Buying and ordering trees
Thank you for your interest in our nursery! Unfortunately, due to the strict regulations regarding the export of fruit trees, we are not able to ship fruit trees to the United States or outside of Canada, with a few extremely rare exceptions. If you are in the United States, we strongly suggest looking up St Lawrence Nurseries, who carry many of the same cultivars as we do and have a very similar ethos.
During the season for ordering trees, which is from January until May, there will be times when stock is unavailable or when we have limited quantities that sell out quickly. This can be for a number of reasons, most of them to do with the challenges of producing trees from start to finish using only organic methods, and being a small team.
For example, since we produce all our trees ourselves and source the vast majority of our seeds from our local environment, there are occasionally years when we cannot source as many seeds for production as we would like. Climatic conditions such as late frosts, insect damage, drought, etc, can also sometimes affect production, despite our best efforts to protect our trees in these situations.
Finally, in recent years there has been a marked increase in demand for food-producing trees. While we have been doing our best to increase production to meet demand, we remain a relatively small team, and we do not want to sacrifice the quality of our product for the sake of increasing in quantity.
The best time to order is as early as possible within the period when we are open for orders (January to May). This is when there will be the best choice and availability. Generally, if a particular tree is not available in early January, it means that it will not be available at all this season: you should not expect it to become available later in spring, unless there is a cancellation.
Since we aim to sell everything we produce each year, it is normal that as the season for orders continues, more and more trees will sell out. If you order in mid-May, which is the end of the season for us, it is likely that many trees will be sold out.
Bare root trees can only be transplanted while they are dormant. This dictates the way that our nursery works and the times at which we can ship trees and take orders. During the summer, we plant, graft and cultivate the trees that we will ship the following spring. The trees cannot be transplanted during summer, or they will die of transplant shock. Until we dig up the trees in fall and make an inventory of them, we do not know exactly how many we have to sell. This is why we can only take orders starting from January. We ship the trees in spring as soon as it is a suitable time for planting the trees at your place – that is, when the snow has melted. Orders can be made from January until around May, but the earlier you order, the more choice you will have, as many of our trees will sell out late in the season.
Sorry, but it is not possible for us to reserve trees before they become available online. We suggest waiting until our website opens for orders in January, and ordering early to avoid disappointment.
For some of our trees, yes. If bulk prices are available for a particular item, they are listed in its product description. The availability of bulk prices depends on how many of a particular item we have available, which varies somewhat from year to year.
Sorry, but we cannot accept orders of less than $100 (before taxes and transport). This is mainly due to the amount of time needed for each order in administration and customer service, as well as packaging costs. Also, the cost of shipping is more or less equal for one tree and for 10 trees. This means that if you only order one tree, you will be paying at least as much in shipping as for the tree itself. We hope you understand. If you only need one tree, we suggest making a joint order with some relatives or friends, in order to reach the minimum $100 order. (and split the cost of shipment).
About our trees
Bare-root trees might be smaller than the large potted specimens you find in garden centres, but they are vigorous and strong, and have well-developed root systems, which potted trees can sometimes lack . Our trees have grown at their natural rate in a zone 4 climate, with the help of only compost, mulch and other natural methods to help them grow their best. They might surprise you with how quickly they will match the size of any tree from a garden centre.
We do not produce any apple trees on dwarf rootstock. For similar reasons, we do not produce any columnar trees. All our trees are on standard sized rootstock which we grow from seed, for several reasons including their superior longevity, greater cold-resistance and ease of maintenance. Dwarf rootstocks may suit commercial orchards in relatively warm climates, but they are much harder to maintain and more fragile than standard-sized trees. With rigorous pruning, standard sized apple trees can be kept to the size of a semi-dwarf tree. You can read more about this topic here.
In principle any apple, pear or plum trees are suitable for espalier. Many people have purchased our trees for this purpose in the past. However, this is not something we have done ourselves with our trees, so we cannot give detailed advice from experience.
We do NOT suggest planting any of our trees in a pot or growing them indoors. Our trees have been grown outdoors and are suitable for planting in the soil, outdoors. These trees need to experience winter, and if they are kept in warm temperatures all year they will very probably die. Growing trees in pots properly is an art. If not done perfectly, it may prevent them from developing a healthy root system, and even if they are only kept in a pot for a year or two, their long term health may be compromised. Moreover, the soil in pots dries out very quickly and becomes very hot (especially in black pots), and if you happen to forget to water the potted tree often enough, it can easily die of dehydration. See this article for more details on the difference between bare-root trees and potted trees.
