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Can Neighbour Spray Weedkiller Into My Garden?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 15 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Neighbour Garden Weedkiller Sprayed

Q.

My neighbour has sprayed weedkiller into our garden - she says she is justified in doing this as she spends a lot of money on bedding plants and doesn't want our weeds getting into her garden. Surely this is not right? We do not use weedkiller in our garden as we have children and pets and feel it is safer to avoid it completely. Are there any laws about this?

(W.C, 10 July 2009)

A.

Well, you're right, your neighbour has no right to spray weedkiller into your garden. There are few laws that specifically control this kind of behaviour so you have to fall back on the property based legal framework, as the garden is as much a part of your property as your houses is.

Legal Issues

If you want to go down the legal route you can accuse her of criminal damage, an offence that carries a maximum prison sentence of three months with damages on top. The police are unlikely to be too keen to help out with something that they would consider a trivial matter though.

Make sure you write down the relevant events and take photographs of any damage. Write down the dates when you think she has sprayed weedkiller, and dates when you have spoken to her about it, for possible later use. You might find a sympathetic member of the police down at your local station who would be prepared to have an unofficial word with your neighbour if she carries on spraying.

Prudent Measures

What you do about this depends a lot on how important it is to have good neighbourly relations, as threatening her with police action isn’t likely to improve the situation. It might be better to try and reason with her and try to persuade her not to do it again.

Explain to her that although you understand that she feels justified, she ought to respect your desire not to use weedkiller. She is likely to push her point about the weeds but you must stick to your guns and explain that however strong her feelings are, she is simply not allowed to spray weedkiller on your property.

Threat of Legal Action

You could warn her that if she does it again you will take legal action, but it might be better to wait and see. If it does happen again, go through the process again but add that you will have no choice but to take legal action if there is a repeat. A visit from the police at this point might push the point home.

But if it continues you may then have to force the point with the police and insist they prosecute.

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McCarty Out - Your Question:
We have lived here for 16 years and prior to our neighbors of approximately 3 years moving in, our back fence had lush flowering foliage growing on both our side and theirs. Once they moved in, they cut everything from their side down which is fine as it's their yard. Once in a while when we haven't trimmed, our foliage will start to go over and they cut it. Ok cool however, we have actually seen them reach over the fence, grab the plants, stretch them and then cut them leaving a hole on our side. Now we notice that all of our plants are dying as well as our 16 year old tree also located on the back fence and I suspect they are spraying weed killer on everything by the way the plants look. I'm just not sure what course of action to take as we already have a pretty heated relationship with them. Any suggestions?

Our Response:
You would need some proof of this before taking action but if you can discuss this with them to find a solution, you may need to consider a civil action (in the courts).
SafeGardening - 18-Sep-17 @ 12:50 PM
We have lived here for 16 years and prior to our neighbors of approximately 3 years moving in, our back fence had lush flowering foliage growing on both our side and theirs. Once they moved in, they cut everything from their side down which is fine as it's their yard. Once in a while when we haven't trimmed, our foliage will start to go over and they cut it. Ok cool however, we have actually seen them reach over the fence, grab the plants, stretch them and then cut them leaving a hole on our side. Now we notice that all of our plants are dying as well as our 16 year old tree also located on the back fence and I suspect they are spraying weed killer on everything by the way the plants look. I'm just not sure what course of action to take as we already have a pretty heated relationship with them. Any suggestions?
McCarty Out - 15-Sep-17 @ 11:46 PM
Hamra - Your Question:
Just prior to moving into our house, one of our new neighbours cut down a boundary hedge. They ignored all attempts to contact them to discuss a replacement so I put up a fence at my own expense. I planted a couple of blackberry bushes near to the boundary as it is behind a shed. The neighbour has no poured weed killer onto the area and killed the bushes. I've never spoken to them and they don't seem to answer the door when I have gone round to speak to them. They also ignore polite notes through their door. Basically, I am reduced to leaving the area unplanted but will take photographic evidence. Any other advice would be gratefully received.

