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Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Posted by girlcat36 6 ish (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 11, 13 at 14:21

Last fall my neighbor installed a white vinyl privacy fence along the property line. I have owned my property for 17 years and both myself and the former owner of my neighbor's house thought that the property line was 15 feet out into the neighbor's yard. So I have been planting and maintaining that area of the property since I moved in 17 years ago. The house was sold and the new neighbor had a survey for her fence installation, and I was saddened to discover that that I would be losing 15 feet of what I thought was my property. So I lost all my evergreens that I planted and 8 mature rhododendrons, plus a bunch of other perennials, bulbs, etc. Now I have a sea of white plastic(150 ft) running diagonally east to west through my yard with no plantings to hide it! The neighbor loves her new fence and it definately looks better on her side with all my nice plants screening it. :(

It's going to take me another 17 years to landscape this away I'm afraid, but I want to get to work right way.
I'm looking for suggestions on your favorite bird attracting trees and shrubs, also anything evergreen that you think would work well. The area along the fence is part shade.
My goals are to screen the fence year round as much as possible, but at the same time, I don't want to eat up a lot of space since the true property line is much closer to my house now. Attaching trellises is out of the question, and in fact neighbor has already asked me not to put things near the fence(ugh), so I have to be careful.
I guess I'm looking for some tall narrow stuff that would work in part sun with an emphasis on native species and attracting birds.

After seeing all Claire's beautiful pieris(piereses? pierisi?), they are definately on my list.
A picture would probably be helpful, but I don't have one right now. As soon as I take one I will post it.

Thanks!
Teresa


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Teresa, some questions:

Where are you located? I ask because you might want to go to a nearby well-respected, reputable nursery with photos in hand and ask for plant advice. In CT I would recommend Broken Arrow Nursery which grows much of what they sell. We've purchased wonderful evergreens and trees from them. In MA there is Katsura Gardens in Plymouth. I've had my eye on that nursery for a long time. Others might be able to suggest sources nearer to you. A few well chosen conifers or evergreens would do a lot to anchor your new garden. I know, that word "new" is awful --- :(

How tall is the fence? I don't know the laws regarding fences, that is, how far away from your neighbor's fence you should plant. In any case, will planting away from the fence give you more sun on your side?

What kinds of plantings are in the rest of your yard?
Please post some photos. That would definitely help with suggestions.

Molie


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Thanks, Molie.....we have a really good nursery here on the Cape(Countrty Gardens), But sometimes when I'm looking for native stuff they don't have it. I have been longing to check out Katsura for YEARS, so maybe I will finally do it!

The fence is six feet tall, solid white shiny vinyl.
Here are some pics of my yard from last summer.

Okay, here is a shot of the front of my house to get an idea of my gardening style. I guess my gardening style is 'loosely structured', maybe?
The fence is running along my property line at left of the picture, just beyond the boat. The fence runs from the street all the way back at a diagonal slant through my backyard.

 photo 040-1_zpsb680877f.jpg

The back yard is less formal.
This is the right side of my backyard:

 photo 004-9_zps9b81c587.jpg

And moving towards the back:

 photo 005-4_zpse8b5dc04.jpg

 photo backyard_zps69424bdf.jpg


Here is a picture of the left(fence) side from last summer as I was trying to move my plants into my yard before the fence install.
It was a nightmare because I was told that I had to have my plants out by June 20th for the fence installation, but then the fence didn't get installed until Oct 1st! I was holding everything in pots trying to keep it all alive all summer...I had a few casualties. Luckily, the hydrangeas are a few feet into my yard, and I was able to keep them:

 photo 033_zps80fd7507.jpg

I am finding this fence to be in very stark contrast to my style of gardening/landscaping, and I'm trying to minimize the effect.
I will post pictures of the actual fence tomorrow after I download them.

Teresa


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

I took some pics quickly, just now....

This is from the street:

 photo 036-1_zpsd7c40570.jpg

This is the right side of the backyard:

 photo 037_zps888aa529.jpg

I have started some lasagna beds with cardboard and leaves to get things going. I'm trying to also minimize the diagonal effect, so I have made the bed a little narrower in some places, hoping to fool the eye a bit. I dunno......
So far I have a serbian spruce, a curly willow, a couple ninebarks, and a few perennials to work with.
So yes. Molie the further out I plant from the fence, the more sun I will get, but as you can see there's not a lot of space before you are right up on top of my deck and raised beds!

Teresa


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

First of all, Teresa, I absolutely love your style of gardening! Wow, your yard is beautiful! You've created a sanctuary --- I certainly understand how it must feel to have one side of the property devoted to a long plastic fence. For sure that fence is pretty stark but, you know, I think you can beat it into submission --- so to speak.

