Help & FAQ

New to bareroot?

The photo to the left shows an example of bareroot trees: from left to right, there are four 1m+ whips, then a 6' bamboo stake, followed by one 50-80cm grade whip, next to an order of 5 bareroot trees ready for pick up, followed by an example of two 1m+ branched grade trees. Much like humans, different varities naturally have different levels of vigour/height. Think of the shortest person you know compared to the tallest. Both are homines, with natural variation, just like Malus domestica and every other species.

Seedlings range from 15-90cm above the roots (compared to grafted fruit trees which includes roots).

Understand your options before you plan (or plant!) your orchard

Before you order... basic fruit tree options

Are all of your trees available on dwarf, semi-dwarf, and full/standard rootstock?

Short answer: no

Very few of our trees are available on all three sizes of rootstock. If you check our catalogue, either the variety description or the description for each species of tree will let you know what rootstock a given tree is grafted onto. 

Most of our apple trees are grafted onto dwarf and semi-dwarf rootstock. A few may be only available on dwarf or semi-dwarf rootstock and we have a small number of varieties available on full-size rootstock.

Pears are primarily grown on full-size rootstock but there are a few varieties available as dwarf and semi-dwarf trees. 

All of our stone fruits are only available on full-size rootstock. In some cases, specific varieties like Compact Stella and Compact Van sweet cherries naturally stay at a smaller size regardless of this.

What is the difference between bareroot and potted plants?

There are several main differences between bareroot and potted plants, namely: how they are packaged, size and age, transplantability, price, and shipping.

Packaging: Potted plants are, as the title suggests, plants that are in plastic pots while bareroot plants have no soil or pots, just their bare roots. We package our bareroot plants in plastic bags with damp sawdust around their roots to prevent them from drying out while they are waiting to be planted. We reuse our pots and welcome returns.

Size and Age: Our potted stock is typically 1-2 years older than bareroot plants and may start bearing fruit a bit sooner, however as potted trees tend to be more stressed out (any tree typically prefers to be planted in the ground rather than potted), they may require a longer period of acclimation to the new soil, giving bareroot trees the advantage in the end.

Transplantability: Although potted plants tend to be bigger, we find that bareroot plants tend to transplant more readily, adapting to their new environment faster and making up for the difference in growth over time. However, bareroot plants should be planted within a few days while potted plants can stay in their pot for up to a year. 

Price: Bareroot plants are cheaper than potted plants since they require less time, care, and materials on our part. Our wholesale and quantity discounts only apply to bareroot plants although we generally have smaller seasonal quantity discounts for potted plants as well.

Shipping: While we are able to ship our bareroot plants, we are unable to ship our potted plants due to the weight and bulkiness of the pots. We ship across Canada with the exception of British Columbia, due to CFIA regulations.

Can I grow fruit trees in pots?

Yes, fruit trees can be grown in pots, but not without extra work. Figs are well suited to container growing, and many smaller plants like berries can grow happily in a pot as well. If you are growing grafted fruit trees in a pot, you must select a tree that is grafted onto dwarf rootstock, and the pot should be at least 40-50 gal or bigger. They will need additional care such as extra watering, fertilization, and being brought inside a garage or garden shed in the winter to ensure the roots don’t freeze, but it receives its required chill hours.

The vast majority of fruit trees we sell are planted directly in the ground, so we are not experts on growing them in pots. We strongly recommend doing your own research beforehand - it is considerably more work to grow fruit trees in pots than it is to plant them in the earth.

 

What are plant hardiness zones?

Plant hardiness zones are a useful tool for estimating what plants can grow in a given area. In Canada, plant hardiness zones are divided from 0 (coldest) to 8 (mildest), so the lower the number the colder the area. Find your hardiness zone HERE or do a quick online search with the keywords '[your municipality] plant hardiness zone.' 

In each plant's description we include the minimum plant hardiness zone that it can grow in. A plant will grow in an area that is up to three zones warmer (but may become mealy/not ripen properly) but cannot grow in a colder zone unless it is given special care. 

It is also important to note that microclimate can affect the zones on a specific property! Two properties listed as being in the same zone may not be able to grow the exact same plants if one is more exposed to harsh winter conditions while the other is sheltered, for example. Keep your property and geographic features like elevation, hills, and proximity to bodies of water in mind when selecting plants.

Why do people graft trees instead of growing them from seeds?

We graft fruit trees for the following reasons:

  • To control fruit quality
  • To control disease resistance
  • To get fruit sooner

The grafting process allows us to essentially create clones of a tree, allowing us to produce the exact same variety every time. If you grow a fruit tree from seed, the resulting tree is a combination of the genetic materials of the parent tree that bore the fruit and the parent tree that pollinated this tree, creating an entirely new variety. With apples especially, the seedling tree often will vary noticeably from its parents and the fruit may not be very good for consumption.

Although growing fruit trees from seed can be an exciting surprise, trees can take over 10 years to begin producing and grow to an unmanageable size, all to end up yielding small, bitter tasting fruit with mealy texture.

With grafting we can ensure that if you are interested in a Golden Russet tree that only grows 10'/2m tall, you are getting exactly that.

Are your plants grown organically?

Yes! While we are not certified organic, we have had no prohibited substances on the fields since 2016, and we grow all of our plants with natural and organic inputs to ensure our plants are grown in a manner that is sustainable and ecologically friendly. All of our fertilizer is completely natural and we primarily use our Holistic Spray to deal with pests and diseases, although if a serious pest comes through we use organic treatments only as needed to minimize harm to other species. Wayne installed about 30 birdhouses in the orchard and nursery last year, and we've been planting in the fence lines around with mixed species of trees and bushes to encourage helpful birds and animals.

