When you are buying evergreen root balled plants in the autumn and winter often a nursery will grow a number of plants and buy in rootballed plants from abroad so ask if its a locally grown plant or if they have been brought in. The advantage being that locally grown plants are already used to your conditions, if they have been grown in the South of Italy they are in for a bit of a shock.
Traditionally plants where transplanted in the autumn and winter from nurseries to gardens. Plants that are not to happy on having the roots exposed where and still are dug up with soil still around the roots and wrapped in a sacking or netting. Firstly you need to make sure the rootball is damp and the soil around the roots not crumbling or falling away. This is critical especially on larger plants such as conifers for hedging over 3 metres in height.
On evergreen plants look for signs of burn on the leaves from wind or lack of water this indicates that the root balling has not worked and the plant is suffering.
Ideally select you bare rooted plants in the field before they are dug up by the nursery.
Ask for for a replacement guarantee most nurseries will provide one if they are sure of the stock they are selling and also ask then for after care information.
Finally look for a good sized root ball and also ask if the plants have been under cut in the previous years to produce more fibrous roots. This is where the plant growing in the field has had its roots cut in the autumn or winter around the base to encourage more fibrous roots nearer to the stem which make a plant easier to transplant.
If you need any additional help just contact the GardenAdvice advisor’s