What if you consider consider the whole thing as a "blank white canvass"? You could start the garden redesign with some focus plants that have strong leaf or stem coloration and then bring over some of the perennials from the other side of your yard.

One thing that comes to mind is the red twig dogwood that I have in my front yard. This plant has beautiful red stems that stand out against white snow and even now as things are greening up in my yard. Later on, the leaves are variegated. The photo below shows a close up of the stems. This variety, Cornus alba 'Bailhalo' Ivory Halo, is very prolific and easily propagated up from branches that may root in the ground.

The following pic shows the dogwood a week ago. It's behind an andromeda ---- Pieris japonica 'Dorothy Wycoff' that might also work for you. The andromeda has beautiful red buds all winter long, and when it opens, the hint of red still shows.

There are also many dwarf conifers which would be striking and remain evergreen against that stark whiteness. If you like roses, then the Knockouts are pretty tough, carefree, and easy enough to prune. The potted grass I see (photo 5) would look great against the fence as well as the echinacea (?) in the wheelbarrow. I'm so glad that hydrangea is "yours" and will remain.

From the looks of the rest of your yard, I'd bet all the chocolate in the world that the whole yard will be in harmony by fall :)

Molie


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Thanks, Molie!
My husband works really hard, with long hours, to make up for the fact that I am unable to work anymore; so I do try to make our yard like a sanctuary for him to enjoy when he is not working.
Love the pieris and the red twig dogwood! Both will look great against the white of the fence.
I'm hoping to maybe get some junipers going along there, too. I'd love some winterberry but I'm wondering how in would do in part shade...I am reading conflicting information regarding that.
I am not happy about the whole fence thing, but I'm trying to look at it as an opportunity to 'up my game' so to speak.

Teresa


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Please remember that the surveyors were hired by your neighbor, they are NOT impartial representatives of any official body - I would check their work carefully! Have you seen the boundary markers personally?


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

DTD---yes, I watched the survey as it happened very carefully, and the markers were well into what I thought was my property and they sat there from May until October when the fence was installed. Comparing the survey markers to my property map, I have to say, unfortunately, that the survey was probably correct.
My neighbor had originally contracted with a different fence company than the one that ultimately installed the fence in October. The original fence company was to install 1 foot into the neighbors yard from the property line. The fence company that ended up doing the install must not have gotten that memo, so my only issue here is that the fence is smack dab on the property line, and the neighbor does not want my stuff near the fence, even though it IS my property, she has asked me not to put stuff near it. I have acquiesced to that and everything is 16" from the fence, even though by all rights I should be able to put stuff right up to the fence.

Teresa


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 13, 13 at 12:28

Nasty situation, Teresa, but you have to live next door to that neighbor so starting a war won't help you.

Since you're stuck with the white fence you might as well try to take advantage of it. I like Molie's idea of a blank white canvas - is there reflected sunlight off it that might give you more light for your plantings?

Besides Molie's excellent suggestions, and my beloved pierises (I'm not sure of the plural and Google didn't really help), maybe some vines or climbing roses on tuteurs? This would give you height without touching the fence and without being too wide.

And then there's sunflowers.... a nice wall of giant sunflowers would hide that fence, although you may not get enough light for them to thrive. The Hairy Sunflower (Helianthus hirsutus Lam.) is native and supposedly is OK with part shade. Birds love the seeds.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sat, Apr 13, 13 at 12:38


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Thank you, Claire!
I have no desire to start a neighbor war! So I am trying to be as accomodating as I can, which is why I will give her that 16" on my side of the fence.
Good idea thinking the white may reflect some light.....I hadn't thought of that , but you could be right. That would be an advantage.

Roses on tuteurs is a great idea; they 6 foot obelisks at Job Lot at a reasonable price.....although I have already wiped out my 'garden structure' budget for the year already, but it's definately something to keep in mind for next year. Or maybe I will build some tuteurs over the winter next year since I love woodworking projects....

I have already started some castor bean plants, some amaranthus, and a bunch of sunflowers to plant along there until I get some structure going. I am going to look up the Hairy Sunflower; not sure I've seen that one before.

Thanks for your input! :)

Teresa


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Thank you, Claire!
I have no desire to start a neighbor war! So I am trying to be as accomodating as I can, which is why I will give her that 16" on my side of the fence.
Good idea thinking the white may reflect some light.....I hadn't thought of that , but you could be right. That would be an advantage.

Roses on tuteurs is a great idea; they 6 foot obelisks at Job Lot at a reasonable price.....although I have already wiped out my 'garden structure' budget for the year already, but it's definately something to keep in mind for next year. Or maybe I will build some tuteurs over the winter next year since I love woodworking projects....

