I've always thought that the right way to transfer a plant/tree to the ground is to dig a hole twice as big as the root-ball, free the roots that have been growing in a limited space, and set it level with the ground. This way, the roots are free to branch out and establish themselves in the surrounding soil.
However, I recently saw landscape workers just directly transferring a tree with its root-ball still looking like the shape of the container†. Wouldn't this slow down the growth of the roots and make the tree more susceptible to uprooting in strong winds?
Are there tangible advantages to freeing the roots, or have I been doing it wrong (or unnecessarily) all this while?
† It is entirely possible that the workers were lazy and didn't do it knowing fully well that they were going to get paid anyway. The question still remains though.