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Purchasing trees off Ebay

 
elle sagenev
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Would you do it?? Seems like some good deals. I can't decide if it's a horrid risk or a great idea.
 
Dan Boone
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Haven't tried it. I would if I found a tree that I was desperate to have, maybe. I do enjoy buying seeds on eBay, but that's because they are so cheap I can just shrug it off if a particular order turns out to be total trash.
 
Jason parmer
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My experiences have been mostly good with buying trees on ebay. I only have bought "what you see is what you get trees." If they used a stock picture then I did not buy it.
 
elle sagenev
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http://www.ebay.com/itm/RUSSIAN-POMEGRANATE-FRUIT-TREES-12-15-INCH-BUY-ONE-GET-ONE-FREE-/271564877670?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f3a872f66

I'd really like to get this tree. Some mulberries. A few hazelnuts. Much cheaper on Ebay than the nursery I buy from, as to be expected. I just can't decide if I should try it or not.
 
John Wolfram
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I would be careful about buying trees off Ebay. For example, that Ebay add claims that pomegranate is cold tolerant down to zone 4. Looking at some reputable mail order nurseries (RainTree, One Green World, etc.) I see many of them carry pomegranates, but they list theirs as only going down to zone 7, if there really was a zone 4 pomegranate it would seem the well established nurseries would be quick to start selling it.

I would be concerned that this Ebay seller may be overstating the cold tolerance of the tree.
 
Dan Boone
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Danielle Venegas wrote:http://www.ebay.com/itm/RUSSIAN-POMEGRANATE-FRUIT-TREES-12-15-INCH-BUY-ONE-GET-ONE-FREE-/271564877670?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f3a872f66

I'd really like to get this tree.


Hmm, I agree that's tempting!

US seller, nice price, reasonable shipping, good feedback profile over high volume of sales going back years. Meets all of my standards for eBay business I'm otherwise doubtful about.

The only warning flag I see is that when this seller does get bad feedback, they handle it with rudeness and a lack of professionalism. It's rare -- less than 1% of transactions -- but it suggests to me you won't have a pleasant experience if your trees arrive in poor condition. I value professionalism A LOT in an eBay seller.
 
elle sagenev
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John Wolfram wrote:I would be careful about buying trees off Ebay. For example, that Ebay add claims that pomegranate is cold tolerant down to zone 4. Looking at some reputable mail order nurseries (RainTree, One Green World, etc.) I see many of them carry pomegranates, but they list theirs as only going down to zone 7, if there really was a zone 4 pomegranate it would seem the well established nurseries would be quick to start selling it.

I would be concerned that this Ebay seller may be overstating the cold tolerance of the tree.


It's a Russian variety. I do think it's a bit of an exaggeration. My internet research shows that it can handle Zone5 but may take some extra TLC. I am zone 5 so I think I'll be good.
 
elle sagenev
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Dan Boone wrote:
Danielle Venegas wrote:http://www.ebay.com/itm/RUSSIAN-POMEGRANATE-FRUIT-TREES-12-15-INCH-BUY-ONE-GET-ONE-FREE-/271564877670?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f3a872f66

I'd really like to get this tree.


Hmm, I agree that's tempting!

US seller, nice price, reasonable shipping, good feedback profile over high volume of sales going back years. Meets all of my standards for eBay business I'm otherwise doubtful about.

The only warning flag I see is that when this seller does get bad feedback, they handle it with rudeness and a lack of professionalism. It's rare -- less than 1% of transactions -- but it suggests to me you won't have a pleasant experience if your trees arrive in poor condition. I value professionalism A LOT in an eBay seller.


I was looking at his history as well. Professionalism certainly is nice but I'm pretty lazy so if it doesn't arrive alive and live I'll just chalk it up to a life lesson. I can't be bothered to try for a refund or anything.
 
Kat Green
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I have purchased seeds and many other items from Ebay but no trees. Always a pleasant transaction and quick delivery. I only had to return one item and had no problems.
 