Our Response:
This is actually criminal damage if it was done deliberately and you can take legal action.
SafeGardening - 11-Sep-17 @ 2:36 PM
Just prior to moving into our house, one of our new neighbours cut down a boundary hedge. They ignored all attempts to contact them to discuss a replacement so I put up a fence at my own expense. I planted a couple of blackberry bushes near to the boundary as it is behind a shed. The neighbour has no poured weed killer onto the area and killed the bushes. I've never spoken to them and they don't seem to answer the door when I have gone round to speak to them. They also ignore polite notes through their door. Basically, I am reduced to leaving the area unplanted but will take photographic evidence. Any other advice would be gratefully received.
Hamra - 9-Sep-17 @ 6:15 PM
Lai - Your Question:
Would appreciate some advice, and thank you in advance. Our new neighbour is doing an extension and asked us last year whether we could remove our conifers which borders our back gardens, in case the roots would cause subsidence to their extension. We have planted those (approximately 15 of them) some 30 years ago and we declined. Neighbours went ahead and started the extension this year. I have witnessed them with a blow touch few months ago along the border and wondered whether they were trying to destroy the conifer roots - am not sure whether they can do that. More recently, I have noted at least 9 of my conifers are showing signs of dying, and turning brown. This has not occurred in the many years prior; and I can hardly believe it is a coincidence and that it isn't related to the neighbour's actions and am suspicious that they may have possibly been using herbicides. I understand that there could be many other causes but we have not changed the way we maintained these plants. All the other conifers on the other borders of front and back garden are fine.How would I be able to diagnose the cause of the dying plants? If need expert opinion - whom are these experts and where to find them?Do I have any legal ground to confront my neighbour? Who could help to support us?

Our Response:
You're correct that you may need an expert opinion. Neighbour are usually entitled to cut back roots as far as the property boundary but not if it would case damage to the trees, or for them to become unstable etc. If you search locally for Arboriculturalists or tree surgeons, you will find someone who can tell you whether the dead trees are a direct result of the root treatment.
SafeGardening - 13-Jun-17 @ 12:58 PM
Would appreciate some advice, and thank you in advance. Our new neighbour is doing an extension and asked us last year whether we could remove our conifers which borders our back gardens, in case the roots would cause subsidence to their extension. We have planted those (approximately 15 of them) some 30 years ago and we declined.Neighbours went ahead and started the extension this year. I have witnessed them with a blow touch few months ago along the border and wondered whether they were trying to destroy the conifer roots - am not sure whether they can do that.More recently, I have noted at least 9 of my conifers are showing signs of dying, and turning brown. This has not occurred in the many years prior; and I can hardly believe it is a coincidence and that it isn't related to the neighbour's actions and am suspicious that they may have possibly been using herbicides. I understand that there could be many other causes but we have not changed the way we maintained these plants. All the other conifers on the other borders of front and back garden are fine. How would I be able to diagnose the cause of the dying plants? If need expert opinion - whom are these experts and where to find them? Do I have any legal ground to confront my neighbour? Who could help to support us?
Lai - 10-Jun-17 @ 11:57 PM
Would appreciate some advice, and thank you in advance. Our new neighbour is doing an extension and asked us last year whether we could remove our conifers which borders our back gardens, in case the roots would cause subsidence to their extension. We have planted those (approximately 15 of them) some 30 years ago and we declined.Neighbours went ahead and started the extension this year. I have witnessed them with a blow touch few months ago along the border and wondered whether they were trying to destroy the conifer roots - am not sure whether they can do that.More recently, I have noted at least 9 of my conifers are showing signs of dying, and turning brown. This has not occurred in the many years prior; and I can hardly believe it is a coincidence and that it isn't related to the neighbour's actions and am suspicious that they may have possibly been using herbicides. I understand that there could be many other causes but we have not changed the way we maintained these plants. All the other conifers on the other borders of front and back garden are fine. How would I be able to diagnose the cause of the dying plants? If need expert opinion - whom are these experts and where to find them? Do I have any legal ground to confront my neighbour? Who could help to support us?
Lai - 8-Jun-17 @ 11:11 AM
Lycan - Your Question:
A neighbour has been spraying weedkiller and I believe it has gone into my pond and killed my fish. My two largest koi were worth £500 each plus the other fish were about £600 between them. Can I report her for criminal damage. These fish have been in the pond for over 12 years and I have never lost such a large number within such a short time span and straight after the woman had sprayed poison

