Need Leaf relief

klimkm(z5)November 14, 2005

My neighbor blows his leaves into my yard. Is there anything that we can do to get him to stop doing this legally? We never catch him "in the act" as we work full time and it is done during the day.

We are in an unincorporated area that recently has outlawed leaf burning as a disposal method.

I should mention that he has 30 plus maple trees. So the piles are magnanimous. We have maple trees and leaves as well - but only about 10 or so, which we can handle the leaves of fairly well.

We currently mulch them as much as we can. It is cost prohibitive pay for leaf disposal for this many leaves.

My current solution is to plant evergreen cedars and yews as a hedge to block off the fenceline. Currently there is a split rail there. But until these plants grow in better. We are stuck.

What can we do? Has anyone ever experienced this problem? Any other landscaping solutions to prevent this would be appreciated!


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Line your split rail fence with a small guage wire or plastic mesh so that the blown leaves cannot easily take flight threw the screen - in essense create a barrier .

Additionly you can plant a dense evergreen hedge infront of the split rail fence ( your side ) so that the wire/ plastic mesh is screened from view.

There is a wide variety of meshes available, from the nearly invisible black bird netting to the huge honken bright 'safety' orange plastic screen ( used on construction sites ) to galvanized chicken wire to hardware cloth.

If he is as annoying as he sounds I might opt for the bright orange plastic webbing for his viewing pleasure.
It comes in 6 foot high x 100 feet long rolls. Then plant a nice evergreen hedge , for your viewing pleasure.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 3:49PM
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Thanks so much! I never thought of attaching something to the split rail fence as a further barrier.
I knew someone could come up with a solution.
I did not want to replace with a privacy fence since we just put up the fence three years ago so it is fairly new.
I already have a start on the evergreens. This year we started a yew and cedar hedge although it will take some years to gain any decent height.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 4:36PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Mich--great minds think alike!

If your evergreens are going to be awhile filling in, I would sugest deer fencing. YOU won't see it, but the leaves won't go through it. It's economical, too. Unless you think this neighbor is nasty enough to damage the fence...then I'd go with the wire. Much tougher.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 4:48PM
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He is your basic "problem neighbor". And his increasingly erratic behavior is the reason we had to put in the fence in the first place. But I don't think he would stoop to vandalism. Thanks for the deer fence idea...

Also will solve the problem: If indeed they are "our leaves" that are blowing into his yard and he is merely blowing them back into our yard... then that solves this problem also. And he won't have to get all ticked off and resentful about them. Our leaves will stay in our yard then.

Jeez... I can't believe I am in an argument with a grown man over "whose leaves are whose".... so ridiculous.

We have been mulching up the ones we can with the mower and the maple leaves make a beautiful mulch by the way.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 5:29PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

"I'm concerned that our leaves might be blowing over into your yard and adding to your already heavy leaf burden..." Very nice.

Once the fence is in, just in case the leaves keep piling up suspiciously, there are always surveillance cameras...

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 6:27PM
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I can give you a viewpoint from the other side of the fence. Hopefully I'm not really your neighbor.
I just planted many new trees along the property border where my neighbors are not interested in trees or gardening or mowing their lawn or even raking. But I'm sure they aren't thrilled with all the leaves dropping into their yard from my trees. So I've been going every other day and raking up my leaves from their yard. It's really futile because we live against the woods and leaves from those trees come sailing down into the yard and many leaves blow in from other yards too.

I would really love it if the neighbors would confront me personally about the problem because I would do everything within my power to straighten things out.

