Frequently Asked Questions

Do you sell apples?     Yes!  We sell fresh apples by the pound at our farmstand.  We typically have apples starting in late August and running through March the following year. This varies depending on harvest dates and volume.

Do you have a pick your own option?     Unfortunately, we do not.  Our orchard is not set up for pick-your-own. The apples are already picked and sold at the farmstand.

What varieties do you have?     There are so many options, as we have 600+ varieties of apple trees in our orchard, but the quantity of each variety varies year by year. It is best to check out the Farmstand Menu to learn what varieties we currently have available for sale or visit us in the fall for one of our weekend apple tastings and open farmstand.  If you are curious which varieties we grow, check out our cultivar list.

Do you sell culinary grade apples?     Yes, there are several options for ordering apples.  You can subscribe for a fruit membership and request these smaller or slightly blemished fruits as part of your share, you can contact us in August to place an order for apples or you can stop by the farmstand in the fall.

Do you have non-alcoholic cider?     We sure do.  We produce a fresh pressed, UV pasteurized cider in season (late fall to early spring). Please check the Farmstand Menu for availability.

Can you ship apples?     Yes, we can ship to most states. Contact us for details.

Do you have a catalog? We have a convenient, printable catalog that lists our products, but is not updated through the season.

Why do you sell only standard size trees?  Our experience has shown us that there is a much higher probability of a standard tree thriving for most growers in most US regions.  Almost all dwarfing and semi- dwarfing stock are poor candidates for the colder climates. Full vigor, standard trees are much tougher than dwarfing stock. A standard tree growing on a hardy rootstock means less fussing, a more extensive root system for firm anchorage, resistance to drought, and a larger fruit crop.  Standard trees will be the longest lived trees, often living for more than 100 years.   Since we use mostly seedling rootstock to graft our trees, the genetic diversity is greater, helping buffer against disease and pest susceptibility. If you are in a moderate region and have a bit more growing experience, we are happy to custom graft a dwarfing tree for you. Contact us for details.

When will the trees, bushes and vines produce?     Typically, tree fruits will start to bear within 3-5 years, grapes and bushes in 1-2 years.  However, we recommend that you remove plant flowers and do not let your plants make fruit until they are suitably large and strong. In most cases it is wise to pull the fruit for a year or two. Overcropped young plants will be stunted, leading to weaker plants and lower crops in the future.

Do you offer volume discounts?     We are a retail nursery, not wholesale, and do not generally offer volume discounts. But you may find some discounted prices in the product description.  Or we do offer discounted pricing for contract growing, which requires a pre-order a season or two in advance.   Contact us to talk about it.

Do you sell gift certificates?     Yes, gift certificates are a popular option when you are looking for a gift for a new homeowner or to commemorate a special occasion.  And we often do special certificates that are specific to a situation. Examples are having a tree sent for a birthday present, an orchard planted, wedding registry or for a specific service, consultation, or workshop.

When do you ship your plants?     Trees and bushes are generally shipped in late April or early May, unless by arrangement.  Scionwood and rootstock is shipped Feb-May.  The weather plays a critical role in all our scheduling and sometimes spring orders get delayed due to heavy snow or cold temperatures.  If you require a specific arrival date for your plants, let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. And if the weather gets inclement in your area and you would like to postpone your shipment until spring really arrives, just let us know.  You may also request to pick up your plants in person at the nursery.

What can I expect when the order arrives?     Immediately open and inspect the plants. Keep the package cool, humid and avoid freezing if possible.

Most plants are shipped bare root, packaged tightly in a moist packing material in a 4-foot cardboard box.  We sometimes use recycled boxes and packing materials to minimize our ecological footprint.

We include instructions on how to care for your plants before you get them in the ground. Also check out our planting instructions.  Additional information regarding plant needs - zone, sun/shade, soil requirements - can be found by reviewing the product description on our website.

Why can't I get the same type of apple if I plant an apple seed?     When you plant an apple seed, the tree that grows from it will be different than the parents. Similar, but distinct. Think of this as the differences you see in your children.  Nature likes diversity, just not too much, so your child will have similar traits, but their hair, their eyes, and their laugh may be different. So, too with plants, the offspring may have similar tree structure, and flowers, but the fruit may be tarter, redder, or larger. This will be the case with most fruits not just apples.

Will my fruit always be the same, regardless of the pollination partner?     Certainly. Remember, the progeny is the seed, not the fruit. The seed is the baby, and the fruit the cradle. Pollination triggers the fruit to develop around those seeds, but the genes of each are distinct. So, you can have a tiny, sour crabapple pollinate your Honeygold apple, but the Honeygold will always taste the same. In fact, a plant may have a great many different pollination partners in a season and every single fruit will taste and look exactly the same. Weird, huh?

