Weed trees

Weed trees are those trees and saplings that grow in between the fences that it seems no one wants. When I moved into my house I made it a goal to get rid of them as they blocked light and endangered part of the house.
The problem I notice is because the trees grow right on the property line, neither neighbor really wants to take responsibility for it. This scene was played out a few weekends ago when one large tree, growing between two yards had gotten so big that the branches reached across the alley and was invading another guy’s yard. The guy, let’s call Black Lawyer Guy, hired a crew to cut the branches that overflowed into the alley. The ruckus of tree cutting and crew yelling attracted the notice of Old Timer Guy on one side of the tree and New Neighbor Lady two houses down where the tree was hitting the side of her house. Yes, this is an F’ing large tree. So Black Lawyer Guy, Old Timer Guy and New Neighbor Lady were all having a nice loud cross alley conversation over the sounds of sawing about who’s tree was it that was getting trimmed.
Old Timer Guy insisted that the tree belonged to the other house and was not his. Then the conversation got into talking about a female neighbor (not present)who was mean and ill tempered. Was this the “owner” of the tree? Unknown, as there was only so much I did hear while trying to enjoy my own back yard.
Then as the crew was finishing up Bike Guy, neighbor of Old Timer Guy, came out and saw what was going on. Blah, blah between the neighbors,(can’t really hear that well) something about trimming the tree and Bike Guy said he’d do it later. New Neighbor Lady pointed out where the tree branches were damaging her house. And later Bike Guy (or a paid minion) did trim the tree, about a week later.
Unchecked the branches weed trees can invade other yards and considering how thin our plots are, that isn’t too hard. It is best to manage the problem early get rid of them while they are saplings. When they get bigger you may need a permit to chop them down.

8 thoughts on “Weed trees”

  1. Yes, but…. I’ve noticed an unhappy trend on my block. Lawyer couple (or substitute your favorite urban professional) buys a house, but they have two huge SUVs. So, the 100+ year old tree in the back, that makes the neighborhood like a park in the summer, gets the chainsaw to make room for their hideous concrete parking pad. We’ve lost about 1/3 of the trees in the back yards over the last 5 years. The gleaming SUVs baking in the sun aren’t nearly as scenic.

    – JM

  2. Trees like pets need to be taken care of. Simply if people are not going to trim branches and deal with roots then the tree can be a nuisance. A big problem are mulberry trees gone wild where tons of fallen rotting mulberries are left in the alley for the rats to eat. Trees should be chosen with some regard to rate of growth and suitablity for the area. There are some trees that are just bad, bad alley trees, which is made worse when no one steps up to trim the damned thing and watch out for disease.
    Trimming, it is all about the trimming. When the city FINALLY got around to trimming our trees it made it easier to observe our neighborhood crackheads. It allowed for the street lights to show on the sidewalks so the street wasn’t dark and scary. What I want is for people with trees to trim them. Cut off the bad branches oh and rake the ^%@!* leaves in fall.

  3. The tolerance for what I call “junk trees” in this town is amazing. I referred to one tree as a “junk tree,” meaning that it grows in an unaesthetic shape, drops noxious fruit, or otherwise gets into sewer systems, and the person I mentioned this to had no concept of a “good” or “bad” tree. I hate: mulberry, crown of thorns, and that one tree that looks like a walnut tree but is not, and oh yeah, that catalpa-like tree that sprouts off the sides of buildings. For more information on good urban forestry practices, go to:
    UWSP Urban Forestry Program:

    Casey Trees Foundation:

    – Jimbo

  4. Jim,
    I’d say any tree growing out the side of a building is a bad tree. Trees growing out from your gutters, also, bad.

  5. I have a very messy Mulberry tree right outside my front door. I’ve already tracked several nasty fruit into my home.

    However, I discovered that my backyeard area is not communal nor shared with the upstairs peeps. IT’S MINE! Must buy pots and soil…there is a crown of thorns growing back there and let me tell you it is DEAD MEAT, or mulch, if you will. – Jimbo

  6. Any suggestions for when your neighbor puts up a stockade fence infront of your chain link fence with a 2″ space between WITHOUT killing the jungle of weeds first. Now I have vines growing up and thru my chain link fence, and the neighbors have a stockage fence and doesnt have to look at his own jungle. I can’t even put weed killer down, ’cause the jungle is on his property line! I’ve tried to hack at it numerous times a year, getting stung by bees and bisters on my hands etc.., Any suggestions?

  7. Dear Anon,
    I am curious of why weed killer can’t be used. There are natural herbicides, my favs being white vinagar and hot!hot! water.
    I’m flipping through Nolo Press’ Neighbor Law: Fences, trees, boundaries & noise and I’m not seeing anything about trees that are clearly on a neighbor’s property that are a nuisance. There is something about taking a neighbor to court for having a nuisance property but from my occassional reading of the Real Estate section of the Post, even if you win in court, you don’t really win with your neighbor and any financial gain is low.
    So you can play nice, which may or may not work, and ask if you can kill the weed trees (’cause really your neighbor has no incentive to). I find tearing off the bark so there is a bald spot all the way around, kills young trees.

    PS. Next post please ID yourself, intials are fine, it’s just a small pet peeve of mine.

  8. Natural weed killers are garbage. You need to use industrial strength chemicals (round-up extra strength or the Ortho line)Don't let these enviro-nuts tell you that natural things like vinegar work. In fact vinegar usually invites unwanted critters into your yard, which of course creates a larger problem. So unless you want to invest in your own stockade fence, I'd suggest the heavily artillery.

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