Proper treatment of root ball during planting
I had several Encore azaleas planted by a "landscaper" this spring. Four of them have died. I suspect it was a combination of to much rain this summer and misguided planting. I am now replanting myself, but do not want to make the same mistakes. I have read that I should cut the root ball 1/2" - 1 in. along the sides. I've read to soak the root ball to loosen soil. The ones that died had root ball lightly scratched before planting.
The new plants, when removed from their pots, do not seem to have a lot of white roots showing on the outside. I can see fine brown roots in what looks like a peat moss type dirt.
How much should I loosen the root balls? How long after planting should you see root development extending from the ball?