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Neighbour planting trees right next to house

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  1. #1
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    Default Neighbour planting trees right next to house

    Hi,

    Posted a thread a few days ago regarding my neighbour ( http://www.renovateforum.com/f85/nei...my-wall-97549/ ), but this one is more of a neighbour landscaping issue that I would like to address as it involves my other adjoining neighbour. Please feel free to move this one if there's a more appropriate section.

    Due to the way the houses are built (I have one solid long wall that is rather high) it's very hard to see anything in my neighbours yard unless I climb my house and look down from the roof.

    While climbing up to take photos for the other thread, I noticed that they had planted trees up against my wall- I was checking if anyone can identify this kind of tree and what they grow to, most importantly rootwise, as it's sitting right against my house.

    It's planted right where my rear bathroom/kitchen slab joins onto my existing footings and it's a reactive clay area. I'd rather find out about this now in case the thing skyrockets!

    The smaller ones are sitting in tubs as there's a main sewer inspection hole there (although it looks like they've excavated right to the edge of my slab and subsidised underneath- the dark looking area at the bottom of the photo). The photo's taken from the back of house looking down along my wall towards the front.


    neighbourtree1.jpg


    Now for the other neighbour at the back of my house- when they developed they excavated right under my slab without even consulting me and built a support wall that wasn't even plumb!

    They had a tree in the backyard that looked like it had been planted just after our rear addition 30 yrs ago. This thing used to pump out a LOT of leaves and dead branches and I had problems with roots at one stage going into my brickwork before the townhouses were developed 10-12 yrs ago.

    The new strata owners looked like they decided pruning it was too much of an expense and gave it a very, very short haircut a couple of years ago.

    Next thing I know it's dying and full of borer, and has actually started collapsing against their townhouses, looking like it could slip along and knock out my bathroom in a storm. It looks like they found out how much it cost to remove a dead tree compared to annual haircuts.

    Now some bright spark thought it would be smart to plant another one of these less than one meter from my house- even closer!

    I've contacted strata management (no response) and council (sorry, we can't do anything for you). I've now got to send them a registered letter to prove they had knowledge before it falls and council told me to try land and environment court which I though is a bit over the top for something so obvious.

    Would like to know if anyone else has had trees this size close to their house die and what I can now expect with my rear slab ie. is the new tree going to help 'take over' from the old one, or are the dead roots going under (there's main sewer 5m down to contend with too) combined with the new tree going to provide a bit of rock'n'roll?

    If the newer one is detrimental can I do anything to have the it removed knowing it will cause this kind of problem since the older dead one already did?

    neighbourtree3.jpgneighbourtree2.jpg

    It's hard to show without going on to their land, but it's already smashed their glass balcony and the branches are slowly grating against their balcony in my direction. There is one branch it's leaning on at the moment that if it goes, will send the tree sliding/rolling onto my bathroom (the green corrugated roof).

    Cheers,
    Garth
    Last edited by woodhunt; 30th Apr 2011 at 03:52 PM. Reason: added photo directions

  2. #2
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    A light sprinkling of round-up when the neighbours are out should do the trick...

  3. #3
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    I'm not sure where to start, other than to say you are the problem. It's not your land what they do on their land is up to them.
    I'm sure they don't like looking at your wall. (Get a life).

  4. #4
    Golden Member m6sports's Avatar
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    For the small plants along the wall it's not going to cause any problems and for the large tree if it does fall and go through into your bathroom, you would have scored a free bathroom renovation as they will have to pay the the repairs so stop worrying

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eastwing View Post
    I'm not sure where to start, other than to say you are the problem. It's not your land what they do on their land is up to them.
    I'm sure they don't like looking at your wall. (Get a life).
    I do now where to start- that is the most pathetic and unhelpful comment I've read on these forums yet.

    I have every right to be worried as one dead tree has already knocked out lower foundation bricks (as referred to in previous post) and I do have cracking from slab movement but can't judge whether it's the tree or their unauthorised underpinning.

    The piece of dirt underneath my slab IS my land, and if you read my other post, you would realise I own 5cm along that wall in foundations.

    I'm a Builder and there is a chance I could swing past on my way home.
    Ah, I see....

    I would have thought from your occupation that you would realise that people can't just 'do whatever they like' on their land- although I suppose there are exceptions....

    This IS my life and this IS my land that I have paid very good money for.

    I can't believe the inconsideration of some people causing $10,000's of dollars of damage (but mostly inconvenience of no plumbing and no room during repair) over a $30 plant, I'm just making sure that I (and my neighbour) are not involved in those statistics.