We are also working on introducing animals into the growing process where possible: Zack raises meat birds for sale, Wayne has eggs he sells on the side, and we pastured 3 heritage pigs last year (and hope to again this coming year) for personal use in the cover crop fields.

However, a small selection of our plants (namely some berries, sweet cherries and peaches) are sourced from local nurseries where they are grown using conventional means. We are working towards eliminating this need from other suppliers, as we prefer to sell only organically grown plants, however Mother Nature takes her time to grow our propagation material! If you want to ensure you are only getting plants we have grown, let us know and we are happy to accommodate you and provide an affidavit upon request!

Fruit trees are an investment. It pays to do it right the first time!

Before you Order... planning for success

Before you order: Top 10 Considerations

Top 10 Backyard Food Forest Planning Tips

1) What's your style? Conventional or natural?
With more and more talk on organics, natural farming and all things in between, we have never been more connected and able to share information and our experiences. You CAN grow fruit/food naturally, with no chemicals. I do not have a pesticide license, and I grow fruit trees. I respect that this is completely a personal choice, and both methods have some pros and cons depending on your metrics.
2) What do you want to do with your fruit?
Eat it fresh, dried, cooked, canned, as a sauce, brewed into cider or made into schnapps? The possibilities are endless and choosing which applications you want to grow fruit for is the first step in choosing varieties. Our catalogue contains this information to help you choose the fruit varieties you want.  For the more serious grower, researching more than just the use is important (to consider growing habits, etc.) but figuring out what you want from the tree in the end is a great place to start. 
3) How much time do you want to spend on your orchard?
Do you envision yourself tenderly picking each bug off your fruit, spraying some substance to dissuade would-be fruit pests, or completely letting nature do its thing? All are fine options, but I wouldn't recommend peaches or Honeycrisp apples to the 100% naturalist. If you are committed and super keen, grow whatever you like! If you are more middle of the road, like myself, consider choosing disease resistant varieties. Putting time and effort in to do your homework before planting will set yourself up to ease down the road. For example, don't plant the peach in the open pasture so you have to wrap it, mulch it heavily, and coddle it through winter, when you could have planted it in the shelter of the windbreak on the hill, where frost won't bite off its early blossoms. Also, look up your temperature zone. This is a good indicator of what you can or can't grow. That said, the intrepid gardener knows you can grow just about anything anywhere; where there's a will, there is a way! 
4) How long do you want to wait for fruit?
Most berries, peaches, apricots, some apples, and sour cherries will see some fruit in their first 2-4 years. However, you can expect 5-7 years for sweet cherries, some apples, and pears. Saskatoons can take up to 15 years to come into full production. That said, within each type of fruit, so much can vary. Apples are a good example; Norland and Yellow Transparent tend to bear within 3 years, and are called 'precocious', while other varieties, like Honeycrisp, can take 7 years or more. On top of that, how active you are as an orchardist will also make an impact. The diligent orchardist will prune and nurture their tree into bearing earlier, while more easy going folks may have to wait a bit longer if they leave it up to Mother Nature. The variety of rootstock plays a roll too, particularly for apples: dwarf rootstocks will bear sooner, where semi-dwarfs have more vegetative growth to make before they focus on fruit production.
5) How high do you want to reach?
Apple trees range from approximately 8' to 20' but within those values, dwarf apples grow about 8' to 10', semi-dwarfs around 12' to 15', and full size will approximately 15' to 20'. We graft the remaining types of fruit onto full size rootstock for maximum winter hardiness, thus: pears are around 16' to 20', plums are about 18' to 20', sour cherries 12' to 15', sweet cherries 16' to 20', peaches 12' to 16', quince 12' to 16'. Between each type of fruit, different varieties have different levels of vigor and will grow to slightly different heights, which can also fluctuate based on soil health and location. That said, you can keep your trees to nearly any size with diligent pruning; though fruit production might suffer if you are too aggressive. Make these pruning cuts while the tree is dormant in February-March. 
6) How many trees do you want?
Sometimes it's preferable to have more trees in a tight space for the collectors sake of maximizing cultivars (and the more pollinators, the merrier!), despite the additional work of staking your dwarf trees. Thanks to our ability to graft, 4 or more dwarf trees can fit where one semi-dwarf stands. Conversely, it also gets 4x or more expensive. But yet another thing to consider on the financial end: if you are thinking of getting (for example) 20 trees anyways, with the price difference between 20 trees with the quantity discount at 15% off and 50 trees at wholesale pricing of about 50% off, it might just be worth it in the end.
7) How much space do you have?
If you have lots of space, I encourage planting full size or semi-dwarf trees. They will last longer and they fit in well with organic/permaculture style orchards or food forests, where you can add helpful plants such as comfrey, horseradish, berries, etc. between the trees. Dwarf orchards are well suited to intensive plantings as close as 2' together and conventional management styles for ease of picking and spray regimes. Dwarf trees (avoiding tip bearing varieties like Golden Russet) are prized also for espaliering (training) against/or as, a wall or fence. Some spur bearing varieties that are particularly suited for it are Golden Delicious, Cox Orange Pippin, Egremont Russet, Freyburg, Belle de Boskoop and Liberty. 
8) What is your budget?
Besides the obvious price break for quantity and wholesale orders, something to consider when planting an orchard is how much bang for your buck you'll end up with. For example, planting peach trees can add up quick in dollar value, compared to the modest apple. But, how can you resist an aromatic, succulent, tree-ripened peach grown in your own backyard?!
Planting a dwarf tree will yield less fruit than a semi-dwarf, and live a shorter life. If you are trying to maximize the amount of fruit you will get to the cost, I advise sticking with semi-dwarf or full size trees, with some berries on the side (currants or raspberries, etc) which are easy to propagate more once you have a mother plant established, if desired.
9) What flavours/textures do you like?
Sweet, tart, mild, crunchy, softer, a bit of bitterness or full of flavour? Different types of fruit suits different needs, and one size doesn't fit all. This largely applies to fresh eating, but if you have a specific quality that you prize, do a little research and make sure your getting what you want.
This past season, the plums blew me away: yellow-skinned, super sweet, melting flesh (Mirabelle), little blue-skinned sweet, spicy and juicy (Krikon Damson), small blue-skinned flavourful and jammy (Mount Royal), big red delightfully sweet-tang and winey (Waneta), large purple-red skin with juicy sweet flesh (Yakima). And as always, everything has more pizzazz off the tree. You think Macs are soft? Eat one fresh off the tree and tell me they don't have a most satisfying crunch! If you are close enough, come out to our annual fruit tasting, the weekend after Thanksgiving. In 2019, we tasted just over 80 varieties of fruit, mostly grown on site in our test orchard, all grown locally! 
10) How would you organize your orchard?
Layout is important. Once you have your choices picked/as you pick your choices, take some time to make an accurate map. Google maps can be quite helpful in larger spaces! And update it as you plant it. Nursery labels fade faster than you think! I've planted my share of trees/plants over the years, and I make a map for anything that will last over a year. If you are planting more than a couple trees, consider spacing and what pattern (diamond, square, etc.) you want. Our test orchard is spaced in rows 12' apart, with 15' driveways between the rows. This works for full-size/semi-dwarf trees. If you are planting dwarf, you can plant much closer- do some research when planting larger quantities of trees so you do it right the first time. Also consider how you want them organized; ripening date is a common way of sorting, but type of fruit, use, tree size, etc. are also valid ways of organizing.

