Look for a healthy root that is growing outward. If the root ball is tightly matted then it better to purchase a tree or shrub grown in a container. Before purchasing the tree or shrub, check the bottom of the container, if roots are growing out the drain holes this is a good indication of a strong root. Another way to determine a healthy tree or shrub is to look for a full tree or bush with new growth.
Remove the tree or shrub from the container. Thoroughly wet the root ball prior to planting. By wetting the soil, you may loosen some of the roots from the root ball. If the roots are stubborn, and are growing in a tight circle, use your hands untangle the roots. Gently pull them away from the root ball. This is a necessary step to enable the roots to grow outward into the soil.
Notes From Susan: Plant your tree or shrub in the late afternoon when the sun is not intense or plant on a cloudy day.
Learn how to transplant tree by viewing this youtube video: