How do I keep the neighbors weeds out of my yard?

diana_noil(5)May 22, 2008

Long story short, I have been slaving over my cottage garden. When I bought this house there wasn't a single blade of grass left in the backyard. Instead, there was a carpet of weed instead of grass surrounded by knee high weeds in every bed. I had to completely start over, new sod, new beds, new plants.

Today my yard is looking pretty good. However, my neighbors yard looks about as bad as mine did when I bought my house. There are a series of huge, very mature trees that are planted along our shared property line that are half in their yard, half in mine. For this reason, I can't put up a fence, it just won't work. The trees are too huge to just bring it inside to my property line, I would lose 5-6 feet and my yard is narrow.

Now my nice, new, clean beds filled with roses and perennials and my new lawn are being overridden by their weeds and I can't keep up with it, they are spreading too fast and I have been weeding a few days a week.

What would you do? I can plant a hedge but these plants are clearly reseeding and blowing over because a lot of them have spread 20 feet away from that property line. A hedge isn't going to stop all of those weeds from coming over, right?

SO frustrating!

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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

Prayer might help, but I doubt it. The reality of the 'burbs is that not everyone lives and gardens to the same standards. How would you feel it the neighbours brought in Weedman - or the local equivalent, spraying the toxic stuff everywhere?

Also, more realistically, the weed seeds were already in your soil. There is no silver bullet, this is work to bring property back. So, air-borne or soil-borne - yep, weed, weed, weed.

And courage, it does get better!! Nancy.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 11:13PM
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Steveningen(sunset 17, CA)

Here's what you need to do. Storm their porch, ring their doorbell and when they answer, give them a fat lip! That's right. Slap 'em around like you were in a Warner Brothers cartoon. Threaten to call their mothers. Oink at them as they walk by. Have a dozen pizza's sent to their house and then call and ask if their refridgerator is running. Organize a march and invite the media. Oops, scratch all that. That's my fantasy about my own neighbors.

What I meant to say was, stay civil and drop really strong hints. Offer to lend them your weed-whacker. Hire one of the neighborhood kids to pull some of your weeds and then tell your neighbors what a bargain that was. In the meantime, stay vigilant and keep pulling them ding-dang weeds. It's going to take years of effort, but it does pay off.

Good luck dear.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 12:17AM
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I agree with Midnightsmum, there are lots of residual weed seeds in your soil. It takes a few years of work to conquer property which has been weed infested. Even in the best of conditions weeding is part of gardening.

Your neighbors will get around to fixing up their yard. Competition is part of the human spirit, "keeping up with the Joneses" and all that. You have set the pace by fixing up your property.

Steven, you are a hoot!


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 2:40AM
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This is one of life's problems you just can't solve....I would just enjoy my own yard, keep it looking nice and don't sweat the weeds now and then.

I live in the country and am surrounded by fields of weeds/aka pasture grasses, some mine and some neighbors. These fields set seeds every year and blow hither and yon, including in my yard. They are mowed once a year....

I have lots of flower beds to keep weeded. I find heavy mulch or plants so close that no bare ground shows, helps a lot.

My lawn would not win any prizes but I don't worry about it.
Life is too short.

You can't keep wind-borne seeds away and then there are those pesky birds that sit on fence posts and in trees and drop seeds....last year was the worst for polk weeds in the gardens I have ever seen.
This year it was dock. That is just part of the process.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 6:14AM
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Vikki1747(z8 VA)

I feel your pain. I've got a similar issue and have even offered to help get things in shape in my neighbors yard to no avail.

Lorna, some people just don't give a rats fanny. Its hard for us gardeners to understand why others don't love it like we do. Like others have said, you will have weeds regardless of what your neighbors do or don't do.

I wanted to put up a hedge of ligustrum years ago to block the view but DH didn't like the idea. I now prefer to think that the neighbors lack of attention makes my garden and yard look that much better. Planting the hedge might be your solution.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 6:56AM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

I agree with gldno1. Heavy mulch and plants close together is your best bet.

My beds are weed free but my lawn is a wonderland of crab grass, dandelions and creeping charlie. Considering my next door neighbor runs a lawn service, he probably curses me out all the time! Or maybe he figures we're like a before and after advertisement, lol.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 7:07AM
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faltered(Hamburg NY Z5/6)

I like Steven's idea! A fat lip just might work. :o)

On the other hand, I've found trenching to be a good deterrent. It keeps the weeds at bay and when I notice them creeping into the trench I can yank them. Plus, when hubby cuts the grass he can get all the way to the edge of the trench, which helps.

