Let's talk about idiots

aachenelf z5 MplsNovember 30, 2013

In particular, idiots that have been responsible for damaging your yard or garden.

Here's mine:

Tuesday - around 4:30 pm - I heard a thump, looked out my kitchen window, didn't see anything, so went back to making dinner. The phone rang. It was my neighbor - frantic. "Did you see the car that just took out your fence in the front of your house?"

I ran to the front window and sure enough, the entire fence the entire width of my property was down - EVERYTHING - posts, concrete pulled out of the ground, everything was shattered and thrown all over the sidewalk and my yard. The car was gone of course.

As far as I could tell, the car must have somehow left the road and then drove down the sidewalk taking out the fence in the process. We don't have any snow or ice, so that isn't an excuse. Who knows how this happened. I live on a residential street, so traffic isn't an issue.

I finally cleaned up the mess yesterday because of Thanksgiving and all that. The hedge I had just planted along this fence this past season was generally OK, but a few plants were broken off at ground level. I don't know if they will resprout, so I may need to replace them. Because it's almost winter, that's about all I can do this season. The ground is frozen several inches down already.

Too boot, I planted this hedge around the entire front yard with the intent of taking the fence down in maybe 2 years when the hedge had grown some, so it doesn't make any sense to replace this part of the fence in the spring. I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I guess I have the winter to think about it.

My initial rage is over. That lasted about a day and a half and I hate that feeling so much, it's just better for my own mental health to move on. Cleaning up all that broken lumber yesterday actually helped a lot. Physical work like that always seems to help me when I'm angry.

So please tell me about your idiots. I can't be alone.


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Sincerely sorry to read about the loss of your fence Kevin but more disturbed by the way it happened--it screams 'distracted driver' to me, either on a cell phone or (more likely) texting. I understand I'm probably preaching to the choir (+ I'm an old f*rt) but driving isn't on my multi-tasking list.

Plants/shrubs whose roots weren't pulled out of the ground should send up new growth in the spring; chances are they were dormant or nearly so this late in the year. I do hope yours recover.

One of the first things I did after moving here was to eliminate beds located at the edge of the road. Maintenance was difficult/inconvenient and they didn't add/enhance my vision of how I wanted my garden to look. Doesn't stop idiots from throwing junk mail on my lawn. Are they stupid enough to think I'd pick it up & actually read a d*mn word, much less buy anything they're selling?

Back when I was a teenager, a car parked up on the road in front of the house was struck by a passing car and came down across the front lawn. As luck & chance would have it, it missed both the oak tree & garden bed. Car: 2 pts.; lawn: ouch!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 9:20AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you are on the cusp.. of defining.. whether the plants are truly ... what i call ... 'run them over with the truck' plants ... lol .. car.. truck.. its immaterial .. lol ...

i am going to bet... you will truly be amazed.. how resilient they are ...


    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 9:36AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

That is so SH*TTY that someone would drive off and not take responsibility. We've all done dumb and irresponsible things, and accidents happen, but what sets apart fine people from as*holes is when a person takes responsibility for his/her actions.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 11:03AM
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That's terrible, Ken.
My sympathies.

I'd like to think, at least, that your fence took out a big piece of that vehicle.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 3:58PM
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The house that I used to own before this one had a very large 4 ft diameter trunk boxelder tree in the back yard. The driveway and garage are in front of and just east of the tree. The neighbors after I moved in told me how there used to be a fence along that north side of the yard just behind the boxelder, but that the teen-aged daughter took it out with the car by mistake one day. I just can't see how she got around that box elder, how she missed the dog's kennel that we took out, and what the car looked like when she got done. I think they moved to Minneapolis, but that was twelve years ago, so I would have thought that her driving would improve in that time.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 8:19PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Wonder how your idiot explained the car damage to parents or spouse?

I hope your plants rebound better than ever come spring. Glad you worked out your fury, too. Amazing how beneficial physical labor is to our mental well-being!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 8:40PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

That really s*cks Kevin ;-( I'm sorry you had to deal with this, especially over the holidays.

Maybe you could turn it into lemonade though....

1) it saved you having to tear the fence down by hand. Now you can spend that time on something else!

