Being threatened due to sod dying to Armyworms

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Brian Bailey, Sep 26, 2018.


Can this hold up in court?

Poll closed Sep 29, 2018.
  1. Yes

  2. No

  1. Brian Bailey

    Brian Bailey LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 9

    Looking for a little insight concerning a recent sod installation gone wrong. The sod was going through some slight stress, which we continued to go out and monitor. We adjusted the watering schedule as the roots attached, but then it suddenly went bad. The customer sent texts saying the sod was looking rough again, and then two days later, they said the sod had completely gone brown on one side. They were insistent that the sod had died due to watering issues. We had never had a problem with the worms before, but we knew, considering the nests and thousands of worms on the sod that this was our culprit. We have built a great relationship with these customers, so we went out and completely de-thatched, aerated, and seeded the dead side for free. It has been trying to return but the customer has gotten to be impatient, and six days afterward, threatened to take us to court to replace everything, including the irrigation, or we can just pay them to replace the sod on the dead side. My question to you all is, without any warranty in place, is there any way this could hold up in court? Thank you all in advance.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  2. That Guy Gary

    That Guy Gary LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,350

    How big of an area are you talking about? Why not just resod that area yourself if you did the rest of it?

    I don't see a court agreeing that you should pay for everything, even irrigation, to be ripped out and replaced. That's just them being a bully and trying to intimidate you.

    They might hold you responsible for the damaged area. Do you do applications for this customer?

    You're making a good faith effort to repair the damage on your dime already, the court might even tell them to go fly a kite. You didn't put the worms in their yard.
    Cedar Knoll Lawn Care likes this.
  3. walkinonwater27

    walkinonwater27 LawnSite Senior Member
    from ct
    Messages: 360

    do you treat the lawn? was insects part of the install or guaranteed by you guys? have you treated the worms? why would you be paying for new irrigation.. did you hit it with the aerator? I do not think this would hold up in court and I think there trying to call your bluff. sounds to me like you did what you could to please these people, your going to pay a lot more to have someone else sod the lawn rather than replace it yourself. in my opinion sod next to seed looks like crap, you should of resodded and charged them for it. personally I leave watering instructions and its on the customers end to put them to good use.
  4. Brian Bailey

    Brian Bailey LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 9

    The area that died to the worms was 9000 sq ft. After Installation(which is all we charged for), we didn't receive any notification of the damaged sod until over a month later. The customer called us on a Tuesday, saying 25 percent of the right side was dying, and then Thursday, they text again saying it had spread throughout the entire right side. We immediately went up not knowing what it could be, went through what it couldn't be, and then noticed thousands of worms crawling on the sod. We diagnosed the problem, and sprayed seven on the yard the same day to wipe out the worms. This stopped any further spreading of dead grass. I certainly agree, we wouldn't leave them out to dry, but we feel as if they're trying to take advantage of the situation. Thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.
    Cedar Knoll Lawn Care likes this.
  5. Brian Bailey

    Brian Bailey LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 9

    We do not do applications to the lawn and did not include any kind of guarantee in the quote. We simply priced an installation for irrigation and sod. The lawn was beautiful, had some heat stress, but other than that no issues until over 1 month later when the yard was nearly wiped out in 2 days. In good faith, we aerated, dethatched, and over-seeded. I agree about the seed with sod, at that point we were simply trying to save THEM from having to completely replace it. They since have tried to turn this around on us as if we killed it. Thoughts?
    Cedar Knoll Lawn Care likes this.
  6. walkinonwater27

    walkinonwater27 LawnSite Senior Member
    from ct
    Messages: 360

    A month later? The lawn dyed from insects and you did the job you quoted them for and the lawn was is good shape for weeks. You did more than most companies would even consider. I would explain what you charged them for, what happened to the turf, the time Between the install and the issue. It’s not your fault, if they are still up in arms . Thank them for there past business and run not walk from that account, fruit rots in days, some customers take years.
  7. Marine03112

    Marine03112 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,920

    IMO if you took pics of said armyworms and documented what you did and then told them they need a biferthen application you should be good to go. Call them on the threat to go to court. If they do make sure all your paperwork is in order. You will be fine.
  8. ETM

    ETM LawnSite Bronze Member
    from GEORGIA
    Messages: 1,835

    I would dare them to take me to court and I wouldn’t aerate or overseed anything. You didn’t cause any of this. We are having the same issues with newly laid sod here and were are making everyone aware of what to look for. You did nothing wrong here.
    Marine03112 likes this.
  9. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,410

    I'm not familiar with army worms but wouldn't the larva or eggs have come with the sod?
    Did you talk to the sod farm?
  10. windflower

    windflower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,191

    Is is really dead or just denuded? Happens every fall around here and the bermuda recovers once the worms are gone.

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