Landscaper Liability

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by carltoncl, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. carltoncl

    carltoncl LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Hi there,

    I am not a landscaping professional but what I have to ask concerns the profession very much and I'd appreciate input.

    We contracted to have 18,000 sq.ft. around our new house rockhounded, cleared, topsoiled, and then hydroseeded. The job cost was $4,600 + tax. Location is southeast Cleveland (Ohio). Job was completed in 2 days at end of May this year.

    The landscaping outfit who completed this job stated that they would be dropping by regularly to check progress given that they are only about 10 miles away.

    Everything was completed to our satisfaction initially and the hydroseeded lawn started growing. About 3 weeks in we noticed that there were two tones of grass and on closer inspection it was apparent that crabgrass had infested the hydroseeding.

    Now it's late July and only the shaded areas of the grass are crabgrass free. Penetration of crabgrass ranges from 50 - 80% in some areas. The lush Kentucky bluegrass that we were expecting is not to be except in perhaps 500 sqft of what was planted.

    There are also numerous bald patches but they don't bother me so much as re-seeding should take care of them. Again, the landscaping outfit promised to take care of this and they have not.

    Despite repeated calls (three) and emails (two) from us to our landscaping company they do not return calls, they have not dropped by, and if they have a plan for this they sure haven't shared it with us. I should add that none of the emails or calls was inflammatory, I've got my own business and like to think that I conduct myself with some decorum and always leave room for the other side to take some desirable course of action.

    So I am now about ready to consider suing them but I really don't want to for time and money reasons. I just want a nice lawn but I am fed up with a lack of communication and lack of a plan to take care of this.

    As landscaping professionals how would you think it best to proceed? Is the crabgrass problem truly something that my landscaping company should have foreseen and prepared for?

    Any and all advice much appreciated.

    -carlton
     
  2. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,581

    Was anything in writing regarding followup, warranty or otherwise?
    Or did they just tell you they would stop by. If it isn't in a contract, it may be hard to prove in court.
    It sounds like your contractor is either too busy, or just doesn't want to deal with your situation. You've done a fair amount of trying to contact them, document it all and go to small claims. I wouldn't intend to tell you to sue anyone, but if I was in your shoes I would feel the need to resolve the issue. If your contractor was worried about lawsuits or reputation, he would have called back by now.
     
  3. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    Nothing will grow anyway until it cools off a bit. Early September would be your best bet. You will want to start over & just do a complete renovation - killing what's there & overseeding again. If you do it now, the heat will kill it.

    As for the crabgrass, if you put a pre-emergent down for the crabgrass, the grass seed won't come up. There's really no way to control that. What you can do is do the renovation this fall & then start up w/ a 6-step program next year.
     
  4. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210

    First, I hope you have something in writing. If not, get a copy of your check/s and write down all phone calls and contacts that you've made. Type a polite letter explaining the situation, all the attempts to contact, what the written contract states, how your not satisfied, they aren't holding up their end of the deal. Contact an attorney and explain the situation to him/her. Explain that you are going to "CC" him on the letterhead. In your letter explain to the company this is your last attempt to contact him and if you do not have a reply by x-date inform him you will no longer be contacting him and he will be contacted by your attorney in order to resolve the issue. Sign it, date it, make copies, then go to the USPS and have the mail certified and a signature required.

    Usually, you'll be contacted.
     
  5. Tim Wright

    Tim Wright LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,034

    If your weather is anything like what we have here, nothing is going to grow except crab grass and weeds anyway, no matter how good they did the job.

    Unless you soak the entire yard every night as the sun is going down. And I do mean soak it.

    Tim
     
  6. Turf Professionals Inc.

    Turf Professionals Inc. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 131

    Yeah, I agree with these guys. Your contractor should not have seeded anything till mid Fall
     
  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    Nope. I agree. Not without irrigation. You are sort of in a "bad timing" mode, here. The crabgrass will die off after the first hard frost. Unfortunately, this will be late to actually put new seed down and have a full potential of growth and hardening off. Possible,...but not likely. Toward the end of this month, you need to respray all your crabgrass infested areas with glyphosate (Roundup), and reseed. Now, if it is of any consolation to you....any viable (bluegrass) seed that is left over and hasn't germinated due to lack of light because of the crabgrass, will still germinate - even after being sprayed with gly. Unfortunately, any little hairs of grass that start growing under the crabgrass (not a whole lot likely), will be killed. After that, the main thing is water, water, and water. When I say this,...I mean proper watering. This will entail light but more frequent waterings where the new seed is (perhaps 3 times a day - but light...just enough to keep the soil moist). Where you have grass growing,...the waterings will become less frequent, but deeper. You need enough to reach the root system. Also, hit it with some starter fertilizer....like an 18-24-12 or thereabouts. 2 to 3 weeks later, hit it again w/ starter.
     
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I see things different, a man's word is worth the same as on paper, and if a man said something irl then he shows up in court and is sworn under oath he sticks to his story. Yeah I know a lot of folks don't but that's wrong, if they wish to sell themselves to the devil in a court of law I suppose that is their choice, because that's what happens when you lie under oath... It is, I suppose, a choice when someone decides to do this, either way they pay the price, I reckon telling the truth allows some control over what is to come.

    That having been said, read this carefully:
    Depends on how you look at it, the landscaping outfit completed their requirements as they may very well have swung past every 2-3 days for the first two weeks, once they saw that the lawn was progressing as intended, they stopped checking on things right about the 2 week mark, because all is well from their end of things and for what they did and got paid for, all they said was they would check progress, I don't see no 'if it goes awry anytime and for any reason we will fix it' there, maybe I am wrong.

    Crabgrass is a whole different ballgame, it may be they are responsible in that they used an infested seed but it could also have drifted via the wind from someplace else as this is how weed seed travels, and there's just no telling, either way I don't see the landscaping outfit having promised anything in regards to aftercare and going above and beyond what they did and got paid for.

    But it all depends, did it start out as several spots and now half the lawn is covered or did it start out BIG? Usually if it starts out big then this is either due to some seed infestation OR the problem was present before the job even got started, I have no way of telling but seed infestation is rare, it happens because the crap is mass produced assembly-line style, but it is rare, wind is much more common.

    Still you are responsible for the upkeep, this includes weed control, I think the landscaping outfit felt that you were not willing to pay or be responsible for this, hence that's likely why your calls are going unanswered... Fact that you're being polite makes little difference, because I can curse you out politely and make your life miserable but be very polite about it so it don't really matter thou I am sure it is appreciated to a degree that you didn't go off.

    I don't know what to tell you, I recommend either Acclaim or Drive-75df for crabgrass treatments but free it isn't and it takes several visits before it's under control and there always will be crabgrass... Even if I can eradicate the problem this year does not mean it can't or won't come back next year, even next month it could start up again. In my case I do keep up on it, I spot-treat all full-service accounts every visit at no extra charge, but they still pay for the visit in and of itself, usually it's a grass cut but not always.

    Not sure if that's what you were looking for in an answer, but
    Peace out man, flame me back if you want or need to.
     

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