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Another shared hedge question...

FireFire LondonPosts: 13,937
Following in the “neighbour from the hell” hedge question recently, I have more of a puzzle about how to be good hedge keeper.

 I inherited an ivy hedge with my terraced house six years ago. It’s at least 25 years old, seven ft tall, full of wild life and great as a late pollen offering. It totally covers my boundary fence (between two terrace gardens) and though it’s hard to tell, it seems the roots are on my side. On moving in I took the height down from eight to six foot but it grows wickedly quickly and seeks to climb up the house walls etc. I like it as a solid green wall and as a wildlife haven.

 My neighbouring house is rented and the tenants are never interested in gardening. They never want to spend time pruning the ivy - and it does take time to look after. The landlady has never complained but I am good friends with the current tenants and the hedge is a bane for them. 

As a good neighbour, should I remove the whole fence/hedge and have done? I’m sure the creature should have been contained 20 years ago to stop encroaching on their side of the fence. Now it’s a living being and there no way even to properly contain it. We have narrow gardens (about three metres wide) and it does take up depth and height. 

I am sure most of you can see it from both sides of the fence. Your measured view points would be welcome. 

Thanks 
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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,566
    Do you know why the hedge is a bane for the neighbours?  Given they don't do any gardening?  Can they not just cut back growth on their side?  

    If you like it and it is a wildlife haven why should you have to go to the expense and trouble of replacing it and, presumably, worrying all the while about the wildlife that will be dislodged?
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 13,937
    edited November 2018
    I guess they dislike it because the gardens are narrow (and north facing) a fat hedge feels like it’s taking a chunk of space. The ivy would swallow the house given half a chance needs seriously hacking back twice a year. The hedge is tall and fat and dark. A lot of people hate ivy. 

    Previous discussions on the forum have suggested plants grown on our  side of the fence are not supposed to encroach on our neighbour.... 
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,541
    I have an insane rambling rose growing along the railing fence between my house and my neighbour. It's viciously thorny, grows like Topsy and I really shouldn't have planted it there. I was given it, didn't know it's name, have since worked out it's American Pillar. It's no trouble to me, but on the neighbour's side, it throws long thorny arms across their pathway next to the house. I have told them to just cut lumps off it and chuck them over if it grabs them, but she says she likes it - it is a riot when it flowers - and she's not a confident gardener. I've assured her she couldn't kill it, but she seems reluctant. So instead, when I see them in the garden or in passing, I ask if it's OK to come round and deal with it - I'll probably do it soon when my current bad back improves. And I go round and cut it hard, do a spot of tidying up of the brambles and ivy that come into my garden from her side while I'm there, take all the trimmings away with me. I don't do it in summer when they are all out enjoying the garden, but at this time of year, as they aren't gardeners, they barely step outside except to go to the car and back. It's not the ideal time to prune a rambler, but it keeps it under some sort of control.
    As you get on well with the current tenants, could you ask them if it would be OK for you come round and cut it back hard? And you probably can hack it right back to the fence on their side. As long as everyone gets along well and as long as you aren't in their garden when they want to be, there's no reason you can't maintain both sides of the hedge, with their permission. It will be a hard day's work the first time, but if you then do it every year, it'll be easier in future to keep it on the leash.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 13,937
    RG, yes indeed. I have done that in the past. I help maintain gardens on both sides of me where my plants spill over.

     But the reality is that the tenants are always young families struggling for time. I’m just wondering if it’s a daft, high maintaince hedge to have with a rented house. It seems like a bane for any neighbour. 
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,541
    I would like it, if I lived there  :)
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 13,937
    I’m the only enthusiastic gardener on the street. I’m trying to encourage neighbours to get interested.  :) 
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,229
    Surely Fire, your neighbours took on the tenancy and saw the hedge was there. If they now don't like it, that's their problem and they should find time to cut it back twice a year. It might be a chore to them but at least it would get them out in fresh air and give them some exercise. They might even get bitten by the gardening bug! Having said that ivy is a persistent b...r of a hedge to maintain and gets wider than taller with age so I can see it is a bit of a problem and so is disposal of the debris I suppose. Could you ask them to help you cut their side back and do it together, finishing off with a glass of wine perhaps?   
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 13,937
    ... That's what we have been doing. And that was my thinking. I have just been pondering my responsibilities re being a good neighbour legally etc.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,601
    I think you are already being a good hedge neighbour by taking on the responsibility of cutting back ‘their’ side of the hedge, which, as you say, you inherited, not planted. If you are friendly with them and they are not complaining about it, you like it and are prepared to continue to go above and beyond by cutting it back for them, I would say leave it be. Whilst tenants, I believe, should be accorded equal respect to owners, given so many cannot afford to buy in London these days, it would be a shame to get rid of it for a particular tenant (who is not actually asking you to get rid of it?) as they in all likelihood will move on at some point. All credit to you that you are considering their needs at all!
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 6,414
    Fire said:

     But the reality is that the tenants are always young families struggling for time. I’m just wondering if it’s a daft, high maintaince hedge to have with a rented house. It seems like a bane for any neighbour. 
    From a landlord point of view, an established hedge can just be left to grow whereas a timber fence requires regular maintenance if it isn't going to fall apart after a few years.

    I'm not saying I agree with that perspective, but I can understand it.
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