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Homeowner seeks advice on how to deal with neighbor's unruly yard: 'I don't want them to take over more than they are'

"I had a similar situation with my neighbor."

"I had a similar situation with my neighbor."

Photo Credit: iStock

One homeowner recently turned to the other members of the r/NativePlantGardening subreddit to get some advice on what to do about a neighbor spreading an invasive plant species all over their lawn.

"My neighbor has a MASSIVE female tree of heaven that is only a few feet from our yard," the poster wrote. "There are tons of little babies in her yard too. How can I go about asking her to allow me to remove at least the babies? She isn't into plants, and also is a little bit of a rough lady, and probably does not care about native plants, but I don't want them to take over more than they are, especially since the area adjacent to the tree that is in our yard is open space."

While a tree of heaven may sound like a wonderful thing, this particular species can be hell on gardeners. The deciduous tree is native to China and has become a widespread invasive species across North America, according to The Nature Conservancy. 

The tree of heaven reproduces incredibly quickly, produces huge amounts of seeds, and has avoided any insects or diseases in North America that would control its population naturally. These factors have combined to allow it to easily crowd out native plant species while also secreting a chemical into the soil that makes it toxic to surrounding plants.

Not only that, but the tree of heaven has contributed to the rise of another invasive species, the spotted lanternfly, by providing it with a location to lay its eggs.

And as an added drawback, it is reportedly incredibly stinky, lending it the unflattering nickname "stinking sumac."

The other members of the r/NativePlantGardening were right there with some helpful advice for the poster: try talking to your neighbor, who despite being a "rough lady," could still prove to be amenable.

"I had a similar situation with my neighbor and English ivy. I ended up texting her something like "I was doing work in the yard and noticed ivy growing up your house, would you like me to take care of it for you?" And she said hell yes. If you phrase it as helping her clear it out maybe that would help?" wrote one poster.

"I did this same thing with Japanese knotweed. They actually seemed happy with it gone," wrote another.

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