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Neighbor Trimmed My White Pines (pics)

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Darryl G, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    Attached are some pictures of some White Pine trees that my neighbor trimmed or had trimmed....I'm not sure if he did it himself or had his landscaper do it. I'm looking for opinions on whether or not these things are butchered and whether I should just put them out of their misery.

    I won't go into the whole story here at this point, but these trees and some shrubs are located on my property and the neighbor is responsible for maintaining them. I had actually trimmed them and the Rhodies in front of them myself a few months before he did this to them. All I had done was to cut out some dead branches and the inward facing and crossing branches and some drought damage from when they were first planted. They were planted about 5 years ago. You can see that a couple of them are suffering from lack of sunlight near the woods edge.

    Let me say that I'm certainly not an Arborist but I did work for one for as a ground man for a year and I would have never pruned these trees the way my neighbor did. He basically topped them all and cut the tips of the branches, almost as if they were shrubs.

    It drives me nuts every time I look at them and I can't see how they will ever grow into decent trees now. I'm seriously considering just cutting them all down.

    Your thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.

    WhitePines 001.jpg

    WhitePines 002.jpg

    WhitePines 003.jpg

    WhitePines 004.jpg

    WhitePines 005.jpg
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  2. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    2 More pics.

    If anything I would have just cut one or two of them out to give them some room rather than trimming them like he did, since they're too close to let them mature with that many in such a small space.

    WhitePines 006.jpg

    WhitePines 007.jpg
  3. StoneFaced

    StoneFaced LawnSite Member
    Posts: 201

    Depends on what effect your looking for. I would consider those to be park grade, so if you wanted a more formal look, they should have been developed/maintained as sheared or semi-sheared.

    Your neighbor did a lousy pruning job, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they can't be shaped and developed better over the next few years, with time and proper care.

    What stands out to me most is the multi-stems, when there should only be one leader. When they get to the point they are now, it's kind of hard to fix that. Also, one has a catti- wampus (arched/curved leader), also not a good thing.

    Personally, I would try reshaping them after they harden off and shear them each year or every other, depending on how you want them to look.

    The way they are cut now, they will gain more width/girth. If the leader was modestly trimmed w/ a shapely shear...you could develop them to be more dense. The leaders in the mean time will try to redevelop, which is a good thing if you wish to keep them. I do think the multi-leaders are to far developed, to consider removing all but one, so I'd probably live w/ that for now and just realize they could eventually split out, especially under a heavy snow/ice load. Good luck!
  4. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    Thanks for the reply. I think the mutiple leaders are due to drought damage when they were first planted. They were planted in August of 2005 I think, which was very hot and dry and there was no means of watering them so I think the main leaders withered and died off. A couple of the trees that were planted died.

    The truth is that I never wanted nor approved them being installed there in the first place...the builder who built my neighbors house installed them. I allowed them to stay under a license agreement but I have the right to do what I please with them. I'm not about to put much effort into them myself with a neighbor capable of just buthering them all over again....you know....
  5. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    Let me ask another question here. Do you think it's clear that these trees were not maintained properly? It was the neighbors responsibility to maintain them (under a written agreement) and I think they look like crap. They don't weed or mulch the beds anymore either. His attitude is that since he doesn't own the property he's not gonna spend any money on it. I'd just as soon cut the damn things down...I'll be back there with my chain saw doing some other stuff as soon as the weather improves a bit anyway.

    In fact he's supposed to maintain the 600 right-of-way (gravel driveway) across my property to his house and he does a pretty poor job of that too. This was all part of the deal during negotiations with the builder for me to grant an easement for underground utilities to be brought in.
  6. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    Yes they look like crap and will always be a problem. The new growth will come in bunches and have poor attachment points as the trees mature making them a liability for the future. If you were here you could sue him and get 3 times the value of the existing tree. Pruning other peoples trees is serious business here.

    Why in the world if your in the business would you delegate the tree maint. to someone else? I have a rental with a nice mature landscape (a rarity here in Phoenix) and I build the cost of maintaining it into the rent. If I didn't they would shut off the water and it would be toast. Or they would turn my Nandinas into cubes and my bougs into balls, no thank you.
  7. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    The deal is that the trees were planted on my property but within his right-of-way by the builder without my permission. During negotiations of a utility easment and some other issues, I allowed them to stay there under a license agreement that made them responsible for maintaining them, but gave me the right to remove them at any time for any reason. Giving them permission is a key to ending any eventual eminent domain claim...that's where if someone uses and maintains your property over a period of time they can make a legal claim to ownership of it.

    Bascially although they're on my property, they're not really "my" trees and I never wanted them there in the first place. Considering this guy is a jerk to me anyway and has failed to maintain them or the right-of-way in a reaonable manner, and attacked my dog and I with his snowblower over the winter, I think they have a date with my chain saw ;)
  8. StoneFaced

    StoneFaced LawnSite Member
    Posts: 201

    It sounds like you already know what you want to do. At this point, I'd have a lawyer review the whole matter just to iron out what sounds like a somewhat complex matter from the get go. Just to make sure the neighbor has no rights and has no recourse. I'm no expert, but I'd make sure I didn't wave any rights.

    There are some legal sites where you can get some free advise, but you know how that can go.

    "A Duty of Care", is a legal term you may want to look into and see how it applies in your state, as to it's relevance to your whole matter.
  9. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    This why you don't buy property that has right off ways attached to the deed. Bad enough when you have an problem neighbor but he has rights to use your land.
  10. 2brothersyardcare

    2brothersyardcare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,116

    dude ill come over there and help you i hate people like that! I have a neighbor like that so i deliberately f with her

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