allergic to granular fertilizer

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by americanlawn, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,956

    I was confronted today by a lady who says that "all three of her kids" are allergic to our granular fertilizer. She told me the only time her kids get sick is right after we treat the next door neighbors' property, and it is because of our granules.

    The lawn next door to her (which is nearly weed free) looks very nice and is well maintained by the homeowner (he even edges it).

    Her lawn was nearly a foot tall (today) and it is full of creeping Charlie, clover, speedwell, dandelions, plantain, violets, etc.

    I made a point to be very careful as I treated the neighbor's lawn today(using deflector shield, blowing the granules before leaving, etc.) today. I also made another note on our records.......cuz it seems this has been going on for just over three years now -- same lady (who always seems to be home):confused:.

    1) Do you think this lady is full of sh$t (like does she know what is in our slow-release granular fertilizer)? (BTW we switched to UAP this year)
    2) Why does she not maintain her property?
    3) Is she blaming us for her kids's allergies due to her tall weeds & grass?
    4) Is it coincidence that she calls us right after we treat the lawn? (posted sign with our phone number on it)

    What are your thoughts? Thanks
  2. jbturf

    jbturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,503

    did u ask her what she wanted or expected of you?
  3. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 724

    I dealt with lots of chemo-phobes like that before. If she's like 99.9% of the rest of them she doesn't like what you're doing and is using her kids to justify her position. If her kids really were getting sick she would have them at the doctors office finding out what's happening and it would be more serious than just a phone call telling you about it.

    I would be careful about asking her what she wants or expects from you. An unreasonable person is going to make unreasonable demands and you've given her control of the situation. I usually pretend like I'm concerned even if I'm not and try to get them talking to see you can pinpoint what it is they're allergic too. Almost all parents know exactly what their kids are allergic too because they've been tested if they're having allergy problems.

    I learned from a ag spokesperson who handled phonecalls during the DDT era about how to handle concerned citizens. He said the underlying issue is that people just want their concerns to be heard and they'll say anything to get your attention. If there's no basis for their complaints, which is probably the case here, then once they feel like they've been heard then they'll go away and more or less leave you alone.
  4. grassguy_

    grassguy_ LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 633

    I would show a concern for her situation but in the mean time have her give you any testing she has had done so that you can make sure that nothing you apply to a neighbor's lawn would be the cause of her kids allergies. I'm sure she can give you some kind of documented evidence from a physician that indicates their allergy situation. Especailly as to when the occurences were and the cause. I'm sure if they are having allergies during the dead of winer, it not from your treatments, and even during the season hayfever can't be attributed to your applications. I've had customers who claim they are allergic to ground Ivy too, has she had her kids tested for the weeds she's letting grow everywhere? I'm sure since she has such an issue about this that she's taken all these measures to find what the kids problems are. Then again.............maybe not!:rolleyes:
    P.S. Might be a good time to do the old, crush limestone and water treatment to your customers lawn and see how fast the phone rings regarding an allergy problem. these treatments work wonders! LOL
  5. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,910

    Give her a copy of the fert data sheet and tell her she could go see a Doctor with the kids. Tell her she could get them tested for weed allergies. And remind her that her kids should probably stay off the neighbors lawn anyway. Make sure you in no way indicate that you are responsible or liable for any testing, doctors visits etc. And remind her that her kids should stay off the neighbor's lawn. Does she think the fert granules give off a gas or something? And remind her to keep her kids off the neighbors lawn.
  6. teeca

    teeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,202

    well put... just apply the sh$t and tell her what she wants to hear....
  7. humble1

    humble1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,519

    The situation here is fragile because you dont want to lose the customer you have.

    I wouldnt give her anything, I would ask her exactly what they are allergic too specifically what chemical compound. Better yet tell her oh my god, I need to hang up and call 911 for you Your kids are having an allergic reaction and they need immediate medical care, watch how quick her tune changes, she knows its bullsht, and she wont want that bill, when we transport a call its almost $600 per patient.

    If you are allergic to peanuts you would remeber it wouldnt you. She would know what they are allergic to. Secondly, speaking as an EMT who has handles severe life threatning allergic reactions, in order to have an allergic reaction you need to have some sort of exposure, dermally, ingestion, inhalation. HOW IN THE FK are the kids getting exposure to the prills next door? I would tell her that if the kids are getting exposure, then they need to keep off the lawn that isnt theirs but you are willing to call her in advance of the treatment to bring the kids to the park or something that day. You are in no obligation to her otherwise, your client has the right to maintain that lawn that he pays taxes on.
  8. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    I hate BS like this. I am 99% sure that she is full of crap. What in the fert could they be allergic to? Most fert components are found in our own bodies, in the very air we breath. Are her kids allergic to Nitrogen? Ammonium? Potassium? Fe? 'Cuz all these are found in the human body.

    If you leave a posting sign, perhaps you should just point out that the reason for the sign is so that ******** people with BS phobias know to stay the heck away from the property. Maybe you could politely point out that if she maintained her own lawn, her kids wouldn't be playing on the neighbors lawn.:laugh::laugh:
  9. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,372

    just let her complain, don't ask her anything, it puts fault on you and makes you more and more responsible. Just keep making sure you clean up after yourself and keep it on your customers property. Don't leave any on any common grounds such as the sidewalk or the street and she can't touch you. It sounds like she may be one of those lazy a$$ pieces of crap that does nothing all day and looks for people like yourself to get some money out of. I wouldn't put it past her to be building a case against you.

    I would be VERY careful around her. If I were you I would notify your customer of the situation and let him/her know your doing everything you can to keep from "contaminating" her yard.

    Cover your a$$ with good records and you should be fine.
  10. bug-guy

    bug-guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,033

    if she is not on the states chemical sensitive list (fl. has one that's why we sign the lawn) we would give her a courtesy call. but we would advise from the start that we were advising her of the treatment not asking for permission. and then use some extra sighns and post near her property line. have you talked to your cust about her?

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