Fruit Tree Grades Explained
While many other competing websites may not list any specific grade or size when you are shopping, Grandpa’s Orchard™ tries to specifically lists grades and sizes of plants. Thus, you are assured that when you are ordering a specific size online, it will not be just a plant or tree that may range in size from very small to very large like some other nurseries.
2 YEAR GRADES: These are trees that Grandpa has lined out and has grown on for a second season in his fields. Usually they are pretty well branched and because they have been grown in the field another year they usually have bigger root systems and usually are a year closer to producing fruit versus one year old trees. Almost all fall shipped trees will be in this grade. Quantities are very limited. They are priced higher, because of the extra expense in growing, storing and handling them.
2 year-Extra Large (XL) grade is typically a 5/8″ caliper or larger tree when planted and grown on by Grandpa. Finished caliper is likely 3/4″ or larger.
2 year-LARGE grade is typically 1/2″ or larger caliper tree when planted and grown on by Grandpa. Finished caliper is likely 5/8″ to 3/4″.
2 Year-MEDIUM is typically 7/16″ or larger caliper when planted and grown on by Grandpa. Finished caliper is likely 1/2-5/8″.
ONE YEAR GRADES: Most trees offered in the Spring have one year old tops. Grandpa likes to offer the largest ones available, but sometimes he has to offer smaller grades in order to have them at all. Sometimes our suppliers surprise even us with a substitution that is smaller than we ordered.
EXTRA LARGE, 5/8″ up caliper grade: This is typically the largest size that we have available and are one year old. The caliper is generally measured close to the bud union and will be a minimum of 5/8″. We often try to use ¾” and larger caliper grades in this category, at no extra charge to you, since we feel that this is the most desirable grade. However, 5/8″ to ¾” caliper grades are very nice trees, and we feel they are of the same value. The EXTRA LARGE grade will typically have many nice branches and “feathers” and before any heading to get it into the shipping box, the trees are generally 5-7 ft. tall in the field. Some types of trees, especially sweet cherry and european plum often do NOT have much branching, and so might often be considered more like a “whip”.
LARGE, ½” to 5/8″ caliper grade: This is the next smaller size grade down and still a very nice grade tree. It will generally not have as many branches or feathers, and before heading may have been in the range of 4-6 ft. tall in the field.
MEDIUM, 7/16″ to ½” caliper grade: This is generally the smallest grade that we will offer, and then only in cases where there are shortages of the variety and we have no other option. These trees generally have few feathers or branches, and generally may have been in the range of 3-5 ft. tall in the field. Sometimes, we have to offer smaller, 3/8″ caliper trees because that is the only size available.