In conclusion, I encourage you to think about all of these factors when planting food, and of course, to try something new! Push your limit a little every season. It keeps us flexible and resilient, growing inside and out. I've killed many plants over the years, but I've grown so many more than I could ever have imagined! I wish you all the inspiration and drive to see your dreams through while you plan your own food forest/orchard/backyard/field/place!
Happy growing,
Steph & the Silver Creek team

How do I choose a planting location?

Use the chart HERE to find what fits in your space. The main factors involved in choosing a planting location are:

  • Soil - most fruit trees require moderate to high soil fertility
  • Space - see spacing chart. 
  • Sun - nearly all fruit trees require full sun to properly ripen the fruit. Full sun means 8hrs or more per day in the summer.
  • Water - apples and pears are the simplest, but all fruit trees need adequate water, especially the first year you plant them. The soil should drain well, but not too fast. You can test your soils drainage ability by digging a hole 12" deep, dumping water into it and observing how fast it drains. If it drains within seconds, or takes the better half of a day, this is a bad spot to plant fruit trees! Stone fruits especially don't like their feet wet - i.e. to be in sitting water. Apples and pears can handle seasonal (spring) flooding of up to 2 weeks at a time, but if you have standing water longer than that time, it's best to either amend the soil or plant elsewhere.

We recommend getting a soil test if you are unsure about your soil - consider fruit trees are an investment of time and money, and it pays off to do it right the first time! Most towns/cities should have an agricultural lab where you can get these tests done or you can mail them to a lab. We get ours done at AgriAnalysis in Stratford for about $10 each.

Orchard People, headed by Susan Poizner, also has some great classes that walk you through the beginning processes of starting your own backyard orchard. We recommend THIS COURSE if you are interested in more information on how to go about choosing a planting location.

 

          What should I do if I have heavy clay soil and want to plant fruit trees?

          If you have heavy clay soil, we would recommend staying away from stone fruits which tend to like sandier soils that drain a little better - clay loam is fine, but any soil predominately clay spells trouble for peaches, sweet cherries, apricots, and plums (to a lesser degree). Apples or pears will perform the best in clay soils as they tend to be the most adaptable, but there are still a few methods you can try to improve soil conditions:

          1. Loosen up the soil using a shovel or garden fork to help aerate it, and add amendments such as compost, leaves, or grass clippings
          2. Apply gypsum to the soil to help alter the soil structure over time
          3. Build a berm above the soil with a more suitable soil and plant your tree into that to help it get established

          If you are planting your tree directly into the clay soil, make sure to roughen up the sides of the hole with your shovel, otherwise the slicked down clay can trap excess water around the roots of your tree, and prevent the new baby roots from penetrating into the soil.

           

          How much space do I need to plan for?

          Your trees will grow to be:

          Apples:
          • Dwarf: 8-10ft
          • Semi-Dwarf: 12-15ft
          • Full-Size: 15-20ft

          Apricots: 20-30ft

          Peaches: 16-20ft

          Pears:

          • Dwarf: 10-12ft
          • Semi-Dwarf: 12-15ft
          • Full-Size: 18-20ft

          Plums: 16-20ft

          Quince: 12-15ft

          Sour Cherries: 16ft

          Sweet Cherries: 20-25ft

                  What supplies do you recommend for a new tree?

                  For your new fruit tree, we would recommend one of our tree starter kits! It includes:

                  • A metal label so you can keep track of which tree is which
                  • A 6ft bamboo stake to keep your tree anchored in place, we recommend staking all trees for at least the first few years and dwarf trees for their entire lives
                  • A rubber tree tie to attach your tree to the stake
                  • A spiral guard to protect your tree from mice and rabbits that may girdle it in the fall and winter

                  We also recommend using Root Rescue, a mycorrhizal fungal inoculant that helps to kickstart the soil ecosystem beneath your tree, allowing your tree to adapt more quickly to its new home and take up nutrients more easily among other benefits. 

