Planting a new tree
I was planting a new tree and after I had dug the hole, I picked up the tree and all of the dirt ball fell apart exposing the roots. I quickly placed the tree and covered the roots. Then I amended the rest of the soil and worked into the hole and around the roots. Do you think the tree will live? Seems I was told years ago to never expose the roots.
The time that the roots were exposed were kept to a minimum by your quick work in planting.
Keep the tree watered well for the first 2 weeks, then cut back. Add 2 to 3 inches of hardwood mulch to help with moisture.
I like to tamp down the soil around the tree after a couple of weeks to make sure no air pockets are near the roots. Just give the soil around the planting area a good step with your foot.
Most greenhouses or garden centers will guarantee a new tree for the first year, so it's a good idea to hang on to your receipt.