Our Response:
You would need to have proof of this, such as a water test establishing that weed killler was in the water in sufficient quantities to kill the fish, together with evidence that it was your neighbour that put it there (an admission of guilt or photographic evidence etc).
SafeGardening - 19-May-17 @ 2:46 PM
A neighbour has been spraying weedkiller and i believe it has gone into my pond and killed my fish. My two largest koi were worth £500 each plus the other fish were about £600 between them . Can I report her for criminal damage. These fish have been in the pond for over 12 years and I have never lost such a large number within such a short time spanand straight after the woman had sprayed poison
Lycan - 19-May-17 @ 12:52 PM
Lanchester - Your Question:
Our new neighbours of two years has a large garden the same as us, one third of an acre. They use weed killer on everything lawns etc., they have used it on our beech hedge of over 100 plants, well established over 40 years, have even seen them spraying through my hedge onto my lawn, strip I'd lawn now dead, and beech hedge shrivelled up in many places. Have not spoken to them as they are very unfriendly and never spoken to us since they moved in. I was under the impression you cannot spray weed killer any closer than three feet from boundary? Is this right?

Our Response:
No there are no laws about the distance from a boundary you can spray common garden weedkillers.
SafeGardening - 18-May-17 @ 1:56 PM
Our new neighbours of two years has a large garden the same as us, one third of an acre. They use weed killer on everything lawns etc., they have used it on our beech hedge of over 100 plants, well established over 40 years, have even seen them spraying through my hedge onto my lawn, strip I'd lawn now dead, and beech hedge shrivelled up in many places. Have not spoken to them as they are very unfriendly and never spoken to us since they moved in. I was under the impression you cannot spray weed killer any closer than three feet from boundary?Is this right?
Lanchester - 17-May-17 @ 3:36 PM
Foxphysio - Your Question:
My neighbour has poisoned a number of large bushes and a tree in my garden that runs along the boarder they have also come on to my property and drilled holes in the stumps of a laurel that I cut right back so I could get control of it of coarse what ever they put in the holes has killed it what can I do to stop them legally short of my husband thumping him.

Our Response:
You would need to be able to prove that it was neighbour that did these things. If you want to take legal action for criminal damage it might be worth contacting a legal professional.
SafeGardening - 18-Apr-17 @ 12:00 PM
My neighbour has poisoned a number of large bushes and a tree in my garden that runs along the boarder they have also come on to my property and drilled holes in the stumps ofa laurel that I cut right back so I could get control of it of coarse what ever they put in the holes has killed it what can I do to stop them legally short of my husband thumping him.
Foxphysio - 15-Apr-17 @ 8:16 PM
I would like some advice please we have ajoining fence with our neighbors while we was away they painted there side of the fence which I don't mind but they have sprayed it all the paint has gone on our wall our flags and the new pebblesand. FlowersI have washed what I can
Sweet pea - 13-Apr-17 @ 7:26 PM
Our next door couple neighbor of ages 70's sprayed either chemical (maybe some kind of strong weed killer) or salt along our wooden fence line where we had planted 24 Arborvitrae trees to give us more privacy. We had him in action doing so on our surveillance camera! Not once or twice and he'd done it during 10am-11am when we're out working!! We work on day shift so no one's home but our dog. I reported his misbehaviour to the Department of Agriculture, and had someone to come out for investigation. We haven't gotten the response yet from DOA up to this day (reported on May 2016, I think). I am worried this bully lied to the investigator which is very possible. Now looking at our trees, they're all drying up halfway from the bottom!! All looking bad and awful. I don't know what else to do. I reported him to the Sheriff several times and them came up to talk to him, but that didn't stop him from doing such horrible act.
Icy - 16-Dec-16 @ 3:48 PM
Ok as far as the law is concerned your garden is your property as are any plants that you have on your property. If your neighbour kills or damages your plants or any of your property then that is criminal damage and you could prosecute your neighbour under the criminal damage act 1971. Even if your neighbour just threatens to destroy your property then you can still get them prosecuted under section 2 of the criminal damage act 1971. However the law does state that if a plant or tree ect grows into your neighbours garden then your neighbour has every right to remove only those parts that have grown into their garden and then the removed parts must be returned to the legal owner otherwise your neighbour could be prosecuted for theft. Even if a branch from a fruit tree grows into your neighburs garden the tree and all the fruit still remain the original owners property and taking fruit without permission is still theft and a prosecutable offence as the fruit remains the property of the owner and must be returned to them if removed without permission.
Bob - 13-Sep-16 @ 12:44 PM
X - Your Question:
My nieghbour has cut my hedge on her side of the border that I own right back to the trunk which I was told there is nothing I could do which is fine but now she has started to cut branches from the sides making my once thick hedge very see through, they asked me to cut the hedge lower (it was about 8 ft high) so I cut 2 ft off the top and all I get now is footballs constantly coming over in to my veg garden so much so I dare not erect a glass house, I need help dealing with this horrible bully any suggestions

