First Mail Order Arrived

My apple tree orders started coming today with Stark Bro’s the first to show up. Too sloppy wet to plant so one gets heeled in and other is in a pot. Winesap in EZ Start pot and a Gravenstein bare root.


The Gravenstein looks nice in size. The Winesap probably cost more, but how much more roots is in the EZ start pot vs the bare root tree?

Last year I got 2 trees from Stark Bro’s too and both are bare root. A Pink Lady and Stayman Snapp. The Pink Lady was the supreme semi size and the Snapp was on the standard semi size. At the end of the year the Stayman was just as big as the Pink Lady and have stronger branches.

In addition, I got 1 potted plant from the local nursery. The potted plant was slow to grow than the bare root trees at the beginning, but once it get going it beat the bare root trees. It’s on the M111 root stock, so that help.

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In my experience Stark Bros does not tend to have trees with a massive root system and many are small. What I will say is the trees already out of dormancy I have had better results with. The trees out of dormancy that come in the fall seem to lose their leaves and come back with a vengeance during spring while the dormant ones in spring tend to never leaf out. It is not my zone because I have a super red fuji that has lived but the one that came dormant never leafed out.

I did ordered 4 pear trees from them too. The root balls are small for those pears compare to the apples. So, apple have a better chance of getting a nice root ball. I was surprise by the Stayman’s root ball. There were multiple good size anchor roots. They cannot cut them out as much because there won’t be a root ball at all. Got lucky on that one. One of the pear look like a 1 year old because the top was so thin. Out of luck on that one.

I ordered from Stark twice as trees went on sale. I have a Snapp Stayman and a Red Stayman yet to come. Trees are coming from 9 different nurseries so I expect some will be better than others in quality.

It has been my experience that if a tree lives from Stark Bros it tends to continue to live but if it does not come out it is just done and I cannot figure out the difference between the plants other than time of shipping. Also the ironic part is a lot of their plants come and then lose most of their leaves around fall and come back with a vengeance the next spring. Like I mentioned most of my problem plants have been spring plants.

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All my trees I ordered from them last year came during May and June. By the time the trees arrived, they were already leafing out during shipment. Both time, it was on sales as they don’t ship bare root trees in the Summer and they need to clear inventory. My temp was around 80’s in May and upper 90’s during June. I follow the instruction to let them drink in the bucket for at least 2 hours, but I usually let them stay in the bucket for 4 hours or more until evening. Then I start planting them in the ground. Water them every other day for 3 weeks and provide them shade in the Summer. None of my trees die.

You are right about Fall. It’s the best time to plant bare root trees. The weather is nicer and during winter they have time to rest. During Spring, they get rain water. So, there less thing you have to do if planted in Fall.

I think all their stuff they send in September or August come in their EZ pots. I have not had good luck with their bare root stock. My Seckle pear lived and is doing well but their Ayers pear never leafed out and they canceled my 5 in 1 apple two weeks before it was to be shipped. Like I said I have great results with their EZ pots though.

I planted the Stark EZ Pot Winesap today. Not impressed with root system on a semi dwarf rootstock in a 3 x 9 pot. Guess most of the growth went into the 4 feet of top growth.

Stark’s was willing to replace a Blizzard Honeyberry that their customer support was told the idiot lawn people cut to the ground (along with the nursery tag). They didn’t have anymore Blizzard in stock and I wasn’t interested in any others they still had, so I decided to wait and see (it’s now about the same size as the three other honeyberries planted at the same and doing fine, I got to taste a few last year; they’re good) and call back to get store credit for next season if it didn’t make it. So I can at least say, in my experience, they’re willing to replace any plants that die once.

Stark Bros tree are small but if they live they keep on jugging in my experience. I do realize it takes a few seasons to get as big though.