New Trees w/ Roots in Clay - Problems We planted a yard ourselves 3 years ago and purchased trees from the various nurseries around town. In several instances, the trees roots came packed in clay. I assume this is to keep them moist while in the nursery. Question: should the clay be removed before planting? In several cases, we left it in place - removed the burlap or whatever was around it. However, while the trees survived, they did not flourish. In two cases, the trees died eventually and when we removed them we noticed that the roots had not grown. Any thoughts?