Answer: Your tree should be kept outdoors as long as possible and then taken in for only a week or so. While it is indoors, keep the soil moist but not soggy wet. The tree should be planted as soon as possible, in a very wide hole no deeper than the rootball and then watered in carefully to help settle the soil. Native soil will be difficult to dig, but the roots of your tree will find their way around the rocks; use unamended native soil when planting your tree. Be sure the rootball is well watered, especially since it may have dried out a bit while indoors. Finally, apply a layer of organic mulch several inches thick around the tree but not touching the trunk. Keep an eye on soil moisture levels for at least the next entire year. If the soil is not frozen (this season has been so oddly warm) it may dry out and so you may need to water in fall and possibly even occasionally in the winter. Your tree will need an average of an inch of water a week from either you or the sky during the growing season. Check the soil at the rootball to see if you need to water or not. If it is in a particularly windy location you might need to stake it or (my personal preference) erect a temporary windbreak for the first winter.
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