nectarines at BB stores around here. They had Arctic Queen, Arctic blaze, June Gold and Karla Rose that I can remember, but the had more. They had about 8 apple varieties- mostly common ones, and many regular pears, peaches, plums, and 2 types of GRAFTED pecans (Lowes pecans are seedlings).

So if you have a “Stockdales” farm store nearby, you might want to check out their trees! THey all were priced at $21-$27.99 BUT had a buy one, get one 1/2 price. I paid $40 TOTAL for my Chocolate persimmon and Karla Rose Nectarine. Here are some of the trees they had:


My HD had blackberries potted up (will survive here, but die back to the ground every winter) and Springcrest peaches in full bloom. They looked nice. Sounds like a very early ripening peach. $35… for most it probably will never bloom again.


When my husband and I drive around (he drives for safety’s sake), I always ask him to stop at any store that I see trees for sale. Just can’t help it. Have to check it out.

I’d be excited too if I see those varieties. If I ever bought them, I probably would head them back (during dormancy). Those trees branch out rather high.

I wonder what is the condition of the roots of those trees. Hopefully, it is not root bound.

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I have not seen any trees at the big box stores nearby this season, but the local regional chain hardware store was well stocked when I was in there last week, lots of citrus in particular, but we are in southern zone 8b and it is the northern most store in the chain the rest I think are in zone 9a so in ground is common. I was also in Tractor Supply last month when they they received there spring plant selection all prearrange in big wood shipping crates. The crates had the store name an Zone 8B variety in BIG letters, unfortunately when I went back the next week to check it out, most of the stuff in there was not appropriate for our area (wrong chill hours, lots of non resistant bunch grapes marketed in an area with Pierce Disease, etc.).