2) you worked off your holiday dinner and can enjoy a second piece of pie guilt-free ;-D

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 9:52PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I hope you called your insurance agent before you cleaned up the damage. I suspect you're covered by homeowners.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 6:32AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

A few decades ago there was an apartment house, an alleyway, my a fence, my garage, my greenhouse and then my apricot tree. Some kids in the apartments convinced the new kid that he could cross the alley, climb up the fence to my garage roof, jump over to my greenhouse roof and steal some fine apricots.

The kid fell through the greenhouse roof and apparently did not hurt himself but he spoke only Russian. It took half an afternoon finding where lived and getting him back home.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 3:41PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

gardenweed - I couldn't agree with you more about distracted driving. I'm one of those folk who would never think of eating or drinking while driving. As most of the technology available while driving - it's stupid.

ken - I should have mentioned the shrubs snapped off were Privets, so I have a feeling they might resprout. The stems were broken off near the base, but there is still a small trunk intact. I don't know how fast they might catch up in size to the others still remaining. Everything was of uniform size. No more.

Sunnyborders - Yes, a big hunk of the bumper was left behind and is now in the possession of the police. My Lord, was the officer who responded nice. Love our cops in Mpls!

CMK - I really am a rather optimistic person and try as hard as I can to get over these little thunderstorms in life as quickly as possible. Holding onto anger just eats one alive. Not worth it.

Yes, on the positive side, this part of the fence is now gone and I can get an idea of what it will look like with it's all gone eventually. I know I'm going to like it. It's also possible the shrubs might grow faster with the fence no longer blocking sunlight to some degree.

A radio station I listen to does a regular segment for people to call in and report what they're seeing on the road. There's the usual people talking on cell phones, texting, putting on their makeup, shaving, painting fingernails and toenails, reading, watching TV and everything else you can think of. The best one however (or really worst one I guess) was someone with a Foreman grill mounted on their dashboard cooking breakfast while driving. It's all so mind-numbing to me.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 4:25PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

"The best one however (or really worst one I guess) was someone with a Foreman grill mounted on their dashboard cooking breakfast while driving."

That is hilarious! I'm over here LMAO! I can just imagine someone toolin' down the interstate at 80 mph, left hand on the wheel, right hand with a spatula flipping a burger patty LOL!

But seriously ---> why has this person not been TICKETED for that!

I cringe when I see women applying mascara in the car, even when at a light - if she gets hit, there goes her eye...

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 8:19PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Sorry to hear about the car damage to your fence and yard. Heard on the radio that the day before Thanksgiving has the most accidents of the year.
Sadly to say, I'm usually the idiot in my gardens and try as I might I can't blame anyone else.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 2:30AM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

Unfortunately my idiots are my next door neighbors on my pipestem driveway. The a$$hole neighbors, as I so kindly refer to them as, think they are alone in the universe. I used to have a convex hill next to the driveway where it left my property for theirs. But every Sunday night, they would come home in a big box truck with the things they had bought over the weekend (antiquing or junking). To leave, instead of making a 3- 4-, or 5-point turn as needed, they would force the truck off the 10-foot wide driveway and up the hill over my shrubs, tear away part of the hill side and land back on the driveway.

When I asked them about the very clear tire marks, they denied it. The next time when I heard the truck revving its motor to get up the side of the hill, I went out as they drove off. That Monday evening, when I gave them the license number, they said they would put some new mulch down, ignoring the destroyed shrubs and the by now concave hillside.

I explained the damage they had done and said they would be very unhappy if they ever ran off the 10-footwide black top again because I would line my property with tire spikes if that was what it took to teach them how to drive, Then I pounded an upside down fence post into the ground among the remains of my shrubs leaving the cross piece at the height of the oil pan of a big box truck. That Sunday night when I heard the box truck revving and grinding gears along the side of my hill, I just smiled. That was the last night I heard the truck. Wonder what happened to it?

The funniest part is they think I spend all my time looking out the window to see what they are doing because they are too stupid to realize how loud they are and their engines are so that their bad behavior is its own alarm.

