neighbor's willow tree (please help)

penaddict(Z4 CO)April 20, 2012

How do I convince my neighbor to get rid of the willow tree? Our lots are small. The new owner, who rents the house, wasn't the one who planted the tree.

This tree is horrible and wreaks havoc on my backyard every year come fall (we have artificial turf in our backyard and the tiny leaves are a mess to clean for several months). And any little wind sends all it's branches into our yard.

We just recently discovered a major root from his yard into ours that reach so far including under our artificial turf. We could only remove part of the root as we didn't want to damage the turf. It was a huge root and I'm sure there are more.

Our HOA doesn't recommend this tree, nor does any internet site because of the expanse of the root system and it's need for water (getting into pipes, etc.)

So how do I convince the owner to get rid of it? It's a very mature tree.

Suggestions???? I'm desperate.

I did call our HOA and they might be able to get involved, if necessary, but I would like for this to go peacefully as well (even though the owner doesn't live there and rents it).

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

renters are not owners.. so dont bother that guy...

talk with the actual owner ...

does it.. in any way.. overhang your house???

have you talked to an attorney in CO??? one who might actually know the law.. in regard to your rights???

ken

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 1:14PM
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penaddict(Z4 CO)

I emailed the owner, not renter, as I know they have nothing to do with the property.
The tree doesn't hang over our property but the roots are in our property.
Still in the very early stages. I hope the owner will respond back to the email and understand the dilemna. Since he doesn't live on this property, he might think of this as an expense he doesn't want to incur but wondered if he had to.
Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 1:21PM
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alley_cat_gw

WOW...i cant beleive what im reading. I have the exact problem from the woman next door. Her corkscrew willow is about 60' tall and dead on the property line and i live on a small lot and like to keep my place nice while hers is a big mess. Well early this spring i rented a pole chain saw and went to town on the part over the property line. There is a privacy fence between us.I figured if she dont like it, then take me to court. 2 years ago i paid a commercial tree company to remove a memosa she had on the line on her side that was 25ft over my driveway dropping pink sticky balls all over my cars.I even offered to by her a nice ornamental of her choosing.She wont budge on the willow. I hope she gets on her broom and flys away one day....BTW I think you should contact the owner of the property and hopefully they will listen to reason and help you out....that is so rude.If not....try dynamite !!!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 1:30PM
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denninmi(8a)

Well, if you want it gone, you should offer to pay for the cost of the removal plus the installation of a replacement tree that won't have the same issues for you.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 4:27PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Other considerations aside, such as potential dropping of limbs or falling of the entire tree onto their property notice that in both rants the main basis for the gigantic offense taken is that the trees drop some spent parts.

"Nice" = Scorched Earth Policy

It is not realistic to expect trees and other elements of nature to generate no litter whatsoever or to have no other "messy" characteristics at all.

Throughout the world trees and vegetation continue to give way to nice clean concrete.

1 Like    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 5:42PM
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wisconsitom

I'm inclined to have much the same mindset as BB. Nothing sends me away from a conversation faster than the old "messy tree" bit.

Now, legally speaking, that tree which is directly on the property line is a distinctly different entity than one that is wholly on one side or the other, above-ground parts not included. In the former case, you can do nothing to the tree without full agreement from its co-owner. But if the trunk of the tree lies completely on the other guy's side, you are legally entitled to remove any tree parts that are on your side of the line. This is why we see trees with horrible branch stubs up in the crown.

The whole thing is just a recipe for really bad tree care. And an artificial lawn? I guess it's your right, but it sounds to me like you need to live in a plastic house somewhere, probably with a bubble you can climb into for those rare and scary occasions when you must venture out of doors!

Sorry.......just not my kind of thread I guess. We mostly like trees here!

+oM

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 5:50PM
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penaddict(Z4 CO)

Mess aside, I'm referring to the roots of the willow tree, large sections that are invading our yard and potentially attacking our irrigation pipes and such. The tree is on the neighbor's property but the roots in question are on mine.
In regards to the artificial turf, I'm not here to defend our decisions on that but based on wisconsitom's comments, I guess I have to. Colorado is not a place for grass with a full southern exposure backyard and dry climate. We have installed beautiful drought tolerant plants with drips lines and vegetation and trees that work well in our environment. I also do not like the idea of throwing water and chemicals down the drain, which is what it took to keep that grass alive, but which constantly died even after replacing it.
Also, to defend the turf further, due to low maintenance and for medical reasons it was the only decision we could make and it took years to finally come to it.
So please don't preach or make comments you know nothing about.
Our backyard is gorgeous with many, many LIVING things and we enjoy it immensely.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 11:43AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Interesting situation. Other climates all have their own problems.

