Ask a Question forum: How to protect plants from weed killer???

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Name: Kim
Beaver Falls, PA (Zone 6a)
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klc
Mar 16, 2015 7:47 AM CST
My neighbor has a fence that is completely on her property a foot off the property line. She is ADAMANT (history of OCD-nothing can be out of place) that nothing touch it--no grass, plants etc. which really puts a damper on how I want my yard to look, as I want tall flowers etc growing up against a fence.

Thumb of 2015-03-16/klc/8f9667

The only option I know of is to run another fence a foot away from hers on our property and then make my raised flower beds. She now puts weed killer along the fence to stop the grass etc. and has nearly killed my beautiful butterfly bush. I know that the chemicals will leach into my flowers and kill them also.

If I make raised beds...how tall do you think they would need to be to try to keep the roots safe ---I was thinking 2 feet?? Would it be feasible to line the beds with plastic along "her" side?? Was thinking of something like this....

Thumb of 2015-03-16/klc/ff0a63

I'm at such a loss as to what to do.... I don't want a plain drab yard but the neighbor has really made it difficult for me...

Would love any ideas, suggestions etc......



I hate losing plants....I know they are "just plants" but when you nurse them along and baby them and get them to grow, bloom, and be pretty and they die....it's like losing a friend..... Crying
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Mar 16, 2015 7:51 AM CST
If she uses a 'Roundup' type of weedkiller you should be ok since that is absorbed through the leaves and stems. So if you have a solid fence on your side I think you're safe from overspray etc.
I like your fence and raised bed idea very much. And the raised beds will make it very easy to insert something between her property and yours so your plants will be safe.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Mar 17, 2015 6:45 AM CST
I would think the law would be on your side. One can't poison plants in someone else's yard without permission. A tall, solid fence sounds like an excellent idea between your yard and your neighbors.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Mar 17, 2015 7:09 AM CST
Do you know, or can you find out, exactly what weedkiller is being used?
Name: Kim
Beaver Falls, PA (Zone 6a)
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klc
Mar 17, 2015 10:23 AM CST
I'm sure she isn't "deliberately" harming anything...she is just weeding her fence which is in her yard but the roots are nearby so they are absorbing the stuff. I'm assuming she is using roundup or something but I'm not sure. I've never seen her using anything but there is a definite line of dead grass under the fence and my butterfly bush is technically right on the property line which is within a few inches of her fence. I'm going to have to find a place to move it to.

I mean, I'm unhappy with the situation but she really isn't doing anything wrong. The neighbor behind me has a fence also but he's "cool"...he said that "my" side of the fence is mine so do what I want to with it, plant flowers, hang feeders etc. It's just going to be a pain if I have to but another fence up a foot from hers and leave that space in between but I don't see any other way to have a yard that I want.

Here's a picture--please excuse the yard...this winter was rough!! It's all mud right now from the snow/rain so I haven't had a chance to get out and do anything with it....

Thumb of 2015-03-17/klc/0a0bff

I hate losing plants....I know they are "just plants" but when you nurse them along and baby them and get them to grow, bloom, and be pretty and they die....it's like losing a friend..... Crying
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Mar 17, 2015 10:46 AM CST
I think it is strange that her fence is shy of the property line by 1 ft. You are saying if I understand right that 1 ft of the yard on 'your' side of the fence, is her yard? So not only is the fence entirely hers, but another foot on your side is hers? I don't think it would cost you anything to initially consult an attorney or at the least I would call city hall and find out what the laws are for fencing in your town/state. If that other foot IS hers then she is responsible for its upkeep. Or can decide to be at any time. It also means you cannot paint the fence or hang anything on it, or grow anything that would vine or touch it-as she can cut that off. So the question then is, what happens to the 'no man's land' space? If you put up fence ON the property line, then she may be responsible for her side of that. It wouldn't matter if she had a row of fence of her own anywhere else on her property. So you would basically have 2 rows of fence, 1 ft apart. If both rows were privacy fence, I don't think there would be enough light for any weeds to really live there. Besides that part would be hers. Then you could paint your fence, hang things on it, grow whatever you want on it, as long as it doesn't grow over the fence onto her side. Round up does make products that suppress plant growth for an extended time. These are popular for gravel paths, driveways or sidewalks and nothing will grow in the area for several months after application. If she is not wanting anything growing along the fence and your bush is dying, I think it is safe to assume she is using that sort of product. You may want to dig down along your line and place a layer of contractor grade plastic as a barrier between her soil and yours so that this product will not leach into your soil. Or you could as you noted, make a raised bed and I would still line that back area with the plastic. If you are planting shrubs that root down very far they will have access to that soil. Shallower plants and raised beds with plastic between the soil areas will more than likely fix your problem. There is of course the possibility that she is spraying your plants w poison on purpose when you are not home because she does not want them growing there. If that is the case, you have no choice but to 1. move 2. plant your things in another area of the yard altogether or 3. catch her on camera.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Mar 17, 2015 11:25 AM CST
klc said: I'm assuming she is using roundup or something but I'm not sure. I've never seen her using anything but there is a definite line of dead grass under the fence and my butterfly bush is technically right on the property line which is within a few inches of her fence. I'm going to have to find a place to move it to.