I have to laugh at them because otherwise I'd have to kill them.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 5:46PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Kevin, sorry about your idiot attack.... not to discourage you further but I work with teenagers and trust me when I say the pipeline is full.
mnwsgal- LOL! I'm also the number one idiot in my garden!

kimka "I have to laugh at them because otherwise I'd have to kill them." - don't limit yourself, you could probably manage both at the same time! (I've seen movies.....)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 7:33PM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

Actually Kato, now that the a$$hole neighbors have managed to po so many more of the people in my neighborhood I could probably get away with doing them in. Before, I would have been such the obvious suspect, and I only believe in operating from my better dead list when there is no chance of getting caught.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 9:52AM
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"The best one however (or really worst one I guess) was someone with a Foreman grill mounted on their dashboard cooking breakfast while driving."

But seriously ---> why has this person not been TICKETED for that!

mxk3 - it's only a guess but chances are the person has been ticketed, likely several times, but since penalties remain light, the driver has no incentive to rethink his/her driving habits. There's just no substitute for common sense and, regrettably, it's been my experience there just doesn't seem to be enough of that to go around.

I taught both my kids to drive a standard transmission car when they came of age. My daughter later complained she wasn't able to do all she wanted to do (read: make-up) if she had to work the clutch + manually shift gears. The years passed and she's now attempting to teach her own teenaged daughter to drive. Ahh...the sweet taste of revenge.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 7:34PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Oh and Kevin, I have idiots around here, too. Sadly, they have four legs and live here, so there is little hope for me in the near future. My galloping gardeners have a completely different vision of what the yard should like than I do.

Kimka, very funny! :)

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 12:38PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Privet? Unfortunately, not this easy to kill. The idiot who planted them at the house my Mom now owns put them 1-2 feet from the house. The only way to deal with them without wasting ones' life trying to control them at a constant size is to chainsaw them down occasionally. So far, they've continue their assault on the house after this just fine.

I assume it was the same misguided soul who also put Yaupon holly, Camellias, Rhododendrons, Nandina, Ilex, and worst of all English boxwood all around the house, within 2 feet. All must be pruned severely at least yearly to control height and width, and from 'eating' the heating/cooling unit, blocking windows & porch steps, view from back porch.

The most ridiculous part of her landscaping is the 6 boxwoods in a 1-foot wide, 6-ft long space where they must constantly be trimmed or the fence gate won't open. Maybe whoever planted them thought they were the tiny kind used in knot gardens, IDK, but they get at least 4 feet tall, who knows how wide they could go. It's a little spot not paved as part of the driveway for, I can only assume, easier access to the plumbing in the area in the event of a maintenance issue, so can't shovel vigorously there or yank out with machinery. I did manage to excavate the one blocking the hose spigot with a hand trowel, after many separate episodes of digging what I could, when I could. The one next to it finally succumbed to death after being under an upside-down black nursery pot for 2 years.

I'm also not impressed with the idiot who planted Nandina where I live right over the gas lines & meter, literally against the house. Can't dig there. My next desperate act in trying to kill this thing is a 2 bags of quickrete which will be poured over it soon. Should then be a nice platform for potted plants.

Foundation shrub idiots as a group are at the top of my list. Who wants to spend so much time wrestling with shrubs? Constant maintenance of shrubs does NOT need to be part of yard maintenance, not something I want to do.

When I first moved here, I didn't realize there aren't any rocks here. Upon realizing this, I became curious about a big rock in the back yard. Way too big for me to do the job, I infected some much stronger guests with this curiosity while having a cookout & sure enough, the big rock was soon excavated. Turns out it was a bag of quickrete, solidified in its' shape and position by rain. LOL! Probably more of an accident than idiocy that it was there to begin with, but this discussion reminded me of it.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 11:17AM
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My ND neighbors had two hydrangeas planted along the south (read: full sun) side of their house no more than a foot away from the foundation when I first moved here. The soil was just rocky sand and they weren't too enthusiastic about mulch. She once complained to me the plants never bloomed. I suggested they move the plants out at least 4 ft. away from the cement foundation, mulch them heavily and feed them something to encourage blooms. Sadly, over the years neither plant has ever bloomed but at least they've been slightly healthier in the years since being moved. I'm guessing their full sun location doesn't help.