I do like the mesh idea though. You could always remove it during other seasons if you're not happy with how it looks.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 6:44PM
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rizzir(z7b TN)

I'd be in heaven if those maple leaves blew into my yard. You'd see me out there with my mulching mower every day, creating leaf mulch to put on my flowerbeds for the winter and to feed my lawn. Of course, we have pure clay here. You are fortunate to live in an area with good soil.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 8:36PM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

We used green coated 'garden wire' fencing attached to our split rail fencing to keep our dogs contained. It works well to keep the leaves in their respective yards also, and the dark green color blends nicely into the background, so it is barely noticeable. We did make the mistake of putting the wire on 'our side' of the rails, but if it ever gets replaced, we'd probably put the wire on the neighbor side, so the space under the rails can be mulched from within our yard. (Fortunately, I currently have wonderful neighbors, who don't mind me traipsing into their yards with wheelbarrow loads of mulch each year to address the space underneath the rails. Your neighbor might ask you to stay out, so you'd want to mulch under from your side.)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 12:12AM
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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

Right on the money Michelle with the fencing.

There is a growing and gloomy realization (in my mind) that we are doomed ecologically because folks like the poster mentioned are the norm. We are the exception. To see this happening in IL or TN tells me this is more than a local problem (here in NJ where I live).

I couldn't live without trees. While the leafblowers are nonstop here in Oakhurst (anal retentive folks just HAVE to get their leaves off of their lawns)....And no one is ever on those lawns, but God knows that they throw enough $$$ at them.

The only reason I finally purchased a leaf blower last year (was to clean the gutters, and to blow the leaves off of the walkway, driveway). Most of the leaves are blown into established garden beds (and they typically don't blow into neighbors yards, as the shrubs, and last year's perrenial stalks provide holding power).

The only oak leaves that I leave for the Street Dept. Vacuum is that which has fallen into the street. And even that stuff (about 25% of it gets blown into the front garden bed).

I have 16 oak on the property that range in size from 60 -80' and that's a lot of leaves. Whatever falls on the lawn is mulched and slam dunked into exisiting gardens.

It's just a hellacious and ignorant mindset that exists in this country. I know we all have so little time because of the go go nature of our lives (you ought to try living here in the shadow of NYC and the attendant electricity), but I find that gardening is the antidote. If we were more like the Brits, there'd be less crime, more respect and neighborhoods would be far more beautiful (IMHO)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 9:40AM
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I know it just kills me to have to go to all this problem for dealing with these leaves. I moved to an unincorporated area because of these trees and I figured I would not have to fuss over my yard as much. WRONG! I live next to a hyper-fussy neighbor. Just our luck!
Part of it though - I suspect - is we have previous "issues" with this neighbor (I will not go into as this spans many years). And he takes any chance he gets to stick it to us. He has a neighbor on the other side and there are no leaves blown into their yard.
We have always mulched the leaves - even when burning was "legal" here. And as a result our lawn is very green without much fertilizer. And I use the mulch on my beds and around the trees with great success.
Thanks for the suggestions for next season!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 10:53AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Birdsong, just so we don't turn into a lynch mob here I feel compelled to point out that although the neighbour has apparently been a jerk to the OP, he apparently maintains the 30 maples on his property rather than cutting them down, so he is not anti-tree. He is just real sure that he doesn't want to be dealing with a single leaf from the OP's property.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 12:37PM
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What if you raked or blew them toward the edge and then used a bagging mower, without the bag, along the property line and spewed the chopped leaves into his yard? Like, ya know, I was just gettin' em all chopped up for compostin' so ya didn't have ta do it yourself. (Sorry, that might be war.)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 1:14PM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

Folks on the Soil, compost, and mulch forum would actually bow to you if you told them you get your neighbor to blow the leaves of thirty maple trees into your yard. Honest!

Here is a link that might be useful: This is what I'd do with all those leaves

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 1:34PM
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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

While Maples aren't a good choice for mulching, I see that Karin's comments (her point that the dude has a myriad of maples on his property tells me that I missed the point).....Admittedly then.....

After all that, this is nitpicking on the part of the poster. Raking is a great cardiovascular exercise. While I mulch what falls on what little lawn I have left, the aspect of detaching and then emptying a bag after but 2 minutes is a good workout in itself.

But back to my point: My neighborhood is NEVER squeaky clean (devoid of leaves on the ground) except for the months of May and June, with May having us piling up oak catkins at curbside that sometime are 2 1/2' tall.

