I just took a gut shot so I should probably try to temper myself…

My order from Stark Bro’s was modified to show my Contender & Reliance peach trees won’t be coming this spring after all.

They say “environmental issues”, and I get that to a point.

The thing I take issue with is the late notification. I’d placed the order on 2/8 and got an estimated ship date of 3/29. These trees were shown as being in stock, and of course there are several that they were already showing as out of stock, even at that early date. I assume some varieties just were not going to be available at all, while some maybe were actually gobbled up early.

Well when 3/29 came and went they bumped it up, and continued to do that until they recently changed my delivery date to 4/22 and then 4/23. So I’m still good with that - actually a much better date than the original 3/29 BTW.

But then yesterday on 4/20, three days out from my most recent estimated delivery date of the 23rd, I’m notified that we’re now set up for a Fall ship date of 11/5/16.

I know it’s probably hard to do, but I just wish they’d have notified me before almost all other sources stopped shipping for this spring. (I’ve been scrambling…)

I was able to get another Contender ordered in at a higher cost, but at least it’ll be in the ground this spring.

To be fair, I’ve been a defender of Stark Bro’s, as I’ve had nice trees come in from them and they’ve been real good about replacements if need be. So this is actually out of the ordinary I suppose, but still… it’s darn disappointing!

I know a lot of people have great success with Fall plantings, but I just never have, and so for me I view it as losing a year.

Anyway I just needed to vent, but I feel really good that was able to get the Contender ordered in because I called a BUNCH of places that are done shipping for the spring.

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Without knowing the details it is hard to say what happened, but given the crazy spring so many people have experienced, maybe they were lost due to late season freeze, or maybe the entire planting went under water like this growers trees in Texas (LeggCreek Farm) http://scontent-atl3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/10537071_10153664702813229_6899523011218242521_n.jpg?oh=b1b8ebc7daf63e81108cdbbfbcf96e3b&oe=577A4FE9

Actually Starks doesn’t have much of an excuse. They are in Louisiana Missouri near St. Louis. As far as I know they haven’t had any severe flooding or cold weather which would compromise their grafts.

They have struggled for years changing hands many times. (I’m not condemning them for that, nursery is a tough business. ) I ordered some trees from them many years ago, but I think things are chancy now. A few years ago I saw a row of peach trees ordered from Starks on a friend’s orchard. They ended up being rootstocks. Understandably he was not happy and told me he was going to jump the rep. I never asked how it turned out, but I suspect all that was offered was the price of the trees, a fraction of the cost in caring for them.

I just received this email from Stark Bro’s.

I am deeply sorry that your order was affected by our crop shortage this year. We have exhausted all of our sources trying to fill our orders at 100% this season and its unfortunate but most other growers experienced the same crop shortages that we did. We surmised that somehow more trees would materialize but it just didn’t happen. Trust me when I say that we are just as disappointed as you are.

We take all reviews to heart and hope that you allow us the opportunity to rectify this situation. As mentioned in the delayed email, l our Fall harvest is on schedule and looks to be in fine shape. If you’d like to have these trees shipped this fall in early November we will not charge you any shipping plus, I will ship them to you for $18.16 per tree. Please let me know if you’d like to accept my offer.

Your planting success is important to us!


Tabitha Rardon
Customer Support Manager
Consumer/Commercial Sales
Stark Bro’s Nurseries & Orchards Co.

So for a total of $36.32 they’ll ship the two trees this Fall, that were previously on my Stark account at $79.xx.

Looks like they’re doing about as good as can be expected. I’m going to take them up on their offer.

I had a grape vine and an apricot (twocot) come yesterday from Starks. Both seem very dormant to me. They must dig there stuff and store some of it.

yep…that’s a pretty square deal if you ask me. They aren’t making any money, so they are accepting blame and taking the hit for it. Can’t ask for much more than that. Unfortunate, but it is what it is.
Like Olpea said, Nursery is a tough business. Would be impossible to account for all the variables, all the time, so when things go south and they make it right, that’s pretty cool.

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I think I would ask Stark’s to ship in the spring. We can get mighty chilly in November and it might shock those trees to death to be transplanted into 35-40 degree soil. They sure wouldn’t grow any roots. If that’s all they will do…

Yes I know, that’s my concern too Chikn.

I told Stark Bro’s that for that kind of money I can give Fall planting a try, but that I’ve just never had much success with it. I haven’t had many failures in planting stuff, but when I have most are Fall plantings. It’s like I can’t seem to get them established well enough before winter, then come spring they’re goners. Then when I call or email about a replacement, invariably I’m told to wait awhile that the tree may be just taking a long time to wake up. Meanwhile spring is marching on, and once I finally get the requisite wait-time behind me, I’ll get a replacement shipped if they still have any. I’ve had to settle for something different before too.

I too would ask for spring, I have had almost zero luck in the fall.

My peaches/Nect. was planted in fall bought from Star Bro’s. It grows fine. I did not see any issues as long as the plant itself is hardy enough for the zone.

I don’t go for fall shipments either, stark bros had to replace a plum as it turned out to be a peach last spring, so they were going to send it last fall, but I went for this spring instead. I don’t mind planting in the fall, but if I get a shipment too late or something, just makes a problem, I remember over 10 years ago trying to plant some trees I got shipped in the fall and the ground was already half frozen and snowy, I think that was the last time I have ever had fall shipment from a nursery.

It makes sense that spring planting is preferred in places that have cold winters, and especially in those areas where winters arrive early.

Southerners and those who live where heat sets in early have the opposite difficulty. Late autumn headed into winter is the best time to plant for us because they have to opportunity to establish themselves before spring. That makes a great difference in their growth the first year. But the supply of bare root trees that time of year is sparse since they have to have been grown somewhere that they’ve had the opportunity to enter dormancy, be dug out, transported to the retailer, and finally shipped to the purchaser.

They should have known well in advance that growers experienced high peach tree crop failure this year. I wrote about it here way back in December: Fruittreefarm / Cumberland Valley Nursery Peach Tree Crop

So what’s behind all these crop shortages with peaches. Fruit tree farm didn’t have any, big box stores varieties are limited, now it sounds like Starks had limited supply.
What happened that cause such a shortage this season?

A number of nursery crop failures due to weather, and a high demand from commercial growers for replacement trees after the big loss of trees in the fall of 2014. Make no doubt that commercial growers are going to get their orders filled first. The profit from a nursery is much higher dealing with commercial growers buying 100s of trees as opposed to the person buying a tree or two. Sounds harsh, but lots of time involved in selling, packing and shipping individual orders of trees.