I find there's a great deal of misinformation about gardening that's often either ignored, overlooked, disregarded or else goes unnoticed. Makes me wonder why I seem more attuned to my garden than others are apparently.

"Foundation shrub idiots as a group are at the top of my list."

Amen to that but it makes me wonder how they came to be foundation shrub idiots as a group. One of my first initiatives after moving here was to have a neighbor yank out the six cone/pyramid-shaped evergreen shrubs growing along the front of the house with his tractor and haul them off to a brush pile. While the effect is a bit carefree, I planted Lenten rose, hosta, Persicaria virginiana/Virginia knotweed, St. John's wort, Echinacea/coneflower, Stokesia, coreopsis/tickseed, Platycodon/balloon flower, Pulmonaria/lungwort & Alchemilla mollis/Lady's mantle in their place, which certainly pleases MY eye more than the shrubs.

Didn't mean to hijack the 'Idiots' thread & apologize if I sort of did--just grabbed the opportunity to add a whine.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 9:08PM
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sweet_betsy No AL Z7

Idiots! They live in the house whose backyard abuts my side yard. Their mcmansion is groomed and manicured in front but the backyard is a puzzle. It is surrounded by a delightful little picket fence which does little to contain the ivy, privet, blackberry canes and junk trees of every description. I guess that's why none of them are ever in the backyard or on the beautiful deck or in the screened porch. Maybe they are afraid of what lurks in the mess behind the house. It is a constant battle to keep the ivy from creeping under the fence to invade my yard. I keep hoping that they will need to move on up one day and leave.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 8:43AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

As long as we're talking about shrubs, trees etc., I simply can not understand why people do not address the stray, self-sown trees that can pop up anywhere and any place on ones property.

I realize some people do not like yard work. They are not into gardening of any kind and will only do the bare minimum to keep the city inspectors away. You know, cut the grass/weeds when small children risk being lost when they venture into the yard. Fine. There's nothing I can do about that.

Sure, eventually they cut the grass/weeds, but completely ignore the self-sown trees and shrubs that pop up along the foundation, along the garage, along the fence. Left alone, these things grow quickly. Pretty soon they're small trees and then large trees that simply can't be snipped off. One needs a saw to get rid of them. But of course that's too much work, so they never get removed. They just keep getting bigger and bigger.

I guess if you want to to allow your foundation to be destroyed by a self-sown elm or oak, that's your choice, but when the tree is right on the property line - along my fence - I have no choice but to deal with it.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 12:01PM
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I guess I can understand lack of interest or knowledge of how plants grow - I know I certainly made more than my share of mistakes when I started gardening, and I am usually fairly tolerant. But what I can't understand is folks who dig up plants or cut blooms or branches on my property and think it OK. I have been cursed at for asking someone nicely to not cut branches from a shrub (they were actually parked in the driveway down near the road), and have many times had plants or parts of plants removed that I have planted. I mean, really, could anyone actually think it wasn't stealing to dig up my daffodils, even if they weren't in sight of the house?! Needless to say, I no longer plant things along the road that aren't visible from the front windows.

And don't get me started on the folks on off-road vehicles who have enjoyed creating mud wallows in the wetlands. In this state it is illegal to drive a vehicle through wetlands or on any property without the owner's permission, but the only way we have found to stop it dead is to tell everyone that we had seeded the wetlands with tire-destroying nail strips and requesting that the local police talk with a few folks when we had proof, though signs and polite requests from us worked for most folks.

Grumble, grumble . . . thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 2:07PM
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Re neighbour's problem trees:

We have a neighbour who does very little to restraint garden problems and potential problems on his property.

The good think, however, is that he doesn't mind if we go on his property to deal with it ourselves.

Two years back, I eliminated 600 buckthorn seedlings in our flowerbeds from his one buckthorn tree. Last year, he was fine with us paying our arborist to cut down his tree.

We feel it was well worth it.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 2:56PM
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Re one specific tree/ignorance problem; namely, planting the wrong tree very close to the property line.

We live in a town of about 40,000 people and most of the properties are not that large. Various owners, or previous owners, have planted trees very close to their property lines, likely to screen their houses from neighbours' houses. The problem has then been that typically zero attention was paid to the choice of tree used, plus frequently little or no attention has been paid to the maintenance of the trees.

