Whole-Life Costing and Landscape Installations

The true cost of improper tree planting

Whole-life costing is the concept of taking into account the expected expenses over the life of a purchase. Thus when deciding to buy a vacuum cleaner, for example, one weighs  the initial cost, the quality of the components and the expected maintenance costs and the period of time before the item must be replaced.

So, a $75 vacuum may initially be a very economical purchase, but if it must be replaced or repaired on an annual basis, the long-term expense may be unsupportable.  However, a $200 dollar vacuum which lasts for 5 years trouble-free is indeed a good investment.


Likewise, a tree installation that is initially more expensive may pay big dividends in the long run, in terms of lower maintenance costs and lower probability of early replacement.

According to The Economist magazine, the true cost of something is what you give up to get it. This is known as the opportunity cost. In planting trees and shrubs, the opportunity cost of planting improperly is more involved than most people realize.

If a tree needs to be replaced, the client must wait much longer for a mature tree. If a poorly-installed tree survives, it will probably need a lot of pesticide and fertilizer to keep it sufficiently healthy. There is emotional cost as well: having to hire multiple companies to do the same thing, waiting 40 years instead of 20 for a mature specimen, etc.

Keep reading . . . Typical Tree Failure Rates

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