Sadly, no: these kinds of trees lack the cold-hardiness we need for trees growing in northern climates. While many nurseries and garden centres do sell trees that grow in warmer climate centres, we specialise in trees that can be grown outdoors, without winter protection, in zone 4 or colder. (Some people say that they can grow peach trees in zone 4, but this tends to involve a significant amount of work to protect the trees during the winter, and even then, one exceptionally cold winter may still kill the tree that is not cold-resistant enough.) If we cannot grow something ourselves in zone 4, Quebec, we do not sell it.
Planning a plantation of fruit trees
This is a question we are often asked, and the short answer is: it depends.
The plan you will make for your orchard or food forest depends on so many factors: what kind of soil do you have? How much sunlight? Most fruit trees need well-drained soil and a lot of sun, but some shrubs can grow in more humid soil and semi-shade. What is your cold hardiness zone? How much space do you have available? And most importantly, what do you envisage for your orchard and what is your plan for it? Are the fruit just for you and your family, to share with your community, or to produce commercially? Do you intend to eat the fruit fresh? Is it for storage, for making preserves, or a combination of the above?
In short, it is not easy to make recommendations for an orchard plan, and our best advice is to spend some time yourself thinking about all these various questions, getting to know your land and your soil, and researching different types of fruit to see which sound like they are suitable for you. You can also check our tutorials and resources page for more ideas and information. It takes time to plan well for a plantation of fruit trees, particularly if you wish to plant a lot, but it is really worth the effort! Once you have a good understanding of your aims and needs, don’t hesitate to contact us by phone or email to discuss your project: we will be happy to help you to make good choices.
Most berry bushes remain quite small, so they are ideal for small spaces. Grape vines are also good for small spaces, as they climb on a fence and therefore do not take up much space. You can use the filters on this page to see all our trees that take up the least space.
If you are new to fruit trees, pollination can be a confusing topic! The main thing to remember is that – in most cases – if a tree is listed as ‘self-sterile’ it needs a different tree of the same species to pollinate it. An apple tree won’t pollinate a pear tree, but neither will two Collet apple trees pollinate each other. But with a Collet apple tree and a Wolf River apple tree (or any other apple tree different from Collet) you are good to go! If a tree is listed as ‘self-fertile’ it means it can produce fruit even when it is alone, but will still benefit from a pollinator. Plum tree pollination is a little different, and there are a few other things to know, so if you want to understand properly how pollination works (which is a good idea!) we recommend reading our article on it.
Hardiness zones are a way to make it easy to find trees and plants that will grow in your region. Every region is designated with a particular hardiness zone indicating how harsh the climate is in that region. Each tree species is likewise given a zone number, which indicates the coldest zone in which that tree can grow. Zones range from 0 to 9, with 0 being the coldest and 9 the warmest. For example, a tree labelled ‘hardy in zone 3’ can be planted in zones 3-9, but not in zone 2, 1 or 0.
If your town is in zone 3, you need trees that are hardy to either 3, 2, or 1. For detailed information on hardiness zones, and to find out what zone you are in if you don’t know, see our article on the subject.
Caring for young trees
So the first thing we have to say here is: DON’T PANIC 🙂
In the vast majority of cases, no, the tree is not dead, it is still dormant. All you need to do is wait, continue to water it and keep an eye on it, and before long you will be rewarded with green shoots appearing.
There can be a few reasons why trees are delayed in waking up their buds after winter, including
1) Newly planted trees may have suffered some transplant shock, and are needing to get their roots established and recover before putting forth new leaves
2) A particularly harsh or prolonged winter which has delayed the spring in your area
3) Some trees simply take longer to wake up than others – for example grapevines and walnuts are always among the latest to open their buds.
Despite our best efforts to ensure the health of our trees, it can occasionally happen that a tree does not wake up even when it is perfectly cared-for. If you are concerned that a tree might be dead, a test you can do is to scratch the bark and check if it is green underneath – if it is green, then it means the wood is alive and the tree will bud out soon.
In all cases, do not dig up your tree, wait and give it a chance to wake up. If one month after planting it it has still not budded out, please do contact us and let us know.
We do everything we can to make sure that our trees are healthy when they reach you. Our aim is to produce trees that are tough and can genuinely thrive wherever they are planted. We guarantee that our trees arrive healthy and in good condition, and if this is not the case we will gladly replace them or reimburse you. However, we also ask you to do your part by planting the tree according to our instructions and caring for it well.
If you think one of your trees might be dead, we suggest waiting for a while to give it every chance to start sprouting. Do not dig it up! You can read more details on our guarantee policy, and instructions on reporting a dead tree, here.