Frequently potentially enormous deciduous trees have been used. Then frequently families move before their small trees became giant nuisances for others.

One person I've read who actually advocates something approaching this (albeit for a different reason) is the entymologist Tallamy, in his book "Bringing Nature Home". He writes, about suburban properties, "Most yards can support many more trees than they currently do, particularly near the borders of the property, ---". In his case, the choice of tree to be used is evidently based on maximizing insect herbivore biodiversity.

What makes me somewhat hostile to Tallamy is the fact that he himself lives on (likely owns) a large property (I think it's 11 acres). Obviously that gives him more choices than a typical property owner who may own a quarter of an acre with a house and garage on it, with the same on either side.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 4:01PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Oh, you skirt on a good point - when the builders do the landscaping. Monocultures of boring and incorrectly sited trees and shrubs. I've always just thought the basement repair guys were in on the whole thing.

About giant trees, not to be argumentative but to make an opposite point, I'll trade the extremely slight risk of having a tree drop on me in trade for being in its' shade. And always have since I've been the one paying, first in OH, now in AL. Unless there was no other choice, I wouldn't live in an exposed dwelling with no large trees around it. I love this crappy old house we live in because of the big trees that shade and protect it.

Those gorgeous deciduous leaves are the stuff great gardens are made of. Half a dozen mature deciduous trees on this less than 1 acre lot aren't enough to provide as many leaves as I'd like to have.

When I lived in OH, my last lot was .17 acres including the space occupied by house and driveway, deck, and there were 6 mature deciduous trees there that still didn't provide enough leaves for the huge garden that was most of the back yard there. EAB solved the 'problem' in the front yard. When we visited in June, the ash trees in front were gone, leaving the house and driveway (no garage) completely exposed to south sun and the strip mall across the street. Instantly less desirable. Hot car, bedrooms, & no more privacy.

I think it's madness, at least this far south, to not have any shade on one's dwelling. That's going to cause a lot of wasted money in the form of unnecessarily high A/C usage/cost. This is an old debate where at that point the other side counters that the savings will probably just about cover the cost of the roof if part or all of the tree falls on it. I know that's possible, but spending more on A/C is guaranteed, and a roof lasts about 30 years on average, tree or not. Most trees should outlast at least 3-4 incarnations of the roof.

Here's something completely different that I find idiotic. Seasonal municipal plantings. I don't think this is a good use of tax money, never have, no matter how much visual enjoyment I might personally get. Then they discard the plants w/o giving the taxpayers who paid for them a chance to take them home. (Yes, a logistical nightmare, easily handled by volunteers I'm sure, if given a chance.) Showcasing native perennial plants seems like a more appropriate and infinitely less expensive thing to do. Or something completely crazy like an edible garden for the community to share. Why are Americans so embarrassed by the growing of food plants? Jack Nicklaus won't be showing up to practice putting in front of city hall, so the perfect patch of grass everyone pays to maintain there is akin to a slap in the face to every tax payer.

Mayans built giant temples on top of mountains in honor of corn! It's our king too, but not to be worshiped as an awesome gift but tool from which to profit, and toy with which to...

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 5:29PM
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Certainly can't argue with much of what you say, PPOP.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 10:31PM
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I basically agree with purpleinopp, especially that last part.

It seems a good idea to keep in mind that one person could be looking out their window onto beautiful trees that are stately and enhance the property while others are looking out at a neglected mess of nuisance trees taking over the neighbors yard and creating unwanted canopies and dangers to their neighbors lot. There are trees and then there are trees, some of which I consider 40 ft weeds.

Personal preferences are also a factor. Some people are drawn to tree landscapes and love shade gardens while other people are drawn to wide open spaces, wide vistas and sun loving plants. I belong in that second category and I actually feel claustrophobic in the first.

I had an idea that on Earth Day there could be some years devoted to tree thinning and removal rather than just tree planting to sort of balance things out in places. There seems to be a knee-jerk notion that planting any tree is a good thing, healthy for the environment etc. It is not always the case.

