Long-term Consequences of Taking Shortcuts

When you take into account missed opportunities caused by your decisions, you are looking at opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is a fancy way to say sacrifice. It deals with what you lose when you make a decision.


There is a great sacrifice involved when shortcuts are taken in tree plantings. The diagram below represents the cost of cheap landscaping.

A Tale of Two Trees

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The chart above illustrates the cost of having your trees (or landscape) installed by untrained landscapers or contractors who do not have any landscape specialists on staff. "Time" increases as we move to the right; the color-coded attributes (maturity, etc.) increase as we move upward along the Y-axis.

If we assume that each horizontal grey line represents 10 years, that means the properly-planted tree depicted on the bottom will be mature as we reach the end of the graph, moving left-to-right. On the other hand, the improperly-planted tree on top will just be getting started (this assumes that it died, was planted again, and died again. Only on the third try did it become well-established).

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