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re neighbour's invasive plants

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#1 *LucyE*

Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:37 PM

Just wondering what others would do in this situation.

Our neighbour has an avenue of mop top trees that are planted near our boundary line.  They are grafted onto a false acacia rootstock that's highly invasive.  The slightest disturbance causes it to send out suckers.  According to some, mowing or even just walking heavily over them will cause them to send up suckers.  

So, me digging and planting in garden beds on our side of the fence make these things go beserk.  If it was just near the boundary, it wouldn't be so bad, but they are several metres away from the main plant.  Then if we don't remove the sucker, it sends out new roots which also sucker.

We've lived with it for nearly 7 years and have only ever just manually removed the stuff on our side (which usually causes more suckering!).  With our landscaping works, we've had many people comment on them (they've gone crazy with the heavy machinery, earthworks and rain).  Nearly everyone has suggested that we poison the suckers on our property.  Those that haven't suggested that, have suggested killing the offending plants in a subtle way (along with techniques).  

They are otherwise great neighbours so we don't want to do anything to cause problems.  

Are we just super understanding or am I just meeting a lot of intolerant people?

#2 bjk76

Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:45 PM

Not sure what I'd do in your situation, but I did meet a similarly intolerant person a while back, who stopped to tell me what he'd done (not sure why, never met him before!), while I was gardening in my front yard. His neighbour had a big tree on the fenceline and some big roots were coming under the fence onto his side. He decided he'd chop them off, which of course eventually caused the tree to fall over. It fell onto the neighbour's garage and caused some damage. His neighbour was understandably annoyed with him and said he was going to go to the council. Nothing eventuated (apart from ill-will) as the council said the man was within his rights to remove the roots.

#3 Marchioness Flea

Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:46 PM

I think you have the right to remove anything which goes onto your property. And it's up to you to decide how to do it I think as well.
have you TALKED to them about it yet? maybe they don't like them anymore either and might like the chance to remove them? I'd ask them first then decide on your course of action.
Does heavy mulch cut down on the suckers?

#4 ednaboo

Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:50 PM

Yes, any damage to the roots causes suckers (which are barbed!) to sprout up over wide distances.  These things are truly evil.  We had one in the backyard when we moved in.  We pulled it out as we didn't like it, not knowing what it was capable of.  ohmy.gif  

Personally, I would be very tempted to poison the suckers.  I don't know however if this will kill the mop top next door.  We had to poison them with 100% strength glyphosate - cut off the sucker close to the ground then paint with glyphosate.  We were initially advised by a Bunnings staffer to use blackberry poison which is way more toxic (as it stays in the soil) and total overkill.  When this didn't work that well, I looked for other options.  The glypho works well.  At one point we must have had 40 or more suckers in our garden over a spread of at least 10 metres.  But if your neighbours are approachable, I would discuss it with them first.  Do they even know about the problem?  When I realised suckers from our tree were going next door I offered to deal with it, but my neighbour got her gardener to take care of it instead.

Heavy mulch won't stop them.  Pulling them out just makes them multiply. (WE pulled them out and they tripled in number.)  They have to be poisoned.

I really sympathise.  I am currently battling with wandering dew that has come from next door.  This is incredibly invasive and my neighbour has it running rampant behind her shed, which is inaccessible.  It appears to be harbouring zillions of mozzies.  I *might* have sprayed some glyphosate over the fence recently.  ph34r.gif

Edited by ednaboo, 17 November 2012 - 12:57 PM.

#5 ednaboo

Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:00 PM

Madame Catty: they do look lovely, but I'm afraid you don't know what the root stock of these trees is capable of.  The suckers are barbed!  If you don't believe me, check out Burkes backyard!

#6 *LucyE*

Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:08 PM

have you TALKED to them about it yet? maybe they don't like them anymore either and might like the chance to remove them? I'd ask them first then decide on your course of action.

Yes, we've casually mentioned it to them.  They like their trees and on their property, it looks lovely lining their driveway.  They are close to 15yr old trees so I understand them not wanting to remove them.

They understand the suckering problem because they have it on the other side of their driveway too.  The only difference is that for them, it is an established garden area so minimal traffic or digging to disturb the soil.

On our side, we would have several hundred of these little suckers right now.  As a PP mentioned, these things have sharp thorns (think rose thorns on steriods) and they grow quickly.  There was one that I was breaking off the shoots above the ground.  The hard knobbly stump base was an absolute PITA to eventually dig out.

the other people are just intolerant, exaggerating what they would do

I don't think these people are exaggerating.  One was the arborist who had the tree poison on hand and offered to do the suckers for free.  My concern is that poisoning the suckers could kill the trees and it would be pretty obvious what happened.

I have no problems with poisoning the fish tail ferns that come over onto our side of the fence.  Nothing seems to kill them and it's just a maintenance issue to keep them subdued.

#7 purplekitty

Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:11 PM

I wouldn't use poison until I had spoken to the neighbour.

The only solution is to remove the tree and if they are unhappy to do that then I would say you are going to use Roundup on the suckers, in an attempt to control them ,and it may result in the tree dying.

ETA: I see it's a whole row of trees.Eek.
Perhaps you could suggest they hire a professional to offer a solution. It might soften the blow before you poison.

Edited by purplekitty, 17 November 2012 - 01:16 PM.

