The root ball is best when it  just  shows all the way around the outside. BUT, it can be solid and work as long as you can still run a finger along the edge  and uncoil it. The root ball should be brown, black, tawny, with a few off-white roots where the new growth is. There are very few native plants with lilly white roots. (Maybe Lillies, Lobelias, Mimulus and and other annuals or riparian species.) In all of the the plant and it roots should smell good.
Ceanothus has roots that swell up and make a home for nitrogen fixing bacteria that are called Frankia. - grid24_12
Some of the native plants can have nitrogen fixing roots.
Valley Oak, Quercus lobata, roots showing saprophytes, ectomycorrhiza, a worm on the soil. - grid24_12
Most natives can have roots showing saprophytes, mycorrhiza, or a worm on the soil.
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Edited on Mar 25, 2013. Authors:
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