If every apple seed planted creates a different kind of apple, how did we wind up with such nice, neat rows of categorized orchard apples today? What about other species?     Well, for at least 3,000 years, humans have been propagating their favorite fruit varieties through a process called grafting.  By cutting a thin branch (called a scion) from one apple tree and inserting it into a cut in another tree’s trunk (this is called the rootstock) you can essentially make a new copy of the old tree. This is a form of cloning. The two parts heal together, but never mix genes. This is called a chimera, and it happens naturally in nature all the time. Reproducing by cuttings (as with grapes or elderberries) is also cloning- the genetics are identical- but in this case grafting is not needed as the cutting produces its own roots. These are some of the methods we use at WHNO to make your plants. Without it we would surely have more diversity, but the only folks to enjoy those fruits would be in the neighborhood of that one tree or bush, and when the plant died the fruit variety would be extinct. We grow cultivars here that are 500 years old.

What else do I need to know about your trees?     All trees are on hardy rootstock that will yield a standard size tree.  Mature trees will generally reach a height anywhere from 20 to 35 feet and should be spaced at least 30 feet apart in full sun. With proper pruning trees can be maintained at a much lower height. This can mean closer spacing, but be intelligent about distances as crowding can lead to frustration later on. Most fruit trees benefit by having a different variety of tree nearby for pollination.

How do I select fruit trees & plants that are right for my orchard?     There are several basic questions to answer before deciding on varieties of fruit to plant:

  • What are your goals?
  • Do you want apples for eating fresh, for cooking, or for making cider?
  • Is it important to you to have pears or plums for canning or for eating fresh?
  • Are you planning a commercial-scale venture, or do you just want to spend a few hours a week caring for your orchard?

Next, consider your region, and search for varieties known to do well there – do you need something cold tolerant, disease resistant, etc.  For more info, read the choosing the best plants how to guide.

Also, consider bloom time and if the varieties you would like are self-pollinating, or require one or more other cultivars to pollinate successfully.  For diploid or triploid cultivars, look for one or two other members of that same species that bloom in the same time frame. These time frames may be referred to descriptively (early summer, late fall, mid fall, etc.).

If you need some guidance, we offer consulting services to help you make the best decision for your future orchard.

Do you sell scionwood?     Yes, and we offer hundreds of varieties of apple scionwood.  Please visit our scionwood page.

How big will my new trees be?  Do I need a trailer to transport them?     In general, the trees will be between 3 and 6 feet tall/long.  If they are being shipped to you, they will not be longer than 4 feet, and if you are picking up, they can be trimmed to fit in your vehicle. Most trees are well feathered (branched) but some varieties make few branches when young.   Shipped trees and those picked up at the nursery in the spring will be bare root, with a bag/mulch to protect the roots.  Trees purchased at the nursery from June – October are potted.

How many trees or bushes do I have to plant for pollination?     Most fruit species require 2 different varieties for pollination to ensure fruit production. For example, two apple trees but with different names (i.e., Honeygold and Cortland). There is more to learn on the subject, so read further at choosing the best plants.

Is there a guarantee on your trees & plants?     All plants are carefully inspected before shipment and assured of good health. Once plants leave the nursery, we do not accept returns, however if a problem should occur let us know as soon as possible so that we can determine the cause and resolve the issue.  We make sure customers are happy in the case of a problem, and we will work together on a fair solution. It is important to check shipped packages immediately, and to follow all planting and care instructions.

How can I learn more about growing fruit?     Having a bit of help and training, especially when beginning as a fruit grower, is the best way to ensure success of your planting. Most folks spend their whole budget on plants, but the best money is spent on planning, preparation, amendments, and most importantly knowledge.  Take a look at the consultation page for details, you might consider attending a workshop or reading a few good books.

What shipping service do you use?     We use the US Postal Service Priority Mail for shipping orders.  Our rural location makes it difficult to ship using multiple shipping organizations, which may mean that you will need to have orders sent to a secondary address if USPS does not deliver direct to you.   We cannot send an order to a USPS non-deliverable address or P.O. Box.  It is best to unpack your order the day it arrives and follow the enclosed care instructions.  If the plants or the box arrive damaged, please let us know.

Do you ship to other countries?     Certain products can be shipped anywhere in the world (tools, books, seeds) but we cannot ship live plants outside of the U.S.

Are your plants certified organic?     Yes, everything we offer on the website is certified organic and grown on our farm.  Occasionally we sell non-GMO, uncertified stock from a trusted source at the nursery. More about organic regulations can be found be found at Organic Rules.

I am an organic farm and need proof your stock is organic.    View a copy of our organic certification

Can I plant in a wet area?     Yes, but the plant choices are extremely limited. Be cautious of sources telling you to plant fruit trees and larger growing shrubs in a wet area, you cannot.  Some smaller rooted bush fruits can be grown on raised regions in a wet area (we can show you how), but most plant species will suffer in soggy places without proper preparation.  You do have the option of making some physical changes to the larger landscape to allow for more plant options. This would include ditching, laying drain tile, creating islands, etc. If you have wet areas you would like to develop, please consider hiring us for a consultation. With careful management and solid intent, you can do a lot to turn the land you have into a productive and beautiful orchard.

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