How we start some of our trees at Job's
Some of our trees come in as potted liners, they are allowed to grow and are blank slates for nurseries like Job's to grow them on from there. First we start by fixing the top by removing all inward growing branches, double leaders, damaged branches or tops and dead branches. Then we tip back side branches about 6 inches to an outward facing bud to encourage the trees to fill out without being bushy.
The next step is to fix any root problems. We verify that the root flare is an inch away from grade. If it is not, we remove the surface dirt until it is so. For potted liners as seen in these photos we also cut or score the roots to ensure the roots continue to go outward into their new soil. It's the same as when you plant trees. Sometimes it's amazing how deep a tree has been potted. The photo below shows some of the more drastic corrections we do.
Once the tree has had both its roots and top gone over, we pot them and allow them to finish out. This generally will take a couple of growing seasons before we allow the tree to join the inventory at the store. It must be solid in it's pot and root just reaching the edge of the pot. This helps minimize transplant shock when planted in your yard.