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

16 years ago

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!

Comments (21)

  • 16 years ago

    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.

  • 16 years ago

    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.


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  • 16 years ago

    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!


  • 16 years ago

    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.

  • 16 years ago

    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.

  • 16 years ago

    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.

  • 16 years ago

    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.


  • 16 years ago

    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!

  • 16 years ago


    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.


  • 16 years ago

    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!

  • 16 years ago

    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.

  • 16 years ago

    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!

  • 16 years ago

    If you find the answer to this question, you will be a million aire!

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I just moved into a new development and I am very fortunate to have a wetlands behind my yard with just a "coral" type fence separating the yard and the wetlands barrier. It's beautiful and I love the birds singing and the privacy..... BUT, the wetlands is full of every kind of weed and pasture grass that blows into my back. I've used pre-emergent (Preen) and we'll see how that works but a lot of the seeds are also already in the soil from before the house was built. The weeds and the pasture grass will blow 1,000s of seeds into my back like never before. I didn't want to build a fence although I might consider a short one so I can still enjoy most of the wetlands.

    I think a fence is still your best bet because it will take less space than a hedge and won't need maintenance like a hedge. Could you build the fence up to the trees, then continue on the other side of the trees? If they are full grown, likely they won't grow into the fence. The fence will keep the seeds from blowing over AND you won't have to look at their yard.

    Oh, just noticed how old this topic was - 11 years! Let us know what you decided to do and how it's working.

  • 5 years ago

    Cheri Emery, just so you know, Preen isn’t recommended for near wetlands as it is toxic to fish and at least some of the aquatic invertebrates that make up the wetland food chain. A combo of the organic Preen (corn gluten meal) and mulch where it can be used, and when mowing leaving the mower blades a bit high to help shade out weed seeds and perhaps a low fence may all help. And many of the wetland plants won’t grow well in your yard precisely because they like it really wet.

  • 4 years ago

    Every spring seed your lawn (at least the bare-ish parts), the best defense is lots of thick grass, it helps to choke out the weeds.

  • 4 years ago

    NHBabs, thank you... I just saw your reply just now. I will definitely look into the Preen situation. I do have a fence now and our wetlands is a "dry wetlands". No swamps, no ponds. Not sure why it's not called a green space. Thank you.

  • 3 years ago

    New Weeds Growing Font Night Next Door

  • 3 years ago

    I reported my neighbor’s weeds to the city. The city made them cut them down.

  • 2 years ago

    @abelrose Did you try talking to them first before reporting them? I hope so.

    I have a jerk real estate investor who thought he'd flip the house next to quickly. He pulled up all of my former neighbors perennials including cute little very ell mainted evergreens, roses, spire, iris, lilacs, etc. Left completely empty beds with just soil. House way overpriced so it hasn't sold for months. Now the beds have every noxious weed I've seen from purslane to plantain to creeping charlei, crab grass, burdock, dandelion, deadly nightshade, and more. Idiot.

    My yard has perennials, mature trees, groundcover, grass, and a bit of mulch. Very few weeds have any place to pop up. I can pull them (about 3-5) once a week.

    This developer left a nastygram on my door right when all the beds in his property were denuded. He said my backyard was "a jungle". Backfired. I have a friend in code enforcement who said my yard was a great example of a fuuly planted, low maintenance yard. The only weed I have is milkweed for monarch butterflies. The developer thought having so many plants was "jungle-y". Compared to his dirt flats and burnt out grass I guess.