Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by rs402931, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. rs402931

    rs402931 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    i am new to the landscaping business and i have a question about seeding. i seeded a customers lawn about a month ago. he called me a few days ago and said no grass has grown at all. i used the same seed at 4 other houses including my own and grass has grown perfectly at all of them. he claims to be watering it good. is this something i should be fixing for him for free or do i still charge?
  2. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,250

    Is there grass? Have a look at it. If it is a fescue mix and not being watered enough, it will go dormant or not grow much. New turf and soil does not have enough roots to hold enouge moisture to sustain it through hot weather; therefore needing more water often during the day. Shoot some photos and post them with several close up. Check your wording on the work preformed word by word if clients are cold and prickley. Protect yourself and answer objections before they arise is the 1st law of business.
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,675

    Sure. Do it again for free. Consider it a cheap education.
    Customers almost always lie when they said they watered "...more than anybody else in my whole neighborhood!"
    Do not guarantee anything about seeding.
    Always spot check the site and take a soil sample in a sealed jar with photos and dates. In the event of problems you can have the percentage of moisture determined by a laboratory. Let him argue with the scientific laboratory.
    Always read his water meter and request a copy of his water bill. You can calculate how many gallons of water he used. You can find if he applied an inch a week--naturally you have to subtract an average winter bill to account for the showers and toilet flushing normally used. The city may be willing to show you his records. Or you may be able to find the water usage records online for the property involved.

    You rightly pointed out that other lawns seeded the same day and watered well were just fine. Same seed. Same soil preparation.
    Encourage him to sue the seed company, because you did you part of the job correctly--don't worry they know how to protect themselves--partly by having the germination checked and certified by the state of Oregon.
  4. RedSox4Life

    RedSox4Life LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 1,719

    Agree with the guys above. In my experience if seed or sod doesn't survive....98% (at least) of the time it's from improper watering.

    Its strange though how many times I've heard "what's wrong with that seed you used?" Suuuuuuure........the chances of buying "bad" seed are infintisly small, but you, and most other customers, all seem to have the bad luck of having it been used on your property.
  5. dcgreenspro

    dcgreenspro LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 688

    Wait until the fall. In the meantime, take a soil test. Based on recommendations, add any amendments needed aerate, seed then brush in. Add starter fert then come back in 2-3 weeks later with fall feeding. As a rule, I don't seed at any other time other than the fall unless the timing allows and they will pay for pre-m. Also, I don't tell people to water, they won't do it anyways. Fall rains will cover you
  6. jbturf

    jbturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,502

    Beyond the obvious perhaps lack of water and summer heat, was there any herbicides applied ?pre or post emergents that might have effected seed
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  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,675

    Jbturf has a good point. The soil condition. Did the customer--or yourself--use a pre-emergent or vegetation killer on the site? Was the soil hauled-in? Was atrazine used on the soil before it was trucked to the site? Are there any weeds visible? If not, why not? Were chemical herbicides in the soil--or too dry? You DO keep the official weather records during seeding season--soil temperature, heat, rainfall, frost, dry winds--right?

    Your lawyer can advise you on the best means to protect yourself. (Your contract.)

    Take a soil sample at the site; plant some of the same seed in a coffee mug on your desk. At 80 degrees and moist, perennial ryegrass should be about 1/4 inch tall at 96 hours. Do this for every seed job, of course. Show the customer as you are taking the sample--and afterwards as needed. Get photos. Email to the cus.

    Make sure to save the seed label--it should indicate the quality and percent germination when it was tested. It should show the date tested so customer cannot complain that the seed was too old. (Don't buy old seed.) The label will also indicate what government body complaints should be addressed to. In cases of lack of water, it is typical to see the best grass germination and seedling success, in shaded areas that are protected from the hot sun. Try to get dated photos. Does he even own a hose and sprinkler? Has it moved at all since last week? Cobwebs on it? Use telephoto if necessary.

    The best time to seed cool-season grasses around here is about August 15. In most areas shoot for the date that the fall daily high temperatures come down to about 80. You want high soil temperatures for quick germination--followed by cool rainy conditions--with low chances of weed and crabgrass seed germination.

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