Fruit Tree Grades Explained
Grandpa's Orchard strives to sell only the highest grade and quality.
While many other competing websites may not list any specific grade or size when you are shopping, Grandpa's Orchard™ 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.
2 year-LARGE grade is typically 1/2" or larger caliper tree when planted and grown on by Grandpa.
2 Year-MEDIUM is typically 7/16" or larger caliper when planted and grown on by Grandpa.
Wildlife/2UGLY grade is a grade we will rarely ever offer but sometimes we will have some 2 year trees which just don't come up to Grandpa's standard of quality and cosmetic look. They have good viable root systems, which may be a little smaller than our normal 2 year grades. They may be more crooked, less branched, or headed lower or higher than normal. We feel that they will grow fine, but they are UGLY! These would make excellent trees for those wanting to create a wildlife planting. They will be highly discounted and do not get the same guarantee as our other trees.
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.
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.
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 severe 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.
Potted FFT Grade-Light Caliper: Grandpa's FastFruitTree is a newer peat pot grown fruit tree which is grown completely in the greenhouse in an articficial or soilless potting mix. Some varieties are so hard to find that Grandpa has to grow his own, and growing them in the greenhouse is a quick alternative to outside field grown trees. We use a compostable Jiffy Peat Pot which can be planted directly into the ground without removing the pot. The trees are almost always a lighter caliper than bareroot field grown trees, and caliper typically ranges in the 3/8-7/16" range. They are usually unbranched trees and while often tall in the greenhouse, we have to head them back to a maximum of 58 inches total pot and tree length and carefully and specially wrap and protect them when boxed for shipping.
Due to phytosanitary regulations in many states where Japanese Beetle is not established, we cannot always ship FFT trees to many states. All of our FFT trees are raised in compliance with Michigan nursery law and comply with a "Certificate of Quarantine Compliance" for Japanese Beetle control.