One issue, is this a weeping willow? Does your county have water restrictions? I have heard watering the lawn during droughts is plum illegal in some places. Is this true in your area? Does the willow need water to survive?

BTW, how old was it? Not the longest lived of trees.

This is complex. You want the right to keep your yard the way you want....so does your neighbor.

I like the idea of you offering to have their tree removed and replaced. A certai Solomanic logic.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:19PM
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penaddict(Z4 CO)

It's a weeping willow (don't know exact species) and it was installed by the first owner. They probably didn't realize what the tree would become (again, small backyard lot). The home (only 11 years old) is now on it's third owner (was foreclosed and now purchased and being rented). So I'm sure the owner, who doesn't live there, doesn't want to spend more money on it.
Our HOA covenant states not to plant this type of tree but I think that amendment wasn't made until after the tree was planted. I'm thinking the tree is a teenager and is massive (maybe less than 20 years old).
Our county has strict water restrictions as well and I read this tree's root will travel until it finds water. If there is even a little pin hole of a crack in a pipe, it will move towards it and wrap itself around it. I already read that willows crave water and need lots, which is why they are usually mostly found near creek beds.
And honestly, if this tree wasn't so massive, I would pay to take it down. I don't know what the cost would be though. And I'd put something else there.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 1:03PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Weeping willow seems odd for Colorado.

It seems the current owner does not care. If no one else come up with a legal idea then collect an estimate or two for removal.

I feel for you. If there was an empress tree next door to me I would want to kill it every day. If I went to the store and all the dvd players were made in China and my money had to go support their military it would bother me. If the economy sucked and Hyunadi was gaining market share with their non spare tire having cars it would bother me. Point is, at some point what can you do about it?

Oh, and dont become enemies with the folks. That will only make them dig in their heels.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 2:37PM
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wisconsitom

Pen, you "defended" your artificial turf very well. And I agree further that that portion of my post was not helpful. But just prior to that content, I did lay out your options fully. You have the legal right to remove plant portions from a neighbor's tree that are on your side of the property boundary. Since it is the roots you are concerned about, why not dig around them where they enter your yard and cut them off at that point? It won't be a permanent fix but will buy time.

I had a giant-and I don't use that word loosely-silver maple in my back yard for many years. At one point, a now-deceased next door neighbor got concerned about a large root from this tree that was growing clear across his backyard. He excised it. Even if I would have objected, which I didn't he would have been able to do this. BTW, that monster never showed any perceptible crown dieback as a result of this large root removal.

+oM

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 6:23PM
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Best Backyard Pools

I don't know if this thread is still alive regarding the willow tree, but I have the same problem. My neighbor planted one 6 - 8 years ago and the darn thing has grown like a weed. He planted it in the corner of his yard closest to mine. A couple of years ago, I was trying to figure out why nothing would grow on that part of my lawn. I found big roots from the tree has grown to the foundation of my house and had encompassed half my yard. I spent many hours of labor cutting those roots out of my yard, but the grass did grow back afterward. I told my neighbor, who is a nice guy, and he cut back the limbs of the tree that were growing into two of my trees and overpowering them. It opened the sun to those trees. He has kept it cut back ever since, but I see now that roots have grown back and are choking my lawn and landscaping. Is there anything like a root barrier that I could install at our fence line that would stop the encroachment? Would his roots just find a way to break through or go under the barrier?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2015 at 4:29PM
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wisconsitom

Yes, there are fabrics impregnated with slow-release herbicide to perform the very function you ask about. It's been a long time since I've reviewed these things and I don't remember the name of the active ingredient or of the trade name, but google is your friend. Of course, if I'm reading this story right, many large roots will first have to be cut.

+oM

    Bookmark   last Monday at 5:42AM
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akamainegrower

Biobarrier is such a product and the only one I've had direct experience with. It is a heavy but flexible fabric with buttons attached in a regular pattern. These emit the herbicide trifluralin which stops root growth at the point of contact. Does it work? Yes. It is, however, not a breeze to install. Even a 2 to 3 foot vertical trench is a major project if of any length. Every single root already established has to be cut back to the neighbor's side. You also have to consider installing it in a shape like this: ]. If you put the biobarrier in a straight line just along the property line it will slow down the roots but they will pretty quickly go around it. I'm not sure how deep you would need to go for a willow, either. If you follow the manufacturer's directions, roots will not go over the top.

