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Old 05-27-2011, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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 *Deep breath* I am incensed.

 

Our neighbor just took it upon himself to come into our backyard UNINVITED and spray a BUNCH of super-toxic chemicals on our lawn, aka thistle patch.

 

Here's the story: We recently purchased our first home and have been getting to know our neighbors, who are all 60+ and seemed nice enough. We've exchanged hellos and had conversations. Our backyard had a huge thistle patch. I had been researching *Natural* ways to kill the thistles, as our family is very careful with chemical and toxic exposure. We only use baking soda-vinegar type products in our home and try to eat exclusively organic. I finally found a product, called Eco-Smart that is plant oils based and organic that supposedly kills thistles. So I went out one evening to weed whip the area in preparation for spraying. Then my DD#1 got hungry, so I had to stop and go make dinner. DH was firing up our grill for the turkey dogs and the neighbor comes by to chat. DH mentions that we are taking care of the thistles today, and the neighbor (old man) gets really excited and starts talking about a product he has that "just kills those suckers."

 

DH politely says "No thanks. We are spraying a natural product."

Neighbor: "This stuff works great. I have half a bottle left....blah, blah, blah"

DH: No thanks.

 

Then DH comes in to tell me that the neighbor really wants to spray our yard with his chemicals. I said "NO WAY!" I go out to tell him no and can't find him anywhere. So I go back in----and I see him through the window in our backyard just spraying away with the chemicals all over our back yard.

 

So, now what do I do? I have been keeping the kids off that area for the past 2 days. I made DH ask him for the bottle, so I could write down the chemicals (a LONG list) and see the side effects.

 

If I confront him, I am sure he will be shocked. He thinks he really helped us. He has been generous sharing tools, etc. He is old and not likely to change. We have to live here so I don't want to offend him.

 

However, I was really angry and don't want anything like this to happen ever again. DH says that he wants to let it go, but never invite him on our lawn again and not talk to him much.

 

Thoughts on how to minimize exposure? Thoughts on dealing with neighbor?

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Old 05-27-2011, 11:09 AM
 
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I'd be pissed too.

 

I think I'd take a deep breath and talk to him but not rip his head off or anything. "Thanks so much for trying to help, but when DH told you he didn't want to try it, he really meant it. I know you were trying to help but I just want to be clear for next time that we do NOT want ANYTHING sprayed in our yard EVER. (Smile) OK? Ok, great, just so we're clear, since we're totally serious about that. So, how 'bout that weather?"


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Old 05-27-2011, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd be pissed too.

 

I think I'd take a deep breath and talk to him but not rip his head off or anything. "Thanks so much for trying to help, but when DH told you he didn't want to try it, he really meant it. I know you were trying to help but I just want to be clear for next time that we do NOT want ANYTHING sprayed in our yard EVER. (Smile) OK? Ok, great, just so we're clear, since we're totally serious about that. So, how 'bout that weather?"


Thanks! I just don't know if this guy really *LISTENS.* I know I should confront him, but I think he'll walk away thinking "new-age, yuppie, annoying neighbor."

 

Anyone have thoughts on minimizing exposure?

 

One thing we are planning is moving our garden plot to the other side of the yard. We haven't tilled yet, so hopefully this weekend we can. I was planning on putting my veg garden in that spot...oh well. 

 

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Old 05-27-2011, 11:51 AM
 
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I am assuming he won't really listen. All you can do is tell him as directly as possible, let him think you're a new-agey hippie neighbor (I mean, you are, right? :)) and know that you can NOT trust him. If you ever see him do ANYTHING to your property again after being very direct about this incident, I would feel free to completely flip out on him.

 

I mean, you can flip out this time but I figure that the quasi-friendly, very direct method might work and salvage your neighborly relationship, which would be the ideal. Or if you don't care about being decent neighbors with him, you could go straight to flippage.

 

I'm not sure what I'd plant there, maybe a cover crop of some sort (clover, buckwheat, whatever). Except instead of tilling it under, cut/mow and rake it and get rid of it. Maybe do a few crops in succession.


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Old 05-27-2011, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am assuming he won't really listen. All you can do is tell him as directly as possible, let him think you're a new-agey hippie neighbor (I mean, you are, right? :)) and know that you can NOT trust him. If you ever see him do ANYTHING to your property again after being very direct about this incident, I would feel free to completely flip out on him.

 

I mean, you can flip out this time but I figure that the quasi-friendly, very direct method might work and salvage your neighborly relationship, which would be the ideal. Or if you don't care about being decent neighbors with him, you could go straight to flippage.

 

I'm not sure what I'd plant there, maybe a cover crop of some sort (clover, buckwheat, whatever). Except instead of tilling it under, cut/mow and rake it and get rid of it. Maybe do a few crops in succession.


Thanks again! You're right, I guess I am the hippie mom. Maybe he can learn to get along with the hippie mom. I am not a flippage person, so this is mostly internal rage and outward politeness.

 

Good advice about not tilling but raking out the weeds/roots. I will probably plan some sort of cover plants there.