    It's also right next (ie feet away) to my ONLY toilet facilities that are in slab.

    I have seen what people do with plants when they buy them without researching them, I am merely asking for identification of it to assure myself of no problems instead of approaching my neighbour 15 years later- they would be a lot happier to discuss it now than then.

    If you have a look at suggested tree planting distances and how much water gets drained out of the soil from a tree in a clay area, you would be a little more educated and informed before posting cheap comments like that that don't contribute to this forum in any way.

    Maybe some rude anonymous comments on yahoo answers might help alleviate whatever put you in this mood to make this comment.

    I guarantee you if they weren't looking at my 1960's wall, they'd be looking at a 5 story block of townhouses.

    I have asked for advice for people in similar situations, or identification of a tree, for the primary reason of having knowledge of what action is available NOW.

    Not after the tree falls on my house or root system (that tree reached 2m over my bathroom before they killed it- the root system is considerably more) rots and drops my slab. That, and not after my plumbing or foundation joint gets ruined causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

    If you can't help with either, and you have planted trees too close to your neighbour then keep your opinions to yourself please.



    Regards,
    Garth

  6. #6
    House Husband - 1K Club Member
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    In my experience, going next door or inviting the neighbours over for a cup of tea and a chat is a great way to find out about neighbourly concerns and or plans. When we moved in here our neighbours were scared stiff of us, due to their shaky relationship with the previous owners. We allayed any fears they may have had and have spent many long, happy, hours helping them with their gardening. Some people plant stuff in the garden without much thought or concern as to what it is (ie indoor figs planted into the garden etc...) and aren't that attached to the plant. Often, its a "seemed like a good idea at the time" moment. I can't think of why someone would actively plant a plant with intent to cause destruction of a neighbours property. Communication is the answer.

  7. #7
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    Hi sundancewfs,

    Thanks for the constructive answer, I haven't done that yet because I wanted to know what the plant was before it was even an issue. Some people post about a tree blocking their view, other ask what is a good poison to kill a tree (98% of the time for perfectly legitimate reasons I might add), and some appear anonymously in the local paper for ringbarking a row of trees.

    I was simply asking for the identification of the tree so as to know whether it is an oversight to be mentioned or not. I am just trying to possibly divert any problem as in that proximity it would be expensive, possibly very expensive if it was the wrong tree.

    I don't think my neighbour is a bad person, I do however think she does some stuff sometimes without realising the full implications of her actions.

    She put seafoody garbage in my bin when going overseas for a holiday because she wouldn't be there for garbage collection- I would have not blinked an eye if I had put my bin liner in that day instead of three days later. She filled my garbage bin up with bags of construction rubble so that the garbage collection people dumped it all in my front yard- again not understanding how the garbage system works. I didn't complain about either, although admittedly I told her that the garbage people won't pick bricks up. These are mistakes that just happen, I am just making sure for both of us it isn't a mistake.

    I am only posting these details to show how I might have the perception that she might do something without fully realising all consequences, not to complain about her- so please wipe the former paragraph from your mind after you've read it.

    I have a eucalypt in my backyard that was existing when I bought the place. Right on the sewer line, 3 metres from the other side neighbours 'slab' (they have encased sewer pipes and pvc). When I moved in I offered to cut it down if it has posed any problem with pipes etc but they like the privacy and shade so it stayed. Last year their whole backyard was dug up for a plumbing problem for 2 weeks I was embarrassed for the inconvenience to them (although they had two toilets) and I sat wondering how I was going to pay for it as the plumber mentioned despite the slab engineering it was most likely the tree. Turned out it was very slight incorrect fall of pipe that caused slow waste dispersion.

    I would just like to avoid causing my neighbour that level of possible expense and embarrassment for something she mightn't have realised.

    Tree roots aren't covered under insurance and if it cause problems with the main sewer line which is also under the slab then it would force a much more inconvenient situation if they had to dig it up for both of us.

    Someone on the gardening forum suggested it might be a locquat/chinese medicine tree which might make sense- 10ft to 30ft and shallow roots. That's fine with me (well it sounds friendly anyway!!). That part of the post is taken care of.
    With the strata at my backyard however,
    anytime the people in the townhouses have to be contacted they just say go talk to strata, who haven't responded to any communication so far. You can't do much with a strata agency who are suppose to be handling these matters and who won't give out the owners name.
    Since they've been informed I'm not sure their insurance covers it falling and I'm not after a free bathroom reno at that rate and at this level of communication.

