Suggestions with reference to pruning are covered more fully in the chapter on "Pruning." One of the fundamental practices to be followed in connection with the correct transplanting of stock is to prune all branches and roots properly. Any branches that are crowding should be carefully pruned at the time of transplanting, especially if the transplanting is done in the spring; otherwise it is a better practice to leave the stock standing in its new position during the winter and perform the necessary pruning of the top in the early spring or later winter months. An exception to this practice is the case of maple trees, which should be pruned before sap starts to flow in the spring. With trees and shrubs having a heavy top, at least one-third of the top should be removed at the time of transplanting, or before the stock has commenced to make its new growth in the spring. This is done to offset the loss of roots incurred in moving and it is essential except with nursery stock which has been frequently root-pruned at the nursery. All bruised and broken roots should be carefully pruned, with a clean cut, at the time of transplanting. Only in this manner will roots heal and possible decay be avoided. Save as many roots as possible when moving.
A necessary feature in caring for newly transplanted plants, especially those set in the fall, is to apply a suitable mulch for winter protection. This applies to all kinds of transplanted material. A mulch, in heavier clayey soils, reduces the possible injury caused by changes of temperature and consequent heaving of the plants. A proper mulch of fresh stable litter, applied three to six inches in depth, keeps the soil at an even temperature and prevents extreme freezing conditions from injuring the roots. A mulch which is largely straw may provide a refuge for rabbits, rats, and mice which frequently girdle plants during the winter months.