                  While fertilizer isn’t necessary unless your area is exceptionally nutrient poor, we do offer some natural inputs such as bone meal, liquid fish, and liquid seaweed as well.

                  How Shipping Works

                  Overview: Every spring we ship thousands of trees across Canada, and there is usually a smaller shipping season in the fall too, weather permitting. Shipping live plants is not without challenges. We do our best to ensure the trees are packaged for success: the roots are bundled in damp sawdust, bagged, then boxed, limbs carefully tucked in. We ship on Mondays, and sometimes Tuesdays, to ensure the trees have as long as possible to reach their destination before the weekend, so they don't get stuck in a post office. Upon receiving mail order plants, open immediately, check the sawdust is still damp around the roots, and then store in a cool dark location until you plant. Preferably, plant them the same day they arrive but they can be stored for a few days.

                  Do you ship bareroot plants? How?

                  Yes! Your bareroot plants are bundled together in a plastic bag that is filled with damp sawdust to keep the roots moist while in transit. They are then securely fastened inside a box and sent to you as soon as they are packaged up and the weather is suitable for planting. Your bareroot plants are dormant when we send them to you, so they will not have any leaves. 

                  Do you ship potted plants?

                  No, we do not ship our potted plants. The pots are too heavy and bulky for us to ship them economically, so they are only available for pick-up. 

                  Why is shipping so expensive?

                  Due to the size of the trees, shipping is automatically fairly high to cover the cost of shipping such large boxes. With the advent of COVID-19, shipping rates have also been increasing much faster than normal and we are simply charging the rates that are being charged to us in order to send your plants to you. While we do what we can to fit as many plants as we safely can into one box, there is only so much we can do to minimize shipping fees.

                  Can shipping fees change once the order is packaged?

                  Yes, the shipping fees included on your order are only an estimate and actual fees may vary. Sometimes plants are larger or bulkier than expected and a larger box may be needed or shipping fees are simply higher than estimated. 

                  If shipping fees have gone up significantly, we will send an invoice with the outstanding balance and will request that you cover the amount before we ship out your plants. Likewise, if we overestimated your shipping fees we will happily send a refund for the difference. 

                  What is the 'shipping guarantee' option at checkout?

                  The shipping guarantee option at checkout is for customers who need their order to be shipped out on or around a specific date. This can apply to customers who may have to meet a specific planting window or who may not be on their property certain times of the year and do not want their plants shipped too early or late. 

                  The shipping guarantee is only related to the shipping date, it does not include any kind of guarantee about the condition of the plant which is covered under our 90 Day Guarantee instead.

                  What services do you ship with?

                  We generally ship our plants with Canpar. 

                  We will ship with Canada Post if you live in a rural or exceptionally far location where Canpar is either unreliable or too expensive. 

                  If you prefer we ship with Canada Post or if you would like to see a quote, please let us know.

                  What provinces/territories do you ship to?

                  We ship to every province except for British Columbia and can ship to the Territories upon request. 

                  We unfortunately cannot ship to BC as our plants need to be fumigated in order to cross the Rockies according to CFIA. The fumigation process takes a lot of time to set up and can easily cost over $1000 per order which makes it unfeasible for us and too costly for customers.

                  Do you ship to the United States?

                  We unfortunately do not ship plants to the United States. The paperwork simply takes too much time for our small team to manage.

                  Orchard supplies and hard goods like books can be shipped to the US if desired.

                  How long does shipping take and will my plants be okay?

                  On average, plants shipped with FedEx arrive within 3-5 days, although shipments in sourthern Ontario may arrive in as little as 1-2 days. As long as your plants arrive within a week, they should not have any health issues and are ready to be planted in the ground! 

                  What do I do if my plants arrive in poor condition?

                  If your plants are not looking healthy when they arrive, immediately let us know and send us pictures. We are happy to help however we can to nurse your plants to full health and will arrange compensation based on our guarantee HERE.

                  Plant Specifications Chart

                  planting specs

                  How and when to order bareroot fruit trees

                  How to Order

                  Steps to making an order of bareroot plants

                  1) Know what you want: Do a little research to learn what bareroot trees look like, how to plant them and where, etc. If you are unsure where to start, scroll down to see important considerations in choosing your first tree(s), or take Susan Poizner's course Researching Fruit Trees for Organic Growing Success here. Fruit trees and perennial plants are an investment, and it really pays off to do it right the first time!

                  2) Order through our website: Once you fill your cart, check a box on the bottom left side below the 'notes' section of the cart page to indicate when you want the order. You must also check the box on the right indicating you understand the terms and have done the necessary research. You can then complete your order by either paying immediately via credit/debit card or online payment services such as Paypal, or selecting pay later if you wish to pay upon pick-up, send an e-transfer or cheque, etc. You are welcome to make your payment anytime between placing the order and picking it up/prior to shipping in spring.

                  3) Ensure your order is confirmed: Upon confirming your order, you will receive an invoice through email with a four (4) digit invoice number. If the invoice is a draft, indicated by a 'D' in front of the number, you order is not confirmed and you have likely missed the payment step outlined above! Once your order is confirmed, we will prepare it in early spring.

                  Note: Try as we might to have 100% accurate inventory counts, inevitably things happen due to a miscount, a breakage, etc. In the event something about your order must change, we will contact you and work out an alternative solution. Changes due to short stock on our end are exempt from any fees as described in the 'Cancelling or Changing you Order' section.

                  If you are interested in ordering 100+ plants, check out our section on "Quantity Discounts & Wholesale"

                  How do I set up a pre-order for Fall 2022 and/or Spring 2023?