    Their underpinning has already caused movement and diagonal separation along my wall. The support wall is 1.5 metres and I was not given any details of the underpinning so I have no idea if my slab will be supported when X square metres of tree root rot out and drop the weight on half the clay and that wall alone. I also wanted to know how new ones seeking water underneath in a less compacted area will interact with that.


    The dead tree and the new one are at a point that can influence it, I was asking for any previous experience with this size tree and if anyone could tell me what to expect and act accordingly, not to be told to get a life so pardon the defensive sounding post.

    I was under the assumption that posters weren't allowed to just sprinkle abuse at people when the mood took them over a simple question, otherwise I would have stuck to other forums. I didn't think these were such way out questions to allay concerns, and possibly make it easier to address if necessary.

    Regards,
    Garth

  8. #8
    3K Club Member johnc's Avatar
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    I would be concerned about the dead tree if you think it has enough weight and is still solid enough to cause damage if it falls. I would have thought you are stuck with the body corporate (strata title) people and I would try to get a phone number of the manager to get things moving. Other than that your next step may well be a solicitor, which is something I would try to avoid, but sometimes a letter on legal letterhead can get things moving.

    For anyone who has had dealings with these bodies it can be a very frustrating experience when the manager is lazy, obstructive or there is ongoing disputes with-in the group. However it is probably more common for these managers to be dealing with lazy, obstructive and annoying tenants and owners than the other way around.

    Those new plants I would be inclined to keep an eye on at this stage, unless you can get an ID on them that says otherwise they don't look as if they will grow to be monsters. I once had a neighbour who planted Tasmanian Blue Gums on the boundry and when politely asked to consider removing them declined as he had been told they only grow to about three metres, we got lucky and a very hot summer that year killed them off so we didn't need to resort to the ugliness of roundup. However other than that all other plant and tree issues have been settled by a chat and joint action so we have been lucky in that regard.

  9. #9
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    Hi John,

    D'oh didn't think of a manager as I thought the strata management office might have doubled up as that... I'll go and check it out.

    I actually thought my backyard tree was a form of eucalyptus (I thought all of them had large root systems) but this one is tall and skinny with cream/green two tone leaves and the neighbour who kept it there said she checked it out and it was alright. I was worried about the main sewer and 1m inspection hole that goes down 5m but have been told these things are built like a brick s#$thouse

    It was only one plant that had been planted in the next door neigbours yard-everything else is in pots as they are sitting on top of the sewerage inspection plate (neighbour on each side of me has them). Since I've found out what the planted tree is it's all cool- just making sure it was some kind of fast growing fig etc that just looked nice as a 'puppy' at the nursery (I have no idea when it comes to plant identification, but that's only half of it in the picture and it's gone to the height of the roof). I also didn't want to bother the neighbour about it if I can check things out on my own/with forum help.

    Everything is so boxed in now you can't really plant without having a good think about it.

    When the rear development was done they excavated around the building, leaving my side of the tree the only way for roots to go. The newly established tree has only been in a short time and is past 3m so would be nice to know now before it gets to the other ones size. I didn't ask for an ID on that one as the leaves looked similar I can see how big it gets ...
    Funny they didn't want to plant it <1m next to their flats.

    I just went out to look at the leaves and it seems the hardwood borer that has attacked the dying tree is giving that one a go now, so this might be all non-sequitur.

    Maybe the new one will ending up pushing it into their backyard, but if it can do that it's the same distance to my house

    I'm going to put in two more trees, but they are going to either be in very large pots, or some kind of ground enclosure- there's just too many houses, easements and utilities around here for a poor tree to grow


    Cheers,
    Garth

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodhunt View Post
    Hi John,

    D'oh didn't think of a manager as I thought the strata management office might have doubled up as that... I'll go and check it out.

    Cheers,
    Garth
    Who ever is the manager is probably the owner or an employee of the Strata Management Office. As they have to be a real person then they will have a phone. I'm just suggesting you may get a better response with a chat first, or failing that an idea of how hard it will be to get anywhere. Most of these places have a gardener and maintenance people they can call upon, so think about what you are going to say. i.e. we both may have a damage problem if the tree falls, do you think your gardener or friendly tree dropper might be able to deal with it?

    You get the picture, friendly coersion often gets us a lot further than the fall back position of our legal rights. Anyway it is on their land, it is a potential nuisance, and if it falls you may lose some house and they may lose a lot of money.

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