Kat Green
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I have purchased seeds and many other items from Ebay but no trees. Always a pleasant transaction and quick delivery. I only had to return one item and had no problems.
 
Jay Grace
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One good thing about poms, hazel nuts, and mulberries they root easily. So buy one and root the cuttings turn one into 50 in two years.

 
Bill Erickson
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My google-fu shows that Easthampton is a zone 5B area - so if they are a local grow, then that will work for you Danielle. As long as you can shrug off the cost, then go ahead and go for it.
 
elle sagenev
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I've ordered a large variety so we will see. Ordered some seeds. Some trees and some cuttings.
 
Bauluo Ye
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For me it would depend on the level of desperation to get a certain tree in relation to the price+shipping. What's the price range we're talking about? In nine out of ten times I'd go for buying seeds if possible. E-bay and aliexpress are my prime suppliers of seeds and my experiences with both are good. A few hundred seeds for a couple of bucks is a no brainier. Both sites have an excellent guarantee system and I haven't had any problems returning an item or getting a refund in years. It'll never get as solid as a shop around the corner though. It's not easy to know for certain whether the tree is actually the species that's advertised and determining it's health is virtually impossible on-line. I'd consider it somewhat of a gamble and seriously limit the "gambling money" in any case. But what about air or ground layering a fine specimen from a friend or someone in your community? It would save time and money if successful. Good luck.
 
elle sagenev
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I've been receiving my orders. I received a black peppercorn plant that looks great. It's in a mini greenhouse indoors now. So far so good.

Today I received a lot of seeds, some grape cuttings and a mulberry. Attaching a pic of the mulberry tree as it arrived. Really well packaged. I was really pleased. Everything arrived just fine except for some grape seeds. Completely crushed in the mail. The obviously went through the machine and they were just in an envelope. Giving them a bad review.
Mulberry from Ebay.jpg
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Mulberry from Ebay.
 
Dan Boone
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Anybody who is looking at seeds on eBay right now may have seen a lot of sellers from China and India offering seeds at low prices with free shipping. This seems too good to be true but I made a number of low-dollar orders (less than $5) from at least three of these sellers, and I'm happy to report that I've gotten three or four back in good order. In one case the Indian seller sent the seeds wrapped in a rough bundle of cling-film that looked *just* like those little packets of dope the cops take off people on the television cop shows, but the other sellers shipped in padded envelopes with the seeds in tiny well-labelled baggies. Seeds received so far look clean and plausible, although of course I don't have any notion yet of their ability to germinate. I'm not sure what the economics of it all could possibly be in the originating countries (is international first class postage ridiculously cheap there when purchased in the local currency?) but it seems to work.
 
elle sagenev
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Some pics of the planting last night. Kids helped, kind of. I'm not sure about these hazelnut seeds. They all floated. The seller assures me they are fine but the internet says different. I hope they grow. Probably several posts with pics to come.

I mixed a bunch of sand with my potting soil because I have this over watering habit. I'm hoping the sand helps. Plus it was sand I took from the fish tank so I figure it's naturally fertilized.
Filling cups.jpg
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Filling cups
Ella eating dirt.jpg
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Eating dirt
Seed cups.jpg
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Filled hazelnut seed cups
 
elle sagenev
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More pics
Kids.jpg
[Thumbnail for Kids.jpg]
Son scaring seeds and daughter making a mess
grape seeds.jpg
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Grape seeds
All Plants.jpg
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All plants (except Hazels)
 
