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Customer thinks I killed one of his trees

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by ThreeWide, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    Need some reactions from the group here.....

    Back in late Summer when we had LOTS of rainfall, a record for July to be exact, it was followed by an onset of hot dry weather.

    A customer called me wanting to know why his tree was dropping leaves as if it were dying. He of course was looking for a way to blame the situation on me. Keep in mind this tree has only been planted less than 2 years, and has a circular mulch pattern about 2 feet from the trunk.

    I admittedly had spot sprayed Manage in areas in the vicinity of this tree, which was an official entry in my pesticide log.

    Photos were taken of the tree losing leaves, and I paid a visit to my county extention agent. The agent's opinion was that the tree was suffering from environmental stress most likely due to the weather I mentioned. He did not believe the problem would have been caused by the herbicide. He also reviewed the Manage label just to be certain.

    This was several months ago. I only bring this up because the customer informed me today that if the tree didn't look right this coming Spring, he would hold me responsible.

    I could drop him like a hot potato at this point, but it could get me in a lawsuit.

    Would the state department of agriculture be of any help at this point?
  2. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    write him back.

    explaining you asked an indifferent, professional/state employee.

    Present him with the facts (accurate records, professional consultant, etc). More than one can play the fear game
  3. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    I forgot to mention that the customer was previously given the name and phone number of the county agent. The agent agreed to speak to the customer on my behalf to help put the situation to rest.

    Whether he actually called him or not is unknown.
  4. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,619

    I assume you have a pesticide license since you sprayed Manage. Don't see how he can prove you killed it if that is all you sprayed. Make sure you got all your paperwork in order if he threatens to call the state which may audit you to see that you do have your license and your records are in order.

    He is probably bluffing since a two year old tree doesn't cost much to replace vs going to a lawyer.

    He will probably drop you if you don't replace the tree.
  5. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    Just in case we have any tree experts here......

    And these were taken August 1, well before leaves should be falling. The close up pic suggests the problem could very well be from an actual pest.



  6. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    Sorry to keep stuffing the thread....but something I just realized.

    The county agent believed that excessive rainfall was the likely cause of this. Further evidence that may be true is the fact that nutsedge was present. As we know, nutsedge tends to grow in areas of excessive moisture.
  7. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,619

    I just noticed in you signature line you are licensed.

    Never mind i just saw your last post about the county agent
  8. ArizPestWeed

    ArizPestWeed LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,457

    I do a lot of weeed control , & if a ormental dies they always point the finger at me .
    The same does if anything dies .
    3 weeks ago , one of the managers of the new Home depot asked me to stop servicing their home cuzz the neighbors found several dead birds in their yard & the neighbors think it's because of my herb or pesicides .
    I told my client that I use the same exact stuff he sells at home depot , he suddenly realized they were screwy , lookin to blame someone & I told him it was normal , still , I lost the account .
    They always blame us first it something dies .

    Hope this helps
  9. olive123

    olive123 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 500

    i had a similar problem and had to clear myself. found the trees were planted WAY too deep almost a foot to the top of the root ball and then a good 6 " of mulch on top of that.
    took pics and retreived all kinds of articles from the net. then presented a detailed report.
  10. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

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