British Columbia: reprehensible neighbor, privacy replacement

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by rockman, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. rockman

    rockman Member

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    Location:
    North Vancouver Canada
    Hi,
    I was very recently victim to a neighbour behind me that cut down a 80' tree (on my property!) for his view. I would like to find some fast growing replacement if there is such a thing, to renew the privacy I had with different behind me neighbour. South facing, but among other hemlock and cedar trees on rapidly draining / acidic soil (North Vancouver forested setting)
    Related note, and I'll post separately, anyone with similar experiences I can draw from - I'm not sure what I can do, suing him seems like lots of effort for minimal financial pay-off; but I can't let what he has done stand - and I'm not sure what the district is likely to do.

    Can anyone refer me to the right people to have the tree services arborists certification lifted; or the right people with the District of North Vancouver to talk to; or has anyone had luck with the police / crown prosecution pursing these matters as theft, or some type of criminal trespass? - help!!?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Many are planting Leyland cypress for quick large evergreen screens these days. Easy to find at outlets. A bit generic looking for my taste, but...
     
  3. Gabriolan

    Gabriolan Active Member 10 Years

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    If I were in your position I'd put in some castor plants this spring, even if I had to put them in huge tubs. Look up Zanzibarensis Ricinus, for example - the blurb I read said they'll grow 6-8 feet tall in a single season, with leaves that can be two to three feet wide. Elephant ears (Alocasia odora) is another plant you might consider - 4-6 feet tall, massive leaves. You might also consider putting in some sort of support for a climbing vine (fence, trellis, screen, whatever) and then growing some fast-scampering vine on that - something that will grow 15 feet in a season, say.

    This sort of approach will give you some results this summer. Meanwhile, you can ponder your long-term approach, and decide what to plant for that.
     
  4. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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  5. Green Crown

    Green Crown Active Member 10 Years

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    Sidney, BC Canada
    Very reprehensible indeed. Unfortunately, we see this all too often in North- and West-Vancouver. I would start by letting the district know, if they could help with some degree of recourse it would be the easiest route for you. Lawsuits often get very messy and resourse-expensive, but sometimes they may be the only means of solving such issues. I'm not sure if any libraries stock it, but Julian Dunster has a good book with many examples of similar cases: "Arboriculture and the Law in Canada". Generally, it is best to start with a civil discussion with the neighbour, if that is a possibility.

    Because an 80' tree would be all but impossible to replace on your site (I'm imagining it's on a considerable slope if your neighbour cut the tree down for viewscape), a tree appraisal by an appropriately trained arborist may conclude that the tree was worth more than you think.

    As far as replacement goes, I would stay away from any fast-growing invasives, especially in your area. I'm not a fan of Leyland or Lawson cypress in our area, I find that they tend to fork prolifically with poor angles of attachment, often leading to top breakage. Other than that, they are generally messy trees with dense canopies and lots of needle litter. For a fast-growing big tree in North Van, our western redcedar, Douglas-fir, or western hemlock would fit in. If you wanted a fast-growing tree that might not get as big, depending on your slope, so as to block the neighbours view again, bigleaf maple might be a good native alternative. The fastest-growing big tree would be a cottonwood, but they aren't great candidates near houses.
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Is Eucalyptus nitens hardy in the area? That's reached 16 metres in 5 years in Britain. Worth planting for immediate effect and hope you get a run of mild winters. Then also add some Coast Redwood Sequoia sempervirens and Grand Fir Abies grandis for backup, they'll reach 15-20m in 12-15 years (they are both faster than Leyland Cypress, as well as nicer to look at).

    Oh, and make sure the fence is secure and topped with barbed wire to stop future incursions by the neighbour!
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The gum would not be hardy, right now in my area most Eucalyptus have gone through yet another winter resulting in varying amounts of burning of the foliage.

    Many coast redwood produce see-through specimens and can have some winter discoloration, even tip burn in less favorable positions. Forking is also prevalent this far north.

    Despite being native here grand fir, like other planted Abies is apt to develop bug problems and become quite gaunt in time. Stands of local native trees on bluffs near salt water almost invariably have forking, bushy uppermost tops resulting from breakage in storms. This species is a sort of coniferous cottonwood, growing quickly and large on favored moist, fertile soils but not having good longevity.

    As with other fast-growing items, the main thing you have to watch for with Leyland cypress is deforming of the roots by careless container culture at production facilities. Inspection and correction of roots of potted stock at planting time needs to be standard procedure for plantings intended to last.

    And yes, some breakage may occur during worst episodes of heavy, wet snowfalls - same as with just about any fast-growing kind of tree. A planting of two kinds of Leyland cypress I installed on Camano Island during the 1980s had some significant branch breakage for the first time during a snow episode a few years that broke gum trees and other kinds in half on the same property. All but one or two of the cypresses were unaffected.
     
  8. David Payne Terra Nova

    David Payne Terra Nova Active Member

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    What happened with your tree? Are you in N. Vancouver City or the District of North Vancouver?
    Either way, both have tree bylaws and your neighbor should have at least been fined heavily.
    I hope you don't have any slope stability problems because of that jerk.
     
  9. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    Sue that tree cutting trespasser. Your municipality may not be able to help you because each municipality has different bylaws and this is between private property owners but it wouldn't hurt to call your parks department or building department.

    If you find out what company cut that tree, I would contact them about the trespassing and notify the Better Business Bureau. Certified Arborists are registered with the International Society of Arboriculture. Unfortunately, any schmo with a pick up truck and a saw feels qualified to cut trees. It can be quite dangerous.
     
  10. MarkVIIIMarc

    MarkVIIIMarc Active Member

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    My goodness. Two problems. First, if there is any doubt where the exact property lines are, I would pay for a survey. Who knows. I would notice if all of a sudden the little flags or stakes were put up by one of my neighbors. If this went well then threaten to sue.

    What winter climate zone are you? If 6 or warmer and your site is reasonably moist, Metasequoia glyptostroboides is fast growing as anything long lived.
     
  11. David Payne Terra Nova

    David Payne Terra Nova Active Member

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    She's zone 8 in Western Canada. Your usda numbers are different....
     
  12. MarkVIIIMarc

    MarkVIIIMarc Active Member

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    Ah, I feel I should make a metric zone joke here. (Really I wish the US would go metric so no disrespect intended, but that is another topic)

    Yes then, I was just at the Missouri Botanical Garden today. Go plant a Metasequoia.
     
  13. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes, confirming the property lines is a very good idea! What about planting bamboo between your properties?
     
  14. MarkVIIIMarc

    MarkVIIIMarc Active Member

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    Bamboo can be a VERY effective screen.

    However if one of my neighbors planted it anywhere near my property I would certify letter them with an eye on a future lawsuit if/when it came time to eradicate the bamboo from my property.

    Bamboo, unique and effective but not to be taken lightly. Leave money in your will for removal.
     

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