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Question DetailsAsked on 4/26/2013

What do we do about damage to our neighbor's lawn from a tree service that worked to remove limbs from a tree in our yard?

We had a terrible ice storm in town recently and paid a tree service to cut off limbs from a big ash in our front yard. Their equipment put noticeable wheel track dents in our neighbors lawn because they used the neighbor's driveway and the strip of lawn between their driveway and our tree. I doubt they obtained permission to use the neighbor's driveway and lawn to gain closer access to the tree as they work during the day and we were also at work when the tree work was done. The tracks have made the lawn uneven with wheel tracks or about 3 feet, but have not torn up the sod at all. Will the soil pop back up and even out with time (things are just thawing around here and the ground is spongy), or do we need to repair the neighbor's lawn? Do we go after the tree service for the damage? My husband did not notice this when he paid the bill. Thank you for your help.

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2 Answers


No, the depressions caused by the weight of the equipment will NOT go away on their own. The tree service should make the repairs (usually involving bringing in topsoil and reseeding after the ruts have been filled). If they are unwilling, I'd ask for the name of their insurance company and hold them liable for the repairs. I cannot tell you how many times we've had to repair this sort of damage because people hire uninsured companies whose attitude is "tough".

Answered 7 years ago by Labour of Love


You should first talk to the contractor about this - it is clearly his responsibility, if he accessed the job through the neighbors yard without permission he was trespassing. If he got permission to drive on the lawn, then the issue gets stickier, but if he is a responsible contractor he should still repair the damage just as a matter of maintaining a good reputation in the neighborhood.

If the wheel imprints are move than just a wheel mark in the grass they will NOT rebound - the depression needs to be filled with tamped topsoil to the top of the existing grass bed (it will still settle more with time) and seeded, and watered as necessary until firmly established. Alternatively, it could be filled to surrounding grade level by cutting out to the appropriate depth and installing sod (with matching grass types).

The contractor's response and your relationship with the neighbor determines your next response. Any claim by the neighbor would be with the contractor, but since he was working on your behalf you could be pulled into it too. In that case, you need to alert your homeowners insurance company if any demand or claim is made against you by the neighbor. Be advised that once you contact your insurance company about a potential claim, they may bump up your insurance rate, EVEN IF THERE IS NO EVENTUAL OR PAYOUT.

If the contractor refuses to fix the damage, then his insurance company (hoping he is insured) should cover the damage. Unfortunately, since the damage is small, it would be subject to his deductible, which means he has to pay for it - back where you started. If he was bonded (as he should have been before you hired him), then you can go against his bond company for the cost of repair.

From a practical standpoint, since you said it is only about 3 feet of wheel tracks, if the contractor will not make an adequate repair, I would ding him in a review service like Angie's and with the BBB. I would then talk to my neighbor about it (if you get along OK), apologize for the contractor's error, and with his permission go out and (assuming his lawn has same grass type and is not golf-course manicured, cut out the depressed portions of his lawn to the right depth, then dig up a good-looking strip of MY lawn along one edge and transplant the pieces of sod into his damaged areas. That makes an instant fix to his problem, and you can then repair the strip taken from your lawn at your leisure, if you want to, and not have to worry about grass seed getting established in his lawn. Probably less of a hassle all around, assuming you get along well with the neighbor.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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