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Neighbors Mature Shrubs

Posted by MimaM WA (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 30, 13 at 21:34

I am hoping for some helpful advice here. My neighbor, who has for the past many years been a landlord (tenants are nice and no trouble) has a mature boxwood shrub that she allows to grow wildly. I have had multiple conversations with her to get her to maintain these shrubs so they are not an eyesore and so that I do not have to spend my money and time to keep her yard up. The shrubs are so out of control that they have pushed out her wooden fences and the front one is almost completely fallen over (into MY yard, of course), the 2nd one (that does not match the first) is pushed out over a foot and the 3rd fence (that does not match the other 2) is just in poor condition. The neighbor was not even aware of the condition of her fences nor was she even aware they existed! I advised her they belonged to her, and since I just renovated and had a lot survey done and could prove to her that they are not on our mutual property lines but are on her side. The shrubs are on the other side of her fences, also on her property. She does NO maintenance to these shrubs at all and states that they are mutual privacy hedges and I should be happy. Since they grow over three feet across the fence and ultimately touch my house and are 7-8 feet tall and lean over to my roof and bring ants, AND I have no windows on that side of my house so do not need a privacy hedge in the first place, I disagree with her. What are the laws on hedges and maintenance? I am a retired senior citizen and I have no hedges nor trees on my lot for the specific purpose of not wanting to have to deal with the upkeep! She does have a tree that once in awhile has an errant limb that I do cut off without bothering her, and I have no problem with that because it doesn't happen all the time. But I feel she should have to do annual maintenance on the shrubs as well as remove the rotted fences. The only thing she wants is for me to cut the shrubs back at my cost on a consistent basis and if I 'want, take the fence away to the dump but she doesn't care about it' (that would cost me more money, and I have no truck to cart things to the dump!)...I have searched on websites about neighborly rules of the road but really she is a landlord and am hoping there are firmer rules that apply that can force her into doing her own work. I think I have only seen her 3x in the last 4 years - so she isn't much interested in monitoring her rental properties around the area (she has multiple properties). I don't even know where to start, I've had 3 conversations with her in a very reasonable friendly tone, but clearly she is all about the money and she doesn't want to expend any. In her lease with the tenants, they only have to maintain the lawn - they are NOT liable to do anything with the trees and shrubs. What city or county department can I go to - what website...can someone help?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

Somewhere in your town's ordinances is a mention of hedges; it might be with the section on fences. You could also look in the section that covers how high the grass can be in the front yard and stuff like that.
Basically, you can cut anything that grows over or into your yard, so if you want to chop back that part of the boxwood that's over your property, you can; as boxwood is usually slow-growing, you should be okay for quite a while.
If you're in a smallish town, you could ask your town's engineer, or even the police, what you can do about this. Of course, you could do that in a big town too, but you're probably more likely to get an answer in a small town.
I wish you the best of luck; it's a sticky situation to be in.


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

call city hall ...

ask for the code enforcement dept ...

and discuss with them ...

generally ... you can cut anything at the lot line .. which extends into your property ... the downside being that it will look pretty ugly once you shear down the side of the plant at the line ...

BUT I HAVE NEVER STUDIED 'WA' LAW ...

if none of that works.. hire an attorney ...

presuming you cant or wont do the work.. this is going to cost money ... either from a garden crew.. or an atty ....

therefore it depends on what the friendship is worth ....

ken


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 1, 13 at 13:51

How the shrubs look on the other lot is a matter of personal preference - not everyone thinks shrubs sheared into tight unnatural shapes - if that is what you are saying you would prefer to see done - is the way to go. And those familiar with garden design will know that formal shearing is visually out of place in an informal setting. As mentioned what does come under your control is any growth coming across the property line.

At the moment, while I make major changes my place is the neighborhood eyesore. For some time I have had neighbors who think their idea of proper garden maintenance entitles them to address conditions on my lot without permission; two of them have actually trespassed in order to make corrections. One of them is currently spraying herbicide around a new bamboo planting, a hedge I put in in the first place in order to provide a fence between us that might cool their jets a bit.


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 1, 13 at 13:52

How the shrubs look on the other lot is a matter of personal preference - not everyone thinks shrubs sheared into tight unnatural shapes - if that is what you are saying you would prefer to see done - is the way to go. And those familiar with garden design will know that formal shearing is visually out of place in an informal setting. As mentioned what does come under your control is any growth coming across the property line.

At the moment, while I make major changes my place is the neighborhood eyesore. For some time I have had neighbors who think their idea of proper garden maintenance entitles them to address conditions on my lot without permission; two of them have actually trespassed in order to make corrections. One of them is currently spraying herbicide around a new bamboo planting, a hedge I put in in the first place in order to provide a fence between us that might cool their jets a bit.


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

Not all municipalities have rules regarding fences, hedges or - God forbid!! - how often one must mow their lawn. In fact, many folks seek out municipalities that do NOT have these restrictions. Seattle only has fence height restrictions and I believe that is common in much of the state outside of planned developments with neighborhood covenants and HOA's. There is no limit to the size of hedges that can be used and many folks go for big hedges as an alternative to the fence limitations. There are no rules about maintenance unless the hedge obstructs a public right-of-way or gets into overhead wires. As noted above, how much "maintenance" is required or expected on hedging plants is a matter of personal choice. And while it is a neighborly thing to consider doing, maintenance on the side of the plant that overhangs your property in those areas that do not have neighborhood restrictions is not their obligation to perform. Unless you can get the property listed as a 'nuisance'......and I doubt overgrown hedging is going to come under that classification.

