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dead maple

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by olderthandirt, May 29, 2002.

  1. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Hi all
    I got a problem I planted some trees and bushes for an attorney last june. One of the spruce died over the winter and I replaced it the day he called. I checked all the other plants and they were doing fine including the sunset maple, at that time it had buds all over it, this was about 4 wks ago. He called again yesterday and said his tree still had not leafed out and looked like it was dead. He hired another company to spray his trees and lawn but I don't know what they used or why. My question is anyone have any Idea of why a healthy tree would die after looking fine a month ago ? I think it had to be from the spray. My next question is my 1 yr. warrenty on trees runs out in 2 weeks and I was going to replace it but if its not my fault I don't feel I should but is it worth telling an attorney that you won't honor your warrenty. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks Mac

    SCAPEASAURUSREX LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 835

    Why Did he have them sprayed ?? Did they have an insect problem or fungus ??? Should try to find out all you can before he kills more of them... I had that kinda happen, Lady killed like 10 plants, I mean trees, so like an moron , I replaced them all and a month later they were all dead again, .. Turns out she forgot to hook up the soaker hose she had running between them ? Duh..... But I would find out all the detail s surrounding the spraying , etc, before you just go and replace it .... and why are you giving such a long warranty, 3 to 6 months Is the norm , if any round these parts...
  3. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    I tried to get that info but I can't get any solid answers I think they just sold them a 7 application program, you know prevenitive maintenance. And 1 yr is the norm around here. You gotta do a yr. on new lawns if you want to get any work.
  4. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073


    I would think the probability of the tree company killing the maple would be very low, not improbable, but very low.

    Whether or not you are losing money is not the question at this point. The question is whether or not you want to stand behind your warranty and keep a customer happy. I would replace the tree and write it off as a 'customer relationship investment'.

    Maybe this will make you take a look at your pricing and change some of your strategies. Maybe you need to be charging more to cover instances like this.

    Remember, EVERYONE has a job that they lose money on sooner or later. That is life, and nothing you can do about it. The important thing is to look at things in the long run. Maybe you did another job that no plants died on, and therefore you consider this tree as part of one of those. The important thing is to keep the customer happy. He doesn't seem out of line (though he may be a raving lunatic, that I don't know) in wanting his tree replaced.

    You are not paying money to replace a tree, you are 'investing' money into your companies reputation.

  5. Ssouth

    Ssouth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 436

    Standing behind your work can bring in extra money. We did an install last summer and had all seven of the Korean boxwoods we put in die. The customer called and we replaced them with a different species. Since then we have done appox. 2K worth of work and have another 3K scheduled for the next month. They were very happy that we came and replaced the shrubs, but even more happy that we didn't charge extra. We did not give them a specific guaranty but we always stand behind our work. The reason they died was because the area had drainage problems. I always feel that you should correct problems that "could" have been your fault. It's a totally different story if the dog pee'd on it or you put it in a non- desirable place. If we feel it's in any way our fault the plant dies, we will replace at no charge. This has brought in extra work because the customer knows you care. It's a totally different story if if the problem is something you can't control. If this is the problem, politely tell the customer that certain things are out of your control but you will be happy to remedy the problem at an additional cost.
  6. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Thanks Guys
    The cost of the tree is not a problem. I just needed a little input as to what would cause a healthy tree to die that fast as I can't seem to find any problems. It survived a drought last summer and made it through the freezing winter. I'm kinda new to this puter discussions but I've been in the business for over 25 yrs.
    I guess the ? i asked was pretty stupid Its not worth turning the lawyers loose on this. But its the principle. I gave this person a written list of instuctions on the care of there plants and lawn when we did the install and had them sign a copy [cover your butt] and I still had to stop twice last yr. to tell them to water.
    I think the problem is over watering from rain, It drowned that is the only thing I can attribuite to as we've had record rain this spring. I had a guy that worked for me on commision that sold this job and its 40 mile away [Thats The Main Problem] The guys no longer working for me LOL. Sorry to ramble on but had to vent.
  7. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    Make sure its dead! Some of the new planted maples I did last fall are being very slow to pop out this year. My columnars are fine, but my sugars and reds are just now leafing. These are 2.5" to 3" caliper. Otherwise, replace it with a smile and another lesson on owner responsibilty. Anytime I've ever looked at standing my ground o the "principles" of customer relations, the ground got slippery real fast. Good luck.
  8. KenH

    KenH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,622

    I know here in CT we had some really late frosts. Trees were already budding, and some of those tender buds froze. This would kill an especially young tree. Did you have this type of weather??
  9. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    i do not gurantee any planting material that has been sprayed, treated, or fertilized by the customer or anyone but me, period. too many people who dont know what they r doing out there fertilzing and using chemicals. i did a nice little job about 3 yrs ago, 5 days after installation(in 95 degree heat) the customer decided to "feed the plants", well, out of about 20 plants, 13 died, the nitrogen just smoked them. she called and asked me to "honor my guarentee". not a chance i said

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