The less good news: we're sold out of hazel plants for the year. If your order has already been received and processed, there is a good chance that we will be able to fulfill even the most recent orders; however new orders and email orders not yet processed will most likely not be able to ship until next year.
We are particularly low on Large-select and Xtra Large-select material; I'm afraid that there's a good chance that some of the orders we've already taken for these classes of plants may not be filled this year. For those of you in this boat, you will have the option to convert your order to another class with higher availability, postpone it until next year, or take a refund.
We are essentially sold out of Chestnuts as well, but there may be a little wiggle-room for All-Purpose and Nut-type trees. Due to less stringent germination requirements, outstanding chestnut orders will likely all be ready to ship by late June/ early July.
Why are we sold out? Mostly, it boils down to: insufficient hazel harvest labor, extraordinarily bad weather for chestnut harvest, and the compounding effect those had on the timely processing of the hazel seed harvest.
This picture is of Philip harvesting chestnuts at 9 PM on October 10; we scrambled that day to get all we could in before the freeze that night. I was able to keep harvesting until about 2:30 AM, when the crop remaining had frozen; the greenhouse thermometer said it got down to 17.8° F that night. Harvest had already been slowed substantially by a poorly timed windstorm and wet weather; this very early freeze claimed more than 95% of the overall chestnut harvest. We did, nevertheless, manage to get enough in to cover the orders we've currently got in the database.
We don't like being sold out this early in the season, and we apologize– but that's the way it is. Orders can still be placed for next season, and this will effectively mark the beginning of the delivery queue for the 2011 planting season. This means: if you want plants for next May-June delivery, it might be a good idea to place those orders now. We do expect availability to be very substantially improved, as it has already been this year compared to last.
Regarding the timing of shipping, this year the hazel pipeline is a little slow, but the plants we'll be delivering are very strong and healthy. Badgersett is a sustainability-first business; heat and power in the greenhouses comes from the sun, and that's it. This means that nearly all stages of plant production, including post-harvest processing, stratification, germination and actual plant growth, depend on the weather. We do what we can to get plants ready as quickly as possible, but the bottom line is that the plants are ready when they are ready, and not before. We will only ship plants worthy of our guarantees, and often this means that they will ship later than your requested ship date.
It should also be kept in mind that we have a long queue of orders; currently we have some orders made in 2008 that are ready for completion of shipping this year. Orders made in January are likely to ship before mid-July, and possibly even in June. Most orders made in April of this year won't come to the head of the queue until our second flush of plants is ready in July.
This information has been available in a shorter, less specific form in our FAQ, which does state that you can contact us for your order status and get a fairly short turn-around. That is unfortunately not the case right now. We are more focussed on the quality of the tubelings than on responding to order inquiries right now. We're sorry that we have been slow in responding, but we are convinced that plants of the highest quality will make everybody much happier in the long run. We sincerely appreciate your patience!