Balled and burlapped is a time-honored way to sell a tree. It indicates that the plant was recently dug out of the ground. The burlap and twine is there to hold the rootball together, usually along with some soil. This state of affairs is meant to be temporary; the wrapping is just to make transporting easier and neater.
If for some reason you can't plant your "b&b" tree right away, it can keep for a few days or a week if you stash it in a shady, sheltered spot and keep the burlap dampened.
Make sure you remove every bit of this burlap covering and all the twine or string on planting day. Arborists used to advise that you tear open only the bottom of the burlap and let the rest rot in the planting hole over time, but this idea has been discredited. Also, some modern burlap and string have plastic woven in, which never breaks down and can constrict growth.
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