RoundUp in its typical basic form shouldn't affect via roots that grow under her property because it is has solely glyphosate as an active ingredient, which isn't soil active. As Frillylily said, though, there are RoundUp products that contain other active ingredients. There are also other herbicide products besides the RoundUp brand that could contain soil active ingredients.

That's why it would really help to know exactly what product is being applied so as to determine if it can be soil active. If the butterfly bush is right on the property line and the foliage received some spray or accidental drift then it could be affected by regular RoundUp (glyphosate) or certain other herbicides that are not soil-active. If the problem is aerial drift rather than through the roots, then a plastic barrier for the roots won't help, but a solid fence should limit aerial drift if it's only from a hand-held sprayer.







springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Mar 17, 2015 12:17 PM CST
Sue, I don't think it is drift, in the photo it looks like there is solid privacy fencing between the yards. If so, his bush is suffering from something affecting it through the soil. Unless she is maliciously spraying it when she isn't home. Which is possible of course. I have had lousy neighbors before too, it's the pits to have to deal with kind of stuff.
Name: Kim
Beaver Falls, PA (Zone 6a)
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klc
Mar 17, 2015 12:34 PM CST
Frillylilly that is exactly the problem/dilemma I'm having. Since it is completely on her property, I can do nothing with it. And she does come over and mow along the fence etc and keep it up, so the problem isn't that she isn't caring for it. My butterfly bush was "touching" her fence and she took clippers and trimmed it off exactly along the line...which I understand is her right, but really??!! When she did that, I considered that the last straw and started considering the second fence solution.

If you look at the top picture in my 1st post, that's the way I would like to have my yard...lots of tall flowers etc along the fence which I can't do the way it is now. I'd also like to hang feeders etc.

I personally think it's silly to have 2 fences right together but what other option do I have?? I was considering putting gravel etc in the space between the fences but then thought "why"??--it's her area, let her figure out what to do since she's the one with the "no touch" policy. In our area you can put a fence right along the property line which is what I will do, I don't know why she didn't. But then I might have had the "fight" if I did the plants against the fence thing anyway. Shrug! If it were me, I'd be like the "back" neighbor...as long as you don't damage the fence...have at it.

If I build the raised planters I would definately line the back of them with plastic etc to help protect the plants.

Thanks for letting me vent...I'm so frustrated .... I hate having problems with neighbors.... Sighing!
I hate losing plants....I know they are "just plants" but when you nurse them along and baby them and get them to grow, bloom, and be pretty and they die....it's like losing a friend..... Crying
Name: Kim
Beaver Falls, PA (Zone 6a)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Orchids Region: Pennsylvania Birds Ferns Dog Lover
Butterflies Container Gardener Frogs and Toads Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Level 2
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klc
Mar 17, 2015 12:48 PM CST
It's a "good neighbor" fence.... she also complains when we mow our yard and the clipping blow all over her kid's play equipment through the slots. I would have liked it much better it it were a solid fence

Thumb of 2015-03-17/klc/13a598
I hate losing plants....I know they are "just plants" but when you nurse them along and baby them and get them to grow, bloom, and be pretty and they die....it's like losing a friend..... Crying
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Mar 17, 2015 12:52 PM CST
Frillylily said:Sue, I don't think it is drift, in the photo it looks like there is solid privacy fencing between the yards. If so, his bush is suffering from something affecting it through the soil.


When I click on the image I get a smaller picture rather than larger, so it's hard to see, but in the thumbnail in the post it looks like a solid fence at the far end, and a semi-see-through "picket" type fence down the right hand side. It might be an illusion but it looks as though one can see the building through the one on the right. Is that the fence in question, or the one along the bottom? Certainly would agree that where the fence is completely solid it wouldn't likely be accidental aerial drift.

Edit: Oops, cross-posted. If the clippings can blow through the fence onto the childrens' play equipment then it would seem likely that herbicide drift could come through in the opposite direction?

