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Neighbors conifers are too big and too near?
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# 1
JethroUK
Old 05-01-2013, 3:43 AM
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Default Neighbors conifers are too big and too near?

We had an extension done at the back a few years back and the neighbors conifer roots reached the footings - as a result we had to pay for double the footing (2 meter down instead of 1)

Our neighbors conifer trees are now really tall (25 ft ish) and within 12 feet of our extension

mentioned this to them during the summer but they haven't acted yet

Whats the deal?

we obviously need the conifers to come down completely to stop the roots growing

slight complication is that the owner doesn't actually live on the property, which in fact they just rent out (so neither are that fussed about our problem) - the owner actually lives across the road and thats who we spoke to

Did I hear that the council will take down 'run-away' laylandi for free somewhere?
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# 2
anotherbaldrick
Old 05-01-2013, 7:17 AM
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First thing I would do is go onto your local council website and see what their position is on conifer nuisance.
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# 3
Mollie90132
Old 05-01-2013, 9:24 AM
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Default tree roots and damage

How effect would a stump grinder be? I am having the same problem next door with the roots pushing on to my waste drainage pipe.

My partner cut out some roots manually last year and noticed the tree died on one side but it will recover with the same problem this year.

Obviously, I would have to be careful that the tree doesn't topple.
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# 4
SailorSam
Old 05-01-2013, 9:30 AM
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Did i read somewhere that banging copper nails into the roots will kill off the trees, or soak them in a strong weedkiller and sit back and wait. Admit nothing if questioned.
Now that i'm what you could describe as an older person i've stopped eating health foods.
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# 5
phill99
Old 05-01-2013, 9:31 AM
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So the neighbour had had conifers in his garden before you built the extension. You now want HIM to take them down because of YOUR extension.

That seems fair.
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# 6
SailorSam
Old 05-01-2013, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phill99 View Post
So the neighbour had had conifers in his garden before you built the extension. You now want HIM to take them down because of YOUR extension.

That seems fair.
Phill i don't think the Op minds the guy next door having 25' conifers, but she just doesn't want to share them. They're his conifers, it seems only fair to me if he kept the roots on his side of the fence.
I think a good neighbour should consider others whenever doing any work on their own property. If i'm doing noisy work around the house i'll stop before 9pm 'cos i don't want disturb the people next door. Equally if i'm putting a plant in the garden i try and imagine what it may look like when it grows.
No matter who was in the house first, the guy who planted the trees knew they'd become a nuisance so he should have kept them under control.

That seems fair.
Now that i'm what you could describe as an older person i've stopped eating health foods.
I need all the preservatives i can get.

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# 7
missprice
Old 05-01-2013, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollie90132 View Post
How effect would a stump grinder be? I am having the same problem next door with the roots pushing on to my waste drainage pipe.

.

these do work quite well depending on the space it has to get to the whole stump.
I had 20 or so cut down 2 years ago and the stump grinder came round a few weeks later but because of the space it had it could only do so much.
on the tiny tree roots it worked really well on the large ones (around 4ft across ) it worked well on one side but the other side had stuff in the way and it could simply not reach.

we have put up a fence last year and spent hours digging out massive roots oh the aches and pains of pulling and tracing those roots right across my garden. some were easily 20 feet long when they broke off
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# 8
Mojisola
Old 05-01-2013, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JethroUK View Post
We had an extension done at the back a few years back and the neighbors conifer roots reached the footings - as a result we had to pay for double the footing (2 meter down instead of 1)

Our neighbors conifer trees are now really tall (25 ft ish) and within 12 feet of our extension

mentioned this to them during the summer but they haven't acted yet
That's because they don't have to do anything.

If the conifers are close enough in a row to be called a hedge, you could look at your council's High Hedge regulations to try to get the height reduced.
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# 9
broonbear
Old 05-01-2013, 12:24 PM
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wait till it's dark get some friends round and get them to cut them down , councils are a waste of time, courts are a waste of time make sure your in the pub at the time, of course you know i'm kidding i don't condone that sort of behaviour
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# 10
gibson123
Old 05-01-2013, 12:47 PM
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If it appears that the owner is actually not bothered, he may not be bothered if the conifers are taken out at some-one else's expense either. If that is an option you could start to negotiate, say you will meet 25% or 50% or the cost, and if he doesn't move on this, you could always go to 100%.
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# 11
zzzLazyDaisy
Old 05-01-2013, 12:48 PM
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If you live in England and are unable to resolve this dispute with your neighbour, you can ask the Local Authority to intervene. The LA has powers under the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 which came into force in June 2005 to order the height of an evergreen hedge to be lowered if, in its opinion, it is having an adverse effect on the neighbour's their home or garden.

There is normally a charge for this service, which is not recoverable from the owner of the hedge.

However you should be aware that S69(3) of the Act prevents local authorities from ordering works that involve reducing the hedge below two metres or its removal.

However this legislation applies to hedges only.

Your alternative is to seek to rely on common law, which is based on the premise that the owner of trees on his own land is responsible for damage to his neighbour's property caused by ingress of roots onto neighbouring land. See the Delaware Mansions case (below). However litigation of this nature would be horrendously expensive, and as far as I am aware, the damage to the property must have already taken place.

http://www.publications.parliament.u...025/dela-1.htm

A final alternative - if the damage has already taken place and remedial work is necessary - is to refer the matter to your insurers and leave it to your insurers and theirs to sort it out between themselves.

I suspect that the fact that you built the extension knowing the risk and taking (supposedly) adequate steps to deal with the risk, confers some element of knowledge and acceptance on your part, which *may* affect the outcome. But I am not a specialist in this area. In the event that things get that far (let's hope not) you will need to seek specialist advice.
I'm a retired employment solicitor. Hopefully some of my comments might be useful, but they are only my opinion and not intended as legal advice.