In all honesty. I'm not sure if this is a project worth taking on. Willows are lovely trees for parks, golf courses, and public gardens, but not for relatively small house lots. Their roots are fantastic growers and will seek out moisture wherever it can be found. Biobarrier or a similar product will work for a while, but it's very likely that after 5 or 10 years you will be right back where you started. You and your neighbor seem to be on good terms, so sharing the expense of removing the willow and planting something more suitable seems like a much better option. It would save the labor of constant trimming for your neighbor and installation labor plus the cost of the barrier for you.

    Bookmark   last Monday at 6:26AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

it is said.. that the root system of the tree above.. can be twice as large below ground ...

since you are not treating the whole ... i doubt you will accomplish much at all .. except spending a lot of money ... and hard work ...

and i dont see that anyone says ... whether anything will grow above the product ... so i dont know if you will accomplish much ....

ken

    Bookmark   last Monday at 7:27AM
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wisconsitom

Yes, that's the item, AKA. Like you said, anything less than absolute diligence in laying the fabric down-you will find you've wasted your time and $$.

+oM

    Bookmark   last Monday at 11:08AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Large-growing willow trees are out of scale with small properties, small-growing kinds are not - it is the same as with maples, the ones that overwhelm people are the big kinds. There are many small-growing species that do not become problematic on ordinary lots.

    Bookmark   last Monday at 12:32PM
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akamainegrower

There certainly are truly dwarf willows and very slow growing willows. Scale, however, is not the only or perhaps even the most important reason for being cautious about planting any salix on a small property. The roots are voracious seekers of and consumers of water. This can have a major effect on other plantings and would be a real problem anywhere water usage restrictions are a possibility. The roots can also invade drain fields, septic systems and drainage pipes with astonishing speed. This is true of willows of modest size as much as the larger growing ones.

    Bookmark   last Monday at 2:13PM
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skyjumper

for what its worth -- I had a similar issue with my new house. about a dozen nasty boxelder trees peppered around the spaces between me & both neighbors. I asked them both if they would mind if I cut them down at my expense and replace with better trees. they both offered to share the cost for the trees on their side of the lot line. still cost me shiny nickel to cut down and grind all the stumps, but was money well spent. now I can start over with some high quality trees and not have to deal with the infestation of boxelder bugs next fall. also got rid of an old bradford pear that had already lost half its limbs.

    Bookmark   last Tuesday at 9:47AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Willows vary in stature from creeping alpines to large trees. Issues with roots are strictly a factor of scale, a small-growing kind is simply physically unable to produce structural damage.

    Bookmark   last Tuesday at 11:01AM
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akamainegrower

Embothrium: Way more than once, I have seen septic leach fields so infested with willow roots they had to be rebuilt. Likewise with 4" plastic drain pipe totally clogged by roots and trapped sediment. Except for one or two cases, the willows involved were not at all large trees. This is not a question of structural damage but of the propensity of willow roots to seek out the wettest areas. Ask someone involved in keeping municipal storm water drainage systems clear if you doubt me. Certainly dwarf arctic and alpine willows present little danger. All other varieties, including the cute variegated ones at the nursery in 3 gallon pots, best to beware.

    Bookmark   last Tuesday at 12:44PM
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skyjumper

my old house there was a silver maple planted 5ft from the septic tank. somehow we missed this in the inspection. it was huge. trunk was probably 4ft in diameter. maybe more. roots crushed the concrete tank, and filled the first 3 field lines. when it dropped its fruit it was like it snowed 3" of helicopters. seedlings growing on the wood shake roof. thousands upon thousands of seedlings would sprout up in the vast planting beds surrounding the house. 5 years after we cut it down we were still pulling seedlings. total cost to remove the tree, replace tank, repair field, and repair all the misc collateral damage was $10k+. never, ever again.

    Bookmark   last Tuesday at 1:27PM
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wisconsitom

Sky, I know all too well the productivity of a large silver maple. I kid you not-I used my big, wide pusher snowshovel to clear my driveway and other paved areas, back before we finally took the old thing down. Very cool tree-I just couldn't live with branches 30 inches in diameter hanging over the house....and the neighbor's house....and the neighbor on the other side's house, lol. Freaking huge tree.

+oM

    Bookmark   last Wednesday at 5:43AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

'Hakuro-nishiki' sold here are grafted onto a more vigorous looking stock when presented as tree habit specimens.

    Bookmark   last Wednesday at 8:47AM
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