How would your company handle this situation?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by nolo, Aug 18, 2017.

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  1. nolo

    nolo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 89

    My relative had their front yard resodded. They also installed an irrigation system. This was all done in May. The reason for the new sod was due to weeds.

    The irrigation guy the landscaper contracted with forgot to turn on the sprinklers when the sod was installed. The sod baked in the Florida sun over the weekend and turned brown. Initially, they landscaper tried to blame my relative for turning it off, but that was not the case. She doesn't even know how to operate your AC thermostat correctly. She definitely wouldn't touch the control and didn't even know where it was located (back side of garage).

    I pushed to have the sod replaced. I knew that weeds would overwhelm the yard, since the grass was pretty much dead at that point. The landscaper stated that he would replace it if it didn't come back to life. The grass did come back, but it had a lot of weed growth in it. Not to mention that the water bill for that month was 600 due to watering it a lot to bring it back.

    Within the first month, I complained about the weed growth. The landscaper sent his pest control guy over and he stated it was too early to apply any weed killer to it. He wanted to wait 3 more weeks.

    After that period, we applied some weed killer ourselves. We didn't use his guy as he wanted a yearly contract.

    Now the grass is full of crabgrass. I'm talking about a lot of crabgrass. My brother spent 3 day pulling this stuff. Now, there are holes all over the yard. I forgot to mention it is St Augustine grass.

    I had two different pest control guys come out and they both said it wasn't normal for a recently sodded yard. They all said it was due the grass turning brown or a poor prep job. The landscaper used a sod cutter for the prep.

    I called the landscaper again and complained about us having to fix all of these issues. We haven't even had 1 month with a decent lawn. I would expect to at least get through the first season. He started to blame us again for all the weeds. He said it was due to not having it sprayed. I asked him about the prep and he stated that was all he could do. He would have to dig 1 foot of dirt out to get all the seeds out. I did a yard with heavy brush. I had it scraped, waited two weeks, hit the new growth with round up, and then installed the sod 10 days later. I didn't have any issues.

    All I was asking for is to resolve the weed problem to get a half decent lawn to start with and for him to apply new sod where the crabgrass was pulled. The pest control guys recommended pulling the crabgrass due to quinclorac just turning it orange, and they couldn't guarantee it would even work at this stage. They said it will take a couple of years to resolve the issues.

    What are your thoughts? I'm getting a lot of resistance from this landscaper to do anything. My drain lines were backed up after they did their work. The landscaper said they didn't do anything. I had to go out and figure out what was going on. The irrigation guy just cut right through the drain pipe in two areas. There is no way he didn't know. I attached a photo of it.

    They landscaper said he would reimburse us for half the water bill for that month. He reluctantly agreed to install new sod in the holes where the crabgrass is, but he isn't doing anything about resolving the weed issue. He still believes it is our problem since there was a lot of seeds in the yard. He also agreed to replace a bush that died after he planted it. He's been saying that for a couple of months, however.

    How would your company have handled this situation?


  2. nolo

    nolo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 89

    Can someone tell me what is the proper way to prep a resod job? Do you do it like I described above? Do you add a preemergent right away. I don't know if this will affect the new sod taking root.
  3. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,783

    Sod cutter,
    Remove existing vegetation
    Add approx 2" of topsoil and commence with sodding as per normal

    Topsoil add might be different in Florida
    I don't put in Brillo grass so I don't know that part.
  4. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,783

    A couple days of hot weather shouldn't completely kill the lawn.
    Do you have pics of the weeds?

    The irrigation was installed, the installer walked away and didn't converse with the customer at all, like where do you want the controller, this is how to use the controller or would you like an ongoing maintenance contract?
    I don't believe that part.
    I believe the irrigation contractor did do that and it slipped your relatives mind.

    The customer came and went all weekend long, looking at their grass dry up and didn't think a thing about "hey I paid for an irrigation system, why isn't it watering?"
    And just skipped on down the yellow brick road?
    I don't buy that part either.

