Frequently Asked Questions
Download Our Tree Planting Instructions
How do we ship your plants?
When will my order ship?
Do you ship plants in the middle of the winter?
We do not ship plants in extreme freezing weather (December to early-February), and in a cold spring here in KY, inclement weather can delay shipping by 1-2 weeks until temps warm up. Freezing temps can kill or damage bare root trees packed in a box. We aim to only ship your plants when it is safe to do so based on your location.
Orders placed between November and February begin shipping when it is appropriate in your region.
That means orders to FL, Gulf Coast and Deep South zones 8-11 areas will generally usually begin shipping in Mid-February. Orders to the Southwest, TX, CA and OR, usually ship early March. Orders to KY, TN, VA, NC, WV, etc. usually ship mid to late March.
Orders to Northern and Midwestern areas usually begin shipping late March-Mid April weather depending. We typically complete shipping 99% of orders by late April. We aim to ship only when it is safe to do so. If we ship too early plants could freeze on route and become damaged.
Remember, it may be 50-70 F where you are, but between us in KY and you it could be very cold and unsafe to ship through. Please be patient. Also, we are unable to hold bare-root plants till May. If you feel you require May shipment, we suggest you go to a local or more regional nursery.
All orders of bare root plants must ship in February, March, or April only.
Orders placed in spring to autumn (March-November) usually ship within 3-5 Business days of the order being placed. If your order is placed late in the season and needs to be held and shipped in spring we will notify you. During May-November we typically ship Mondays-Wednesdays only. We notify you via email when your order ships.
The reality of climate change and extreme weather events may delay your order shipping, but usually not more than a week or so. We notify you the day we ship your order, via email.
We ship via UPS in unlabeled brown shipping boxes, or in other cardboard boxes depending on order size and shape. This is affordable, secure, and fast. In Kentucky, transit time is usually 1-2 business days.
In surrounding states most packages reach their destination in 3-5 business days. In other parts of the country packages usually arrive within 4-5 business days. Orders shipped to the West Coast sometimes need to be sent 2-Day Priority/Express and thus may necessitate additional shipping fees that may be requested to complete your order.
When shipping bare-root, all plants roots are packaged securely in moist material and plastic wrappings.
We usually use reused and repurposed plastic packaging material to save lots of plastic waste and reduce costs, when possible. This may appear odd but is saving plastic waste and money, and does a fine job! Plants are shipped bare root in season (February-April).
We abide by state agricultural laws and therefore sometimes must cancel an order if it conflicts with quarantines per your state laws.
Agricultural laws in TX, CA, WA, NV, OR, NM, AZ require that we bare-root ALL plants and trees before shipping from our nursery. Restrictions on certain products vary by state laws (especially on the West Coast) which we must abide by. See individual listings for restrictions in your state. We do not ship live plants to AK, HI, Pacific Islands, PR, WA or ID.
IS YOUR NURSERY STATE CERTIFIED?
Yes, our nursery is State Certified in Kentucky. This means we are licensed by the state to produce and sell plants and nursery stock. Our nursery is inspected to make sure it is free of harmful diseases and invasive insects. We make sure that our nursery stock is clean and healthy anyway, but this simply verifies that status and also means our nursery is legally operating. See our certificate:
What does it mean that we are a Naturally Grown Nursery?
Naturally Grown means that our family farm and nursery is 100% free of synthetic pesticides/ herbicides/ fungicide use, chemical fertilizers, neonictinoids (honey-bee killing products), and genetically-engineered (GMO) plant materials and GMO-derived products. Anything listed on our site as “Naturally Grown” was produced at our nursery and is 100% organically grown. We also partner with several other dependable regional family-owned nurseries who supply some of our high-quality, premium conventional nursery stock we are proud to offer for sale. Any conventionally grown plants we offer can be planted and grown organically with great results!
WHY BARE-ROOT TREES AND PLANTS?
Easy: They are a better and more sustainable option for the planet, a superior product, and cheaper to produce, ship, and for you to purchase!
We offer both potted and bare-root trees, plants and shrubs. In our main nursery season (February-April), we primarily deal with selling and shipping bare-root plant stock. This has several advantages for both you as the customer and us as the nursery.
First, bare-root stock is much more affordable and more environmentally friendly to produce and ship as it does not require plastic pots or potting soil mix and is typically grown in-field. In-field plants will produce a much larger and healthier, more robust and natural root system than what is almost always found with pot-grown plants. These field-grown plants are dug while in a dormant state and shipped to you with moist, intact roots but removed of all heavy soil; greatly reducing shipping costs to you, the customer. This means we can sell you your trees at much reduced prices, typically around 30-50% less than over-sized and unhealthy potted trees which will have much inferior root systems and that have been stressed in their little plastic pots. We then wrap the bare roots with great care and attention in moist material and plastic wrap before shipping them, an essential step inferior nurseries do not take, yet which guarantees them alive and well until planted. This altogether leaves a smaller carbon-footprint, is less fuel-intensive, much more affordable and gives YOU a better tree or plant than you would buy potted in many other nurseries. If planted with care and skill immediately or very soon after arrival, your bare-rooted plants will have a very high probability of thriving in their new home. We regularly witness bare-root stock grow 2-3x as much in a season compared to potted trees on our farm.
A few items, such as our pawpaw trees, do quite well propagated carefully in special pots under specially controlled conditions, and show great results from such care. So, we do offer a few potted products but mostly our plants are sold bare-root.