Bauluo Ye
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@ Dan Boone. *off topic warning* It works and it doesn't work. Although shipping rates are lower in China than in the US or EU, they're not as low as they may seem to a consumer. There's no such thing as free shipping either. It's heavily subsidized by the Chinese government. Like anything else in a screwed up economic system, it floats on the oil bubble. Environmental and social rights are virtually non existent on a vast part of the globe. People in the West with a low socioeconomic status are left not much other choice than to buy products this beast churns out. The irony of it all is that they have to destroy their own jobs in order to make ends meet. The positive aspect may be a steady increase in wealth in the East. With it, demands for social and environmental rights increase. I can't see this happening nearly quickly enough to stop our global ecocyde though. And then there was permaculture. I tend to view buying products on e-bay as using a diesel slurping JBC to establish a permanent system. As long as this is your aim, a lot is morally justifiable that doesn't look like it in the first place. Especially when you aren't particularly wealthy, it's a darn great resource. In my case it's putting permaculture reality a step closer. A jolly good thing, for sure!
 
elle sagenev
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Bauluo Ye wrote:@ Dan Boone. *off topic warning* It works and it doesn't work. Although shipping rates are lower in China than in the US or EU, they're not as low as they may seem to a consumer. There's no such thing as free shipping either. It's heavily subsidized by the Chinese government. Like anything else in a screwed up economic system, it floats on the oil bubble. Environmental and social rights are virtually non existent on a vast part of the globe. People in the West with a low socioeconomic status are left not much other choice than to buy products this beast churns out. The irony of it all is that they have to destroy their own jobs in order to make ends meet. The positive aspect may be a steady increase in wealth in the East. With it, demands for social and environmental rights increase. I can't see this happening nearly quickly enough to stop our global ecocyde though. And then there was permaculture. I tend to view buying products on e-bay as using a diesel slurping JBC to establish a permanent system. As long as this is your aim, a lot is morally justifiable that doesn't look like it in the first place. Especially when you aren't particularly wealthy, it's a darn great resource. In my case it's putting permaculture reality a step closer. A jolly good thing, for sure!


I must admit I find this an interesting perspective. I don't see Ebay as much different than the nurseries I have used. So far all of my Ebay purchases have been from the U.S. But I don't know that I would be adverse to buying from other countries if I found something I wanted at a reasonable price. Very interesting perspective!
 
Dan Boone
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Since Danielle who is the OP responded to this I guess I will too, off topic (as I already was a little bit in posting about seeds instead of trees) or not.

I don't disagree that globalization in general floats on an ocean of oil and other unsustainable inputs. I am dubious about buying air-freighted Chilean cherries to eat in January even if I could afford them, which I generally cannot. But as for buying genetic material on Ebay from half way around the world, I don't have a problem with it. If seed inputs from the other side of the globe are the cheapest I can find because international oligarchs are burning oil like it was free, well, the oil's getting burned no matter what I do, so I don't have a qualm about getting more fruit trees established while the burning-party is still going. If I could afford an excavator to dig swales with, I believe I'd use the same logic.

It seems odd to say right now while oil is in temporary glut and prices are low, but there's a whole constellation of peak oil writers who have explored in detail just how much harder it will be for us all to sustain a technological society once the oil is mostly gone. Establishing systems (including permacultural systems) by burning oil that will help us weather the transition beyond fossil fuels seems like just about the best use of the stuff, to me.

Practically speaking, I know that the international cost of postal mail is set by a round of treaties, so it can be cheaper in one country than in another. But I also assume that every country settles its international postal bills in an international reserve currency and sets its local rates in its local currency, so it's easy enough to build in a subsidy if they are so inclined. I am guessing that by the time these sellers take my few bucks US and convert them into their local currency, they're getting enough for it to be profitable even after they take the "free" shipping out of their none-too-high sale price. But either the postal subsidy or the exchange rate imbalance would seem to need to be pretty extreme. Plus, it looks to me like these sellers are working for not very much!
 
elle sagenev
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Bauluo Ye wrote: But what about air or ground layering a fine specimen from a friend or someone in your community? It would save time and money if successful. Good luck.


I thought I would respond to this. I do not have a really good answer for you. I have tried to get plants where I could. Our local Children's Garden trims their grape vines and just throws out the trimmings. I've asked them to call me so I can collect them for rooting. They never have. The same for a local master gardener in my area. I asked him for a few trimmings and he was unwilling to give them to me. As for fruit trees, I honestly don't know anyone who has any. What we have is wheat and cows. If you want something outside of that I'd say you almost certainly have to bring it in from elsewhere. Also we are a huge state and travel here is going to consume a fair amount of oil.

