When going to buy the tree, first research whether the tree will be container-grown, balled & burlapped or a bare root seedling. For a container-grown tree don’t pick any sapling that contains large, circling roots; the roots should be pruned and cut cleanly with none wider than a finger. If picking a balled & burlapped root system it should be firm to the touch, specifically near the trunk and it should be adequate for the tree’s size. If it is a bare root seedling the roots should be moist and fibrous; if it is a deciduous seedling the roots should be equal to stem length. Plant the tree in the specified area in the right way for the type of tree that you purchased: container, balled & burlapped or a bare root seedling.
When planting it’s important to use a mulch to insulate the soil from rough temperatures, retain water and keep the roots moist, keep out weeds which prevents root competition, prevent soil compaction and reduce lawnmower damage. After planting, water the tree immediately to help the roots acclimate. In the next 2 years using wood chip mulch and deep root watering will help the root system establish itself. Make sure to keep the moisture levels moist but not drowning, overwatering can kill a tree as much as under watering can. After those first 2 years are complete a tree has established its roots enough to live through a wider range of climates and drought.
There are a lot of ways to build the trees branch system to your liking, having an arborist prune the tree at the appropriate times of the year will help guide the branch system where you’d like it. Some pruning techniques will dwarf certain branches to encourage the tree to grow in a specific direction. Also, winter pruning will result in a vigorous burst of Spring growth and special pruning techniques can encourage flowering. To get the best out of these techniques it is best to call a professional arborist on site. Regular care will help ensure that a tree lasts for generations to come without damaging any property or growing into the house.