A bit of consideration for neighbors is always a good idea. I find myself in the exact situation Sunnyborders has described and I have spent more hours than I care to remember digging out saplings next door.

This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Tue, Mar 4, 14 at 4:34

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 4:44PM
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My kind of neighbour, GP1!

72,000 people in freezing Toronto are currently still without power after the ice storm last Saturday. It seems that a significant number of these are older and poorer folk without the resources to leave their highrise apartments and go to "heating centres".

The largest part of the power outage has been caused by overhead power lines, struck by falling limbs of ice covered trees.

According to some arborists, an unwillingness to adequately maintain tree has added to the current problems. That apparently also goes along with an unwillingness to act on moving hydro cables underground.

Urban "tree canopies" and "urban forests" are alone not the problem. It's the unwillingness of people (including taxpayers) to have them adequately maintained that is.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 8:44PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I live in a neighborhood of small 1/4 acre lots. As much as I love trees, there is a point to be made for right tree, right place, but I think the problem starts out with poor planning with lots that are just too small to create a cohesive landscape that makes sense in a neighborhood.

I have a neighbor to my North that has a huge London Plane tree and a line of 7 Spruce trees and a Pine Tree all along our 120ft lot line within less than 10 ft of the fence. That's a total of 9 trees on less than a 1/4 acre lot. It creates some problems for us, but on the other hand, I understand why they wanted to plant trees as a screen. They have a smaller lot than ours and without those trees would have no privacy at all. But, then again, they didn't really understand what they were doing when they planted them or what other choices would have made more sense. I think they just didn't realize they didn't know what they were doing. They thought it was a simple thing to just go and pick out a tree they liked the look of and dig them in. They had no concept of what was going to happen when they were full size. And it hasn't worked out well for them either, because they have evergreens on the South side of their house causing some mildew issues due to lack of sunlight, not to mention a gloomy dark atmosphere in their house on a sunny day year round. I have to think that if the lots were larger, there would be enough privacy without planting trees in a position that causes problems.

And I'm not really understanding why there should be a need for more than minimal maintenance on trees if the trees are planted in the right place to begin with in such a way that their natural size and shape is not going to interfere with electrical wires. Again it gets back to small lots, where there is no way to get the privacy you want unless you plant trees along the lot line bordering the street where all the wires are. Or between neighboring houses too close to the lot line.

I suppose it's unrealistic though to think in urban/suburban areas, the lots can be large enough. Maybe better landscape solutions that provide privacy without huge trees are needed. And some of that is a solution that local nurseries could provide, if they had a mind to. If I think about how difficult it can be to even find a tall narrow tree at my local nurseries, you can see that there are layers to this problem that add up.

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Fri, Dec 27, 13 at 16:24

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 4:17PM
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I'd certainly accept a lot of what you say, PM2.

Gardening small spaces is a real challenge.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 9:34PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

People driving through fences, digging up daffodils and driving through your property. Wow, that’s a whole other level from the problems I have from neighbors, only one of which allows problems to develop that come over and under our fence.

Like Kevin, we have trouble with tree seedlings because all the trees in the neighborhood reseed profusely.

SunnyBorders, we have a neighbor like yours. We were aware there were health problems with them for a couple of years, so sometimes there's a legitimate reason.

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Sat, Dec 28, 13 at 11:20

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 6:49AM
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Nancy zone 6

I sympathize with those whose neighbors plant trees indiscriminately close to your property line. Our neighbor did that years ago when we built, planting a spruce tree every 8 foot along the property line. I understand his reasoning, & since the other neighbor did the same thing, we now have a very private area in our large backyard. However, those trees have grown. The original owner sprayed-the spruce trees got bagworms every year. The newest owner has failed to take care of the trees, & they are so close together they have become diseased & several have died over the last few years. The wind blows toward our direction & the dead trees fall on us. Not to mention the poison ivy, wild brambles, etc that is growing in the trees. They are nice people except for that, so I can't complain. But we are getting of an age, taking care of those downed trees is getting difficult, & will be expensive when we have to start paying to get it done. Seems like they are averaging a couple of dead trees a year. Ah well, the hazards of owning property.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 5:51PM
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The thing that gets me is that the city is very strict about not allowing junk to accumulate in the yard or grass and weeds getting beyond certain height. However, when it comes to volunteer trees and the inevitable thick undergrowth there seems to be no oversight or city ordinance. As long as they trim the middle of the yard, they are within code.