Protecting young fruit trees from deer is not easy, and there is no one completely foolproof solution. Generally a combination of measures seems to be most effective. The best protection appears to be a tall wire mesh fence (at least 8 feet, ideally 10) around the perimeter of your property. Electric fences and invisible fences made of fishing line can also be used as a less expensive option. A well-trained dog can be very helpful, especially in areas with moderate deer pressure. There also exist many types of repellents that can be attached to trees or sprayed on them (those we have used with some success include dog hair, soap and a motion detector attached to a radio!) – with the main disadvantages of this being that most of them must be reapplied regularly, and deer tend to get used to them after a while. The following links have very good and thorough information about deer protection:
Taking care of young trees falls into two main categories: protecting them from things that will harm them, and giving them the conditions they need to develop and grow well. The main things you will need to do to help a tree that has just been planted are: 1) water it regularly for at least two months in the absence of constant rain; 2) feed it with compost or manure in the spring 3) keep it at least reasonably clear of weeds; 4) protect it during winter against rodents and 5) prune it correctly, especially removing shoots from below the graft.
You may contact us and we will be happy to help, if we know what the problem is and how to solve it. Our advice will be somewhat limited by what we have experienced and researched ourselves, so we are not guaranteed to have detailed knowledge about your problem. We also limit ourselves in terms of the types of solutions we apply, as we wish to ensure that while protecting our trees to the best of our ability, we should still act with respect towards all life on our land. Therefore we do not have much experience (and can’t give advice) on techniques or solutions that do not fit with this vision. There are some very good online resources where you can inform yourself about the various kinds of insects or diseases that may be attacking your trees; online forums can also be very helpful. Some of the best resources on this subject include the following:
(for apples mainly, but much of the same advice would also apply to pear and plum)
If you understand French and live in Quebec or Ontario, this newsletter will send you updates and warnings about pests that have been reported in your area, and let you know when conditions are favourable for particular diseases. (Even if you don’t understand French, it might be worthwhile subscribing and using Google translate!)
Shipment and pick-up
When you order trees, you can choose your preferred shipping date at checkout. It’s a good idea to note it down in your calendar to remind yourself. If you have lost your shipping date, you can find it in the top right-hand corner of the invoice that you were sent, or by logging in to your online account. We ship weekly in late April and throughout the month of May, always on Mondays (or Tuesdays if Monday happens to be a public holiday).
We ship orders with Canada Post (Accelerated or Express) all over Canada, except to British-Columbia because of its specific rules and regulations regarding fruit trees imports. Depending on your location, you should receive them within 1 to 7 days. We always ship trees on a Monday or Tuesday, so they spend a minimum of time at the post office. We have full details about how our trees are packed and shipped, including details on shipping fees, in this article.
Our trees are carefully packaged to ensure they reach their destination without damage. The roots are packed with moist sawdust to avoid drying. We use a very similar system in cases where we need to store trees during winter, and it has always given very reliable results with no dry roots. We have also tested (VERY thoroughly) the durability of our packages, and are pretty convinced that they can withstand even the most extreme maltreatment! In the very unlikely event your trees arrive damaged or in poor condition, please contact us and we will replace them or reimburse you in full.
Yes, we will be very happy to see you! We will be open on the first weekend of May, when you can come to pick up your trees directly at the nursery, and purchase other trees if you wish. If you cannot make it for that date, you can make an appointment to pick up your trees at a later date.
Many people contact us to ask this question when they have received their package from us, but have not unwrapped it yet. If this is your case, all you need to do is unwrap your package: although it may look small, all the trees you ordered are really inside! Our parcels are very compact, and the package that really contains all the trees you ordered may appear like it contains only one. However, we are not immune to mistakes. If you have opened your package and checked through all your trees, and you are sure that there is something missing, please contact us and we will do our best to make it right.
Changes to our website
We have taken the decision to reduce the number of different trees we offer for several reasons that have to do with our constant efforts to improve the quality and consistency of our production. Most of the trees that are no longer available on our new website have been removed for one of the following reasons:
- We lack a reliable source of seeds and can therefore not guarantee their availability year after year
- There is very low demand for them in comparison to the time it takes us to produce them.
- After further tests and experience over the years, they don’t quite meet our standard for hardiness or disease-resistance.
As much as we love receiving visitors, and sharing our passion for what we do, we are unable to accommodate any such requests. This is due to the limited resources we have available to maintain the nursery, orchard and vegetable garden. However, if you and a group of friends (at least 5) are interested in coming to help us out for one day, we are open to this. We also accept interns and volunteers for longer periods of time. Please contact us if you are interested.
Identification of specific cultivars is extremely difficult, and is definitely not possible when working only from a photograph. There exist hundreds if not thousands of apple cultivars, for instance, not counting those that grow from seed and are unique. We advise enjoying the fruit on your trees, regardless of what its name might be!
Sorry, but we do not sell either scion wood or seeds: everything we do sell is available here on our website.
While we cannot make available all the trees in our experimental orchard, we will be offering a selection of them each year, you can find them here. Note that this selection will change year after year, and we are unable to provide photographs and complete descriptions for all of them. If a tree is not listed in our collection section or on our website, we will not have it available this year.