 

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Old 05-28-2011, 01:10 PM
 
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If you don't want to come across new-agey hippy, tell him you were planning to plant a veg garden there and so are worried about it's half-life potential as a herbicide. Ask to see the bottle and then go to their website and check it out. Most broad-leaf spectrum herbicides have a very short half-life so you prolly won't have to wait several seasons or whatever. Depending on what it is, it probably breaks down in weeks, if not days. Going forward just reiterate that you don't want herbicide in your yard because of the kids, etc. Even an old person can understand that! Or tell him you're keeping the weeds for the birds--they love thistle. I have to say, though, thistle is my least favorite weed ever! Not only are the thistles an itchy PIA, all my thistle always seems to immediately get powdery mildew which then spreads to my veg garden. I use a hoe to wack 'em to the ground and then a Weed Rocket that I got at Home Depot for the taproot. Fun and no chemicals necessary. :-)

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Old 05-28-2011, 01:51 PM
 
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Without knowing what kind of thistles they were, I can't fully say what I'd have said -- but some thistles are invasive plants that spread quickly and choke out other plants and are very difficult to keep out once established.   

 

If your "Thistle patch" was that kind of thistle, and you weren't taking care of it, or the neighbors were not seeing any forward progress, they may have been worried that the patch was going to spread into their yard.   While you are worried about the poison, they might have been worried that the plants would be spreading .... if it was one of these very aggressive invasive thistles, they might well have thought they were doing you a huge favor, because you were obviously too busy or new to gardening to take care of it.

 

Especially if that's what you were dealing with, I think if you don't want them doing it again, one of the best things you can do is actually get out there and take care of them in *your* way, however you decide to do it.  If you don't want to use any chemicals, you'll probably have to physically remove and uproot them.  If you really go do it your way rather than telling him you're "going to do it," he can't come and try to teach you *his* way, KWIM?  

 


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Old 05-28-2011, 02:28 PM
 
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Thistles should be dug up in spring. Or if a few get by you ... you should collect the seedpod heads in fall before they broadcast seeds on their own. After a couple of seasons worth of work... you should be on top of them.
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Old 05-30-2011, 01:16 AM
 
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Oh dear, this neighbor guy is so my dad!  I had to really explain to my pops that no, not everyone wants SUPERDUPERKILL toxic chemicals on their lawn after he sprayed pretty much the entire neighborhood... he's 61 and was just plain SHOCKED that not everyone wants their weeds dead.  Yep, I vote for the really, really clear no thank you!  Bless his heart, if he's anything like my dad, he's hardheaded and thinks he knows best and is trying to help :)

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Old 05-30-2011, 08:06 AM
 
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Without knowing what kind of thistles they were, I can't fully say what I'd have said -- but some thistles are invasive plants that spread quickly and choke out other plants and are very difficult to keep out once established.   

 

If your "Thistle patch" was that kind of thistle, and you weren't taking care of it, or the neighbors were not seeing any forward progress, they may have been worried that the patch was going to spread into their yard.   While you are worried about the poison, they might have been worried that the plants would be spreading .... if it was one of these very aggressive invasive thistles, they might well have thought they were doing you a huge favor, because you were obviously too busy or new to gardening to take care of it.

 

Especially if that's what you were dealing with, I think if you don't want them doing it again, one of the best things you can do is actually get out there and take care of them in *your* way, however you decide to do it.  If you don't want to use any chemicals, you'll probably have to physically remove and uproot them.  If you really go do it your way rather than telling him you're "going to do it," he can't come and try to teach you *his* way, KWIM?  

 


Huh? They just moved in. They were standing out there telling him how they were going to take care of it THAT DAY. That's when he got excited and ran to grab his can of poison.

 

Furthermore, there is NO EXCUSE for coming on property that is NOT your own to dispense chemicals when the property owner clearly and multiple times said NO. If the OP doesn't want them doing it again, maybe she should call the police for trespassing - because he was ENTIRELY, in EVERY WAY in the wrong. The OP has absolutely zero obligation to the neighbor whatsoever to appease him - you really think he has a right to come on THEIR property and do whatever he wants if the OP didn't meet his timeline???????? That's the most bizarre thing I've heard all day. Besides which, it wasn't even the point, the guy wasn't there to complain about the thistles, they just told him about what they were doing that day (removing the thistles) and he went and got his poison.

 

Do you really feel you have the right to alter or destroy someone else's property? I always wonder what kind of people there are out there but I guess some really do feel like you do. And yes, he destroyed their property, because they planned to put a garden in there and now they can't. A herbicide is a big problem to start your garden out with, and now is the planting season.

 


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Old 06-01-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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Huh? They just moved in. They were standing out there telling him how they were going to take care of it THAT DAY. That's when he got excited and ran to grab his can of poison.

 

Furthermore, there is NO EXCUSE for coming on property that is NOT your own to dispense chemicals when the property owner clearly and multiple times said NO. If the OP doesn't want them doing it again, maybe she should call the police for trespassing - because he was ENTIRELY, in EVERY WAY in the wrong. The OP has absolutely zero obligation to the neighbor whatsoever to appease him - you really think he has a right to come on THEIR property and do whatever he wants if the OP didn't meet his timeline???????? That's the most bizarre thing I've heard all day. Besides which, it wasn't even the point, the guy wasn't there to complain about the thistles, they just told him about what they were doing that day (removing the thistles) and he went and got his poison.

