A few folks asked about my poor tree today. (click here to watch the service) Here's the scoop: I really am an idiot. I used to do this for a living. I owned my own business and I had over 1,000 customers who trusted the care of their turfgrass and ornamental landscape to me. As a Certified Applicator, I was well trained and educated and I was good at it, frankly.
But I'm an idiot. In case I haven't mentioned that.
I just got careless and I didn't bother to read the label well. In my haste, I probably killed the tree. Today is day 7. On day 2, it was already looking bad, so I hosed it down and I SOAKED the roots, trying to flush out the chemical. I did it again on day 4. But it was all probably too late.
I really am sick over it. But there are several lessons worth noting:
1) When we get in a hurry, we are more apt to make careless mistakes. If I had simply taken an extra 5 minutes, I could have avoided a costly error. How many times do I do dumb things or make easily avoidable mistakes because I am rushing? More than I want to know. I know I'm not alone in this: I need to slow down to measure what I do long enough to avoid careless errors.
2) When I first saw my mistake, I took immediate action. That's a lesson worth noting, regardless of whether the tree lives or not. My initial inclination was to go throw up and wallow in my pity. I knew immediately that I had probably killed the tree. But as long as there was a chance, I had to face up to my mistake and I had to take any potentially redemptive action available. I can think of more than once in my life when I made a mistake worse because I avoided it, hid from it or tried to cover it up (or lie about it). Most of the time, the sooner we honestly and openly deal with a mistake, the better the outcome and the more we can minimize the damage. That's true emotionally, physically and spiritually.
3) Learn from the mistake. Honestly, I do repeat mistakes. How long it takes to repeat one is directly tied to how painful the consequence was. In this case, I think I have a 10-year life on this lesson. Maybe longer. But the smartest thing to do is not make the same mistake again. After all, there are plenty of other ways I can creatively mess something up!