I do hope that I can change that by supplying various plants to the community. I'm hoping to be the change this state needs.
 
Bauluo Ye
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@ Danielle Venegas. The look of the cups with sand is familiar When it comes to seeds germinating, it still is as much of a miracle to me as it must be to your kids. How nice they can enjoy this at such an early age!
Recently I've started to try to get a bunch of seeds to germinate. I'm not an expert, so I had to take some losses. It seems like the most casualties are caused by fungi or other micro-organisms destroying the fragile embryo the moment the seed gets moist. A matter of chance, rather than strength of the seed if you ask me. What has greatly helped is to get the seeds to germinate in a zip-lock bag with some toilet paper and a little water in it first. Once there are roots visible I transplant them to a cup or bottle with a moist earth/sand mixture. The essential part is to put a 5-10 mm layer of lime on top of it and let the seed only come in direct contact with this top layer. The fungi don't like the lime. As a result, the seedling has enough time to get beyond it's most fragile time of existence.
Now I'm experimenting with soaking the seeds in a water/peroxide mixture before the stage with the zip-lock bag because some seeds are devoured by fungi in there already.
Just transplanted 10 or so sprouted red papaya seeds that I treated this way. 100% germination rate, but the source was a fresh papaya from the farmers market. A great source of seeds too, although not advertised as such
 
elle sagenev
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Bauluo Ye wrote:@ Danielle Venegas. The look of the cups with sand is familiar When it comes to seeds germinating, it still is as much of a miracle to me as it must be to your kids. How nice they can enjoy this at such an early age!
Recently I've started to try to get a bunch of seeds to germinate. I'm not an expert, so I had to take some losses. It seems like the most casualties are caused by fungi or other micro-organisms destroying the fragile embryo the moment the seed gets moist. A matter of chance, rather than strength of the seed if you ask me. What has greatly helped is to get the seeds to germinate in a zip-lock bag with some toilet paper and a little water in it first. Once there are roots visible I transplant them to a cup or bottle with a moist earth/sand mixture. The essential part is to put a 5-10 mm layer of lime on top of it and let the seed only come in direct contact with this top layer. The fungi don't like the lime. As a result, the seedling has enough time to get beyond it's most fragile time of existence.
Now I'm experimenting with soaking the seeds in a water/peroxide mixture before the stage with the zip-lock bag because some seeds are devoured by fungi in there already.
Just transplanted 10 or so sprouted red papaya seeds that I treated this way. 100% germination rate, but the source was a fresh papaya from the farmers market. A great source of seeds too, although not advertised as such


I used to sprout grain for chicken feed and a mild bleach solution was recommended to me to help kill off all that negative fungi and mold. It did work. Perhaps I should add a bit to the next watering I do of my seeds. I wonder how that would affect them.

I did pick a few things at the pumpkin patch merely because I wanted the seeds out of them. My husband tends to think I'm a bit nuts. But then he's seen me ask the library if I can take their pumpkins instead of having them throw them out. If you've never left the library with a bunch of pumpkins.....well you're not married to me.
 
Chris Gilliam
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I order lots of trees off ebay. Recently got feijoas, chestnut, apricot, walnut, heartnut, etc... Never had a bad tree. Have 3 autumn olives on the way right now.
 
elle sagenev
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Last of my Ebay orders has arrived. 2 kiwi plants which is impressive since I only bought 1. lol
Kiwi.jpg
[Thumbnail for Kiwi.jpg]
 
Chris Gilliam
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Danielle Venegas wrote:Last of my Ebay orders has arrived. 2 kiwi plants which is impressive since I only bought 1. lol



That's funny, I ordered 3 Autumn olives and they sent me 5. I was pleased, to say the least.
 
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