I have already started some castor bean plants, some amaranthus, and a bunch of sunflowers to plant along there until I get some structure going. I am going to look up the Hairy Sunflower; not sure I've seen that one before.

Thanks for your input! :)

Teresa


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

In your original post you mentioned that some evergreen plants would be nice. Depending on the height you want, there are of course hollies, rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, aucuba, boxwood, euonymus, leucothoe and many conifers, all of which can do well in limited sunlight. And as others have pointed out, the reflection of the white fence will add quite a bit of light. All of the plants I mentioned should be fine on the cape (that is where you are, correct?) and all are broadleaf evergreens, except of course for the conifers. I hope this helps.

P.S. My camellias have just started to bloom!

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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

While I detest plastic/vinyl fences (fences should not be shiny, lol) I don't think the style of this fence is particularly offensive. (She could have put up chain link!) It's a rather classic style, and could end up being a nice backdrop to a beautiful border, as well as providing privacy from your neighbor.

You've got some good suggestions above. Keep us posted - we'd love to see the progress you make on this bed! Good luck!

Dee


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

You are on the Cape....so I would suggest planting a crape myrtle somewhere in front of the fence. It would stand out super nice in front of the white fence when blooming. It would be a nice anchor plant for whatever else you plant around it.There are a number of varieties hardy in southern most areas of New England and they are not uncommon on the Cape.


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Bill, thank you for the evergreen recommendations. I would like to screen as much of the white as I can with evergreens, but all the other deciduous suggestions will be good until I can purchase evergreen stuff.

Dee.....You know, I guess it is a nice fence as far as fences go(I know she paid a fortune for it)....it's just not what I want to look at; and I think fences need to be trellised and it's bugging me that I can't trellis that fence because it's plastic and it's not mine. My husband thinks it's really nice! LOL

Rockman----crape myrtle, great idea! It would look fabulous in bloom in front of the white. I have a red one in my front yard, and it's so pretty.

I suddenly remembered that I have 10(!) 3 year-old heptacodiums and 4 or 5 baby rhodies in my pot ghetto, along with a bunch of kousa dogwoods......and I have some shorter variety of red twig dogwood in my front yard that could use some dividing.....so I do have some things to work with. It will just be a matter of purchasing the evergreens that I want over time as budget allows.

Teresa


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Teresa, I'm not quite sure I understand your comment about buying deciduous stuff until you can buy evergreen stuff. I would probably get the evergreen types first so they could start to hide the fence, and then you can plant the deciduous things in front of them, maybe over time to stretch the garden budget. Just a thought.

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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Hi Bill,
I know I will have to purchase the evergreens and I can't get them all right away, but I'm hoping to beg, borrow, or steal(joking-I won't steal!) some deciduous stuff from friends/family and I'm thinking I can split or move some stuff up that I have in other parts of my yard, and I do have quite a few things sitting in pots(small trees). It won't be exactly the things I would like to have but it will fill it in for a while.
So yes, any money spent will go to getting the evergreens that I want.

Teresa


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

OK. It's always nice when friends and neighbors can contribute! I have some rhododendrons and a beautiful oak leaf hydrangea that my grandfather gave me years ago. I hope the fence issue works out for you. Your photos show your beautiful garden very well!

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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Teresa --- wish you lived closer. We have an evergreen that we're going to get rid of. It's a two-year-old Chamaecyparisis obtuse 'Special Varigated' that is getting much too big for our long garden. Here it is last summer on the left side of the photo. You can barely see the stake along the trunk. The photo was taken in Sept. before we replaced this wimpy stake with a sturdier one.

And a close-up look of the variegated coloration

It's grown over a foot since last summer and needs to be staked/shaped, I guess, so that it grows in a tall arch or some other trailing form. More research (sadly and mistakenly, after we bought it) shows that it grows to 20'! which is much too tall for our long border. It was an expensive shrub and I'd like it to go to a good home. Definitely anyone with a truck/SUV could take it away.


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

If the fence is right on the property line, you can plant stuff right up against it. In fact, I *HIGHLY* suggest you do...if you don't, a few years from now she will forget and think that the fence *WAS* put a foot from the property line. It also might be a good idea to do your own survey.

Anyway, Eastern Red Ceder isn't the prettiest tree but can form a "wall" like arborvitae, is native, has berries birds eat, and is tough as nails. American Holly is also pretty tough and good at obstructing views. Easy to plant. Beach Plum is deciduous (so won't block the fence in winter) but is a native that likes the coast and produces fruit. Grape vines aren't native but can be made to climb a fence.


