Bare root trees have many advantages. They are easier to ship, move and plant; the root system can be seen and inspected; etc. Most of all, the soil around the planted root ball is the native soil, avoiding texture differences in the planting hole which can lead to root circling, dehydration, (or waterlogging) wind throw, etc.
Potted trees may have small, stunted root systems that have spent their time circling around a pot.
I'm hoping to grow trees for a large scale breeding program in which the trees would be distributed free for planting, thus avoiding the need for ownership over a large area of land. To fund the tree breeding, I've been thinking about propagating and selling useful trees.
I can't do bareroot trees because the soils here are mostly compact clays which are hard to dig. Also, potted plants can be distributed around a property here and there; on a porch or deck, under established trees, in odd corners. And they are easy to move around; one location for summer growth, then into a hoop house for winter protection, etc. I could solve the circling problem with root pruning pots.
Could I pull potted trees out of their pots during the dormant season, shake, scrap and hose off most of the potting mixture, and then sell/distribute them as bare root stock? What would be the disadvantages? Advantages? I'd think they'd be even better that standard bare root, since they'd still have most of their roots intact, and the root pruning pot would have ensured a fine, fibrous root system.