This banal anal gestalt is a bit over the top for me. If you want a clean "living room look", you've lost sight of the BIG PICTURE. NATURE IS AKBAR! And if I or Tucker (my golden) tracks in a rogue oak leaf,.......that's LIFE.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 2:18PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

It's one thing to have neighbors' leaves innocently drifting over. It's another thing ENTIRELY if someone is actually using YOUR yard as their leaf pile. I know, we raked our neighbors leaves for YEARS--until we moved.

When one has a bunch of big oaks, and it's illegal to burn--one rakes 'em. When one has a 1/2 acre city lot, one can only compost so many leaves a season.

I understand the OP's irritation. It's got nothing to do with "prissyness" (sp?) and EVERYTHING to do with justice.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 5:37PM
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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

I dream of a landscape where leaves fall, and no one rakes them. Woodlands begin to reemerge, birds and wildlife return, and we begin appreciating the important things in our life........the beauty and uniquness of the human species and our place within this matrix of all living species and most of all....peace.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 11:30AM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Then we don't have gardens, we have woodlands. There is room in the landscape for BOTH. (And the critters seem to like my GARDEN as much or more than my WOODLANDS...particularly the hummingbirds and the deer.)

I dream of a landscape where people use rakes, not leafblowers.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 8:42AM
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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

mjsee.....I have both and it works. I have woodland edge and I have deep shade. There's nothing that says you can't have both. Woodland edge has me growing native azaleas (which love sun) as well as a myriad of sun loving perrenials.

Dappled shade predominates and has dogwoods, redbuds, even magnolia flowering along with elipidotes, lepidotes, laurels, clethra, viburnums etc. etc.

And while I love fresh vegetables, I'm not about to begin cutting 80 year old oaks just to enjoy a great NJ tomato, etc. That I can get from the farm stands here........wait a minute. The farms are going quicker than funnel cakes at a country fair.......

To complain about leaves being blown on the property is pretty miniscule in the 'big picture'......

Paradise Waits..........

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 11:18AM
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The problem is this:
I come home after work to find a pile four-five feet high 200 feet long along (maybe even larger) one boundary of my property. I pull into the drive and cannot open my car doors that is how high this pile was last week. I spent about four hours mulching and raking this pile.
I maintain a "woodland area" on one end and one other side of my property. I use minimal upkeep here and as a result I have lots of wildflowers in the spring, also lots of wildlife and birds live there. I must maintain (i.e. rake) the side along my neighbor's property otherwise he will have a "cow". I am sure that even the wild area that does not touch his borderline irks him somehow but I enjoy the wildlife so too bad.
In fact the area that borders his property is only a small border where I have started planting the evergreens, then our gravel drive, then the remainder of my yard.
In the meantime, I will try the temporary barrier thing and I also plan to plant more cedar (juniperus virginiana? I think) along with my taxus hicksii (hicks yew) to get a natural evergreen (no leaves!) barrier going. I think that will help our "relationship" - the whole "not being able to see what we are doing" so things will not eat at him anymore.
The basic problem is that this neighbor is way too concerned with things that he cannot control - i.e. a "control freak" in more ways than just the "leaf" issue. That is his basic personality in every aspect of his life.
What I am wondering... is why this person moved to a wild-life inhabited natural semi-rural area if he is like this. Seems like swimming upstream to me! He should be in a manicured subdivision somewhere with covenants galore to make him happy.
Good luck all and thanks for your suggestions!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 3:23PM
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Well hurry up and get your leaf fence up before this seasons leaf drop is over. You must let us know how he reacts to this brilliant plan to foil his leaf shenanigans.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 10:22PM
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Actually - leaf season here in IL ended abruptly yesterday. We got a sudden record drop in Nov. temps and the last two nights it was currently in the teens. What leaves are left after the previous two days of 40-50mph wind gusts - are now frozen to the ground... not going anywhere til March.
Good luck all!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 9:49AM
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Here is a laugh for you all. My neighbor was gradually taking over about 2 feet of my yard. She had her firewood on my yard and her pets' exercise pen. One day I asked her about it and she said she would move it. Then she kept on doing it. She suggested one day that we split the cost of trees and kind of scatter them on the property line. No way! I would not do that. I know she wanted to blur the line. So I got a fence and went for the big expense. Oh yes, and she also was always parking on the corner of my lawn closest to her house because nobody is allowed to park on HER lawn.
Okay so the other day she called me and asked if I wanted to pay her leaf blowing guy to take away my leaves. I told her no, because I have been raking my own. She said she is afraid that some of my leaves might blow on to her yard.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 2:08PM
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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

