Help with dead lawn

Shelbel

LawnSite Member
Location
Oklahoma
I am not in the lawncare industry. I am a customer but looking for help and I am not sure where to turn.

I have a large fescue lawn that was sodded in 2008. We water it well, over seed every season have it fertilized and sprayed for weeds every year and until this year it has been thick healthy.

We hired the same company that has sprayed our lawn for the last four seasons to spray this spring. We have a large strip in our back yard that we requested not be sprayed because it is between a flower bed and the sidewalk and didn't want to worry about over spray on our flowers.

About three weeks after the lawn was sprayed it started looking bad at that time I wasn't sure what was going on. About 5 weeks after it was sprayed it started dying in large patches. I went ahead and reseeded it hoping it would germinate. None of it did. Now, several months in, half the lawn is dead and more is dying. Except for that strip. It is still lush.

We also have a blue spruce that has died. We had an arborist come look at it and he immediately said whoever sprayed our lawn killed it and the tree.

The lawn is now so delicate that when my hubs turns his lawnmower it pulls up chunks.

We contacted the company that sprayed several weeks ago. They have come out twice to look. At first they completely denied it had anything to do with them spraying but said they would replace the tree. When I pointed out that the strip that they didn't spray was fine they said "I guess maybe it could be something we did" but they aren't offering to do anything more than replace the tree.

I am at a loss. I live in a small community and don't want it to get ugly but I also shouldn't have to eat the cost to spray, thee $600 cost of the seed that didn't germinate and the cost to replace the lawn. Which, I don't even know how to do that with fescue other than burn it and reseed or re sod.

Are companies insured for things like this?
 

kemco

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Memphis TN
We don't treat much fescue as a good part of our warm turf products work on fescue as if it were a weed. I have to treat fescue areas with different products. About once a year I will have a customer ask me "I put seed (usually fescue) out and it didn't grow why is that?" It is because we use 3 rounds of pre emergent. Unless I am told you are going to seed, the seed you put down wont grow if I did my job right.

I'd ask what products were put on the lawn on the spray round directly before the die off. Most states require product, active ingredients dilution ratio upon request and some states I believe require this to be left at time of service.

Without this info (and even with this info potentially) it will be extremely hard to prove the company killed the lawn unless a product that kills fescue was put down, too much of a product was put down etc.

I can't imagine one spray round killing off a tree under any circumstances. I wasn't there, I have no clue what your company put down, but that was a stretch by the arborist. An easy out. What tests did the arborist run on a sample of the tree? What were the lab results? Did the arborist send anything off to the lab to check to make sure? If not it was a guess. So that was a guess, although maybe educated guess, but a guess anyway. Unless your lawn company sprayed something directly on the tree - did you have them spray for insects? If you did maybe the tech messed up and sprayed weed killer directly on the tree but I can't imagine that either but I guess it is possible.

I pulled up Oklahoma just generally and saw many areas listed in drought conditions. Fescue will quickly die in drought conditions. I would also assume the spruce. Seed (even without pre emergent down) needs daily watering or it will die within a few days. Just thinking off top of my head.

Edit: I see that you wrote you water it. But are you watering enough? I've had many customers in the past (when we used to do seed and sod - right now we don't) tell me the lawn is dying and I need to come look at it - first I ask if they are watering per the instructions we left. Most all that I can remember said yes. But I have gone back to these time and time again (without them knowing I am coming over) and put my soil moisture meter in the ground only to find it as dry as the sahara. And I take a picture of the reading and send to them. In every single case I remember I got the "well I guess we aren't watering enough" and when they do everything is fine. Not saying this is your situation, just saying in general.
 
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OP
S

Shelbel

LawnSite Member
Location
Oklahoma
I am not in the lawncare industry. I am a customer but looking for help and I am not sure where to turn.

I have a large fescue lawn that was sodded in 2008. We water it well, over seed every season have it fertilized and sprayed for weeds every year and until this year it has been thick healthy.

We hired the same company that has sprayed our lawn for the last four seasons to spray this spring. We have a large strip in our back yard that we requested not be sprayed because it is between a flower bed and the sidewalk and didn't want to worry about over spray on our flowers.

About three weeks after the lawn was sprayed it started looking bad at that time I wasn't sure what was going on. About 5 weeks after it was sprayed it started dying in large patches. I went ahead and reseeded it hoping it would germinate. None of it did. Now, several months in, half the lawn is dead and more is dying. Except for that strip. It is still lush.

We also have a blue spruce that has died. We had an arborist come look at it and he immediately said whoever sprayed our lawn killed it and the tree.

The lawn is now so delicate that when my hubs turns his lawnmower it pulls up chunks.

We contacted the company that sprayed several weeks ago. They have come out twice to look. At first they completely denied it had anything to do with them spraying but said they would replace the tree. When I pointed out that the strip that they didn't spray was fine they said "I guess maybe it could be something we did" but they aren't offering to do anything more than replace the tree.

I am at a loss. I live in a small community and don't want it to get ugly but I also shouldn't have to eat the cost to spray, thee $600 cost of the seed that didn't germinate and the cost to replace the lawn. Which, I don't even know how to do that with fescue other than burn it and reseed or re sod.

Are companies insured for things like this?
 
OP
S

Shelbel

LawnSite Member
Location
Oklahoma
I understand what you are saying about the arborist. The tree may be a stretch and he may not be qualified to determine what killed the grass.

Our lawn is 14 years old. Oklahoma is in a drought in just about every year. But, right now the fescue lawns around here are doing really good because we’ve had an abnormal amount of rain where I live. But, when in drought conditions I water three times a day.

Until this year I’ve never had an issue with my lawn. And, the strip that they did not spray in the backyard which is 2’x60’ is thick, lush and very healthy.
 

walkinonwater27

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
ct
Your watering 3 times a day????? It’s sod when was the last time you aerated the lawn? If your watering your lawn that often you probably killed it. Not only will the roots never grow because they don’t need to but I’m guessing fungus destroyed your lawn. Root rot? On both the lawn and the tree.. I would cancel your service for watering every other day.. 3 times a day? Why do you think your lawn needs that much water? Your roots will never be able to breathe and your creating a ton of thatch. I’m guessing the tree died from lack of water, how long do you water per cycle? If they killed your lawn it would of started to die within the first couple of days, a week tops.
 

takervader

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Alabama
They should have insurance, i'd demand a new lawn.

You don't need to water 3x a day, even fescue in the south. You do need to baby it in summer months as I'm sure you know.

I suspect they put out product meant for warm-season grass on the fescue, something that lingers like metsulfuron, would damage or kill a lot of the cool season grasses. But if you don't know, you couldn't prove it.

One spray can hurt a tree, but one shouldnt have killed it unless they did something silly like imazapyr.
 
OP
S

Shelbel

LawnSite Member
Location
Oklahoma
Stop watering your lawn! To much water is worse than no water. Sorry people drowning their lawn is my biggest pet peeve.
[/QUOTE

Why do you assume me watering 3 times a day is overwatering when you don't know how long the cycle is. As I previously stated, my lawn has been lush and healthy for the last 13 years. Sorry, people making assumptions is my biggest pet peeve.
 

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