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Oct 23, 2020 - 10:38:02 PM

m06

England

9297 posts since 10/5/2006

I regularly help a friend who is a very keen gardener, with the large jobs in her garden she can't manage like mature apple and cherry tree pruning, high hedge cutting, occasional tree felling etc.

Last week she showed me an area beneath a laurel tree in her garden adjacent to the boundary where there was white powder that could only have been put there by her neighbour. Plainly directed around the laurel tree, not a loose scatter. On inspection it was evidently a commercial sulphate weedkiller. My friend said this was the second occurrence on the same spot this month. The first one she cleared up a similar amount. The volume corresponded to a typical 1kg packet being emptied. The back garden is secluded and there is no public access. There are no gaps or spaces where accidental spread from her neighbours property may have been the cause. The only way to put the weedkiller there is from the neighbour's garden over the 5ft fence. The laurel tree is approximately 12ft in height, healthy, nowhere near the house and not taking light from or overhanging the neighbour's property.

I was shocked to say the least. If I hadn't seen the situation myself and been told it's happened twice I would've assumed that it had to be accidental. But it's obviously a deliberate attempt to kill the laurel. She has a beautiful garden and the intent to damage and sense of intrusion has really upset my friend. Apparently the male neighbour has a history of unpleasant and aggressive behaviour. She does not feel it is wise to confront him directly. Mainly because she knows that she is articulate and not afraid to speak her mind herself when wronged and any conversation will likely end in a confrontation she doesn't want.

Deliberately damaging or attempting to damage plants in a neighbour's garden is not only petty and anti-social it is a criminal action. In practice I'm told that the police tend not to be interested so which agency should this be reported to? Environmental Health?

Has anyone here ever encountered anything like this in their garden? If so, how did you deal with it?

Edited by - m06 on 10/23/2020 22:58:16

Oct 23, 2020 - 11:15:18 PM

2306 posts since 4/22/2018

That’s incredibly sad that someone would do something like that. Irrespective of the damage to the trees, the consequences to grandchildren or pets could be downright dangerous. I’ve no experience of this myself but if it did happen to me and I wanted to avoid confrontation, I would initially log my concerns with 101 (UK non emergency police number) - they’ll do nothing because of lack of evidence, but it is recorded. I’d then be putting a wildlife camera trap (relatively cheap, Aldi do them now) to get the evidence, Alternatively, my plan B would be a small ‘smile you’re on cctv’ sign at the foot of the tree - no confrontation needed, cameras can be so descrete these days that he wouldn’t know if there’s any around or not - he sounds like a sneaky coward so there’s a good chance it would the trick.

Oct 23, 2020 - 11:17:08 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24101 posts since 6/25/2005
Online Now

I’d start with a good surveillance camera setup.

Oct 24, 2020 - 12:17:42 AM

nakigreengrass

New Zealand

5300 posts since 5/16/2012
Online Now

It's not a very clever MO for a tree murderer.... it's more likely to just make the tree sickly. The much more effective and discrete MO of tree murdering is to drill tiny holes around the trunk and inject small amounts of Glyphosate into it. So at least you can take comfort to know it wasn't likely to be a professional hit.

Oct 24, 2020 - 12:18:29 AM
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m06

England

9297 posts since 10/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Wet Spaniel

That’s incredibly sad that someone would do something like that. Irrespective of the damage to the trees, the consequences to grandchildren or pets could be downright dangerous. I’ve no experience of this myself but if it did happen to me and I wanted to avoid confrontation, I would initially log my concerns with 101 (UK non emergency police number) - they’ll do nothing because of lack of evidence, but it is recorded. I’d then be putting a wildlife camera trap (relatively cheap, Aldi do them now) to get the evidence, Alternatively, my plan B would be a small ‘smile you’re on cctv’ sign at the foot of the tree - no confrontation needed, cameras can be so descrete these days that he wouldn’t know if there’s any around or not - he sounds like a sneaky coward so there’s a good chance it would the trick.


Jonty, my friend has a dog, a lovely collie,  so there is also potential for poisoning that you mention.

I was in shock. Now it's sunk in I'm determined to make sure a) her sense of security is restored and b) that her tree isn't attacked again.

