How authentic are the varieties sold at The Arboreum Company?

Hi,

Does anyone have any knowledge of how genuine the varieties are that Arboreum offers? They often claim that they are the only ones carrying the true article. Even if they are not the only ones, I would like to know how much it can be relied on that I am at least purchasing the real deal. I’ve tried e-mailing them but their replies are just short and not very thorough.

I am particularly interested in their Old Green Gage.

I would trust them!

Usually Green Gage types are referred to in their French names- they are all old.

I’m of two minds: some otherwise great nurseries are noted for their awful customer service. On the other hand, if they’ve actually gone to the trouble to type a reply and instead of answering “got the scion from the National Fruit Collection in England”, they spend their time tap-dancing and refusing to answer, I’d be wary.

If the provenance is important to you, there are enough sellers of trees and scion wood that you can keep digging until you get an answer you’re satisfied with.

C. Todd Kennedy, one of the proprietors, has supplied to ARS’ GRIN the material for hundreds of stone fruit varieties and would be considered by many as authoritative a source as any for Prunus in the U.S.

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Then why not answer questions?

Arboretum is a fabulous company. I have purchased the majority of my trees from them over the past 13 years. Yes, they are slow, to very slow to respond to customers, but they will. And if you ask for a second time you will get a very serious reply. Be patient, they will respond. It is a very small company, but grand in reputation and product.

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I know Todd Kennedy and have gotten quite a few trees from Arboreum. I definitely trust their trueness to type. The customer service issue is because Todd is not a full time nurseryman and has many other projects going on. He is also not very communicative in email, but if you talk to him in person about stone fruit, he is loquacious.

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I admit I am biased. I used to work in customer service for years and honestly, it is relatively easy to give good customer service. Just treat people the way you want to be treated.

If a customer asks a question and you have the time to sit down and type a reply, shouldn’t you actually make sure you answer the question? Or if the question was unclear, ask for clarification. Or type something like, “I believe you are asking me X. Here is the answer to that. I hope that addresses your concern, but if it does not, please let me know and I will work with you until we do have an answer for you. Thank you again for your interest.”

It only takes a few seconds longer to provide good service. If you’re in the business of dealing with the public, it’s a wise investment.

I swear, I should start a business where I answer the e-mails from online nurseries. Almost without exception, it’s pretty awful with all of them. Everything from never getting a reply (why provide an e-mail address then?) to getting replies that don’t answer my questions to getting replies WEEKS later…it’s bad. I’ve had individuals provide me with good customer service, but all the nurseries with the fancy web pages? Pretty much nope.

Let me think: In one and a half years of buying fruit trees…I’ve emailed Trees of Antiquity, Adams County Nursery, Cummins, Bottoms Nursery, and Bay Laurel and never gotten a response to my e-mail. Now, most of them were more helpful over the phone, but again, why provide an e-mail address if you don’t respond to inquiries? I think the only ones I got a fast and prompt response was from Isons and orangepippintrees. I mean, I’d always take a good tree with poor customer service over a bad tree with great customer service, but why not have BOTH?

I’m sure this fellow at Arboreum is a great guy. Just like I’m sure most Nursery folks are great individuals. But I don’t understand why so many people go into business for themselves with little idea of good customer service, and then don’t seem interested in improving it. It’s literally key to your business. I mean, sure, you can be successful without it. But you’d be even more successful with it.

And if you’re too busy to answer emails, don’t give an e-mail. Tell your customers you’d welcome phone calls. Don’t give an e-mail address unless you’re planning to answer the emails promptly and thoroughly. Otherwise you’re wasting the customer’s time by making him write an e-mail you have no intention of responding to, (it’s actually disrespectful because it implies the customer’s time isn’t as important as yours) and you might lose the sale if the customer gets irritated at the non-response and goes elsewhere.

Sorry about the rant, but gosh. The customer service is the Nursery industry seems to leave a lot to be desired.

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I understand your frustration with Cummins, I’ve written them a few times over the last couple years and they were very slow to respond. But after a few weeks they did. The answers were forthright and helpful when I got them. I have got prompt response emails from Nourse, Stark’s, and Honeyberryusa. Adams County responded to my phone call but not to emails. Maybe they’re just old school folks, and would rather respond to a phone call as opposed to emails.

I think orangepippintrees.com and Cummins are the same entity. At least their inventories seem to be the same.

You are completely correct! They don’t like computers, it seems. Just call.

I think I might just be one of those folks who have a field they’ve worked in who get very irritated when other folks don’t perform up to the same standard.

But it is true I’ve never had a awful experience with any of the retailers I’ve used, and I’ve always gotten trees in at least acceptable condition, if not very good. (Partially thanks to the reviews and recommendations on this website.). But I do get a little irritated that most of them don’t answer e-mail queries for the reasons listed above.

I do hope the OP is able to get what he is looking for.

I think their inventories are the same, but the management is different? I’m not sure if they’re using Cummins until their trees start producing or if they are just going to continue to source from Cummins.

VSOP, all businesses are not equal and the nursery business can be very difficult because it is seasonal, so probably when you ask questions can have a lot to do with the service you might get. Part time help is not always easy to get- especially if you are far away from urban areas and when people are working 14 hours a day just to keep up with commitments, other service sometimes has to wait. Larger businesses are more likely to be able to keep the staff needed for all seasons, but customer service costs money and people more and more shop strictly on the basis of lowest price so some businesses have to cut customer service just to stay in business.

Cummins and Indian Creek Nursery are one and the same.