Otherwise, a nice thick layer of mulch would help, if you don't already have one down.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 7:16AM
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Thanks for everyone's posts. I do have a ton of mulch and I am weeding almost daily. It is just so frustrating. My neighbors actually have two grown children in their 20's that still live at home so really, there is no reason that someone can't do something about the knee high weeds. They have generally been nice so I think I am going to try the trench suggestion, keep weeding and I will talk to them as nicely as possible one day when I see them out there. Who knows, maybe it will help. They also have two 2x4's nailed together for a hand railing at their front door, so my expectations are low.

The biggest weed that is coming up in my lawn is something that I have never had in a yard before. They kind of resemble ferns but they are clearly weeds and grow crazy fast. It is the most prolific of the weeds in their yard so I know where it's coming from. What a pain. :-)

Thanks again everyone!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 9:04AM
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fammsimm(Z8 DFW)


Have you called City Hall to check on the ordinances in your area? Around here the property owner would be issued a summons and given a reasonable deadline to clean up their property. If it's not done in that time frame, the city hires a lawn service to come out and mow, with the bill going to the home owner.

Good luck to you. I know this must a real source of frustration to you, especially after all the work you have put into your own property. It would be for me, that's for sure.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 9:32AM
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I have always battled neighbors who do nothing to their yards. Nothing new in my new house either which is a new very small subdivision in the more rural part of town. Both neighbors are single and work 2 jobs just to keep things going. (I understand they don't have the time nor money to put into their yards. One didn't even have any grass when she moved in, the builders didn't sod it.)Both are very sweet and I really like them. What I do is offer to mow my one neighbors yard (the others brother mows hers) to "help" her out and myself of course. Their yard is mostly weeds that are left to grow and blow or reseed into my yard. I weed and feed twice a year and when I do I have actually do a couple rows into her yard along the property line. Our side yards butt up to one another. My old house I used to use the spray 'weed be gone' and would "accidentaly" spray into my neighbors yard to try and combat the weeds. At this house I eventually plan to have beds all around the perimeter of my yard and mulch heavily to act as a barrier. I have to say though I think my one nieghbor is finally seeing how hard I try at keeping my yard and garden looking nice as she has been mowing more frequently. Yay!! I say be a good neighbor and it will pay off! After all it's what we should do anyway. I do think too that when people see your house/yard/garden looking so nice it starts to rub off on the neighbors and you will start to see them doing a bit themselves. These days people get so busy with their jobs and other things that they have very little time anymore for yard work. So many people I talk to want a landscape that they almost never have to attend to. Leave it and forget it is their motto. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 10:29AM
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I had a neighbor years ago who didn't weed and one day I saw him out in his weedy patch right next to my huge climbing red rose spraying Round-Up. I was frantic and ran out and begged him not to spray it there. Then he told me that he couldn't weed because of his wooden leg. So for the next 8 years until he passed away, I weeded his yard for him. He was a sweet old man and a good neighbor and I felt good helping him out. I know, I know, not the same situation at all, but the outcome would be the same. You still get what you want.

Last year when I had cancer and my DH broke his arm, we didn't ask our neighbors for help, but when he mowed his yard, he just continued on over and mowed ours too. He didn't know that we were sick and broken, he just did it. I don't know why it happens this way, but sometimes it just does.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 2:50PM
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happyintexas(z7 TX)

Chiming in to say mulch, mulch, and more mulch. Newspaper and mulch works well in beds. Care for your grass and it should choke out any weeds. (Should, but doesn't always.) We have a similar situation with neighbors who let their yard weeds go to seed too often. But, hey, they are decent people...just too busy to notice.

Keep hanging in there. It gets better...or else I don't notice 'cause I'm looking at the pretty flowers.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 4:32PM
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stage_rat(5--Indiana Riviera)

Uh oh...the ferny not-ferns just might be field horsetail, which you might be able to stop with a massive effort now. Does it also resemble little pine seedlings? Do look up photos, and see if that's what you have.

I hope that's not what you have, and I hope the weed situation gets better!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 7:43PM
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If you find the answer to this question, you will be a million aire!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 10:10PM
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