Burnt Ridge Rootstock Debacle - Rubber Bands are Not Expensive

Here is the BR Response:

“I am really sorry about this inexcusable packing job on our part. We’ve had to hire new help to get all the orders out this year, and someone who packed your order did not do a good job. We will definitely speak to the staff to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

This is how you can distinguish the rootstocks:

St. Julian – topped at 1 ft.

Myro 29c – topped at 18”

Marriana 26-24 – topped at 21”

We are sorry for the inconvenience. But with this information, you should be able to graft with confidence.”

Now I have a lot of thoughts about this but I’d like to hear what others would do in this situation. I believe them when they say it was a new staff problem considering what you guys already wrote about your own experiences.


They owned it. I’ve never had problems with them. I bet it’ll be corrected.


I’d say that’s a good start. It would have helped, I think, if they had offered to replace or credit any part of the order that you did not feel comfortable with. But everybody will goof sooner or later, and it has been a rough couple of years for everybody. They’ve got a good history and that counts for a lo(The sad part -over which they have little control- is that whoever did the dastardly deed is probably no longer there, or was never properly instructed in the beginning - again because of manpower shortages.)


Many happy customers never leave feedback. But the novice or the unhappy typically do.
I take notice of consumer ratings, but also don’t let a half dozen negatives keep me from deciding to order again from a company.

Often you can dig into the ‘rabbit hole’ on negative comments and find they either are posted by those that have lack of experience, unreasonable expectations, or leave negatives for a trail of other
vendors too.

So, I’ll read good and bad comments about a company, but I’ll end up making my calculation not depending on the 98% or the 9% positive rating an online store has on a public rating site.


I personally judge a company by how they react to making mistakes. Mistakes happen, but how a business reacts is how I decide to patronize them again or not.


18 and 21 inches for 2 plum rootstocks sounds too close for confidence. Plus you’ve had a bunch of time and hassle trying to sort this out.

I think you’re due, at a minimum, an apology, some type of remuneration even if token as a gesture of goodwill, assurances of measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again, and offer for how to get further assistance if necessary.


Your reaction was identical to mine. I’ve calmed down a bit about my disappointment with their response but cynical me’s translation of their apology was:

‘Sorry, we had the best business year this year with tons of orders that made us a lot of money, good luck with your ruler and measuring tape’

Part of charging $110 for shipping and handling is “handling” which obviously went off the rails. So I paid for the employee who packed it. I thought I deserved a better response for the money paid.


For $110 it should be right -very right!

I had a small mail order business years and years (and years and years!) ago, and our assumption was that being mail order meant we didn’t need the overhead of a store front. So we charged a minimal amount for handling and then actual shipping costs.

I mean, if I’d had a store front and the customer asked me to get them something from behind the counter or the back room would I charge them more? “Handling” should be part of the basic fee structure if you’re in mail order.


They should give you some sort of partial refund or at a minimum something like a $50 credit for future orders. It is up to you if you are confident with the separation by measurements, but depending on roots and where you actually start that might be tricky. If it is obvious, fine, but I think recognizing the time and angst you have had to invest in the situation deserves a better response.


If the cutting measurements prove sufficient to differentiate, I’d probably drop it, but I’d be looking at my overall results and the trends on the ground come time to order again. All-in-all, I get a decent feeling about their products and I’ve found them responsive.
From the outside, I’ll be surprised if the cutting length proves that accurate even on well-identified orders. I would assume they probably cut a bundle all at once after it is twined, and varied rootstock sizing seems likely to impact as much as 3".
I fully endorse your current feelings, but ultimately, don’t be in too much of a hurry to make the decision for the future choices, just what you need to be satisfied with the results of this one. It smells exactly like what hteir response indicated, and I suspect the employee in question will have proven temporary before your order even arrived. I’m imagining a supervisor sort puling his fronds out wondering how many orders went out before the packing trends were observed.


I would agree.


I ordered over couple of hundred stuff ( apple , pear, peach persimmon, quice rootstock and scions etc. )from Burnt Ridge this year. Shipped in two batches but all are individually labeled.


If they couldn’t get the packing right, who’s to say that they got the pruning right?


That’s an extremely good point. I never even thought about it like that.
It’s like, sorry we couldn’t put labels on things or band them, but trust us on our precise cutting of each rootstock’s top.

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I replied to BR’s initial reply with the concerns that we discussed here. I wrote the message after a full day of grafting with my ruler trying to measure the sizes of rootstocks and having the worst time of it… so my response to them was blunt and harsh.

To their credit. BR replied with a full refund of both plum rootstocks (the 18” vs 21” ones).

In the end I feel they did the right thing, and after talking it over with you guys I also think my package was an atypical mistake. Most everyone here got well banded and labeled materials.

Just wanted to make sure I closed out the thread giving them due credit.


I’ve ordered several times from just about everybody and you more or less roll the dice on most orders. Burnt Ridge has sent me trash with no roots and then came back with quality on the next order. I’ll tolerate the occasional trash for their cheap prices.


Blunt and harsh is not really the same as rude. A lot of us here in the US don’t take it so well, but much of the world appreciates the brevity. I tend to be wordy, and well, it leaves people looking for the cracks and unsure what you want them to do, even if I have been very, very specific.
I’m glad they stepped up for you.


Three years ago
I ordered a Winter Banana on M26.
Had met the owner
Mike Dolan
at the Olympia Farmers Market and he seems like a great guy.
I waited and waited and waited for the tree.
Was getting late in the spring;
Called several times and was always told that they hadn’t dug the tree.
Finally learned that they didn’t even grow the tree and were waiting on another nursery to send it.
These nurseries go downhill
the bigger they get.
I don’t endorse Burnt Ridge.

Got my small Burnt Ridge package yesterday. As scheduled and all nicely packed and labeled.


Good that you got a refund, so did I.
It possibly was the work of a disgruntled employee.
Hopefully he or she gets disciplined for the sloppy work.