#8 *LucyE*

Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:11 PM

QUOTE (from the Burke's Backyard link above)
or if the roots hit an obstacle, such as a clay soil, they will produce suckers.

Aaarrgghh!  We have heavy clay soil.


Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:44 PM

Poison without a doubt. It's frustrating when people don't think about what they are planting and how practical it is, not just what it looks like.

#10 casime

Posted 17 November 2012 - 02:45 PM

I don't know much about the plants, but would laying a concrete barrier underground along the fenceline stop them coming through?

#11 *LucyE*

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:37 PM

I don't know much about the plants, but would laying a concrete barrier underground along the fenceline stop them coming through?

Their property is higher than ours, so we have a 1-2m garden bed and then a 1.5m cement core filled block retaining wall. The horrible things still pop up metres away on our side of the retaining wall!

I'm starting to think this is unreasonable. Just have to come up with a way to discuss this without causing friction.

#12 LambChop

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:17 PM

Have you tried talking to the council about the problem  - see if the trees are on the noxious weeds list or some such ?

#13 casime

Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:14 AM

What about talking to the owners and asking if you can put the concrete barrier on their side of the retaining wall?  They might be willing if you approach them the right way.

#14 JustBeige

Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:39 AM

If you know an arborist, can you ask them whether poisoning them will kill off the trees and what else can you / the owners do to stop  the suckers?

I would then talk to the neighbours about options

#15 unicorn

Posted 18 November 2012 - 07:46 AM

OP I would be poisoning them, the way I see it, the neighbour knows the suckers are coming into your yard, and if they were that protective of their plants they would keep them contained within their own yard, they are a weed, a quick google tells me they are a native to North America. I don't see why you should go to the expense of putting in concrete barriers. It's the same as your neighbour getting a dog and expecting you to put up a fence to stop it entering your yard.

#16 Lolpigs

Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:25 AM

Yeah I would be poisoning them too. I would talk to the neighbors first telling them that they are now becoming a massive problem in your yard, so while you have tried everything else you will need to poison them to get them under control.

I wouldn't mention it might affect the trees as who knows right? And TBH it isn't really your problem. If they were my trees I would be really annoyed they were impacting my neighbours and would consider turfing them myself.

#17 EsmeLennox

Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:28 AM

I'd poison them. The plants are coming up on your side of the fence, you can do what you like with them.

#18 ComradeBob

Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:53 AM

I'd be poisoning them too, frankly.

The other thing I'd be doing is contacting your local Council to see if they have any rules about them or any other plants - their parks or bushland people might have some ideas about managing them.

#19 Holidayromp

Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:11 AM

I would speak to the council first and find out what your rights are.

However in NSW.  For any trees over 3 metres in height the neighbour is responsible for the trimming back of branches etc that encroach into their yard.  With roots that are pulling up pavers getting into sewers it is the responsibility of the person who has the tree in their yard to remove the tree as long there is proof that damage is being caused.

Now with those suckers you have every right to do everything in your power to ensure that they don't encroach into your yard.  If you need to poison them then so be it.  They are not your trees and you did not ask for them to planted, they may be beautiful for your neighbour but a complete PITA to you.

You have tried every method to get rid of them and you cannot.  You should NOT have to go to the expense of building a 'concrete barrier or any other such methods - the onus should be on the neighbours to do this providing that it will work - those buggers seem so determined.

I would be speaking with the neighbours and gauging their reaction but at the end of the day it is your property and once they encroach onto your property then you have every right to do what you need to do.

#20 Zahhy

Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:27 AM

QUOTE (ednaboo @ 17/11/2012, 01:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I really sympathise.  I am currently battling with wandering dew that has come from next door.  This is incredibly invasive and my neighbour has it running rampant behind her shed, which is inaccessible.  It appears to be harbouring zillions of mozzies.  I *might* have sprayed some glyphosate over the fence recently.  ph34r.gif

Oh god, that is supposedly what is running wild behind our shed at the moment. DP poisoned it all back with roundup or something, but it has come back as he didn't do anything after that. Will we need to use something stronger to get rid of it permanently? We want to put the kids trampoline down there to make room in the rest of the yard.

#21 kadoodle

Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:41 AM

I had to dig up our Wandering Jew, stick down black plastic, then sand, then gravel, then dirt and only plant shallow rooting stuff on top.  I also dug a trench and filled it with concrete and put bricks on top of it to stop the invasion from next door.  Anything that came over got pulled out and stuck in a plastic bag in the sun to die, before being binned.

The bane of my existance right now is Couch grass.  It looks like I'm going to have to resort to chemical warfare, as even the herd of guinea pigs can't keep up with it's invasive tendencies.

OP, your local council would be a good place to start re. finding out what your rights are with requesting the plant removed or otherwise dealt with.  I've found Greening Australia very helpful too.

#22 Frockme

Posted 18 November 2012 - 01:25 PM

Apparently chickens love to eat Wandering Jew. Can you get a couple to help control it? I've also heard funnel webs are attracted to it....

OP I'd poison the suckers. Several 100 will take a while to do properly though. I poisoned some suckers of a yesterday today tomorrow tree, it didn't kill the tree.

#23 Jembo

Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:06 PM

Here is a fact sheet on mop tops, I have read before you can poison the shoots without damaging the tree, however this one says you cant?


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