Not sure you have many alternatives.......


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

So color me the selfish neighbor, but that is why they make roundup. If it crosses my line and I don't want it there, its gone. People should not plant things that encroach on the property of others or that presents an eyesore to the community. Does the development have a covenant?


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 6, 13 at 0:30

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and if that glyphosate kills or damages the rest of the shrub, on their side of the property line then your actions have then no longer been limited to what falls within your own domain.

I've got people coming onto my property without my permission to enforce their idea of how my yard should be managed.


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

mzdee, the law is quite clear. You can prune what hangs over your side, but if it kills the tree/shrub, you owe for a tree. No exceptions unless you can prove the plant was on a prohibited plant list. Marijuana is not a protected plant, for instance, and in this state, neither is Multiflora rose nor Johnson Grass. But anything you buy at a nursery or grows native is protected. This means that when you take out your Roundup, you should plan on buying and planting one of whatever you kill if the roots are on the neighbor's land.


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

Yep. We all make choices. Homeowners with good intentions make choices and slumlords make choices.


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 7, 13 at 2:04

Today I stood and hand watered in the corner of my lot where I could gaze upon the tree on my lot that had 30 ft. + of branches cut off the trunk on my side, the unobstructed view of the neighbor where I took my bamboo hedge out because they were reaching over the fence and cutting it off, throwing the prunings down on my side, and the clear view of their glaring white kitchen window frame where my ~50 year old rhododendron had been screening it off until the neighbor limbed it up - on my side of the fence.

After I noticed he was stubbing it back and said I didn't want him cutting on it.

After I pointed out the property line marker.

Nobody is entitled to mess with somebody else's shrubs and trees, on their lot, without their permission, no matter what they think of them.


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

I'm appalled that you believe you have the right to tell another property owner how to maintain their shrubs, or anything else to do with their landscape.

I planted a dozen shrubs this year and if any of my neighbors come up to me to complain, as I plan to let them grow "wildly", then I will tell them unless they want to pay my mortgage and property taxes then they need to MYOB.

I would never allow us to be bullied.

If I found out that anyone came onto my property and poured Roundup on ANY of my shrubs/trees I would have them arrested so fast their head would spin, and I would sue. Trust me, I would make a huge stink about it.

I understand how neighbors can frustrate us with their landscaping choices. I get that. My next door neighbor built a huge 2 story addition to his one story house that comes within 15 feet of our house, not to mention took away every single bit of privacy we have in the backyard. Then they planted a sugar maple 3 feet off of our property line. I was furious! I wanted to scream at them are you insane! This is eventually going to cover up 1/3 of our backyard! But I have absolutely NO right to tell another property owner what to do with their land. All I can do is put a root guard up along the property line, which we are doing in a few months, and trim back any branches that are bothersome. But other than that I have kept my mouth shut.

Shame on you for bullying your neighbor! By all means cut back anything that comes onto your property, you have every right to do that, but as for everything else, mind your business.


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

Ilovemytrees-

The OP did not mention using Round-Up, or doing anything at all - he/she was asking for advice, with no threats. If your "shame on you" is aimed at someone in particular, your post should have been addressed to that person. WIthout such a notation, the OP could, perhaps, assume that you were answering that first post, which did not, as I said, mention herbicides.


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

"Without such a notation, the OP could, perhaps, assume that you were answering that first post, which did not, as I said, mention herbicides."

I know that. I was aware of that when i wrote the RoundUP comment in my response. I think anyone with half a brain, and who reads for meaning and context, could tell that was a general comment in my post, about a comment made earlier in the thread and not directed to the OP.


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 8, 13 at 18:29

Then there's the poor Scarecrow, who has no brain at all.


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

i meant call city hall.. to find out if OP has any reason NOT TO CUT off the branches at the property line...

ilove.. i doubt you would site a giant shrub.. ON THE PROPERTY LINE ... and then claim the neighbor cant complain ... or take action on the part infringing on her property ... what would give you the right to infringe as such???

i would be out there in a NY minute.. simply cutting everything 6 inches inside my property line ... minutes after the surveyor left to insure i knew what was MY PROPERTY ...

when i moved here.. onto the 5 acres... way out in a corner.. i asked the new neighbor if i could use the burn pile .. he got all huffy.. and belligerent... and i couldnt ID the property line for anything.. one week later.. and $150 dollar survey later... i owned the burn pile by 25 feet in each direction.. and he manned up and caught me.. and apologized BIG TIME.. and we have been best friends ever since ...

my property.. is my property ... period .. stay the heck off it ...and that includes your burn pile and your plants ....

ken


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RE: Neighbors Mature Shrubs

My shrubs are planted on the part of our property that lines the road, not any neighbor's property. They are a good 15 feet inside our property line, and then there's about 20ft of the town's right of way beyond that. We never plant anything on our property line. The last thing I want is anything growing beyond our property, because there is no way I could sleep at night knowing that at any time any of the neighbors could go and legally cut at anything that we've planted.


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