As far as I am concerned weeds or grasses are minor problem in comparison when living next door to someone who doesn't seem to have any intention of upkeep or just wants to do the absolute minimum in responsible property maintenance. Letting nuisance trees grow next to the foundations and accumulate ever thicker and denser along the property line is a blight to any neighborhood and the long term damage and expense is serious and finally irreparable.

I still say how about making Earth Day into clearing, removal and cleanup day every five years or so? And this means TREES.

This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Tue, Mar 4, 14 at 4:41

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 6:43PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

In Mpls at least, stray trees growing along fences that border public sidewalks have to be dealt with by the owner or they get a ticket. Nothing can hang over a public sidewalk and pose a problem for pedestrians on foot. Same thing goes for stray trees on alleys. Nothing can inhibit utility trucks or vehicles from traveling down the alleys. They're actually very strict about those things around here. But I agree, trees growing next to foundations doesn't seem to be an issue for the inspectors. Weird. At least I've never heard of someone being ticketed for that.

As someone actually stated already, sometimes it's just easiest to deal with the saplings oneself even if they aren't on your property. My one and only next door neighbor has one of the worst looking yards around. Saplings coming out of the woodwork - next to the house, the garage, my fence everywhere. In fact he barely manages to cut his grass/weeds during the summer. But that family is also one of the best neighbors I've ever had. The whole family is just a bunch of sweethearts - really, really nice people. I'm happy to have them around. Next spring, I'll be out there chopping down those trees next to my fence. I know they won't mind and it's really a minimal amount of effort on my part as long as I don't wait too long. Those things grow fast.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 7:21PM
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Kevin that is exactly what I do too. There is no way I am going to cause friction or an uncomfortable situation over this. They all work during the day and I work at home so I just hop over and snip some down or if possible dig them up. Its the easiest solution, no muss no fuss. Otherwise I would be pointing them out every year sounding like a nit picker to people who consider such things as a low priority. They already consider me an obsessive gardener and would just see it as part of that quirkiness.

There is a pecan tree coming up that is now about shoulder high about two feet from the house in the lesser wooded yard on the east side where there was previously a very large volunteer hackberry tree that took some serious cash to cut down and haul off that used to make our patio a mess. The dead trunk is still in the chain link fence. I was so glad to see that tree taken down and that only happened after it damaged their roof one year. I had to keep the suckers sprayed for three years until it finally gave up the ghost.

You would think that the hackberry would have been a lesson but I know from experience until this pecan tree starts casting shade and becomes a big job to take out, no one will even notice it. I mentioned it once about a year ago and the response was "Is that a tree?" I learned the hard way to nip them in the bud and the sooner the better and the less said, the better. I don't want to come across like an old lady neighbor I once had, we all know the type so I have been doing it on the quiet for about 8 years now. A tree planted on purpose would of course be a different matter.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 9:12PM
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Of course, one solution would be for all we like-minded gardeners to move next door to each other.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 11:19PM
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SunnyBorders - brilliant, albeit impractical!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 11:30PM
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I'd like it. It would be nice to have a neighbor like that, someone really interested that you could talk about plants with over the fence and maybe trade cuttings, seeds, ideas and stuff.

As it is, my neighbors are welcoming extra plants that I need to "get rid of" which are serving as replacements for stuff I am steadily clearing out. Its working out and I am rather into it now. A problem has become a more positive thing. They get the freebies and I get extended space to plant in. Its my way of problem solving. I just wish I could somehow thin out that tree canopy, it would offer so much more variety and color.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 12:41AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I'm lucky to have good neighbours. The neighbour to the north is an avid gardener too and we regularly talk gardening over the (4' chanlink) fence, exchange plants, and keep in mind each other's view into the garden when planning additions/changes. The neighbours to the south are elderly and enjoy the view of our garden (over the 4' chainlink fence on that side) so I try to make sure there are interesting things for them to see. Actually, the wife died earlier this year and now one of their daughters and her husband live there also. They like to garden so we talk gardening (and dogs...) over the fence there too. There are a lots of gardeners in this neighbourhood - we joke that gardening is the local competitive sport :-)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 11:28AM
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woodyoak, I'm jealous. I sense I am considered the fanatic obsessive compulsive in my immediate area because "I am always out there working" but I do get quite a few appreciative comments from people walking to the park or driving by. People who do not understand never will understand that working in the garden is not considered working at all to some people. It would be nice to have a neighbor like yours to share with.
A bit of neighborhood competition sounds like a good motivator to me as long as it doesn't get out of hand or too ego driven.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 2:18PM
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Other possibilities:

(1) tree licences, like dog licences.
(2) for volunteer and weed trees, something along the
lines of "stoop and scoop" bylaws; perhaps called
"seed and weed".

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 3:14PM
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I burst out laughing.

I've been experimenting with partial sun and other non-shade plants over the years that will do OK under what I think of as Adverse Shade Conditions. I ought to start a new thread. You got any? You name it, I've tried it and I actually discovered if you stick with spring or fall bloomers you can plant a sun loving plant in these lazy-neighbor-inflicted-areas of stolen sun if its a east & west sun robbing issue. Then theres those water sucking roots to deal with. We haven't even mentioned that theft. But of course there's the leaners you always end up with, even the plants are trying to escape the darkness.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 3:35PM
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Don't know re "Adverse Shade", but I believe numbers of colourful flowering perennials do well in dappled shade, good soil and enough moisture.

Use a lot of flowering spring perennials myself (Primula 'Perth Sunset', below). Lots of colour before deciduous trees leaf.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 10:04PM
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SB, That primula is pretty!

By adverse I mean not only a lack of sun, there are also the big trunk like roots growing many feet deeply into my property along with thick feeder roots and they immediately suck the ground bone dry after watering or rain creating a difficult, if not impossible 120' x 15' area that is not good for any kind of desirable gardening and very difficult to dig. Thats a lot of square feet being affected by neighbor neglect and on a city lot when space is always at a premium its a bit hard to swallow at times.

I found that Salvia greggi which will take the dry conditions do surprisingly well since the tree leaves are not dense during their best blooming time and they are defoliating when the salvias are back in bloom in fall.

A really big surprise is how well Silver King Artemisia does. I have lots of this growing in groups in the area. It stands tall and thick and adds some much needed bright silver interest lightening up the otherwise dark area. I wouldn't have guessed it would do so well.

Cool season grasses like stipa varieties that go dormant in summer are also choices and I am having luck with hardy Lantana too. Of course all these bloom better in full sun but they are still attractive and able to take the conditions I am dealing with.

What I am trying to get are plants/shrubs that will provide some height as well as visual size presence since its a transition zone that jumps drastically from low growing plants to this sudden and abrupt line of unattractive mismatched volunteer trees and messy undergrowth. Currently the effect is very jarring, like a 30 ft wall of blackness that feels and looks visually oppressive. I am on the downhill side which adds to the problem because my yard is much lower than the neighbors so eye level is distorted from his ground level to mine making it even harder to achieve a graceful visual transition. I'm planting on his side (with permission) to get some height.

So many plants I've tried just end up seriously leaning east looking like they are attempting escape and further emphasizing the lopsided problem so I have to go back to the drawing board but these I mentioned have worked. Actually, all of my backyard plantings, even those in full sun, lean east in varying degrees except for the O. grasses.

This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Wed, Jan 1, 14 at 21:51

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 9:50PM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

A karma update. A couple of days ago with no snow or storm in sight, a dead tree fell not only up hill but also on a steep up gradient angle from the gully behind my house (on park land) to make a pinpoint landing across the dog pen where my lovely neighbors put out their dog to bark usually when I'm trying to sleep or work. The tree also did some damage to their window and roof. (the dog wasn't in the pen at the time.)

If this tree had fallen directly up hill it probably would have fallen between our houses and not done any damage.

The path this tree took was spookily precise. Makes you think of karma (yes those neighbors) or there is a winter spirit awake in this cold and dark time. I think I'll walk gently on the ground at least until the Spring equinox.

This post was edited by kimka on Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 13:18

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 1:16PM
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