Give it to her Josephina. Give it to her and then some. I love how you made her "stand the hell down".

I applaud you.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 10:23AM
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Marie of Roumania(z6 MA)

on the opposite end of the neighbor spectrum -- my 84-year-old neighbor just came over to ask what branches i'd like taken down. five oak trees have trunks on her side of the fence & hang way over my side. all need pruning & i had told her i'd happily go in on it with her. well, her elderly dog just died & now she's insisting that she pay for the whole thing as a present in rememberance of her beloved pet. we haggled back & forth for about 15 minutes, but i'm still not sure if she's going to let me pitch in my fair share of the bill. hard to argue with a dead dog & a feisty 84-year-old, but i'm trying to hold my own without giving offense.

another neighbor snowblowed my long driveway every time it snowed last winter -- including the record-setting blizzard -- for no reason other than he likes his snowblower. and he won't take money. fortunately, he's going to florida for the month of february this winter, so i'll be able to snowblow his place while he's away & start to repay the favor.

don't mean to brag, i am truly blessed in the neighbor department.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 11:13AM
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Birdsong, thank you for the support. A question: What does "stand the hell down" mean?
Marie of Roumania:
I should also say that I do have good neighbors. My neighbor across the street plowed my driveway ever storm last year and said he loves doing it. I did get him a gift certificate at the end of the season.
About your old lady neighbor, let her pay and then maybe do some nice memorial thing for her pet.
If you go to I think they have that kind of stuff.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 4:12PM
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You should use reverse psychology on this guy. He sounds like the type that wouldn't realize you were doing it. Next time you seem him outside the house, even anywhere, such as the hardware store or grocery store. Walk up to him, and within earshot of others, thank him graciously for providing all the mulch material free. Go on to say it sure saves you a lot of money since you don't have to pay for it. Don't use a sarcastic tone, and it will get him thinking(for once, lol)
I guarantee he will stop doing it fairly quickly. After all, why should he give you this valuable mulch material. He would think he was sticking it to you again, by not blowing the leaves into your yard. Might not work, but it's worth a shot;-)

    Bookmark   December 31, 2005 at 8:59AM
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Remember me from last year's post! Just thought I would follow up...

Anyway - I did block off this neighbor's side of the fence mostly. We had five trees of questionable health taken down. I had the arborists chop the trees into log size and I stacked them along the fence in a 3 foot high and about 100+ feet long stack.

But that did not prevent the leaf blowing neighbor from still blowing the leaves into our yard once again through the spots that were not blocked off from his access by our log stack. But my husband has been keeping that side of our yard very very leaf free so it was totally obvious when he did it.

I confronted him last night and asked him why he kept blowing his leaves into our yard. He denied it and said the wind blew them there. And I replied Yeah right, "in a straight line". And then I proceeded to tell him he has serious problems.

I told my DH last year that if he did it again - this is going on third year, that I am aware of, that he has done this, I would consider it vandalism. So I am tired of messing around with this guy and I called the sheriff and filed a report. No official police report, just on file that this person is harassing us.

The sheriff recommended that every time this neighbor does something questionable, and we watch him like a hawk constantly, to call them non-emergency because they DO consider continuous pattern behavior like this a form of harassment. We mentioned all the issues we have had to deal with regarding this neighbor over the 13 years we have lived here and she said that we should have been making reports to keep on file all along. And she is putting it on file that we complained about him so that if they get any complaints about us, in retaliation from this particular neighbor, they have our initial complaint on file.

