How to handle problem with Lawn Mowing crew

SPedigrees

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Easy gardeners on this forum have been very helpful and insightful in the past, so perhaps I can get some guidance as to how to deal with a problem I'm having with the crew who mows my 1 1/2 acre of lawn.

The situation is this: my husband died this past spring. He used to mow our lawns with a riding mower. After he passed I hired a crew of professional lawn mowers, and overall they do an amazing job. They have huge mowing machines that make short work of what used to take the hubby all day with the mower and me with the string trimmer.

The requirements for mowing our property were thus: No pesticides or pruning of trees or shrubs or trimming (I still do the areas requiring a string trimmer myself), and stay far away from any lines of posts that mark unmowed areas where I am growing trees or flower/veg gardens. The main guy keeps forgetting and mowing closer to the forbidden fence posts, breaking a few of them. His young assistant on the other hand listened to me and remembers from week to week to avoid posts.

OK this last week, after finding a couple more broken posts I reiterated my request and the main guy smiles and nods and apparently pretends to listen and promises to do as asked. This was right before he mowed this last time. I walked over with him to the two areas with lines of posts I wished him to stay a couple feet away from, so I know he didn't forget. But after they left, I discovered that he had mowed right next to the posts yet again. So I have to figure there are only 2 possibilities - one that he didn't understand the request. This is hard to believe since I'm not speaking swahili and, from his replies to me, he completely understood what I wanted done (or NOT done) and planned to act accordingly. In the past I described it thusly : "Pretend that these posts shoot out death rays and will zap you if you get close to them." and "Please just mow at least a foot away from any posts. That is the minimum. I will never be upset if you mow too far away from the posts, only if you get too close."

The only other possibility is that this guy has some passive-aggressive thing going on and is doing this deliberately to aggravate me while pretending it was just a misunderstanding. I don't understand this kind of mentality. I am a direct person so this totally baffles me. I have been very generous with praise for the work these guys do, and indeed I am very grateful to have found this crew to step in and take over for my late hubby. If he could see how the property looks now, he would be very pleased. I want to stay on good terms with these guys who provide such an invaluable service, but I am finding myself stressed to the max after this past incident.

How would you all handle this? Perhaps some of you on here are professional lawn care folks and might shed some enlightenment on this confounding behavior. It all seems so stupid since avoiding posts and other structures would mean less mowing and be easier for these guys.

Now that a couple days have passed I'm thinking that just ordering more of the flexible, reflective, fiberglas posts and placing them outside the existing lines of posts to keep this over-zealous person at bay would be my best course of action. I may lose a few posts but at least they will be on the outside of the areas I want to protect. (Some of the posts I seek to protect have breakable glass bottles atop them that I assuredly don't want shattered.) Is this the direction I should take, do you think? I have maintained friendly relations with these guys and I don't want a confrontation. This is probably the best course of action to prevent stress, yes?
 

Carol Dee

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I am going to say a big enough post (Like a T post) That WILL damage his equipment if he runs into or over it! Make it colorful so he can not say it was not seen.
 

thistlebloom

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I recommend firing this crew and getting a new lawn service.
This behavior is unprofessional and I think you're beating a dead horse by continually reminding him of what you want.
You are paying them to do a service for you. If you wanted them to mow stripes in your lawn they should honor that to the letter.
If they are unable to follow reasonable directions (and even damaging your property!?) I would show them the road without apology or explanation and immediately.

I am not a lawn service, but I am a professional gardener and work on the same properties as many lawn care services. The behavior of this so called lawn service is ludicrous and they wouldn't be tolerated for two minutes by any of my clients.
 

so lucky

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When my DH was not able to mow our lawn, and we had other people helping out, I had to put big t-posts at my black berry plantings, after they kept getting mowed over. Grrr.
 

Pulsegleaner

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We had similar problems with our gardeners. They literally could not grasp the concept of "no". They weeded out my side flower pots (in the process pulling out my apple seedlings) mowed over the Mazus (cause they couldn't tell it from weeds when it wasn't flowering) edged so close to the stump garden that they shaved off anything closer than six inches from the edge (and then trenched another six inches around it. Actually the current ones cut too close as well ), dug up our mulch piles and carted them away, then tried to sell us spare mulch from another job (and dumped it in the road in front of the house when we refused), tore out the flowers in our flower garden to try and get us to hire them to plant other flowers.....

However the towering offense was when they went into the shade garden, smashed the tombstone of Pesto (our first cat) then threw the pieces over the edge (because their sect of Catholicism held that, since animals don't have souls, they shouldn't get grave markers.)
 

flowerbug

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We had similar problems with our gardeners. They literally could not grasp the concept of "no". They weeded out my side flower pots (in the process pulling out my apple seedlings) mowed over the Mazus (cause they couldn't tell it from weeds when it wasn't flowering) edged so close to the stump garden that they shaved off anything closer than six inches from the edge (and then trenched another six inches around it. Actually the current ones cut too close as well ), dug up our mulch piles and carted them away, then tried to sell us spare mulch from another job (and dumped it in the road in front of the house when we refused), tore out the flowers in our flower garden to try and get us to hire them to plant other flowers.....

However the towering offense was when they went into the shade garden, smashed the tombstone of Pesto (our first cat) then threw the pieces over the edge (because their sect of Catholicism held that, since animals don't have souls, they shouldn't get grave markers.)
holy crap!
 

flowerbug

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heavy metal T posts with wire across and fabric strips dangling so there really is no excuse.

but really, i would just hire someone else next season. there are a lot of lawn services out there and at least one of them should understand English or written instructions. that is what i would do for sure, get it all down in writing and make sure they have read and understood them.
 

dickiebird

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I go along with the T posts with a strand of wire.
Tie some markers on the wire.
I would have them install the posts, watching them as they installed them!!!!
Surely they will know exactly where those pposts are then.

THANX RICH
 

thistlebloom

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In my area lawn companies are very competitive, there are ten other businesses to take your place if you don't behave like a professional.

It would be a cold day in The Hot Place when I would go out of my way to buy and install more markers for a moronic mower jockey who didn't respect my wishes, my property, and his job enough to pay attention and follow simple directions.
I believe you are dealing with a right idiot and it irks me that there are humans out there doing such stupid sloppy work.
 

Carol Dee

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In my area lawn companies are very competitive, there are ten other businesses to take your place if you don't behave like a professional.

It would be a cold day in The Hot Place when I would go out of my way to buy and install more markers for a moronic mower jockey who didn't respect my wishes, my property, and his job enough to pay attention and follow simple directions.
I believe you are dealing with a right idiot and it irks me that there are humans out there doing such stupid sloppy work.
:epNote to self.... Do NOT TICK OFF Thistlebloom! :hide :D
 
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