                  We specialize in bareroot trees! This means our main sale season is spring, specifically late March to late May (we typically shut down cold storage on/around May 24th). By the end of May, plants should be in the ground to ensure a full, healthful growing season. However, the earlier you plant the better (a little snow is no problem for dormant plants): the more spring rain your trees receive, the less watering you will have to do later in summer!

                  We do have a small sale season in fall for apples and pears only, since some other species are a little more tender and do better with a season of growth to establish roots before they overwinter.

                  We are happy to start accepting preorders for either season as early as September and will accept new orders for Fall until Oct. 15th and for Spring until the May 24 weekend.

                  HOW TO PRE-ORDER:

                  In an effort to reduce inventory errors, this year we will be setting up Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 preorders manually until we have dug and graded our trees and are able to put the final inventory online. The website will be updated sometime in November with inventory numbers. 

                  If you are planning on placing a pre-order, we would recommend following these steps:

                  1. Peruse our website and/or request a catalogue to see what we will have available for the upcoming sales seasons. Our pricelist can be downloaded here for reference.

                  • Please keep in mind that the only trees available for Fall 2022 are apples and pears and all of our plants will be available for Spring 2023. 

                    2. If you are new to fruit trees and other plants, read through our ‘Before You Order’ section of the FAQ for general information on selecting a plant that is right for you. It is not a bad idea to check out some other sections like ‘Planting Care’ and ‘Pollination’ as well!

                    3. Once you know what you are interested in, email us at sales@silvercreeknursery.ca or call us at 519-804-6060 to set up an order. If possible, email is preferred. The following information would be helpful if provided:

                    • What varieties of plants you are interested in (including rootstock for fruit trees) and how many
                    • Whether is is a Fall 2022 or Spring 2023 preorder if you are ordering only apples and/or pears
                    • If you would prefer to have your plants shipped to you or if you would like to pick them up from us
                    • Your address and phone number (in case the courier needs to contact you) if you want your plants shipped and have not ordered from us before or have changed your shipping address 

                      Some general things to keep in mind:

                      • We will be grading our plants after they are dug so all trees will be sold as 1m+ Whips and all berries and seedlings as 1 Year Bareroot plants. If you would prefer a different grade, let us know and we will make note of that on your order. Once we know the grades of our plants, we will adjust your order accordingly.

                      • We have a smaller number of pears and stone fruits this year than expected so some varieties may be unavailable despite being listed in the catalogue and on the website.

                      Changing or Cancelling your Order

                      Changing Your Order Once it is Confirmed

                      To change your order, please email sales@silvercreeknursery with your request. Based on inventory we will try to adjust as possible, but if we have already begun processing/picking you order (which we do as early as December), there is a $25 restocking fee for any item removed from the order. Additionally, if a refund is due from removing items and you have paid via credit card or Paypal, a 5% fee is applicable to the difference, to cover the associated fees.

                      Cancelling Your Order 

                      To cancel you order, phone or email us. If your order has not been processed (in February we begin processing orders) and has not been paid, we can simply cancel the order.

                      If you have paid via credit card or PayPal and we have not begun processing your order, a 5% fee will be applied to cover the transaction fees on our end, but the remainder of the order will be refunded and the order cancelled.

                      If you paid via e-transfer, cheque, or cash, and we have not begun processing the order, we will refund the order fully and cancel it.

                      If we have begun processing the order and you wish to cancel, a $25 restocking fee will be applied along with the credit card fee if applicable. 

                       

                      Discounts & Wholesale

                      Quantity Discounts: We're trying out a new discount scheme this year; instead of offering a price break after spending a certain amount, you can get the discount sooner when purchasing multiples of the same type of plant. These discounts are automatically applied in your cart.

                      Buy 3 plants of the same variety, rootstock and size, get 8% off

                      Buy 5 plants of the same variety, rootstock and size, get 13% off

                      Buy 10 plants of the same variety, rootstock and size, get 20% off

                      How to Order Wholesale Bareroot Plants

                      1) Email or phone us for pricing and availability. We are happy to answer any questions as well; we have two experimental orchards, one acre each, and are more than happy to assist you and share our resources in any way we can.

                      • Email: sales@silvercreeknursery.ca
                      • Phone: 519-804-6060

                      2) Once we let you know what is available, you must order at least 100 trees/plants in quantities of at least twenty per your selected varieties to qualify for wholesale pricing

                      3) Upon confirming your order, please provide a 25% deposit of the subtotal, before tax and shipping, to hold your order. Unfortunately due to credit card fees, we can only accept cheque, cash, or e-transfer for wholesale orders

                      4) Once your order has been packaged up, we will be in touch with any adjustments and to arrange a pick-up/shipping time

                      Refund Policy

                      An old farming adage goes, "Where there is livestock, there is deadstock." Plants are no different and one of the challenges of selling dormant plants is that it is sometimes impossible to tell if a tree is dead (or will leaf out then die) due to dry roots or winterkill.

                      We do our best to provide excellent quality plants, however there are always a small percentage of trees that are just not able to properly break dormancy and thrive; in the event that this happens to you, please let us know! Due to the nature of nature, we cannot guarantee a tree will overwinter in your location, as outlined below.

                      Bareroot Peach Trees
                      We are very pleased to be able to offer peach trees to our customers. They are both challenging and rewarding plants to grow. However, due to the unique challenges of growing peach trees, and the increased care required for their success, we regrettably cannot offer our standard 90 day guarantee on peaches. Please inspect your peach trees to your satisfaction when you pick them up at the nursery, or immediately upon arrival if they are shipped. For shipped trees, make your claim within 7 days of receipt of the trees. After 7 days of receipt, you will have been deemed to have accepted the trees in as-is condition.