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# 12
mugwump
Old 05-01-2013, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broonbear View Post
wait till it's dark get some friends round and get them to cut them down , councils are a waste of time, courts are a waste of time make sure your in the pub at the time, of course you know i'm kidding i don't condone that sort of behaviour
Good idea. Get some friends to cut down trees that are only 12 feet from your house? That's one way to quickly demolish your extension!

Even experts get it wrong. Some 'friends' with no experience doing it at night is a recipe for disaster.
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# 13
Leif
Old 05-01-2013, 1:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phill99 View Post
So the neighbour had had conifers in his garden before you built the extension. You now want HIM to take them down because of YOUR extension.

That seems fair.
I had exactly the same thought.

The OP said "we obviously need the conifers to come down completely to stop the roots growing"

I'm afraid I find that incredibly selfish. What gives you the right to decide what they can grow in their garden?

They are legally entitled to grow trees on their land.

As I understand it, the law is that you may sever any roots on your property, but if in doing so you destabilise the tree, and it falls, then you are liable for any damage. So, you could put in a root barrier, subject to not weakening the tree. I have done that on my boundary. The neighbour has a young maple, which may get quite large (damn), so I put down a 1m deep barrier of breeze blocks wrapped in membrane to act as a deterrent. That will allow me to grow fruit trees without the Maple's roots dominating.

However, in your case the trees are conifers, and as I understand it conifers grow deep roots, but with limited spread. This might mean that there is no threat anyway.

In law, if the roots of the neighbour's tree cause damage, then they are liable. Assuming it can be proven of course. However, in this case I feel sorry for the neighbour to have such a selfish person as you. (Blunt, maybe, but you do sound selfish.)
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# 14
Leif
Old 05-01-2013, 1:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zzzLazyDaisy View Post
I suspect that the fact that you built the extension knowing the risk and taking (supposedly) adequate steps to deal with the risk, confers some element of knowledge and acceptance on your part, which *may* affect the outcome.
That does sound reasonable, the extension was built in the knowledge that the conifers were already present. However, I too am no legal beagle.
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# 15
Avoriaz
Old 05-01-2013, 2:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broonbear View Post
wait till it's dark get some friends round and get them to cut them down , councils are a waste of time, courts are a waste of time make sure your in the pub at the time, of course you know i'm kidding i don't condone that sort of behaviour
Of course nobody will notice the sound of axes, chain saws and probably rowdy and half drunk friends chopping their fingers off, or worse.

And the OP won't be bothered by trees falling against the extension and bringing that down too.
Alcohol is not a word in my Vodkabulary, however I looked it up on Whiskypedia and found that if you drink too much it's likely Tequilya!
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# 16
Leif
Old 05-01-2013, 5:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JethroUK View Post

mentioned this to them during the summer but they haven't acted yet

slight complication is that the owner doesn't actually live on the property, which in fact they just rent out (so neither are that fussed about our problem) - the owner actually lives across the road and thats who we spoke to
Since they rent the property out, they probably do not care about the trees, but they would (quite rightly) see no reason to pay to have them removed. So, offer to pay for them to be felled. If either of you have a wood burning stove, then the wood might be worth having.
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# 17
Yorkie1
Old 05-01-2013, 6:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Leif View Post

However, in your case the trees are conifers, and as I understand it conifers grow deep roots, but with limited spread. This might mean that there is no threat anyway.
I had always understood the opposite, namely that conifers had shallow roots. Certainly those I've dug out (albeit not on that scale) have all been surface rooted.
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# 18
Leif
Old 05-01-2013, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Yorkie1 View Post
I had always understood the opposite, namely that conifers had shallow roots. Certainly those I've dug out (albeit not on that scale) have all been surface rooted.
Many/most conifers have a deep tap root:

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_deep_d...nto_the_ground

Apparently they do have a lot of shallow growth, but I've not been able to find any quantitative information.

Poplar, Willow and Cherry are known for having invasive roots. My own observations suggest that Beech has a lot of very thick surface roots, with the top often exposed on shallow chalky soils. You can see when a Beech or Oak has blown over that there are very thick surface roots. They say the roots spread out at least as far as the canopy. When I dug my garden next to the neighbours conifer hedge, I found thin roots spreading out a few metres from the hedge, no more than 1" thick if that.
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# 19
JethroUK
Old 06-01-2013, 2:20 AM
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I know that Einstein says everything is relative but I've noticed that some people measure their own success by others mis-fortunes - you'll often see them rubber-necking at accident spots, hoping they may see someone else life ebbing away which hence makes them feel 'glad to be alive'

I will always try to distance myself from the same - So I will now be ignoring Leif

I find the pleasure he is getting from my home being under threat, at best uncomfortable, and at worse offensive, and I for one dont want to witness it

Thanks to everyone else for constructive comments about this - looks like I'm in a difficult position - I'll offer to pay for the trees removing, otherwise looks like I'll have to wait until they cause damage to my home before I can do anything about it
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Last edited by JethroUK; 06-01-2013 at 2:25 AM.
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# 20
davidlizard
Old 06-01-2013, 8:41 PM
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Having such trees close to the house can result in structural problems to your property, either directly from the roots, or indirectly from the amount of water the trees take from the soil.

Typically, insurers often want to know if there are sizable trees near your property. What have they said?

Also, bear in mind if the trees are removed, then the water is no longer removed from the soil, and this too can cause problems.

Bear in mind some leylanddi can typically grow 3 feet a year. They get to a point where they are no longer manageable, which it sounds like these are.

Have a chat with the council to see what can be done.

Bear in mind any dispute with your neighbour must be declared when selling.
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