sod problem

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by JLong, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. JLong

    JLong LawnSite Member
    Messages: 103

    I have been installing sod for the past few years and never had any complaints until this year. I had this very nice older lady call me and asked me to re sod her front yard and parking. No big deal I bid the job reinstalled the lawn adding topsoil in spots that it was nessisary and did everything I normally do and the lawn looked great. A few days latter she called about a handfull of dead strips. ( It was simply a few places 2"X12" roughly that had been scalped when they were cut out of the field). I explained what it was and showed her on one place.... she understood and said basically that it was no big deal. Anyways about a month later i get a call that her yard is dying everywhere and she is "watering the Hell out of it". I go look at it and it looks like it hasn't been watered in forever. However all of the sod was firmly rooted. The sod farm told me that it was probably just a fungus called Brown patch.... I left the lady a voice mail explaining what the problem might be and if she had any questions please call me back. She never has... The other day I was in the neighborhood and drove by it is almost all dead. it looks like she quit watering it and mowing it. my questions.
    1. Do you think she screwed up and quit watering it for a period then got pissed cause it was dead and wants me to pay for it.
    2. would brown patch spread that much?
    3. How do I tell her its not my responsibilty to fix it since she didn't water it, even though i think that is honestly what happened but have no proof?
    P.S. sorry this is so long
  2. paolaken

    paolaken LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 699

    i deal with alot of newly sodded yards and if there is no irrigation system then the owners usually let the sod die. people will water for 10-20minutes then move the sprinkler. if they turn it on at all. it is hard to get people to understand that each area needs watered for hours. now, brown patch has been a big problem in our area this year and that could be the problem as well. not mowing to low are they? well, anyway, a pic would help. where are you located?
  3. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,395

    If the grass is firmly rooted and the ground isn't 100% dried out chances are it just went dormant No problem. In one of my yards the ground dried up and the grass went dormant (turned brown)but after it rained for a few days it turned back dark green. In my opinion she either did one of the two problems that caused this to happen. She over watered or didn't water enough. If it is a fungus it was caused by having too much water on the lawn. Also excessive heat can cause fescue to go dormant. If you need any more help or have any more questions give me a PM.
  4. Truly Beautiful Lawn Care

    Truly Beautiful Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 141

    Sorry to hear about that. Judging from your post, its obvious that you care.

    The customer probably just failed to water. Or, some "wiz kid" probably gave some bad advice and perhaps they tried to fertilize with a lack or water. Or as Koester mentioned, perhaps it went dormant.

    I know here in Jacksonville FL, I instruct customers to water each zone daily for 2 weeks at a minimum of 25 minutes per zone. A lot of people cut back on the water if they're on city water due to the increase in sewage fees.

    Honestly speaking, I have turned down jobs if they don't have a sprinkler. Hope things work out.

  5. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,631

    what kind of turf? fescue?
  6. ACutAboveNC

    ACutAboveNC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    I tend to leave a care package with a customer after doing a sod project to minimize my liability if they fail to water and try to approach me again with fixing the sod. Depending on the time of year, I try to keep the sod moist during summer installs with a watering schedule of 5 times a day at 10-15 min depending on slope, drainage and soil condition. I live in zone 7, I just love the transition zone. It sounds like not a sufficient amount of water. Brown patch can take years to consume an entire yard and more than likely the grass went dormant and you will be able to revive the turf in the fall with aeration. Always include watering instructions and other important details to the customer in your quote and after the job is done. Protect your own hide so you are not paying for it later.
  7. JLong

    JLong LawnSite Member
    Messages: 103

    I did include watering instructions and it looked really pretty good for the next two to three weeks. Then awhile later I get the call and it has gone to hell in a hand basket. I'm guessing she went on a short vacation or something and forgot about the yard, but I can not prove it. Anyway I was mowing one of my accounts in the neighborhood the other day, and the lawn looks even worse. I don't think she has watered it or mowed it since she called me. oh well what do you do!!!
  8. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,498

    I leave watering instructions and do no warrant sod. I explain it is a perishable product and the only reason it would die after I install it is because they didn't water it.
  9. Green Acres

    Green Acres LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 316

    I'm from around KC. Where did you buy the sod from?
  10. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    There's about 100 sod farms around here.

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