                      All Other Bareroot Nursery Stock
                      We guarantee that nursery stock is in living condition at the time of receipt by you, the customer. Much of our nursery stock is sold in a dormant condition and it may take some time to show signs of life after planting. Please allow at least 45 days after purchase for dormant plants to leaf out.

                      However, if your nursery stock is dead or unsatisfactory, please submit your claim to us within 90 days of the invoice date. We request photos before honoring a claim. For wholesale orders, losses below 5% will not be considered. 

                      All other claims deemed reasonable at our discretion will be issued a replacement or store credit in the amount of the purchase price, SHIPPING COSTS EXCLUDED. This store credit can be used towards any purchase from us. There are a lot of variables involved with living plants, and under certain circumstances we may offer complete refunds when it appears that we have an issue with an entire batch of plants.

                      We try to be fair and understanding, but we simply cannot offer a one-year guarantee or any guarantee of a plant's ability to overwinter in your location. Unlike potted trees, most of our nursery stock is quite tender, and requires some degree of diligence on your part to maintain its health and prepare the plants for winter. Therefore, we limit claims to 90 days from invoice date.

                      Potted Nursery Stock
                      Potted plants may be exchanged or returned for a full refund within 3 days of purchase, provided that they are not dehydrated and have not been removed from the nursery container. After 3 days, the same policy applies as for Bareroot Nursery Stock below.

                      Other Products
                      All other non-perishable and non-plant products are sold with a 30 day refund policy, excluding shipping costs. To qualify for a refund, products must be returned to us in complete condition.

                      To make a claim email sales@silvercreeknursery.ca with a description of the problem and at least one photo that clearly shows what is going on.

                      Pollination

                      What is pollination and why is it necessary for fruit production?

                      Pollination is when pollen is spread from one flower to another via different agents such as wind, insects, or birds. Our fruit trees, for example, are primarily pollinated by insects like bees! Pollination is how many plants, including our fruit trees, reproduce. When a flower is successfully pollinated, it will produce a fruit containing its fertile seeds, with the goal of someone then taking that fruit and helping to plant these seeds elsewhere. 

                      Pollination is key since if a fruit tree is not pollinated, it will not produce fruit.

                      Pollinizer vs Pollinator: technically, insects are pollinators, and trees themselves are pollinizers to each other (a source of pollen). However colloquially, we (most nurseries and general public) use pollinator in place of pollinizer, though it is incorrect. As it is so common a mistake that we all know what we mean, we will let it slide and stick with the masses in this case, as there are more important problems to solve and updates to make! 

                      Will different kinds of trees pollinate each other? (ex. Will an apple and pear pollinate?)

                      Generally, different species of trees will not pollinate each other, so an apple and a pear will not cross-pollinate. The main exception to this are European and Asian pears, although they are different species they will pollinate each other. There are a few random exceptions, but it's best to err on more pollination options than less with fruit trees.

                      It is good to keep the following in mind as well:

                      • Apples and crabapples will pollinate each other since they are the same species
                      • Crabapples are excellent pollinators as they have so many blossoms
                      • European and Asian pears will pollinate each other
                      • European and Japanese plums will not pollinate each other
                      • Sweet and Sour cherries will not pollinate each other

                      How do I know if my trees will pollinate each other?

                      The first step is to make sure the two trees are of the same species! Then, you need to make sure that their bloom times overlap. We generally categorize our trees as having an ‘early,’ ‘middle,’ or ‘late’ bloom time. Trees in the same group will pollinate each other. Even so, there tends to be a lot of overlap between the bloom times of the different groups, so as long as you are planting two trees in adjacent groups like early and middle or middle and late, then they should pollinate without issue. 

                      The only time you may run into an issue is if you plant an early and late bloomer together. They may still overlap but pollination may be less successful, especially in unusually cold years when bloom times tend to shorten.

                      Sweet Cherries and Plums are the trickiest species to get good pollination. The OMAFRA website has a helpful chart for sweet cherry pollination. We grow cherry varieties that are almost all cross-compatible as long as you get another variety of the cultivars we grow if it is not self-pollinating. And plums are even more finicky, you can see the OMAFRA chart here for them. Toka is a favourite pollinator as it's a hybrid American-Asian and pollinates both.

                      How many trees do I need for pollination?

                      Do I need two trees for pollination?

                      That depends on the species! Almost every apple and pear, for example, requires two different varieties to be planted near each other in order for them to cross-pollinate and produce fruit. These trees generally need to be the same species, so an apple will not pollinate a pear and vice versa.  

                      If you check the description of each fruit, it will say whether it needs a pollinator, is partially self-pollinating, or is self-pollinating. Partially self-pollinating trees will produce some fruit by themselves but likely not very much and self-pollinating fruits will produce a decent crop on their own.

                      Generally, even self-pollinating trees produce more and better fruit if planted with a tree of a different variety that blooms around the same time.

                      Why do I need two different varieties for pollination?

                      For apples and pears especially, different trees of the same variety are unable to pollinate each other because they are genetically identical as grafting is like a cloning process. The blooms will simply not accept the pollen from another tree of the same variety for this reason, so two varieties must be planted to introduce new genetic material.

                      What does triploid mean and why does it need more pollinators?

                      Some of our apple trees are triploid which means they have sterile pollen. This means that they can be pollinated by another variety but they cannot pollinate other trees. In order for the non-triploid tree to be pollinated, a third non-triploid variety will need to be planted.

                      How do I know if I have a pollination problem with an existing tree?

                      If you have inadequate pollination, a mature tree will produce blooms and often even fruit, but they will abort and drop by the time they are about the size of a loonie.