Our Response:
What would your ideal remedy be? Do you want them to reinstate the hedge? If so you'd have to be sure they had caused actual damage, rather than just trimming some branches overhanging their side - and legal action would be the best route.
SafeGardening - 11-Jul-16 @ 12:53 PM
My nieghbour has cut my hedge on her side of the border that I own right back to the trunk which I was told there is nothing I could do which is fine but now she has started to cut branches from the sides making my once thick hedge very see through, they asked me to cut the hedge lower (it was about 8 ft high) so I cut 2 ft off the top and all I get now is footballs constantly coming over in to my veg garden so much so I dare not erect a glass house, I need help dealing with this horrible bully any suggestions
X - 9-Jul-16 @ 1:44 AM
I really look forward to my perennials flowering each year. However i have an extremely annoying neighbour who sprays weedkiller and cuts back plants that he doesnt like, or that go slightly (even a leaf!) fence. Last year he sprayed my goatsbeard and this year it has very short and shrivelled growth. Its very upsetting! I cant approach him (i am not afraid of him!!!) as he threatened me because i reportef him over a thieving matter!!! Any ideas what i can do?
gardengnome - 23-May-16 @ 3:12 PM
Sal - Your Question:
I allowed my neighbour to come on my property and erect scaffolding so he could paint his house.During his activities on my territory he poisoned a few strips a few strips of wild ivy that climbed his wall, a twenty foot extension of my house. Because of bad feeling he also poisened my rambler rose, around my back door, and a climber on my pergola.Is that act legal.I am at the end of my life span ,nearly 76. He's had access to my property many times before.

Our Response:
It's fair for your neighbour to remove any plants growing on his wall even if they belong to you. He should have asked you first though. As for the deliberate poisoning of your other plants, if you can prove this, you could take legal action, it might be costly so you should seek advice on alternatives first - try Citizens' Advice.
SafeGardening - 9-May-16 @ 2:13 PM
I allowed my neighbour to come on my property and erect scaffolding so he could paint his house.During his activities on my territory he poisoned a few strips a few strips of wild ivy that climbedhiswall, a twenty foot extension of my house. Because of bad feeling he also poisened my rambler rose, around my back door, and a climber on my pergola.Is that act legal.I am at the end of my life span ,nearly 76. He's had access to my property many times before.
Sal - 6-May-16 @ 9:25 PM
rosie - Your Question:
We have a shared pathway, my neighbour was spraying weedkiller on her side of the pathway , I was returning home at the same time and she just carried on spraying, am I in my right to ask her to stop, I felt ill after as I surfer from asthma, had bad headache too. she not the nicest of persons to talk to , im worried she might do this while grand kids are using pathway,

Our Response:
It's more about common neighbourliness than "rights". Just say you appreciate the need for it but could she refrain while you or your grandchildren are around. It's not something that needs to be done too frequently so should not be too much of an ongoing issue. A complaint to your EHO might be worth considering if it becomes excessive.
SafeGardening - 5-May-16 @ 12:36 PM
we have a shared pathway, my neighbour was spraying weedkiller on her side of the pathway , I was returning home at the same time and she just carried on spraying, am I in my right to ask her to stop, I felt ill after as I surfer from asthma, had bad headache too. she not the nicest of persons to talk to , im worried she might do this while grand kids are using pathway,
rosie - 3-May-16 @ 7:40 AM
greenhands - Your Question:
My neighbour has poured weedkiller over the 6 foot high fence into our garden and thrown it at our plants. My beautiful japanese maple has several branches which are now dead. Also my climbing plum is shrivelled up. At the end of the garden there is a low wire fence and she has pushed clippers through and cut back about a foot of our native species hedge. I have now agreed to put a higher fence down at the end of the garden so we can stop her destroying our hedge. I am scared of her as she is a bully and forced me to stop working ( teaching piano) at home 2 years ago by complaining to the council that my pupils were parking in front of her house ( in my private parking space as it happened). I really want to stop her throwing more weedkiller over, but don't know how to approach her as I'm afraid of her.

