When you buy your fruit tree from Orange Pippin we will refund or replace it if it fails to grow away in the spring - but you must contact us before the end of June if you notice a problem. For problems arising after June in the year of planting we will offer a discount on a replacement or a partial refund.
Our replacement guarantee only applies to trees supplied to retail customers in the continental United States (excluding Alaska). All other areas are excluded.
Conditions and exclusions
PLEASE DO NOT WAIT UNTIL SUMMER TO TELL US THAT SOMETHING HAS GONE WRONG WITH YOUR TREE AFTER PLANTING.
- It is essential that you tell us as soon as a problem arises. Most problems occur in spring, and can usually be resolved then. If you spot a problem, don't wait and "give the tree a chance", contact us.
- Problems reported to us after the end of June in the season of planting are not covered by this guarantee because the tree will have been in your care for many months by then.
- If your tree dies in its second growing season after planting we will offer a discount on the price of a replacement or similar tree.
- Trees lost as a result of winter weather ("winter kill") in the winter after planting are not covered, although we will offer a discount on the price of replacements.
- The guarantee does not apply to subsequent trees, since successive failures may indicate a local problem at your planting location.
- Similarly, if several trees of the same type die in the same way at the same time we will review possible causes with you.
- It does not cover trees grown-on in pots or containers, because of the likelihood that trees will die as a result of a lapse in watering. (It is certainly possible to grow dwarf trees in containers though, provided you can keep them regularly watered and have the right soil / compost mix).
- It does not cover damage by animals or insect pests, or accidental damage such as that caused by strimmers or weedkillers. We will reserve judgement on the use of neem oil, but note that we have found it is often a culprit in trees with leaf problems.
- It does not cover damage or loss of the tree as a result of diseases in your local area such as fireblight, cedar rust, canker or similar problems. (However it is very unusual for a young newly-planted tree to catch fatal diseases).
- It does not cover trees planted in the fall, we recommend spring planting.
- It does not cover trees transplanted later in the spring after they have come out of dormancy.
- You must make sure that your planting area is suitable for the trees you have chosen, the soil conditions are within normal ranges of pH and salinity, and the variety / rootstock is suitable for your climate and local disease pressures. Contact us in advance of ordering if you have any questions in this regard.
- We do expect you to take reasonable care in planting and looking after the tree, especially watering and weeding, and to alert us promptly if there are any issues. We have many articles about growing and caring for your new fruit trees, and you can contact us online or by phone for specific advice.
- We might not always have the same variety and format to offer an exact replacement, if so we will suggest a similar tree or a refund. We also reserve the right to offer a full refund rather than a replacement.
What can go wrong when you plant a fruit tree?
Here are the 3 most common reasons why a new fruit tree will fail to grow:
- Inadequate watering during the spring and summer of the first and second year after planting. When the tree comes out of winter dormancy it immediately places a demand for water on the roots, and until the roots have fully established (which can take a couple of years) they may not be able to cope without extra watering. If a tree dies quickly in the early spring this is by far the most common cause. In warm or dry weather your new tree may need watering every day, not just once a week.
- The tree is surrounded by grass and weeds. Young trees are unable to compete with other vegetation until they are fully established. Try to keep an area of clear ground with a diameter of 3ft around the base of the tree, at least for the first few years.
- Failure to carry out the important initial pruning after planting can often prevent the tree from getting going in the spring.
Customers that water their trees regularly and keep weeds and pests away generally don't have problems.
Some other common problems to be aware of:
- Planting trees in containers. Most fruit trees will grow happily in containers, provided they are large enough, have the correct soil mix, and are properly watered. However they can die surprisingly quickly over the spring and summer if they are not regularly watered, or if the pot is too small.
- The tree is poorly supported or leaning over, which prevents its roots establishing.
- The tree has been eaten by deer or rabbits - this seems to only happen to customers who plant the tree the day it arrives and promise themselves they will put some animal protection around it the next day … Fortunately this sort of damage is usually not fatal if spotted quickly and further attacks prevented.
- Accidents with strimmers A young tree will often recover from strimmer damage, but it can provide an entry point for diseases.
- If your tree is planted in a lawn, be careful not to allow lawn fertilizers or weedkillers to drift on to the tree.
- Various fungal disease problems, which tend to be location or climate-specific. If spotted early enough these can usually be dealt with before they overwhelm the new tree.
- Very cold winter weather can sometimes kill young fruit trees. Try protecting them with horticultural fleece, although this is not always possible. The main danger is cold air temperatures - a deep layer of snow will often help insulate the tree.
- Do not prune a newly-planted tree in late spring or summer, particularly if it is struggling. Pruning will not stimulate more growth at this stage, it will simply weaken the tree.
Some of the more unusual reasons why trees have failed:
- Keeping the tree indoors over the winter because it was 'too cold outside'. Never try to keep fruit trees in a heated house over winter.
- Digging up the tree in mid-spring to move it to a new location. This is almost guaranteed to kill a new tree. If you need to move a tree after planting, wait until it is dormant, and get in touch with us for further advice.
So, if my tree doesn't look happy what should I do?
Contact us as soon as you notice a problem. Time really is of the essence with fruit tree problems and the sooner you let us know the more chance there is to put things right, especially in the spring when new trees should be growing at a rapid rate. Do not wait until the end of the season to tell us about a problem that your first noticed in the spring, as this will invalidate our guarantee - we would much rather have a false alarm than be told too late.
Send us photos showing the entire tree (including the soil), and also the tips of the main shoots. It is sometimes difficult to focus a camera on a thin shoot tip, so ask a friend to hold the shoot so that the camera has an arm or hand to focus on. If you have planted several trees, send photos of the others as well, because they can sometimes give valuable clues about local factors that might be causing problems.
Even if you just want some reassurance, or have concerns about the way the tree is growing, please get in touch.
What about the longer term?
Our service doesn't stop after we have delivered your tree, or even after the first year that your tree is in the ground. If your tree dies in its second or third growing seasons after planting, we will offer a discount on a replacement.
Many customers stay in touch, sending us photos of their trees as they grow to maturity, or asking for ongoing advice about pruning and training.
One of the advantages of buying fruit trees from us is that you can become part of the Orange Pippin community. You can register your trees on our sister website and record blossom and harvest details, and compare your trees with those of other growers.
We want you to be successful in growing and harvesting your new fruit trees. We offer our guarantee because we are confident in the quality of the trees we supply, and in the advice and information we provide to help you plant and nurture them to maturity. However young fruit trees are surprisingly robust and it is actually very rare for a tree to fail to establish.