How do I handle this without being toxic?

sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)July 20, 2008

Our house is surrounded by really old trees. I don't have a lot of sunlight so I worked hard to get the one sunny area worked into a garden. Just before the house next door was sold, the owners planted 10 whips along that side. The resulting trees are ugly as sin and so tall and close together they block out most of the light. The roots have invaded my garden. Then the rest of the light was blocked when the new owners planted a silver maple. I am sick. I really did work hard to make that garden and it is rapidly dying. The area isn't suitable for anything else.

How the heck do I approach these people without sounding like a toxic neighbor. I told them shortly after they moved in that I had removed the huge old shrubs to put in flowering peonies and hydrangeas and they thought it was great. Now they are killing them along with everything else. Help. Sandy

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Oh, Gosh, Sandy, that is a shame. I am awkward in situations like that. The only thing I can think of is to invite them over for their "advice" on how to keep your garden plants from dying. Let them come up with the idea to remove some trees.

Hopefully someone else will have a better idea than mine.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 5:42PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

That's a tough one, Sandy. Anne has a great idea on how to handle it. Let the neighbour see your plight and decide to take out the trees.

We have the same problem. The neighbour (non-toxic) has some mimosa trees growing next to our fence. Beautiful trees. Actually they are the result of seeds from our trees and all alive with Hummingbirds at the moment.

They have shaded our miniature roses and hardy orchids. Neither one has bloomed this year. I think we'll just have to move those and plant something that tolerates shade. :-( I'd hate for the neighbour to cut down the mimosa trees and I'm sure he would if we mentioned our shade problem. We have the room to move stuff around.

Hope your neighbours are sympathetic and work with you. :-)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 9:24PM
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Definitely, I agree with Anne and Chicka - more bees are caught with honey, donchaknow. :) In your conversation with them, explain the situation just like you did with us. Maybe they would agree, at the VERY least, to a thinning of those whips (what ARE whips, anyway?).

Also, are any of the trees possible privacy screens?

We're lucky in that the houses on our street face north, so only *I* can be my worst enemy when it comes to creating shade. :)


    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 8:47AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

I am really sick now. I mentioned this problem to the Hort. Agent and he said if they are Ailes you are going to have even more problems. I will have to check to make sure I got the Ailes part right but I found pictures of what looks like them and the picture is grim. Not only are they invasive and ugly, they are hybrid Poplars and related to Cottonwoods and no wonder my allergies have been going crazy. Guess what I am allergic to. To top it off, the reference says they will grow up to 70 feet tall. Help.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 2:35AM
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Oh, no, Sandy! There's a reason they're botanically called Populus, I guess - they're invasive to the maximum degree! I've never heard of "Ailes", but I found many species and hybrids in my AHS book. Maybe 'Aurea'? Regardless of the exact botanical name, "the vigorous root systems may damage drains and foundations, so avoid growing poplars within 100 feet of a building."

Let alone your allergy issues! You really should let the neighbors know. They may not want them after hearing about their invasiveness. I know I wouldn't!


    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 9:36AM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Maybe you can ask them over to get ideas to make your mutual property line more appealing? Blended plantings? Cost and/or labor sharing? And work the invasiveness of the poplars into the conversation. From the little I know most of them are not long-lived and tend to be easily wind damaged (falling on their house, etc).

Seems like a good way to get to know the neighbors better as well.

Sorry for your problem. S

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 8:03PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

One referrence said not to plant them any closer to the house than 100 feet. The closest is 20 feet and it is almost that tall already. (Sigh)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 9:23PM
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