First, you need to determine if the plant is grafted or own rooted. A grafted plant will be tagged with a rootstock designation such as 101-14, 3309, or 1103P and have a “knot” where the plants were joined together.
The graft union (knotty section) should be planted 2-3 inches above the soil surface. The hole for the plant should be 1.5- 2 times the diameter of the root system. When planted, all roots should be spread out. Immediately after planting, the graft union should be covered with soil to protect it and harden it off. Once the plant starts to grow, the soil should be removed or the plant may root into the soil, defeating the purpose of the graft. It is also important to cover the graft union before winter if you are considered zone 6A or less then remove the soil in the spring each year.
Own Rooted Planting:
Make sure to dig a hole big enough to spread out the roots. There is no need to trim the roots prior to planting. If desired you can trim roots to 8 inches to help in the ease of planting. Balling up the roots inside a hole that is too small may stunt the plant. When planting large quantities, it is recommended to dig a trench, spread out the roots horizontally and backfill with dirt. Position the plant at the same depth as is evident on the plant – roots under the ground with shoots above. If there are more than two shoots coming out of the top of the plant, it can be trimmed to the two strongest shoots. Each shoot can be pruned to 2-3 buds, leaving 4-6 buds on the plant.