 

Do you really feel you have the right to alter or destroy someone else's property? I always wonder what kind of people there are out there but I guess some really do feel like you do. And yes, he destroyed their property, because they planned to put a garden in there and now they can't. A herbicide is a big problem to start your garden out with, and now is the planting season.

 



Oh dear, I guess I am the only person who spent 10 years living next door to a nice older guy who was trying to be helpful. And he was to a point. We had a few stories such as this in our day with our neighbor such as this. I think your nice neighbor comes from a different generation of helping out the neighbor even if it meant spreading chemicals all over the place since that generation was told to do this and since he is older, no doubt has not much else to do besides the crossword puzzle and making his lawn as pretty as he knows it. As much as I agree with the OP, I would not take the above quote advice because I really dont think the guy saw it as destroying property and if you want to be the nice hippy mama in the neighborhood its one thing but calling the police and all is another. Welcome to home ownership and to having neighbors.

 


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Old 06-01-2011, 10:47 AM
 
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I would dig down that area to atleast 6 inches and just completely remove the top down.Then replace with new soil. Some chemicals have a really long half life.

 

I think it is illegal for people to trespass and put any chemicals in another's yard.  I would just tell the neighbor," I know you were trying to be helpful,but please do not  do that again-ever." I might go as far as saying,"My children are very sensitive to chemicals and easily end up at the doctors due to chemical allergic reactions.Please do not put my children at risk. I can pull weeds or use vinegar."

 

Me, I just mow down weeds or pull them by hand.

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Old 06-01-2011, 11:30 AM
 
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I would just tell the neighbor," I know you were trying to be helpful,but please do not  do that again-ever." I might go as far as saying,"My children are very sensitive to chemicals and easily end up at the doctors due to chemical allergic reactions.Please do not put my children at risk. I can pull weeds or use vinegar."

This is the approach I would take, people of the older generation often seem to respond well to authority figures.  I'd have no problems making something up about what your doctor told you to avoid, say your children are sensitive to chemicals (and that's true, we all are really!).

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Old 06-01-2011, 12:25 PM
 
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Oh dear, I guess I am the only person who spent 10 years living next door to a nice older guy who was trying to be helpful. And he was to a point. We had a few stories such as this in our day with our neighbor such as this. I think your nice neighbor comes from a different generation of helping out the neighbor even if it meant spreading chemicals all over the place since that generation was told to do this and since he is older, no doubt has not much else to do besides the crossword puzzle and making his lawn as pretty as he knows it. As much as I agree with the OP, I would not take the above quote advice because I really dont think the guy saw it as destroying property and if you want to be the nice hippy mama in the neighborhood its one thing but calling the police and all is another. Welcome to home ownership and to having neighbors.

 


No, you're not the only one -- that was my point, above.   Not saying that because she hadn't done it he was *right* to come in with poison -- just that in some neighborhood cultures and for some older guys, what he was doing was perfectly okay and it was him being nice.

 

Just like some folks like to say "It takes a village to raise a child?"    Well, it takes a village to exterminate thistles, too.

 

(And in my neighborhood growing up, the neighbors all helped raise us all too -- including disciplining other people's kids if they were the first one on the scene.)

 


savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

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Old 06-01-2011, 04:33 PM
 
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savithy, I agree. I guess such as the post I quoted, we are very disconnected from our neighbors in modern society and when I read about calling the police and its illegal etc that blew my mind. But like you said, it does take a village and thankfully I have the resources to do just this, have others in my neighborhood help with my kids and the viceversa.

 

Our former neighbor was just like the OP mentioned but yes we had scenerios such as this one, I can count on one hand those type of deals when he would do this. But on the flipside, I cannot count all the times he and his wife where there for us offering up ideas for our garden, watching our home, bringing us things, taking on a grandfatherly roll to our little girls and their grandkids playing with our kids etc. So IME and IMHO, I would let the thistle die out, dig it out and show him your non chemical treatments and maybe he will learn something and then maybe this neighbor will be that neighbor I just mentioned, the one who can watch your house while away, know who belongs and who dosent etc. Like I said, welcome to having neighbors. It could be worse, he could be the neighbor we had on the OTHER side- a terrible hoarder whose house stench would blow our way and the mice she attracted would get into our house.

 


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Old 06-01-2011, 05:08 PM
 
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I guess I can't possibly see it as just trying to help or a misunderstanding between generations when the guy was told directly NO DON'T DO IT we are about to use our OWN method.  It would have been completely different if he had just sprayed it and then told them 'I know you guys just moved in so I went ahead and took care of the thistles for you so you don't have to worry about it while you settle.'  Still not what the neighbors wanted, but definitely clearly just someone trying to help.

 

Going ahead and doing it anyway is just plain rude.  That is just someone thinking they know best and can therefore do whatever they want, even on someone else's property, even with a poison where kids might want to play.  There is no excuse for being that rude.

 

You can't just do whatever you want even when you are told not to.  That is ridiculous.

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