Of course we are. In what context am I talking about? Well, you actually could say almost any topic. However, here on my blog, the topics are generally trees and soils.
You will probably read information you have heard before and wonder why I am bothering to repeat what is prevalent in books and the web. But what I have learned over time is you can hear something over and over again and it simply doesn’t click. Then someone says the same thing in a slightly different manner and the image becomes clear. People relate to what they see, hear and read in different ways. So sometimes the communication of an idea or practice needs to be said in different ways.
I was recently at a soil health conference with a friend and really didn’t expect to hear a great deal that I hadn’t heard before. But I reminded myself, I have yet to go to a conference or lecture where I didn’t take something away with me. And this proved to be the case.
The information I was familiar with was said in a concise but thorough manner I appreciated and felt it illustrated an important cause-and-effect. Another speaker had detailed information on her topic I had not heard and so was additionally thankful I went.
I constantly remind myself I have not heard everything and there is always more to learn. Sometimes it is new information on a topic familiar to us. Keeping an open mind to new information and working through whether or not it is viable is part of the assimilation process. There are new ideas, new tools, new information. That’s great! Some of it is good, some proves to be not so good and some, well, simply doesn’t pan out at all. That’s ok. It is how we learn. Holding on to “we have always done it this way” can hold you back. Or you may decide the “old” way is still viable and/or better. As long as you have opened your mind to the possibilities, that is fine. Hey, I cook and heat on a wood stove. It is not that I don’t acknowledge “modern conveniences”, I just simply prefer to cook and heat on a wood stove. And since we get a great deal of wood as a byproduct of our tree service, it makes sense as well.
Regarding trees specifically, we have learned a lot in the past decades on how they grow and techniques that help them. Planting techniques are a good illustration on changes made in best management practices. (Blog on planting to come soon.)
What about contradictory information you read and hear? That is when you need to look at multiple sources and to ask questions. I am hoping if someone reads something on this website they disagree with or have heard differently, they will comment or question so we can discuss the possibilities. I have said before and will repeat myself, every answer to an arboricultural question begins with the phrase “It depends….”. So there very well might be multiple answers that are correct given different circumstances.
Another thing I tell our clients, none of the trees have read our industry’s books. We keep trying to quantify, qualify and categorize everything in tidy little boxes. That is an innate characteristic of humans, I guess. But Nature is infinitely variable. It simply doesn’t fit into a tidy little box.