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Old 09-09-2018, 05:35 PM
 
3,076 posts, read 1,788,656 times
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The people who bought the house behind me about 5-6 years ago have let a mulberry tree grow up between their shed and fence. It may have been there before they moved in, but it was pretty small. A second one has also grown up next to it.

Every year I cut back the tree and dig up seedlings from my yard. I pay to dispose of the debris. Last year I hired someone to cut it back as it was getting tangled in my clothesline pulley. My pole is 20' and I just couldn't reach it anymore. A year later it's completely around the pulley again so I will have to hire someone again next year.

A few years ago the bigger tree started pushing two of the fence sections apart. I nailed a piece of wood between the pieces to stabilize it. When the hole got bigger, they tossed a small piece of plywood over it (not secured and it's since fallen over).

The fence was installed by past owners in the mid-90s and is pretty much end of life. It's only 3 or so sections. I have no problem replacing it myself, but here's the problem: the bigger trunk is still pushing against the fence and the smaller one has a large root that's coming under onto my property.

The fence is on the property line and I'd put it back in the same place. I have two backyards bordering mine and they are both fenced and the fences meet evenly.

I cannot talk to them simply because they do not answer their door even though I know they are home.

I was hoping in the past they'd take care of the tree as their shed is also in jeopardy but that seems unlikely at this point.

I was also figuring they'd fix the fence themselves since they are the ones with a dog, but apparently that's not going to happen either.

What are my options with the tree trunks and roots?

The first pic is just about their entire fence area, the second is the bigger tree that's pushing the fence apart and the third is the root of the second tree under the fence.

<TLDR> I want to fix or replace my neighbors fence, and the trees that grew there voluntarily are kind of in the way.
Attached Thumbnails
Neighbors volunteer tree is pushing over their fence-img_1042.jpg   Neighbors volunteer tree is pushing over their fence-img_1043.jpg   Neighbors volunteer tree is pushing over their fence-img_1044.jpg  
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Old 09-09-2018, 05:53 PM
 
321 posts, read 79,032 times
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So as I understand this: The fence belongs to your neighbor?

If so, there's nothing you can do about the disintegrating fence. Legally you can't do anything to it without their permission. IMHO your problem is what to do about erecting a second fence of your own, on your side of the property line.

The first thing to do is to check the applicable laws re: trees in your state. Most states allow a homeowner to cut back limbs and/or roots that enroach onto their property BUT with the caveat that the cutting cannot endanger the health or life of the tree. Your best best is to consult an arborist and if he/she says the root can be severed without endangering your neighbor's tree, get that in writing. It would be best to have the tree person do the procedure.

An alternative would be to have the company that installs your new fence build it so that the lower portion of that one section will clear the root of the mulberry, with some extra room to spare because the root will only get bigger over time.

Btw, condolences on the trees being mulberries; one of the messiest trees in existence, IMHO.
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Old 09-09-2018, 06:10 PM
 
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The fence does belong to the neighbor. They may not even know it because it was installed a few owners ago, and that section was installed separately. I could butt a new one up against theirs and it's likely the old one will just fall down anyway. The problem is, it will not meet the other backyard fence or the corner of my neighbors on the right if I do that.

One side of their yard is fenced from the other guy behind me, and the rest of their back yard is fenced by my next door neighbor, who replaced his entire fence last year, so they may assume the other part of the back belongs to me. Last weekend they installed a couple of sections up by their house to separate the back from the front yard but have still not fixed the broken fence that borders my property.

My yard is actually completely fenced by 4 neighbors too so I'm lucky in that sense. Except for these guys who aren't maintaining it. I'd love to talk to them if they'd actually open their door!

I can legally cut back anything that comes over my property line and have been doing that as much as possible - until it got over my head (plus ladder). I admittedly tried to kill it when it was younger but it just laughed at me.

Mulberry trees absolutely stink
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Old 09-09-2018, 06:42 PM
 
170 posts, read 54,028 times
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If this was me and you are only dealing with this one side (since your other neighbors put up fences on your other sides) I would pay to have a new fence put on your own property and block out theirs. If fence is too expensive then block their ugly old fence with a line of shrubs.

I had a neighbor who kept leaning 4x8 plywood sheets on my chainlink fence. Twice I asked her to stop because it was making my fence lean, then wrote a letter to her husband and her. Her response was to put up her own very much nicer fence right next to the chain link fence on my property. Yay.

I just sold that property and it turns out my fully enclosed fenced yard was one of the big reasons they bought it. I replaced the back fence because trash trees had deformed the fence and planted native shrubs in front of the chainlink on all sides. Really made the backyard private and green (took 2 years to fill in), butterflies galore.

BTW I planted 1 mulberry bush lol as it supports wildlife but far from car parking or where the berries will cause problems. I also keep it 6' by cutting it back every year. If it grows higher can't reach the berries for jam.

edit to add: the mulberry isn't what my other neighbor hated it's the bamboo (non-invasive). Great for screening but has a tendency to wander a little over the line. Very easy to kick the stalk and boom it's gone. Clumping bamboo is one of my favorite plants. Use it to block my neighbors air-conditioning unit positioned smack in the middle of my large kitchen window view. Now a beautiful sight.
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Old 09-09-2018, 07:04 PM
 
3,076 posts, read 1,788,656 times
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I was thrilled when I was fenced in by all neighbors, because they all have/had dogs and/or kids! To the point where if someone removes theirs, I already know I'm putting a new one up in its place. The privacy is wonderful.

