National Nurseryman 12(1): 4 (Jan 1904)

The Rural New Yorker has been gathering some opinions of nurserymen on the subject of "Substitution," from which the following extracts are made:

A. H. Griesa, KansasŚI have had orders where half of the apples were Summer kinds; then I use my judgment and correct it by reducing the early and Fall kinds and increase the list of good Winter kinds. I think it is right, yes, more than right in doing so. Some agents sell on specialties, which is all right, but when it is the Rathbun blackberry, which like the wineberry, is an imposition in the West, they are not furnished if I have the filling of the order. When fruit trees or plants are ordered it is for the purpose of growing fruit. No one ever has or will make a living growing Rathbun or wineberry in the West. In flowers it is much the same; they are sold by pictures. The buyers many times do not know the hardiness or other quality of the plants they order. While there are instances of unreasonable substitution, there are also unreasonable complaints on the part of buyers. I used to label each tree and plant true to name, but at delivery,those names being new to the buyer, he would set up a complaint of being cheated, while he had better kinds, as I know positively, than those he ordered. While it was a violation of contract it was serving him far better than if he had just what he ordered. In many cases the nurseryman knows better than the buyer, but it is not always so, and if both understood each other better there would be a better feeling between them than now

J. H. Black Son & Co., New JerseyŚWe prefer to substitute size rather than variety. In apples and pears it is very difficult to substitute, and we would certainly hesitate along time before doing so except by permission. In peaches there are so many kinds that are so similar that it is very difficult to tell them apart, and to substitute one of these. for another would be no damage to any one, and would be excusable but not advisable. To substitute sizes would be much better if substitution has to be resorted to at all. Our men are always told positively that they must not substitute at all without our instructions, and in our catalogue we reserve the right to substitute in extreme cases; yet we seldom do unless it is a very small number, and the order would be delayed by waiting until we hear from the customer.

Storrs & Harrison Co., OhioŚWe suppose the main reason why nurserymen reserve the right of substitution on nursery stock, is because the majority of customers never send orders until time for shipment, and there is no time to correspond buck and forth. After a variety is exhausted, it is impossible to supply more. of that same kind. In our general price list we have always stated, and always expect to make the statement, that in case we are out of a variety ordered, another of equal merit will be sent in its place, unless the party ordering says no substituting, in which case we will refund the money, if we do not have the goods when order is filled. We never undertake to do any substituting on large orders for orchardists, who are putting out trees for profit. They usually know what they want, and want particular varieties, but we think that to the large majority of people who buy in small quantities for town lots or small orchards for home use, it makes no particular difference, for instance, whether they have one or the other of a dozen or more types of the Late Crawford Peach, if they have one that ripens about the same time, and there is practically but little difference in the dozen or more kinds, and this is true of most things in the fruit tree line. Customers order from descriptions in catalogue, and it makes no difference to the majority of them, provided they get a good variety that ripens about the same time, whether we substitute or not, and we get a great many orders where parties do not pretend to select varieties, simply leaving it to us to send what we think best. and if all planters would do the same with all nurserymen they would get better varieties than they do by making their own choice. We believe that this is perfectly honest and legitimate. We do not believe that any responsible nurseryman would substitute on orders from orchardists who are planting fruit for profit, for market, unless they have permission of the buyer to do so, while the large majority of small planters are perfectly satisfied, for instance, with either a Globe or Late Crawford Peach tree, with either an Ontario or Sutton Apple, and would much prefer to have nurserymen send them one or the other to returning their money.

The advice given to its readers by the Rural New Yorker is: "Order early. Know what you want before ordering. Send the order to several nurserymen for figures. If possible, go to see the stock before buying. Write 'no substitution' plainly on your order if you do not want it. Remember that a good tree costs more than a poor one, and is worth more, and that it never pays to buy a poor one."