                      This can be a simple matter of lack of pollination partners i.e. planting only one apple tree. Luckily, this is simply fixed by planting a pollinator nearby! If your tree was producing fruit reliably for years but then suddenly stopped, perhaps your tree was being pollinated by a neighboring tree that was taken down recently. If your tree has never produced fruit, perhaps you never knew you needed 2-3 trees of different varieties from the beginning.

                      If you have lots of fruit trees, the problem is more likely frost damage: a late spring frost knocking out the tree in question or its pollination partner. Stone fruits are notorious for blooming right around the last frost of the season, and that can cause a greatly reduced harvest. To mitigate this damage, try to plant sensitive trees like cherries, peaches, and apricots on the north side of a bush or building in a sheltered location: this will help the tree stay dormant longer, hopefully missing that final frost. Harnessing the power of moisture (sprinklers) and wind (turbines) can also help, but are often more of a hassle for the backyard grower.

                      Occasionally if a tree is very old or severely nutrient deficient, then it may struggle to product fruit too. Conversely, if a tree is too young, it may bloom but not produce fruit, or may abort the fruitlets. Generally, if a tree is 5-7 years or older, it should be bountiful.

                      Initial Planting Care

                      How do I plant my trees/plants?

                      How do I plant my trees/plants?

                      Planting is relatively easy and we recommend following the instructions here! These instructions are included with every bareroot order.

                      How soon do I have to plant my bareroot plants?

                      We strongly recommend planting your bareroot plants within 24h of receiving them to minimize the amount of time they are out of the ground. At most, they can sit for 2-3 days, following the instructions below.

                      How do I store my bareroot plants if I can’t plant them right away?

                      If you are unable to plant them right away, then it is best to store the plants in a cool, dark place such as an unheated garage, shed, or even a basement if needed. We keep our plants dormant in temperatures ranging from 0-5°C and the closer you can keep them to this temperature the better. 

                      You should also open the top of the bag and feel the sawdust around the roots. Add water as needed to ensure it stays nice and moist, but avoid water sitting in the bag.

                      If you are unable to plant them within a few days, we would recommend potting your plants until you are able to plant them. Our trees can be potted in 5 gallon pots while smaller plants like the berries are fine in 1 or 3 gallon pots depending on their size. You will want to leave the plants in the pots for at least six weeks before transplanting them to allow the freshly grown roots to harden off.

                      How long can my potted plants stay in the pot?

                      Potted plants can remain in the pot for up to one year, at which point we recommend either planting them out or moving them to a larger pot. 

                      With potted plants, keep in mind that they will need to be watered and fertilized more frequently and special care will need to be taken in the winter to ensure the soil doesn’t freeze since they are less insulated than they are in the ground.

                        How do I care for my new tree/plants?

                        How do I care for my new plants?

                        If you check out our planting instructions HERE, we cover some basic care for each of the main kinds of plants we carry. Due to the large variety of plants we grow, we are still updating more thorough instructions for them on the website, but we are happy to answer specific questions about plant care if you have them!

                        In general, especially for the trees, one of the most important things is to stay on top of watering in the first year.

                        Do I need to apply fertilizer/compost?

                        You generally don’t have to apply fertilizer/compost unless your soil is exceptionally nutrient poor, but if you want your tree to thrive and 'hit the ground running' so to speak, it's not a bad idea to give it some extra love. We offer the following organic options if you do need to fertilize:

                        • Liquid Fish: With an NPK ratio of 2-3-0, liquid fish also helps with the development of beneficial mycorrhizal fungi in the soil which aids your plant’s ability to take up nutrients. *use raw, cold pressed fish hydrolysate. Found HERE.
                        • Liquid Kelp: liquid kelp contains a variety of trace minerals that are important for the health of your plants along with various plant hormones that provide a myriad of benefits such as improved root development. Found HERE.
                        • Bone Meal: With an NPK ratio of 4-10-0, bone meal is a great source of phosphorous which improves root development and calcium. Found HERE.
                        • Effective Microbes: Nurture Growth is an Ontario based company specializing in brewing food waste into a living, biologically fermented fertilizer. Found HERE.

                        Excess nitrogen especially can burn the roots of plants, so be mindful not to apply too much, or letting high N products come in close contact with bareroot plants. If you want to add compost, we recommend mixing it into the top couple of inches of the soil after your plants are in the ground so it can leach down slowly.

                        How much Root Rescue should I use?

                        The 22.5g of Root Rescue is good for about 10 trees and the 45g is good for 20-25. We recommend taking about a tablespoon, adding it to a 5gal pail, adding a small amount of soil (preferably clay, so the spores stick to the roots better), and then filling it with water to create a slurry. Then dip the trees in the mix before planting them to innoculate the roots. 

                        Once the trees are all planted, fill the bucket with water again and use it as a soil drench to make the most of the mixture.

                        Why do I have to prune off so much of my tree when I plant it?

                        Although the initial ⅓ heading cut can seem extreme, it is important for encouraging the tree to focus on growing roots once it has been planted in its new home. A strong root system allows your tree to better access water and nutrients and to remain anchored. In the long-term this will be highly beneficial to the growth and health of your tree. 

                          Basic fruit tree pruning tips

                          Pruning can be a delicate process. As Michael Phillips puts it, pruning is almost like time traveling as you envision what the tree will look like in the future after you make your pruning cuts. Pruning varies not only by species, but by variety, time of year, desired outcome, age, and other growth habits of the tree in question.