Our Response:
What an unpleasant neighbour. This is really criminal damage and you'd be advised to mention it to your local police. Hopefully a word of warning from them will prevent further episodes but if not, you could pursue a civil action against the neighbour. You may also want to look at mediation/alternative dispute resolution in an attempt to create a solution that will allow you to live alongside each other in the future.
SafeGardening - 11-Sep-15 @ 12:25 PM
My neighbour has poured weedkiller over the 6 foot high fence into our garden and thrown it at our plants. My beautiful japanese maple has several branches which are now dead. Also my climbing plum is shrivelled up. At the end of the garden there is a low wire fence and she has pushed clippers through and cut back about a foot of our native species hedge. I have now agreed to put a higher fence down at the end of the garden so we can stop her destroying our hedge. I am scared of her as she is a bully and forced me to stop working ( teaching piano) at home 2 years ago by complaining to the council that my pupils were parking in front of her house ( in my private parking space as it happened). I really want to stop her throwing more weedkiller over, but don't know how to approach her as I'm afraid of her.
greenhands - 10-Sep-15 @ 2:50 PM
Joy - Your Question:
My neighbour has a large garden. The end part of the garden (which is next to my property) is full rubbish. Japanese knotweed grows abundantly in her garden. For three years I have politely asked her to treat the knotweed. Two years ago, it started to grow into my property and I immediately treated it and eradicated it from my garden. However, the knotweed still grows right up against our boundary fence. It would grow into my garden but I pour special root killer over the fence. Her garden has no flowers - her builder husband used it to dump rubbish which is piled high. There is no law to make her treat the knotweed. But there is a law to stop me trying to prevent it coming back into my property.

Our Response:
While there is no legal obligation to remove it, if you allow Japanese knotweed to grow onto other people’s property you can be prosecuted for causing a private nuisance. Your local council may be able to help, but you might need to commence a private legal action. Natural England can advise on how to cope with this.Their address is: PO Box 2423, Reading,RG1 6WY. Or email: cs.reading@naturalengland.org.uk
SafeGardening - 21-Aug-15 @ 2:17 PM
My neighbour has a large garden.The end part of the garden (which is next to my property) is full rubbish.Japanese knotweed grows abundantly in her garden.For three years I have politely asked her to treat the knotweed.Two years ago, it started to grow into my property and I immediately treated it and eradicated it from my garden.However, the knotweed still grows right up against our boundary fence.It would grow into my garden but I pour special root killer over the fence.Her garden has no flowers - her builder husband used it to dump rubbish which is piled high.There is no law to make her treat the knotweed.But there is a law to stop me trying to prevent it coming back into my property.
Joy - 20-Aug-15 @ 2:38 PM
My neighbour has killed my grapevine with weed killer it is not encroaching onto his property and it is not attached to his fence it is however the other side of his fence I am really upset as my late father inlaw planted it and I promised him I would take care of it the neighbours threatened me last year while I was 5 months pregnant that they would send someone round to sort me out if i let the thistles go to seed one part of the garden was left unweeded due to me expecting a baby they killed my rhubarb the same way about 4 years ago but I couldn't prove it and the same with the grapevine but I know less than a month ago it was growing nicely now all the leaves are brown and so are the branches the couple are in their late 80's I am really upset and don't know where I stand legally the fence is solid up to about 4ft then it is trellis on top of that so they have reached through and poured weed killer on it. any info much appreciated
Not amused - 11-Jul-15 @ 11:48 PM
I have a beautiful 23year old acer in my garden which my neighbour sprays with weed killer.I saw her last year but not this year but the leaves are falling off so I know she's done it again.She is elderly and very cunning she will deny it and I have no proof what can I do?
minimadcol - 28-May-15 @ 8:31 AM
@imat. This is criminal damage and you can take court action. As always, try talking first.
SafeGardening - 27-Feb-15 @ 12:55 PM
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