If you purchase plants from mail-order nurseries, unpack them immediately after delivery and inspect the roots to see if they have dried out during shipment. If they are dry, soak them in water for 1 to 2 hours.
Protect the roots from drying at all times. Never expose them to sun or drying winds. Move the plants to the garden with the roots in a bucket of water, or coat the roots with a thin clay mud and keep them covered with wet burlap or some other protection until planting.
Set out plants as soon as possible after you receive them. If you cannot plant them immediately, moisten the packing material, repack the plants, and store them in a cool place. Plants may be stored this way for 2 to 3 days. If you must hold plants for more than 2 or 3 days before planting, place them in a trench and cover the roots with moist soil. If the canes are dry, cover them with soil as well.
Before planting, examine the roots and cut off any that are injured, damaged or dead. Remove broken or dead canes and, if necessary, cut the canes back to about 8 inches in length. (Nurseries usually cut back the canes to about 12 inches before shipping plants.)