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

You may not be able to trellis directly on the fence, but you could install some sturdy, free-standing trellises in front of the fence, no?

Sounds like you've got some good stuff to get started. Thank goodnes for pot ghettos, lol! Kinda like going shopping in your own back yard!

;)
Dee


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Molie---too bad I am so far away! I would love to give your Chamaecyparisis a home!

Edlincon----I think the neighbor believes that the fence was installed a foot into her yard......but the stakes were in 'my' yard from May to October, so I have very good idea of the property line in relation to the plantings had/have there, and when I came home the day the fence was installed they were smack on the line. The stakes weren't very visible to the neighbor since all my evergreen plantings sheilded them from her sight.
As soon as some $$$ comes into my hands I intend to have my entire yard surveyed.....I realized after her survey that my property goes back much further than I thought.
I am not opposed to the Eastern Red Cedar; they had been on my mind as I knew they attract birds. The fact that they are not ornamental is fine; since I intend to have a mixed border with perennials and flowering shrubs in front of them...so they are on the list.

I do have a couple baby American Hollies in the pot ghetto, too.

Dee---yes, thank God for pot ghettoes! I knew all those plants would be good for something, someday! I have been thinking about freestanding trellises, and wondering how I would anchor them......I would have to do it myself, as Hubs doesn't care much for yardwork and I have to be selective about what I ask him to help me with. I have been giving thought to pounding in a few feet of rebar and anchoring a wooden trellis to the rebar. I was searching gardenweb for examples of such trellising last year, but I didn't come up with much, it would have to be VERY secure, since I think neighbor likes to peek in my yard to make sure I'm not hurting her fence on my side.

I found some nice Pieris at the Cape Cod Wholesale nursery for a very reasonable price, so I'm going to pick up a few of those pretty soon.


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Ooh, I was just looking at the photos of the fence again, and reading some of the comments. IMHO, you really DO need to keep away from that fence when you're planting, unless you have a good source of water and a good irrigation system.

I have a tall solid fence (mercifully, it's cedar) along the west side of my yard, and for YEARS I tried planting next to it - with really sad results. The 'rain shadow' is a serious problem! Once I realized that I needed to be about 5 feet away - from the center of the planting hole to base of fence - things went a lot better.


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Thansk, DtD....could you elaborate on the 'rain shadow'?

Teresa


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

I can't imagine why the fence manufacturer chose to make this fence *shiny.* Vinyl can be molded with a dull finish, as is most vinyl siding on house and vinyl lattice work.

Having survived a 6 year long boundary dispute that emptied our bank account and caused us unimaginable stress, I definitely recommend avoiding a law suit. In our case the defendants absolutely refused every settlement offer we put before them and engaged in acts of wholesale destruction of our trees and fences, and even bulldozed out and carted away massive quantities of our very soil itself, so we had no choice. But avoid it if you can!

I think what I would do is install a simple fence of my own right next to the vinyl fence, using metal posts and page wire. This would not be too cost prohibitive and would act as a trellis spanning the entire length of the vinyl fence, and hiding it from view once it was covered with climbing plants. But most importantly it would establish your property line, especially if you photograph it periodically over the course of the next 15 years or whatever the adverse possession statute calls for in your state. Your neighbor might actually be relieved by the addition of an interior fence on your side because it would protect her fence.

Your gardens and yard are a style that speaks to me. Very beautiful and natural looking. I agree that this new fence is an eye sore. If they had just used a matt finish, it would look so much better. But it does provide privacy, and I'm sure you will find a way of hiding it.


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Spedigrees......when my neighbor initially proposed the fence, it was to be a MATTE vinyl fence that looked like wood, but I guess fence company #2 never got that memo, either. So it was supposed to be matte and well into her yard...she said she would never DREAM of asking me to disturnb my gardens(famous last words).

I'm sorry you had such trouble with your neighbor!

I like your idea of a wire type trellis fence! I wouldn't run it the entire length, but just maybe in my backyard area where the fence seems more incongrous. I can probably find something inexpensive at Tractor Supply.
The vinyl fence doesn't look terrible from the front, but my front gardens are a bit more structured and maybe that is why.

Thank you for the nice words about my gardens, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees this as disharmonious!
Weirdly, men that visit my house say it's a great fence and they really like it(my husband likes! But he doesn't do any of the yard work!)....but when woman come over, they just shake their heads and say, "that looks all wrong".

So I think I have a lot to work with....a substantial pot ghetto, and hundreds of annual seedlings I've already started indoors. It's just a matter of getting the evergreens that I want.

Does anyone have any opinions on cherry laurel?