Edited by - m06 on 10/24/2020 00:25:03

Oct 24, 2020 - 12:45:55 AM

2306 posts since 4/22/2018

quote:
Originally posted by m06
quote:
Originally posted by Wet Spaniel

That’s incredibly sad that someone would do something like that. Irrespective of the damage to the trees, the consequences to grandchildren or pets could be downright dangerous. I’ve no experience of this myself but if it did happen to me and I wanted to avoid confrontation, I would initially log my concerns with 101 (UK non emergency police number) - they’ll do nothing because of lack of evidence, but it is recorded. I’d then be putting a wildlife camera trap (relatively cheap, Aldi do them now) to get the evidence, Alternatively, my plan B would be a small ‘smile you’re on cctv’ sign at the foot of the tree - no confrontation needed, cameras can be so descrete these days that he wouldn’t know if there’s any around or not - he sounds like a sneaky coward so there’s a good chance it would the trick.


Jonty, my friend has a dog, a lovely collie,  so there is also potential for poisoning that you mention.

I was in shock. Now it's sunk in I'm determined to make sure a) her sense of security is restored and b) that her tree isn't attacked again.


Irrespective of the current situation, what's wrong with people either simply being nice to each other, or if they can't manage that, just not being unkind.  No one should feel,uncomfortable in their own home.  I hope it gets resolved and your friend feels unthreatened,. Personally it sounds like the neighbour needs a good solid kick up the arse. 

Edited by - Wet Spaniel on 10/24/2020 00:46:51

Oct 24, 2020 - 1:00:21 AM

m06

England

9297 posts since 10/5/2006

To my mind responding with aggression in a neighbour context just 'normalises' the 'language' of aggression which is likely to perpetuate that behaviour and precipitate a tit-for-tat situation. I wouldn't want to live with that if he was my neighbour. My friend certainly doesn't want that stress either. I'm guessing the only thing that will quickly and surely stop someone with that mentality in their tracks is the very real likelihood of incurring expense i.e. notice from an agency with the relevant legal clout to desist or be taken to court. The very real potential of harm to her dog and mentioning it to the RSPCA crosses my mind. Their response might be faster and more direct, including a visit.

I took photos of the latest weedkiller deposit. And put a sealed bag of the stuff I dug up to one side. I'll mention the wildlife cam to my friend.

Thanks.

Edited by - m06 on 10/24/2020 01:06:09

Oct 24, 2020 - 1:27:56 AM

nakigreengrass

New Zealand

5300 posts since 5/16/2012
Online Now

People don't do crazy stuff like this for no good reason. If it was the neighbour then he hates the tree for a reason. Has your friend had any issue that would make him hate the tree?

Tree attacks are common events here in NZ for many different reasons....but it's always about... the tree.... that needs to go.... for some reason.....makes mess, blocks view, is against his fence, leaves get in his gutters, birds poo on his stuff, shades his yard, roots doing damage, pipes and services near by, got veggie garden nearby, cat jumps over his fence, laurel trees are poison to children and pets, etc etc.

It would be a simple matter to just ask the man if he has any issue with the tree being there....nobody is that unapproachable surely.     If you want....give me his number.... I'll give him a ring.

Edited by - nakigreengrass on 10/24/2020 01:36:20

Oct 24, 2020 - 3:47:30 AM

2306 posts since 4/22/2018

quote:
Originally posted by m06

To my mind responding with aggression in a neighbour context just 'normalises' the 'language' of aggression which is likely to perpetuate that behaviour and precipitate a tit-for-tat situation. I wouldn't want to live with that if he was my neighbour. My friend certainly doesn't want that stress either. I'm guessing the only thing that will quickly and surely stop someone with that mentality in their tracks is the very real likelihood of incurring expense i.e. notice from an agency with the relevant legal clout to desist or be taken to court. The very real potential of harm to her dog and mentioning it to the RSPCA crosses my mind. Their response might be faster and more direct, including a visit.

I took photos of the latest weedkiller deposit. And put a sealed bag of the stuff I dug up to one side. I'll mention the wildlife cam to my friend.

Thanks.


We obviously kick people up the arse differently up here to how you do it in Somerset smiley  must be a colloquialism? I meant to bring him back down to earth with a reminder that they can't treat people like that.   Your neighbour has to  continue to live next door to him - hopefully the little sneak will get his just desserts.