She said it also constitutes harassment because he blows them into our yard only and not the neighbor on the other side. He is singling us out. Never thought about that.

Although truly, we don't do anything wrong, mostly because we both work full time and we have resort property so we are not around our house a lot. So I don't k now HOW we could possibly bother him. The sheriff recommended no trespassing signs also.

SO - the lesson is this folks... if you experience harassing behavior similar to this, do not be afraid to get the authorities involved. Now, if something serious "goes down" with this neighbor, we have an established pattern of questionable behaviors on file with authorities.

I am just appalled that I had to stoop to involving authorities regarding a 40+ year old man. Totally ridiculous. All this nonsense because he took our putting up a fence between our two properties personally... let it go dude! I mean what is next, video surveillance for chrissakes.

BTW - I thought I could get away without the snow fence idea because I did the "log stack" that was obviously not the case. So I am going out today and getting "beautiful attractive" snow fence to put along the egregious fence line until my trees and bushes get larger. Then, when the split rail gets tired I am putting up an 8 foot privacy fence.

Any ideas on how to attach the snow fence to the split rail? DH said cable ties, would this hold up over the winter? Or just wire? I'll let you all know what I end up with.

Man talk about your border wars. I am exhausted from typing all this. Thanks all for letting me vent.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 10:07AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

"While Maples aren't a good choice for mulching,..."

The only leaves that are not a good choice for mulching might be black walnut and poison ivy, and even so, you will still find some wacko who composts them also.

I think I've read that about oak leaves too. We must realize that these leaf myths are propogated by crazy composters who want all of the leaves to themselves. They start these bizarre myths about maple leaves and oak leaves so that people won't shred and mulch with their own leaves. Thus creating stacks of bagged leaves left at the curb for the composters to steal.

The leaf mulch myths could also be propogated by the people who sell dyed red chip mulch. They tell people leaf mulch, that is readily available for free is bad; so they can sell more wood chips.

Thank your neighbor for the extra leaves. You can use them as mulch on your flower beds, under your pine trees or on your garden.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 11:41AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I am sorry for the annoyance from your neighbor. Personally, I really dislike the blowers. They are so loud and you are right, they just make a homeowners leaves someone else's problem. My neighbor has a company that blows leaves, but they blow to the center and then pick them all up with a riding machine.

I had to laugh though, I went out and 'asked' the neighbor to blow his leaves into my I have a shrub border and flower beds and a compost pile that I love to have the leaves for. Maybe your neighbor has a gardener on the other side of him that might like the leaves?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 11:50AM
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I have the same problem with my new neighbor that moved in 2 years ago. The year he moved in, I loaned him my mulching mower. Never had the problem before and have lived here 24 years.

People assume that it's no big deal. They might be right from their point of view. It's just some leaves. WRONG!!!

We have an inground pool. It takes me a lot of work to skim them off my pool cover. I mulch my leaves every few days while they are falling. Last year he really nailed me with leaves after mine were all cleaned up. The neighbor has a lot of big trees and knee high leaves before he blows them.

I wondered why I heard him blowing leaves after dark. The next day, I could see why he waited until night. This year, I am going to take a phone outside and sit on the deck while he is blowing leaves. I try to be a good neighbor. People must take that as a weakness. Homey don't play that being taken advantage of. If he wants to play bad neighbor, I will show him how it's done. I have a snowblower, he has a shovel. I'll keep him busy all winter.

I don't think him blowing leaves on my patio is illegal. Neither is blowing snow into his driveway.

I will speak to him first, he gets one chance to be a good neighbor after all the work he caused me last year.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 8:18AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I have been researching neighbour and tree issues all summer because of a large tree next door that we want removed. The courts often see disputes of this sort. I should mention that I'm reading legal material as a non-lawyer and in Canada, but as far as I understand, under common law we have these things called "right to peaceful enjoyment of property" and "nuisance." You have a right to the former, and your neighbour does not have the right to be the latter.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 1:38PM
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