Shipping USPS - Scions cuttings and small trees

The United States Postal Service standards have not been stellar lately but politics aside it is still going to be the easiest way to ship our plant materials

While you can get lower rates by saving or sourcing your own boxes. The Flat rate priority mail is the best way to not worry about it. USPS will deliver to you any number of Flat Rate boxes for free. But did you know they have flat rate tubes? Same as boxes Flat Rate Small tubes ship any ware in the US for $8,45 and Medium $15.50

The small tube will hold a lot of scions and cuttings while the medium tube will be enough space for rootstock and yearlings that do not have a lot of flared roots.
Ordering is simple. After creating a USPS account just add to your card and complete your order. They will arrive in the mail in a few days.

The USPS website is not however the easiest to use for actualy shipping orders. One of the members here recommends.

Pirate Ship


That does seem to be pain free especially since you can print and pay at a home office. Do you think most people here use paypal?

Most do or Zelle, or Ca$hApp but there a few hold outs. You know who you are


I’m a dinosaur. I still drive to the USPS office and mail scions. Today I was the one and only person “in line”. It took all of 4 minutes to weigh, process, and pay for 7 packages of scions going to 7 different states.


And how do you take payment?

I don’t take payment. I pay forward those who have given to me generously. Scions are meant to be shared amongst growers, not sold…at least IMHO


Pirate Ship website is 1000% more user friendly and productive than USPS. Rates are discounted 15-30%. Maybe some people can stand in line a few minutes for multiple packages but we can’t here. It’s nice to be able to drop off 13 packages in less than 5 minutes when the line at the PO is out the door…or even just stick them in your mailbox for pickup.


That must be the difference between rural and urban life. I have never stood in a line longer than 2 people at my local USPS office. I usually walk in and be the only customer. Rural life gets more and more appealing…


I agree with you there. My post office is 3 minutes down the road and my two dogs come in with me. On a chilly day there is a fire in the fireplace.



Yes, Pirateship has been a revelation, and gotten me over the hump of being willing to mail scions to people.

A repurposed Amazon box packed under 12 ounces is about $4.50 to just about anywhere in the country 1st class. I can print the label at home, and drop the box off at the post office, or UPS store when I’m out running errands.

It’s also easy to create a mailing label PDF to send to email or DM to somebody else.


I am another dinosaur. You are not alone in this. This years I sent a number of scions out and was surprised how much postage has risen in the last couple of years. Unfortunately there were lines at the post office. 4 minutes - lol, I would to use your post office. I take a book with me when I go, and even once I get up to the window it takes them far more than 4 minutes to weight, stamp, and ask me a bunch of questions.


I went with Pirateship for my scion trades this year. And . . . I started using it for my art biz shipping, too. Got a reliable little scale that Pirateship recommended for $24. The post office’s scale stunk.
The only prob with Pirateship - for me - is that the USPS has become so unreliable. I don’t get shipments that ‘say they have been delivered’. I get other people’s mail - a LOT. And some things seem to take an extremely long time, in transit. Pirateship’s program automatically filled out an address on a label addressed to one of our forum members - and left out the Apt.# - so it came back as ‘undeliverable’. That was a bummer.

It’s so easy to print the labels at home, however - and with a little discount. And then just drop them off at the drive-through mailbox. If I’m going with USPS - I use Pirateship.
I find that UPS is almost always more expensive. (but more reliable!)

Sounds like your postmaster is asleep at the wheel. Our local USPS workers aren’t messing around. I find them to be as efficient as any other (more so than some) workers around here.

Yeah, USPS has been extremely variable in delivery times lately. I’ve had 2-day packages take 5 days, 9 days, 11 days. Surprise, the 1-hour commuting distance 2-day package took 2 days. The 11 day shipment was well packaged currant cuttings, had roots developing already.
I will try PirateShip for the discount, otherwise my local PO is very small and fast.

That’s for sure. I never heard of either service. I have little to no interest in a new service when Paypal has worked fine for years and has a few hundred million users. I can’t imagine anything easier.

The big three i suppose are CashApp, Zelle and Venmo

CashApp is relatively easy to setup and the gig workers I have hired to clear my fields and haul equipment prefer it so I had to sign up.

Zelle works with banks and credit unions. When you login to your existing bank account you will likely find they have already have it and only need to activate it.

Venmo is owned by Paypal and it is there version of Zelle. Never used it myself.

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I use the padded flat rate envelopes, the shipping cost is cheaper than using other padded envelopes, and it’s cheaper than using any boxes. I can send more than 60 cuttings with one of these flat rate envelopes, the shipping with one of those envelopes costs $8.55 Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelope |

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I use the padded envelopes people use for photographs and such -they’re about 6"x8"? and let you place several scions up to about 9" long without much difficulty. I can mail a fair number of scions for less than $5.


The flat rate tubes are the same shipping rate as the envelopes. You might want to check them out.

I am thinking that for rooted cuttings the medium tubes would be the best option for sure since they are 3 feet and 2 inches long.