What shrubs did you plant to attract the butterflies?

I used to have 60' of what I think were wild rose bushes back there but had to remove them. They were deadly to keep trimmed! One of the neighbors hadn't put the fence up yet and I'd have to drive around the block to trim their side because I couldn't get over the bushes without getting sliced and diced.

I kind of have to keep that corner open so I can clean up the mulberry mess more easily. I have some ROS seedlings I can encourage but I've already found a mulberry sapling tucked into an older ROS so I don't think I'm going to go crazy with that.

This is only about 3 fence pieces so easy to fix. We could do it ourselves but our list of projects is miles long and I have a friend who does it for a living and has better tools than us and he's got guys.

After dealing with mulberries, pokeweed, creeping charlie, bindweed and bittersweet - most of which has come from neighbors yards - I have promised myself I will never plant an invasive species no matter how much I like it. I've invested way too much time and energy cleaning up messes from those things.
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Old 09-09-2018, 07:24 PM
 
170 posts, read 54,028 times
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What shrubs did you plant to attract the butterflies?

Senna, also known as cassia, attracts yellow (sulfur) butterflies of all kinds, orange-barred sulfur is always around.
Firebush (hamelia patens) attracts many different kinds also hummingbirds (only saw one for a minute)
Elderberry (can be invasive but easy to mow over seedlings) also attracts butterflies, bees and birds (for the berrries).
Hercules club and wild lime (both horribly thorny) favorites of giant swallowtail, planted far rear, away from humans.
And of course milkweed for the monarchs and passiflora vine for gulf fritillary.

I waged war on my neighbors invasive vines for the first year and won. Now that property is sold the new owner will have to keep them at bay.

I have all these plants started at the new property along with other filler shrubs (cocoplum, sweet almond, clumping bamboo). Will take 2 years to fill in but butterflies are cruising already.

I love roses but can't grow the monster thorny ones any more in a smallish yard (although some are stunning).
Have some thornless climbing roses though. Must. Have. Roses. :-)
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Old 09-09-2018, 07:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinkletwinkle22 View Post

I love roses but can't grow the monster thorny ones any more in a smallish yard (although some are stunning).
Have some thornless climbing roses though. Must. Have. Roses. :-)
Thanks for the intel on bushes!

I have a few roses but my greatest loss was a gorgeous yellow climber from Nor'east Mini Rose - Pacific Serenade. I have some seeds but I don't think they are any good. Bittersweet got it. And Nor'east is no more
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Old 09-10-2018, 04:44 AM
 
15,774 posts, read 18,187,947 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WouldLoveTo View Post
The fence does belong to the neighbor. They may not even know it because it was installed a few owners ago, and that section was installed separately. I could butt a new one up against theirs and it's likely the old one will just fall down anyway. The problem is, it will not meet the other backyard fence or the corner of my neighbors on the right if I do that.

One side of their yard is fenced from the other guy behind me, and the rest of their back yard is fenced by my next door neighbor, who replaced his entire fence last year, so they may assume the other part of the back belongs to me. Last weekend they installed a couple of sections up by their house to separate the back from the front yard but have still not fixed the broken fence that borders my property.

My yard is actually completely fenced by 4 neighbors too so I'm lucky in that sense. Except for these guys who aren't maintaining it. I'd love to talk to them if they'd actually open their door!

I can legally cut back anything that comes over my property line and have been doing that as much as possible - until it got over my head (plus ladder). I admittedly tried to kill it when it was younger but it just laughed at me.

Mulberry trees absolutely stink
Write a letter. I would send copies of those pics, and also state what you intend to do.

That fence is much more than a few years old..I could not have watched it get to this point, since your "new" neighbors of a few years obviously are not responsible. And, if that is your clothes line in the first pic....relocate it. i would put up a "Fake" fence on my side before I'd keep looking at that mess. Perfect location for one of those "door fences" https://www.google.com/search?q=door...DzJZvUOmOt5vM:

I would have been talking to them the last few years, you said that you've paid to have the tree trimmed.....by now they figure you must own the fence.

Hopefully you can get this worked out. what local neighbors do here is butt the fence up next to the trunks, on either side......and the tree becomes part of the fence.

Last edited by JanND; 09-10-2018 at 04:56 AM..
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Old 09-10-2018, 06:32 AM
 
3,076 posts, read 1,788,656 times
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Thanks Jan, I can always drop a letter in their mailbox if they still refuse to open the door. I swear I am not that threatening looking!

The fence was installed in the mid-1990s. I'm surprised it's lasted that long, but the tree is really finishing it off quickly.

Why would I move the clothesline? I can't imagine how expensive that would be. It is 20' tall and fully in my yard. It's a small yard so moving it closer to the house just lessens how many clothes go on it and well, puts it IN the yard. When these houses were built, people used to share poles so they were often in corners of yards. My next door neighbor had a pulley on it many years ago.

As for making the tree(s) part of the fence, I think it's still growing too much to do that I've seen it with big old trees before. The doors are cute! But people ask so much for old doors around here it's still probably cheaper to buy 3 sections of fence.
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Old 09-10-2018, 06:58 AM
 
Location: Saint John, IN
10,565 posts, read 3,192,535 times
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I second writing a letter! Let them know you were unable to reach them and your concerns. Let them know you would like to discuss. Make sure it’s friendly and put your phone number on it.
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