Prior to purchasing plants, it is vital to inspect them for serious problems. If you are buying large quantities of a species, inspect a representative sample. Plants that have life-threatening injuries or problems should not be purchased. The following are some things to look out for when buying a plant.
Root quality is essential--poor roots can damage or even kill plants and need to be corrected or removed prior to installation. Be sure to take this step before making your tree purchase. Things to watch out for include:
Circling roots above the soil surface are indicative of stress
This kinked root turns and grows at a 90 degree angle when it enters the soil
This plant was in a four-inch container for too long before being potted up into a larger container. The roots should have been straightened and spread out when it was repotted.