Possible Legal Action

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by greenchoppers, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. greenchoppers

    greenchoppers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 162


    We have a customer who has roughly 25 Pond cypress trees around the perimeter of his pond. We have been string trimming around the cypress trees, pond bank, and everywhere else the ZTR cannot get to. We have been working at this residence for about 18 months +/-.

    The customer is alleging that we killed his cypress trees by trimming around them. Of course, we didn't run the trimmer wide open around the tree but there are some spots in the bark where it appears the trees have been damaged and some have perished.

    The cypress trees are about 3 to 3 1/2 years old; roughly 6 feet tall; 3 inches in stump diameter just above the ground.

    My question is, has anyone else been exposed to anything like this? Is it likely that trimming around the trees actually caused their demise?

    I don't know what this guy thought we were gonna do -- we gonna cut the grass around the trees with scissors?!?!?!?
  2. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,746

    you can't kill a tree with a string trimmer even if you hit the trunk with it. maybe if it was tiny and just planted but not a tree that is 6' tall or bigger. knocking bark off a tree doesn't kill a tree. perhaps there is another reason they are perishing?
  3. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    don't know what you did, but google "girdling" and do some reading, its possible you did.
  4. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,746

    i doubt he did any girdling. you would have to make a complete circle around the trunk digging in 1/2" or more with the trimmer line. a little nick here or there is not girdling.
  5. CircleC

    CircleC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NW
    Messages: 309

    Have an Arborist got out and look at them...u could kill a tree by wacking the bark on a weekly basis. Especially if they are so young. But they could have a planting problem, root rot, disease, pre-planting problem. Remember....trees have been around for millions of years, they are tough and can survive forrest fires, drought and bugs! A little whacking issnt gunna kill em.....
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  6. biodale

    biodale LawnSite Member
    Messages: 184

    I have seen young trees killed by girdling them with a string trimmer. I will pay for and put plastic protection around a tree if the customer will let me. Otherwise, I caution my guys about girdling a tree. Then I check on them. Stay away from the damn tree with the string trimmer.
  7. ashgrove landscaping

    ashgrove landscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,529

    Yea you may very well have contributed to their demise. You don't trim around young/newly planted trees for years. Common knowledge. Mow around them and done, unless the owner wants a mulch ring.

    CUSTOMLAWN10 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Find out who may be doing there fert and herb. If the new growth is curled is be because of imprellis. Du pont and this product is causing all kinds of death for pines in wi. We are talking about acres.

    Personally, i have been doing this for 20 yrs, and have never seen a pine/spruce die from over string trimming. If you or your guys are trimming against a tree in general than you a moron for two reasons.

    1. Up sell tree health with tree rings, mulch, and moisture control.

    2. Train your guys and set your contracts to avoid this situatuion by stating how you care for the health of tree and we will not be part of damaging trees in this circumstanc.

    Avoid the hassles and be upfront. Tell customers what they need and what it costs. If they don't like it, move on and save your self the headaches.

    Sell knowledge, service, professionalism, and price and less headaches will follow.
  9. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,140

    I would think that if the string trimmer damage killed the tree, then it would be obvious. As others have stated you would have to girdle the tree completely and deeply. Do you have photos of the damage and the rest of the tree?
  10. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,280

    Customlawn, you are absolutely correct about Dupont. A customer of mine had 4 pines die this year. They figured out it was fert company and a chemical from Dupont they were using. Long story short, my customer is getting 4 new pine trees on their dime.
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