[Last edited by sooby - Mar 17, 2015 12:55 PM (+)]
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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Mar 17, 2015 1:22 PM CST
klc said:Frillylilly that is exactly the problem/dilemma I'm having. Since it is completely on her property, I can do nothing with it. And she does come over and mow along the fence etc and keep it up, so the problem isn't that she isn't caring for it. My butterfly bush was "touching" her fence and she took clippers and trimmed it off exactly along the line...which I understand is her right, but really??!! When she did that, I considered that the last straw and started considering the second fence solution.



I have a hard time understanding how she maintains her 1ft of land on the side of her fence facing your property. How does she do that without getting on YOUR land? I would think she and her mower are more than 1 ft wide and therefore she is trespassing. I would tell her she has to find a way to maintain her yard without trespassing on yours. See what she says about that. Does your city have any laws about trespassing in a neighbors yard in order to maintain their own? I really don't think she can get away with that.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Mar 17, 2015 1:59 PM CST
AND, if she built the fence that she complains your mowing clippings are coming through, sounds like she should have built a different kind of fence. Not your problem. Sheesh, what an annoying situation! Do check with the city regarding this. One place I lived, the law was that if you didn't put your fence on the property line, you were tacitly ceding the rest of the property to the neighbor!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Mar 17, 2015 2:20 PM CST
Frillylily said:

I have a hard time understanding how she maintains her 1ft of land on the side of her fence facing your property. How does she do that without getting on YOUR land? I would think she and her mower are more than 1 ft wide and therefore she is trespassing.


I'm a little confused, if there has been weedkiller used is there still grass to mow?

On a slightly different tack, is it certain the problem with the butterfly bush couldn't be caused by something else, like winter injury?



Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Mar 17, 2015 3:03 PM CST
Your lawn deserves those valuable clippings anyway, I'd mow facing in. I'm not sure of the desirability of any kind of bed directly adjacent to this neighbors' yard.
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Mar 17, 2015 4:40 PM CST
If you live where there are deed restrictions, you may not be allowed to "double fence".
Porkpal
Name: Kim
Beaver Falls, PA (Zone 6a)
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klc
Mar 17, 2015 5:42 PM CST
LOL this is a strange situation indeed....I'll try to clear it up....

The back fence is a solid fence...but he is the "good neighbor" ...he doesn't care if I plant against the fence.

The "right" side is a "good neighbor" fence...one board alternating on each side of the main beam and there is an opening for stuff to pass through...

She puts "something" right along the fence and there is still about 8-10 inches of grass between the fence and the line. I didn't mind her coming over to mow until she started the "don't touch" stuff. I really don't want to start an all out "war"... just really disappointed that she basically has stopped me from having the yard I want....even if she technically "gave away" that foot, I still can't plant flowers without them growing over toward her fence unless I make some kind of barrier.

I admit that there very well could be another problem with the butterfly bush...but 2 years ago it was big, beautiful and bushy and attracted all kinds of butterflies, bugs etc. And yes...it did go quite a bit over onto her property (it was planted before she moved in and the previous owner really liked it and the butterflies etc so it was not a problem then). Then she build her fence last summer, started putting whatever she puts along the fence and my bush started dying back from that side and I ended up with only 2-3 scraggly branches with hardly any blooms...

Hence the reason to put another fence so I don't have to worry about "her" no-touch fetish...

Good point about double fencing but the area I live in doesn't seem to care much about anything :P

I'm probably just being petty about this but I'm really at a loss as to how to handle this...



I hate losing plants....I know they are "just plants" but when you nurse them along and baby them and get them to grow, bloom, and be pretty and they die....it's like losing a friend..... Crying
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Mar 17, 2015 6:32 PM CST
You are not being petty. She is having an impact on how you plant your own property. If it were me, I'd go for the solid fence along the property line (but do check city and/or county ordinances first!). Sounds to me like, even though you were there first (?), she is trying to tell you what you can and can't do on your own property. That photo you posted of the solid fence with the raised beds looks lovely, although it might be a bit on the expensive side to create!
Hope you can come up with some reasonable resolution without creating a neighborhood war! Such an unfortunate situation!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Mar 17, 2015 6:32 PM CST
I agree
Name: Kim
Beaver Falls, PA (Zone 6a)
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klc
Mar 17, 2015 7:02 PM CST
I was just going to give up on my garden until I saw the raised beds and fell in love with them. I can just picture them with lots of butterfly, hummingbird and "critter" attracting plants in them!!! Will probably have to build the beds this year and fill them next year!

TY for letting me "air"... my Hubby is no help....he just says "Do whatever you want" .... love him to death but sometimes I want to pop him!!! Rolling on the floor laughing
I hate losing plants....I know they are "just plants" but when you nurse them along and baby them and get them to grow, bloom, and be pretty and they die....it's like losing a friend..... Crying

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