Homeowner, Boston landscaper clash on tree health

Homeowner, Boston landscaper clash on tree health

COMPLAINT: Peter Lawner, Belmont, Mass.

I hired A Yard & A Half Landscaping to plant trees in my backyard. Only one of the three hemlock trees looks decent — the other two haven't filled out and one looks diseased. I followed the directions for watering, but the trees never thrived.

When I call, Eileen [Michaels, the owner] is impatient, blames me for the problems and has been rude. They came out and said the trees appear to have been dying because of a lack of watering, and they even replaced the trees with the same negative results.

DESIRED RESOLUTION: I would like A Yard & A Half Landscaping to take responsibility and plant three healthy looking hemlocks in my backyard.

RESPONSE: Eileen Michaels, owner, A Yard & A Half Landscaping

We take great pride in our customer service and it's never our intent to be rude or impatient with our customers. We planted three hemlock trees for the member in 2006. In 2007, we replaced two hemlocks that had died. In 2008, we replaced one hemlock that had died.

In 2009, the member informed us that two of the hemlocks looked terrible. Even though his guarantee had expired, we took samples of the hemlocks and sent them off to a plant lab, at our own expense, to find out what the problem was. The lab test results indicated that the plants were not watered adequately. The member was sent a copy of the lab results and given instructions on how to save the suffering hemlocks.

STATUS: Stalemate

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M. D. Vaden Landscape Design & Trees


The Peter Lawner and Boston Tree Company topic is of interest to me, especially having been on the Oregon license board in the past, where claims were occasionally reviewed.

Lawner did not give enough facts in the report, to convince me that the company planting the trees was at fault.

What species of Hemlock were they? The east USA has a really issue with adelgids on one species. Did Lawner inspect the trees routinely for pests? Is he trained to do that? Did he hire someone for pest management? What was the watering schedule? How did he know that the inside of the rootball was moist? Did he use a moisture meter?

Also, little is known about how the trees were planted and selected. But it sounds like they looked okay when first planted. My projects or other companies, it's usually the homeowner failure when trees go in green and decline under homeowner care. Not always, but 9 times out of 10.

It would be interesting to know more about this one, just to see how much more was done on the part of each party.

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