    I've been doing irrigation for 13 years and I've never known a customer to not call up about a small dry spot in the corner over by the driveway, never mind their whole dang lawn drying up in a single week end!

    Without an ongoing maintenance contract, it's the customers responsibility to alert the company if there's a problem, dry spots, excessive watering, high water bill, whatever.
    Monitoring the system is all the customers responsibility
    Like anything else on her house.

    Do you expect the garage door guy to know the opener is not working?
    Or do you make a call and ask for a service visit?
  5. Tonset

    Tonset LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 258

    I can get grass to grow in the back of my SUV do I don't understand how this got so screwed up. I use a sod cutter to cut out old turf and then add new top soil, fertilizer, then lay the sod. I pin the edges near walks, driveways, and any hillsides. I sometimes will roll the sod, as well as topdress to encourage seam growth. I water as I install because it will usually go dormant asap and most likely won't come back. I'm in pretty much an alpine desert so things get dry fast. Sounds like that was the nail in your deal. Irrigation dude probably trenched thru the drain pipe. I've done it to drain pipes, 220v cable to a shed, and just about everything you can think of that dig safe won't find. Even put a mower at the bottom of an old septic tank. My trencher doesn't reveal to me when I hit soft targets. Landscaper should have gone over care instructions and expectations at start of job. Good luck, sounds like a lack of communication all around.
    hort101 likes this.
  6. nolo

    nolo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 89

    The guy asked where the power outlet was. There was a GFCI outlet by the back of the garage door. My relative asked about the turning it on and off and was told it was automatic.

    The timer is set for 4 in the morning, so she still does not see the water come on. I don't think that is out of the ordinary.

    The landscaper even told me he will not use this irrigation guy again. Did you see the picture I posted of him cutting through the drain line? there is not way he didn't know he damaged that line. Also, he had a hard time with the sprinkler heads. He kept blaming it on low water pressure. He had to make multiple adjustments and then switched to low pressure heads.

    I absolutely think that it is the responsibility of the landscaper AND his subcontractors to ensure that their system is working properly and that it is operational during a critical time. I'm not sure how this can be blamed on the homeowner.

    The high water bill was due to the grass browning. They set it for two times a day for extended periods. I forgot the exact kilogallons, but it was 10 times normal water use. They did that to save the grass instead of replacing it.
  7. Mitty87

    Mitty87 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,028

    The water bill would of been high either way if they replaced the sod or not, thats nice that he offered to pay some. When I have put sod in at a house when nobody is home I'll check on it the first couple days. Why didn't the homeowner notice it wasn't getting watered at all? Sounds like everyone is a little at fault. I'd chalk it up as a loss, see if the landscaper will offer some free labour for a Saturday and offer to buy new sod. It sounds like he does want to help, but don't push him away by putting all the blame on him. He wouldn't of offered to pay water bills, etc if he wasn't a good guy.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
    hort101 and TPendagast like this.
  8. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,783

    Roger that
    The water bill is going to be high regardless.
    He switched to low pressure heads because there's low water pressure.
    If he knew there was low water pressure and he had to switch heads, then the system was turned on for him to know that.
    See how the stories don't match up?
    All the stories can't be true.
  9. Mitty87

    Mitty87 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,028

    Maybe he just forgot to actually come back to the job after the turf was down to set the timer, which the landscaper could have done. I have a hard time putting any blame on the landscaper though, he seems like a nice guy. If you really want to get something done, offer to pay for 2 pallets of turf and dump fees for the dead sod. If you can get him to give you a day of his time I think that would he a win.

    The blame is on everyone here and I don't think it's fair to make him pay for something the homeowner could of easily noticed before it was too late. It doesn't matter that the water was on at 4am, when you have turf installed you are going to be out there everyday checking on it, I don't buy that they just let it dry out all weekend and didn't call the landscaper.
    hort101 likes this.
  10. Mitty87

    Mitty87 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,028

    In the picture with the broken pipe the grass seems to be pretty green. When was that taken? It looks like it is green and its wet.
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