                          Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

                          • Practice good orchard hygiene: sterilize your pruners between trees, especially if summer pruning or pruning diseased branches out
                          • Do not remove more than ⅓ of the tree in a year
                          • To prevent bacteria from entering your cut, prune just after the collar* when making a thinning cut - don't prune it off, and don't leave a stub 2cm long
                          • The first 2 (dwarf) to 3 (semi-dwarf/full size) years, focus on vegetative growth, establishing a strong structure to support the weight of future crops. After your 2-3 years of dormant, vegetative-growth-inducing pruning, switch to summer, fruit-focused pruning
                          • Remove narrow crotch angles (where the trunk and the branch meet) since these are less sturdy
                          • Remove branches that are growing back into the tree or across more desirable branches
                          • Don't prune your tree unless the forecast is above ~0°F/-17°C for the next 7 days when winter pruning. Early spring is best, before buds swell.
                          • Prune the canopy so it is open with good airflow and light penetration to help the fruit ripen and reduce the presence of fungal diseases
                          • Thinning Cut: This is done by cutting a branch off an existing branch. It produces less of a branching/vegetative effect. Think of energy flowing through the branch, and after you have done a thinning cut the energy just continues to flow to the remaining branch.
                          • Heading Cut: This is done by cutting the tip of a branch off in the middle of it, away from other smaller branches branching off. Think of energy flowing through the branch, and after you have done a heading cut, it has nowhere to go so it pops out in all directions: on young wood, it produces a strong branching effect. The first 3-4 buds below the cut will naturally shoot up with vertical growth, letting buds 4-6 create nice naturally horizontal little branches a few weeks later. Make a heading cut in the spring, come back and remove those vertical shoots in June/July, and you'll set your tree up to put the rest of its growing energy into developing those nicely angled, horizontal branches for the rest of the season.
                          • For fruit production, establish horizontal branches, and summer prune after the first growth flush (usually June/July for our area) to set your tree up for the following year. Most fruit trees produce fruit on 2+ year old branches. As a branch becomes more horizontal, the hormones in the branch change and grow spurs which will produce fruit the following year ('spur-bearing'). Some fruit trees produce on 1 yr old branches, from the tips ('tip-bearing'), like quince trees, or the Golden Russet apple so this rule doesn't always hold true. Check the variety description on our website to see if it's tip-bearing or spur-bearing.
                          • For vegetative growth, prune in spring while the trees are still dormant (Feb/March in our area). A general rule of thumb is the harder you prune, the more vegetative growth you will get; however especially on old trees, never prune more than 1/3-1/2 of the tree, or you risk killing it completely.
                          • Apple and Pear pruning for fruit production in more detail: HERE
                          • Cherry pruning for fruit production in more detail: HERE
                          • Peach pruning for fruit production in more detail: HERE
                          • Plum pruning for fruit production in more detail: HERE

                          *the collar on a tree refers to that little folded bark ring right at the beginning of a branch. It helps the tree heal over with callous tissue after being cut. HERE is a link with photos showing this.

                          If you never prune your fruit trees, this may cause:

                          • delayed fruit production
                          • more susceptibility to fungal diseases
                          • fruit to ripen only on the outer canopy

                          Shapes to consider:

                          • Open center/vase: common for prunus species, or full size and semi-dwarf apples and pears. Just like it sounds, this method involves sculpting your trees to have 3-4 'leaders', shaped like a vase or a bit like an upside down Christmas tree. This can also help diffuse the height on high-vigor trees, by encouraging the tree to spread it's vegetative growth out rather than up.
                          • Scaffold with a central leader: common for apples and pears, this method is all about creating scaffold branches about 2 feet apart up the central trunk. The first scaffold is typically 2/3' off the ground, depending on the orchardist. Each scaffold has 3-4 scaffold branches radiating evenly, horizontally outward.
                          • Espalier: this creates a sort of two dimensional tree, grown on a support of some sort (eg. fence, wire trellis, building wall). Be sure to use spur bearing varieties!

                          Troubleshooting Fruit Tree Problems

                          Why isn't my tree bearing fruit?

                          Nothing is more frustrating than having a tree that refuses to bear fruit. There are a few common reasons why trees have not borne fruit yet including:

                          • Age: fruit trees often take several years to begin bearing fruit, you can find approximate times HERE for when each kind of tree generally begins producing fruit
                          • Variety: some varieties naturally take longer to bear fruit than others, this is called precocity. Highly precocious varieties will bear fruit sooner than varieties with low precocity. We list the precocity of our trees on the product description on our website. Do some research on what varieties you have to see if they may be slower to get started. 
                          • Rootstock: dwarf trees will come into production sooner than semi-dwarf or full size trees.
                          • Pollination: many fruit trees, especially apples and pears, need to be planted with another variety in order to cross pollinate and produce fruit and all trees will produce more and better fruit when planted with a compatible variety. Some of the factors to consider for pollination are:
                            • Distance: is there another tree of the same species but of a different variety planted within 100ft of your tree? If the other tree is too far away then it will not pollinate.
                            • Bloom time: does the bloom time of your trees overlap? If the bloom times do not overlap then pollination will not take place. See HERE for more information on bloom time
                            • Triploid apple: If you have two apples and one is not bearing fruit while the other is, check to see if the one bearing fruit is triploid. Triploid trees have sterile pollen and cannot pollinate their neighbors. 
                            • Plums: Plums can just be fickle when it comes to pollination! Try cutting off the flowering branch of a variety of plum that in known to pollinate yours, putting it in a glass jar full of water, and tying it among the branches of your plum tree to encourage pollination.
                          • Frost: late spring frosts can kill the blossoms on fruit trees and prevent fruit formation, this is very common with stone fruits in cooler climates like ours but there are ways to prevent frost damage. See HERE for some ideas on dealing with frost.
                          • Pruning: it is important to keep up with pruning and maintaining your tree as a failure to do so can limit or prevent fruit formation, or yield smaller fruit than desired

                          Grafting

                          coming soon...