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Old 12-25-2009, 11:20 PM
 
9 posts, read 31,165 times
Reputation: 16

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I bought this property 37 years ago. My back neighbor was already here. About five years of ownership, I had a survey and replaced the damaged fence across the back. The fence man told me then that the neighbors trees will destroy the fence. In the same 37 years, my neighbor has NEVER trimmed any of his trees, bamboo and other plants. Over the years I have hired gardeners to trim what hangs over the fence as it continues to grow taller. Over the years, I propped items to hold the fence up while the neighbor did the same on his side. The fence has been a "wave of wood." Earlier this year I ask a handyman if he could put in a few 4x4's to stablize the fence. He came with supplies and when he started to dig he said the ground was solid roots and he could not get a shovel in the earth. As the summer progressed I began to notice roots all over my back yard. I have fruit trees but sadly chose to remove six of them for two reasons; they could not get sun because of the "wall of shade" behind me, and to make sure my roots did not cross boundry's.
I contacted my City with just one word "HELP." I didn't know what I could do and who would be responsible. The city said it's a civil matter and put me in contact with a Dispute Resolution director. Next process was to contact an arborist to determine who's roots are who's. Then she brought in a group that dug along the fence to view the roots and take photo's. Finally a report was prepared stating the neglect of the neighbor's plants, how they effect my property, along with recommendations to prevent further damage. A visit with the neighbor brought no results.
The dispute resolution director contacted the property owner and he refused to talk to him. So the neighbor and I talked and he made it clear that he was not disturbing any plants, nor could anyone else touch them in his yard because they were planted by his now deceased wife. This is obviously an excuse because his wife passed away about three years ago. The absense of maintenance goes back 37 years. The neighbor also told me that I better not damage any of his tree roots and cause the tree to die. He also said to take any legal action I want because he was still doing nothing!
In the meantime, part of the fence fell over onto my property.
So here are my questions: Is the neighbor libel for at least half of the much needed new fence? Is he responsible for removing his surface roots that go into my property especially along the property line? His plants have been pushing against my fence for many years. Could he be required to have a setback from the fence, if only inches?
Thank you
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Old 12-25-2009, 11:45 PM
 
Location: Living on the Coast in Oxnard CA
10,367 posts, read 13,703,755 times
Reputation: 11948
Here is my solution to all that noise. If you can afford it, Build a block retaining wall and have the hole for the wall dug below the root line. Cut out any roots that are on your side of the property. You don't need to continue the block work above the ground level if you prefer a wood fence. I prefer the block wall fence myself.
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:43 AM
 
9 posts, read 31,165 times
Reputation: 16
To SOON2BNSURPRISE
I want to build a three foot high cement block wall with wood of 3 feet on top of that. Thank you for your reply.
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Old 12-26-2009, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,362 posts, read 55,166,325 times
Reputation: 16365
Quote:
Originally Posted by greycheek View Post
To SOON2BNSURPRISE
I want to build a three foot high cement block wall with wood of 3 feet on top of that. Thank you for your reply.
Anything solution will work if you throw enough money at it. Putting in a brick/concrete/cinderblock wall with a trenched base will not be cheap. But it does sound like a good solution (if it looks OK - it may not match the remainder of the fencing in the back yard???). I think the original poster can do anything he wants including destroying the neighbor's roots if those roots are on the original poster's property.
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Ventura County
4 posts, read 11,382 times
Reputation: 12
While you have a right to remove limbs hanging over your yard, you cannot do anything to destabilize or kill the tree so you cannot cut the tree roots. Your neighbor should pay half the cost of the fence which has been damaged to the trees but he has no responsibility for areas of the fence not damaged by his trees. No easy solution to this.
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Old 12-29-2009, 05:06 PM
 
14,029 posts, read 25,855,451 times
Reputation: 8188
Only a lawyer can provide legal advice...

Fences provide on-going opportunity for problems...

My solution at rentals is to put in a heavy-duty cyclone fence... Pipe Posts and 9 gauge fabric... just about indestructible.

If money is no object, you can always put in a concrete curb down 42" below grade... it will need to extend into your yard for the footing since the neighbor is not being cooperative.... 18" wide x 42" below grade with re-bar will do the job...

Another alternative is to haul away what fell in your yard and have no fence at all...
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Old 12-29-2009, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Columbia, California
6,540 posts, read 14,856,581 times
Reputation: 4625
I understand you can cut the invasive roots. But this and the new fence will have to be done on your side of the property line. Just to create a paper trail I would send a certified letter stating this is what you are doing before starting.
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Old 12-29-2009, 05:09 PM
 
14,029 posts, read 25,855,451 times
Reputation: 8188
Quote:
Originally Posted by ferretkona View Post
I understand you can cut the invasive roots. But this and the new fence will have to be done on your side of the property line. Just to create a paper trail I would send a certified letter stating this is what you are doing before starting.
I would cut the roots causing property damage and would not think twice about it... kind of let the chips fall where they may.

Many threaten to sue... few follow-through and sometimes your insurance company may even offer advice or representation.

Just be darn sure everything you do is on your side of the line...
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:14 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
2,396 posts, read 2,656,358 times
Reputation: 3013
In Los angeles, itis against the law to kill a tree (check this with building and safety)
If you cut the roots, regardless of where they are,obviously the tree(s) will more than likely die, and the city will prosecute you for it.
You don't have too many options here.
Recently a contractor erected a 3 foot cement wall between my property and the neighbor's property.
Onmy side ofthe fence, I have three 70 foot trees that have been there for many years.
When they dug the trench for the footing, they were careful to dig no further down than the roots when they found them.
The rest of the footing trench was dug about two feet down.
The wall and fence are up, and my trees are fine.
Bob.
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Old 12-30-2009, 01:02 AM
 
14,029 posts, read 25,855,451 times
Reputation: 8188
Quote:
Originally Posted by CALGUY View Post
In Los angeles, itis against the law to kill a tree (check this with building and safety)
If you cut the roots, regardless of where they are,obviously the tree(s) will more than likely die, and the city will prosecute you for it.
You don't have too many options here.
Recently a contractor erected a 3 foot cement wall between my property and the neighbor's property.
Onmy side ofthe fence, I have three 70 foot trees that have been there for many years.
When they dug the trench for the footing, they were careful to dig no further down than the roots when they found them.
The rest of the footing trench was dug about two feet down.
The wall and fence are up, and my trees are fine.
Bob.
We are supposed to have the same law here... my neighbor hired someone to "Trim" branches from my 35 year old pines... the guy took 2 of them out...

City told me it is a civil matter and wouldn't even issue a citation because the trees are pines
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