When seeding goes bad?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by cod8825, Oct 21, 2012.

  1. cod8825

    cod8825 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    So it is general question but something that I want to know from those that do it. Every year you have a couple of yards that do not come in the way that is expected and sometimes you have to explain it to the customer.

    What do you do or say when seeding goes south on you. Now I am going to clarify it and say not the scenario's where you show up drop seed and prep the yard and leave it to mother nature or the hope the customer waters. I am talking the scenerios where you set up hoses and automatic timers and make sure the water is getting on the yard. What do you do then?

    Just looking for things to say and do?


    Messages: 1,343

    Get back over and either aerate and overseed, slit seed, or rake in new seed. Fert generously and keep on it. Sometimes it happens.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. Dave Stuart

    Dave Stuart LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    Go back to basics for those answers and ask some important questions, after you answer the critical steps and have found the failed facet/ facets you will be able to communicate it effectively to your customers, remember what we understand and have knowledge of we can speak to.

    Some of these questions are:

    Was the timing proper? Early sept - early oct
    How were soil temps? Between 55 - 70 conducive
    Seed to soil contact proper? Was the seed pod covered ( a must )
    Proper moisture? Kept moist - NOT SATURATED
    In exposed areas to elemental forces was additional cover used? Straw, burlap, ect - especially on slopes.
    We're proper species/ cultivars used? Example : turf type tall fescue for transition zone.
    Was the seed lot a new current harvest? Or and old lot that has been sitting loosing pure live seed % by the month.
    Did the proper rate go down? For renovation a minimum of 6 lbs/ 1000.

    And a few last considerations:

    Available fertility?
    Shade or Sun ( goes with proper type )
    Soil condition both from a fertile profile and a cultural standpoint such as compaction, topography, texture.

    Go through these in detail and I am positive the failed facet will reveal itself, then if time allows go into action.

    Good luck.

  4. cod8825

    cod8825 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 501


    Excellent checklist. I am sorry I might have needed to clarify my question a little bit further. When you get the intial phone call and are explaining or going over things what are some of the things that you might say in that conversation. The customer is mad, upset, angry. What or how do you calm them down and then go about rectifying the situation.

  5. Dave Stuart

    Dave Stuart LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    I follow a principle known as HEAT:

    Hear them out and let them vent
    Empathize, let them know you understand
    Apologize, and assure them it will work out
    Take action, move on the issue with full intent

    The 1st 3 calm them down, the last method shows your serious about taking care of the issue.

    These work, I have used them most of my career with success.

    Hope all works out.

  6. Cadzilla

    Cadzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 903

    I guarantee my seeding jobs. All of them. 100%

    If it doesn't work to my standards (On seeding I am pickier than just about anyone) I touch it up or do whats necessary.

    I charge a lot to seed.
  7. cod8825

    cod8825 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 501


    Good point I only guarantee the ones that have irrigation or timers.

    Again pointers on conversation pointers.
  8. Cadzilla

    Cadzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 903

    I guarantee some without too as long as I am convinced they are going to water by hand. You can usually tell when you're feeling them out in the bidding/inspection process.

    Hasn't failed me yet.

    I even got burned on one of my first jobs I ever did because the man had a different lawn care company fertilizing and they applied Barricade that I didn't know about Or, inquire about and it was a high visibility 10,000 sq foot roundup and reseed.

    It completely failed. I waited almost three months and re did the entire job.

    Now....partially my fault, partially not but I still made nice coin plus returned the next spring and did the mans back yard on a golf course another 10K.

    If you price the job right, it becomes totally about making it work regardless of whats necessary. This applies to whatever you do for hire on any given day.

    Thats why I hate low balling. It forces people to compromise.
  9. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,296

    You guarantee all slice overseed jobs? Not knowing if the customer is going to water properly or not? That takes balls and an aggresive pricing structure I'll bet.
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,812

    Failed seed jobs require some advance planning and precautions and some detective work. Always save a sample of the seed and the label. So you can show them the test date and the germ percentage and the weed seed content. Let them sue the seed testing lab. Always save a sample of seed so you plant about a hundred seeds in a coffee cup on your desk or window. That way you know the seed is good and you can show the customer. Read their water meter. Ask for a copy of their water bill.

    The HEAT plan is excellent.

    Take a careful look at the seed result. If it looks better in the shade--the sun dried out certain areas. Learn to recognize pythium seedling blight.

    I did a couple seeding experiments about a month ago. I seeded right through crabgrass. We had some good rains. Today the new grass is coming up right through crabgrass. No soil preparation whatsoever--no irrigation whatsoever.

Share This Page