Is that Asphalt Emulsion or Coal Tar? I can’t speak for CT, but AE can pop like that if an area is over sealed and doesn’t get enough wear. Often seen on driveways because homeowners want it black every year. We call it potato chipping. That being said, right next to grass, it could have not been cleaned well or had maybe moss or something preventing a good bond. When I come across this and am sure it’s due to oversealing, I tell them it needs to wear another season or more. If it doesn’t appear to be too thick, I’d clean well, perhaps even with a pressure washer. I’d apply a tack coat and then a light coat of sealer. You might also have him turn on his sprinklers and see if this is a wet spot or any type of shaded spot, all of which can be factors in failures. I also like to bring our supplier out to get second opinions.
For us primer has done the trick. We have CT sealer in our region.. almost any edge of a paved area is suseptable to getting pine acid or some other invisible secretion that will cause exactly what your images show and no amount of blowing, sweeping, scrubbing or power washing will take it off. But primer cures almost everything.
I 2nd everything asphaltman said.
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