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Homeowner distraught after neighbor's negligence wreaks havoc on their yard: 'Do we have any legal recourse?'

"I'm not sure there's anything you can do."

"I'm not sure there's anything you can do."

Photo Credit: iStock

One homeowner was desperate for a solution when their neighbor's choice of invasive plants started to affect their own garden.

"My mom's neighbors planted a highly invasive flower in their beds, and now it's spreading everywhere in our yard," said the Reddit post about the problem. According to the original poster, the flower in question was a Scilla, also known as squills or bluebells.

While the flowers might look pretty and delicate, they were more stubborn than they appeared, according to the OP. "My mom has talked to them about removing it, which they refused, and she has spent hundreds if not thousands trying to remove it from our yard with no success," they said.

That's normal for invasive species, which become invasive because they're so good at surviving and multiplying in their new environment. While the natural conditions, competitors, and predators in their native ecosystems help keep these species in balance there, new locations have none of these natural barriers. This means invasive species tend to experience a population explosion that can destroy the surrounding ecosystem.

While there might not be any natural factors stopping the spread, the Redditor hoped they could step in. "Do we have any legal recourse against this?" they said.

The OP asked their question in the r/treelaw subreddit. "I know it's not exactly trees, but this is the best place I could think of to ask," they explained.

It seems like they came to the right place for answers, although the news wasn't good. 

"Unfortunately I'm not seeing it listed in the Wisconsin DNR's list of regulated plants, so from a legal point of view, I'm not sure there's anything you can do," said one user.

"I hate giving this advice," said another commenter. "If you are in a HOA, check the bylaws for allowed plants."

HOAs are often the bad guys when it comes to saving money and making eco-friendly changes to homes since they're more worried about the appearance of the house's exterior. But occasionally, their tight restrictions can be used for good.

In the end, the OP went with a government agency. 

"We contacted the DNR," they said. "Apparently, they are already in the process of adding it to the list of regulated species. They are also sending someone to check out our situation and talk to the neighbors about removing them from their yard."

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