Teresa


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Op, I think you are handling this quite graciously. I know you don't want to make enemies, but I think it is worth mentioning that you could actually have claim to that land, regardless of what the survey says. In MA you can claim property that you do not own by physically occupying it for a period of time - adverse possession. In MA it is 20 years. You may tack your claim to that of the prior owner. So if the prior owner occupied that land for 3 years, and you did for 17, that would satisfy the 20 year requirement. Of course there are other factors as well.

I understand not wanting to go the legal route, especially since the fence is already in. However, you may consider speaking with an attorney as this effects your property values. If not, maybe this advice will be helpful to someone else in this situation. I am an attorney but do not practice in real property so I'm certainly not an expert, but I'm familiar enough to know it may be worth exploring with a specialist in this practice area.


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Thank you for your input, Imich!
I was aware of the possibility of Adverse Possession, since I had been maintaining that piece of land for 17 years, and both prior owners of the property assumed it was my land, too. And I put a lot of plants over there, and she ended up with all the mature ones :(

But I don't want to be a pain in the rear. And what done is done. In hindsight, I guess I would have asked her to allow me some of the land at the rear of the property and in return I would allow her the same amount at the front of the property----just to avoid the diagonal effect!!!

My main concern now is using my property from the fence line over to the fullest, and I am certain she is going to tell me that I can't place certain things near her fence. So I want to remain within legal limits, BUT place things where I wish upon my own property.......but I will give her that foot that is technically mine.

A concern I have right now.....I have a very large scrub pine that regularly loses large branches during storm. I am liable for fence damage from this tree, yes? Even though it existed for many years before the fence existed?

In other news, not all my potted plants that were to go in front of the fence survived the winter.....I lost several ninebarks and an ornamental grass, and a few perennials; so I have less to work with.

I did install three small rhodies from my pot ghetto in the shady area in front of the fence, and we planted our serbian spruce Christmas tree in a sunnier area in front of the fence. I gave the serbian spruce plenty of clearance from the fence.

Teresa


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

After the huge ice storm in central mass a few years back, I learned abit about tree damage. My understanding is that by law it doesn't matter who the tree belongs to.(probably to protect the government for all those publicly owned trees) If a tree or a limb falls, if it damaged something on your property, you can file an insurance claim. Insurance will cover the damage over and above your deductible. So if your tree falls on your neighbors fence, it is her problem. She is responsible for cleaning up the tree and repairing her own fence. You could be a nice person and offer to pay, but you arenot required by law to do do.

If branches fall and land in her yard but miss her fence, insurance will not pay to have them removed. Insurance does not consider damage to other plants or shrubs to be insurance claim damage.


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Thank you, Pixie Lou!


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, May 7, 13 at 16:17

To corroborate what pixie_lou said: A few years ago a pine in my yard fell over into the neighbor's yard. I called an arborist to remove it and he said the same thing - legally it was the neighbor's responsibility, not mine, although he understood why I felt an obligation to pay for it.

I did pay the arborist but the neighbor voluntarily paid part of the cost.

Actually, I've got the same situation now. One of my trees is leaning into the neighbor's yard, propped up by one of his trees. I'm worried that it may get loose and damage his house or garage so I've called the arborist again. In this case though I think I could be liable if I did nothing because it's an obvious danger.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Tue, May 7, 13 at 16:23


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

They sell arborvitie "Thuja" at Costco in Avon for 26.00 a piece they are 6 feet tall. I do not know if that helps with your problem. HD has them for 50.00.
Costco gets them every spring so if you can;t get them this year you can plan on it for next year


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RE: Looking for tree/shrub/plant suggestions SE MA

Teresa, I'm sorry for your situation. You have such a super attitude about it.
You have a very cute backyard with seating areas and a very "cozy" feel to it. Have you considered building something like a large pergola with a bench next to the fence? It sounds like you're handy with wood. That might be an option.

I had picked up an American wisteria a couple years ago with NO idea where I would plant it. My dad and husband made a quick, sturdy trellis that I am using to espalier it to.

It was just a 4 X4 post sunk into the ground held in with some quick-Crete. They dry packed the post with it and then wet it. Solid as a rock and very inexpensive to do.

OK, I know this is on a MUCH larger scale (it was at a botanical garden), but gives the idea of pergola and swing.

If you're good with wood, you can make this tuteur. My brother has made them for me. He said he gets 2 from the wood he buys. A handful of those painted some fun color with vines and/or roses on them all in a row might look pretty.

Just a few thoughts for some structure to that side of your yard. I can't really tell from the pictures how many feet you have on that side to your deck.
Good luck!!!


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