I am interested in buying several fruit trees. I'm not yet sure which varieties but I'll definitely be planting at least apple and cherry. Depending on space, price, size of trees I am also considering peach, plum, fig, pear, etc.
Where would you recommend buying a fruit tree from? I'd specifically like to know if there are any places in/around New Jersey so that I could go look at them and pick them up but all recommendations are welcome even if they are not near here.
St. Lawrence Nurseries is in the same time zone as you.... But probably not an easy afternoon drive.
I've just stalked my local Costco when they start getting their shipments of fruit trees in the spring. I need to better mulch and water them this year, but they keep greening up like they should. Takes a few years to get fruit anyway. Besides, the $11-$15/tree price tag for those made me happier than $44/tree (I have more than one).
(If you're curious, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010, and yes, it's a busy house)
I've gotten mine from Jungs, Raintree, and Burnt Ridge. None are local to you, but you might want to check them out.
Jungs is my local garden center, so I've never mail ordered from them, but the trees I've gotten from them are healthy. Their bare root trees are always a very nice size. I've had decent luck with trees I've gotten from them - I did lose one, but it was an end-of-season special, so I didn't have huge hopes for that one anyway.
Raintree is awesome for mail order, but pricey. They have a lot of varieties, many of which might be hard to find at a local nursery. The trees they shipped me came bare-root and were a nice size and very healthy - I haven't lost any of the trees I've gotten from them.
Burnt Ridge is very inexpensive. Their customer service is a little slow, and you'll be very lucky if the (bare-root) whips you get from them are more than 2 feet tall. Sometimes there isn't much of a root on them, either. But, for the price you can get one cherry tree from a regular nursery, you'll get 5 or 6 from Burnt Ridge. I always plan on losing one or two, but I still come out ahead. The small size really doesn't bother me, personally. Since they are so young when you get them, they bounce back pretty quickly from the shock and grow well in my experience.
One place I've never ordered from but always consider is Fedco. They have a great selection of trees and nice prices. If their nursery stock is anything like their seed, I don't think you can go wrong. The only possible drawbacks are that most of their trees seem to be on standard or semi-dwarfing root stock, and they have a pretty narrow window for ordering and shipping.
Thanks, very helpful suggestions! I'll have to go check them all out to see who is carrying what I want and for what I can afford. I was planning on doing cluster planting like suggested on Dave Wilson's site, so I'm not sure how to factor in unsuccessful trees. With his method the cluster of four get planted at the same time, in the same hole (spaced apart). If several don't make it I don't know how successfully I can add another in their place without disturbing the ones that did make it. Hmm. Anyway, off to investigate! Thanks again :-)