Oct 24, 2020 - 4:41:25 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

25127 posts since 8/3/2003

If the neighbor is climbing the fence and doing the damage to the tree, lining the top of the fence with barbed wire would stop that fairly quickly. I presume you have barbed wire where you live. If it's a rock type fence, broken glass on the top of the fence usually takes care of anyone trying to climb over.

Before I'd do anything like that, I think I would attempt to talk politely to the neighbor and ask that he cease and desist from trespassing in my yard.

Oct 24, 2020 - 5:01:32 AM

2306 posts since 4/22/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Texasbanjo

If the neighbor is climbing the fence and doing the damage to the tree, lining the top of the fence with barbed wire would stop that fairly quickly. I presume you have barbed wire where you live. If it's a rock type fence, broken glass on the top of the fence usually takes care of anyone trying to climb over.

Before I'd do anything like that, I think I would attempt to talk politely to the neighbor and ask that he cease and desist from trespassing in my yard.


Sherry, using the barbed wire or glass in that type of adjoining garden environment would get you into,trouble with the law if the idiot neighbour or a passing burglar  injured  themselves - crazy but true I'm afraid.

Oct 24, 2020 - 5:27:20 AM
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Players Union Member

DC5

USA

14624 posts since 6/30/2015

Security camera that triggers the cell phone, this gives you evidence, and you can catch them in the act. At that point you have 2 choices, politely address the situation with the proof in hand, or contact the police with evidence in hand. If this is breaking a law, and over here it would break several, the police should handle it, and if they can't should point you to whoever can.

My veterinarian had new neighbors move into a new development that adjoins her farm. One day she came home to find her trees along the border cut down, the new neighbors (former city folk) didn't like the trees because they spoiled their view of my vet's fields. According to my forester, in Connecticut, unauthorized cutting down a tree on private property carries a penalty of 10 times the timber value of the adult tree. So cutting saplings, you still pay as if it were an adult.

Oct 24, 2020 - 6:34:29 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

25127 posts since 8/3/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Wet Spaniel
quote:
Originally posted by Texasbanjo

If the neighbor is climbing the fence and doing the damage to the tree, lining the top of the fence with barbed wire would stop that fairly quickly. I presume you have barbed wire where you live. If it's a rock type fence, broken glass on the top of the fence usually takes care of anyone trying to climb over.

Before I'd do anything like that, I think I would attempt to talk politely to the neighbor and ask that he cease and desist from trespassing in my yard.


Sherry, using the barbed wire or glass in that type of adjoining garden environment would get you into,trouble with the law if the idiot neighbour or a passing burglar  injured  themselves - crazy but true I'm afraid.


I guess different countries have different laws.  Here, you can safeguard your yard/property by using barbed wire and/or glass on top of a fence.   Any thief dumb enough to try to climb the fence gets exactly what he/she deserves.   I guess they could sue for damages, but since they were breaking the law....  I doubt the suit would be won by them.

Oct 24, 2020 - 7:31:50 AM

Owen

Canada

6932 posts since 6/5/2011

Advice offered by others ^^ might be "better," but I have to admit I'd be thinking about dusting off my trusty slingshot, the one with the "medical grade rubber bands".... quiet AND reasonably accurate.   Fortunately lots of my "thinking' never gets beyond that point.  frown

Oct 24, 2020 - 8:20:33 AM

56047 posts since 12/14/2005

Trail camera photos proving he did it, and a sit down with him, your lawyer, his lawyer, and The Police.
Your lawyer tells him that you'll settle out of court, if he will attend therapy sessions ( at HIS expense) to resolve whichever deep-seated issues cause him to be a sneaky coward.

Oct 24, 2020 - 8:37:21 AM

527 posts since 2/15/2015

Police report. Put it on record. Follow up with a trail cam. Followed with another police report with images.

Oct 24, 2020 - 8:53:58 AM

m06

England

9297 posts since 10/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by nakigreengrass

>People don't do crazy stuff like this for no good reason. If it was the neighbour then he hates the tree for a reason. Has your friend had any issue that would make him hate the tree?<
 


As I described previously, the tree isn't near the house and as it's a laurel it's not a tall or spreading species. Currently it is only about 12ft in height and I've never seen one over 20ft. It doesn't take light (the neighbour is not a gardener so it's not shading any plants). Nor does it present a risk of heave damage to the boundary fence. He actually has a much larger willow tree in his garden. My friend has never had a falling out with the guy though she has heard and observed his frequent anger and aggression. But the laurel tree has never been raised in conversation.