The picture above shows an example of the premium quality, dormant, ready-to-plant, bare-root berry plants we will be shipping to you. Check out those FULL, robust root systems!
AREN’T BARE-ROOT TREES AND PLANTS LOWER QUALITY AND PRONE TO FAILURE?
Occasionally we hear this concern and it is very valid. There’s a few vital points to understand. First, POOR QUALITY bare-root plants are prone to fail. EXCELLENT QUALITY bare-root plants do extremely well, usually better than potted plants. That is why nearly every farmer and professional grower relies on field-grown bare-root stock to plant their farms and orchards.
The sad truth is, there are a lot of unscrupulous and flat-out CHEATING Internet mail-order nurseries out there. They ship dried out bare-root plants because it is easier and cheaper. We’ve also seen these kind of scam nurseries ship out plants in totally inadequate packaging, like plastic bags stapled together with zero moist packing material. Scam nurseries also routinely ship out severely stressed, damaged or straight-up DEAD plants. Then trying to get a refund or replacement becomes a customer service nightmare. You’re at a dead end, literally.
Let us assure you that’s not us. First, we deal ONLY in high quality, non-stressed, non-damaged plants in excellent condition. Before shipping, we carefully inspect everything before packaging. We toss out a number of plants every year that we think are not up to our high standards upon close inspection. Why would we ship something poor quality out and risk losing you as our customer? Just to make a quick buck? No, we do not do business like that.
We then package plants up very carefully in moist material and plastic, and then box them up to ensure they get to you in excellent shape. Occasionally, we send out a plant that upon planting the customer feels is not satisfactory. This is less than 1% of the plants we ship out. When that happens, as long as proper protocol is followed (see our TERMS page for full details), we are happy to quickly replace or refund the purchase. No customer service games. No dodging your calls and emails. No lame excuses. No word games. Just good plants and good customer service, period. If you’ve had bad experiences before with bare-root, or mail order nurseries, consider giving us a try! We will not disappoint.
The picture above shows an example of the premium quality, filled-out root systems of our bare-root fruit trees we will be shipping to you. Our trees and plants are field-grown in excellent quality soil and have large, solid roots with lots of feeder roots.
What does “grafted” or “grafting” mean?
Grafting is a very important horticultural technique where a small piece of twig from one tree, referred to as a “scion” is surgically connected to a tree or plant used primarily as a root system, called the “rootstock”. It creates a plant which is completely identical in fruit and flower as the one in which the scion came from. In this way, heirloom and other superior fruit trees of any kind can be reproduced and distributed indefinitely. Every time you buy fruit from the grocery store, nearly 100% of it comes from grafted trees. It is the only way superior varieties, such as Stayman Winesap apples, KSU Atwood TM pawpaws, or even good old Granny Smith apples, can be made available. Starting trees from seed is possible too, but gives variable results and takes sometimes a decade or more to see those results and get fruit production. Pawpaws and peaches are two examples of fruits that grow well from seed. Apples and pears vary tremendously when grown from seed and are unreliable. Grafting is a thousands of years’ old technique and is not in any way remotely similar to GMO or bio-engineering of plants. Bio-engineering (GMO) of plants involves artificially inserting genetic material from other species into the genome of the plant. This is not good! We will never carry any GMO products.
How does our nursery differ from others?
We are a small family micro-farm and not a large-scale monoculture nursery. We use no synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides or chemical fungicides of any kind, and are USDA Certified Organic. Because we are small-scale we give extra-special care to every customer as well as every plant we deal with. We never knowingly ship damaged, dead or weakling plants. We are organic fruit farmers, aficionados as well as fruit explorers. We are always searching out new and better fruits, talking to other growers, trialing and testing for better and more reliable superior plants to offer in our nursery to add to yours’ (as well as our own) orchard success. We strive to provide very respectful, timely and excellent customer service to all our clients. To us, you are our client, a person like us and not just another “random customer” or numerical alias.
We want to be YOUR fruit tree nursery, therefore we will provide extra high quality products and services at reasonable prices.
We operate from strict standards of integrity, honesty, old-fashioned hard work and strive to “love our neighbors (and clients) as ourselves!” You can rest assured your dollars spent here are invested back into local goods and services in our community, invested into developing our local organic farm, building a better fruit tree nursery and otherwise providing a living wage income for a simple-living, high-thinking farming family in Kentucky. We appreciate you very much and thank you kindly for your support and business.
I see some of your plants are not USDA organic. Can I grow these organically; or, can I grow these plants on my USDA Organic farm? Are they non-GMO?
First, we ONLY sell and will only ever sell non-GMO plants and plant products. Our nursery strives to only carry the very best quality plants possible. We carry both Naturally Grown plants and premium quality conventionally grown plants and trees. The conventionally grown (non-organic) and Naturally Grown plants and trees CAN be grown organically both in your backyard or on a USDA Certified Organic farm. According to current (2020) USDA guidelines for organic production, conventional plants and seeds CAN be planted and grown to produce USDA Certified Organic products. The conventional plants and trees must be grown for 1 year under organic guidelines in order to be considered “USDA organic”. Please check with your Certifying agent for current guidelines. You must show you’ve checked multiple sources for organic plants and could not find the species or cultivar you needed available as an organic plant. For the backyard grower, just grow these plants organically or however you want, and you can have chemical-free fruit or produce as you like!