 A reason? Maybe anger and aggression is enough reason in itself? I wondered if the neighbour is a resentful person and my friend's talent for gardening and her stunning garden may have triggered what he did? She recently designed and laid out a new vegetable garden area with flagstones, raised beds and trellis and it looks beautiful. Anger, resentment and aggression often go hand-in-hand. Sadly there are a minority of people with an instinct to try and spoil the fruits of other people's talent and effort and the good they create. Half the time I doubt that even they themselves know what is the deep-seated cause of their anger. Who knows?

I can completely understand why my friend does not want to confront him. 

Edited by - m06 on 10/24/2020 09:05:17

Oct 24, 2020 - 9:29:52 AM

RV6

USA

1377 posts since 2/3/2012

Identify the chemical.  If commercial grade, an applicator may have to have certification to apply it or be in violation of the law.   Or perhaps it's a banned chemical.  That might really interest the proper agency (more than it would the cops). 

"Blink" cameras are reasonably priced over here and will remember recordings for a specified time and ring on your phone when triggered.

Oct 24, 2020 - 10:41:03 AM
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3020 posts since 4/29/2012

She shouldn't have to confront him. It's criminal damage. A job for the police. If nothing else they'll have a record of what he can get up to next time he tries something.

Oct 24, 2020 - 12:21:38 PM

m06

England

9297 posts since 10/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by RV6

Identify the chemical.  If commercial grade, an applicator may have to have certification to apply it or be in violation of the law.   Or perhaps it's a banned chemical.  That might really interest the proper agency (more than it would the cops). 

"Blink" cameras are reasonably priced over here and will remember recordings for a specified time and ring on your phone when triggered.


Bob, it seems very likely from the amount in situ that it's a commercially available weedkiller that the neighbour probably bought at any garden centre and then emptied the box over the fence around the base of the tree. The stuff garden centres sell is toxic enough.

I've passed the camera suggestion on to my friend.

Edited by - m06 on 10/24/2020 12:22:05

Oct 24, 2020 - 12:48:58 PM
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DRH

USA

568 posts since 5/29/2018

Get a video of the neighbor in action. Put it on FB and youtube with a brief description. Let the free market of rabid social justice do the rest. No need to provide names and addresses - they will doxx him for you. The local news station might even ask permission to use the video.

Shame is an effective form of justice. It might even shame your city officials to do their job.

Oct 24, 2020 - 12:58:34 PM

PaulRF

Australia

3120 posts since 2/1/2012

That's a sad situation for your friend Mike. I can only go with the camera ideas as they are legal and you have recorded evidence. A friend of mine had problems with neighbours including slashed tyres on his vehicles and he got a cheap but reliable wifi camera set up and the problems stopped as he had about 6 cameras covering every possible entry point.
This is similar to his unit but a better brand: https://www.jbhifi.com.au/products/swann-1080p-1tb-hdd-with-4-x-thermal-sensing-weatherproof-cameras-home-security-kit

Oct 24, 2020 - 1:59:17 PM
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3706 posts since 12/6/2009

we have laws against setting traps out side of a home too deter vandals or crooks....and if you shoot someone you better drag them inside your house.....unless of course you are 100% defending your self physically if life is in danger

Oct 24, 2020 - 3:21:58 PM
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RonR

USA

1718 posts since 11/29/2012
Online Now

My neighbor's son was shooting birds and flower pots in my yard. Three cameras stopped it .I've had no more incidents in three years. Vengeance was also administered, but I don't care to discuss the details.

Oct 24, 2020 - 3:30:20 PM

56047 posts since 12/14/2005

Dang!
CENTURIES of medieval tortures to choose from, and not a single detail!
Well, at least it DID stop.

Oct 24, 2020 - 4:21:55 PM

RonR

USA

1718 posts since 11/29/2012
Online Now

The vengeance was relatively mild, but it did smell around his house for awhile and made me feel just a little bit better.

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