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Pawl 10-03-2011 12:30 AM

Roots are growing thru horizontal part of block wall
I live in southern Calif. My next door neighbor has some kind of plant with orange blossoms that has started to raise the block wall between our houses. His plant now tops out at 15 to 20' tall so when you look over the wall it is just vines or trunks? I don't know what they are called because they are only 1.5" diameter. But they are everywhere.I dug down to the footing for the block wall and found the roots from his plant have grown their way thru the horizontal blocks between row 6 and 7 and continued across my planter and under my concrete patio. Rows 6 and 7 on my side are covered in dirt so the roots are going after the water.These roots have raised the wall over an inch. The bushy part of the plant is up in the air because he never kept it trimmed so when you look over the top of the wall you just see vines or mini trunks?The block wall is 4" wide that locks into an 8" pilaster every 12'. It has loosened a lot of the mortar on the individual blocks. Fortunately none have cracked. The wall was built in 1965. I brought him over and showed him and got no promises to do anything.I wanted to get some opinions before I have the "talk" with him.He obviously has to remove these plants. His other two walls are cracking and leaning. I have dug out all of my old trees cuz they are too big and planted smaller ones. I am at the point where I can't put anything in my planter because as soon as I water them the roots will start doing their thing and make matters worse. I am sure if the city was to see the dangerous leaning and cracking they would force him to repair it. That is my last option.Any thoughts?

lendosky 10-03-2011 12:11 PM

First off I would suggest you attach a photo or two so the plant can be identified and a definitive opinion can be made on the damage. Sight unseen it's hard to form a fair opinion.

Second I would notify your neighbor of the issue. Maybe they are unaware of the problem their plant is causing. If they are unresponsive, contact the HOA (if applicable) and take photos. If the wall becomes structurally unsafe you need to have it rebuilt. If the cause of the failing wall is your neighbor's plant/tree IMO it's their financial responsibility. If no HOA, contact the city. I'm not sure what department but good luck with that.

If everyone gives you the runaround I think you have every right to poison the roots on your property. I would use a concentrated systemic poison at full strength. Maybe some rock salt and muriatic acid if you don't care about nature.

Pawl 10-03-2011 01:17 PM

There is no HOA in my neighborhood. He definitely knows the problem we have because I had him look at it a few weeks ago. He has seen me working in my yard the last few weeks removing old trees with large trunks and replanting with smaller ones. He has not come outside into his yard once since I talked to him.I am 58 and will probably stay in this house for many years so I am heading off a problem in my own yard so when I am older I dont have to figure out how to pay someone else on my fixed income to remove trees that I can remove today on my own.
The other two walls around his house are leaning and cracking because of the same plants. He lives in the corner house so he only has to deal with me and the people behind him. If that wall on the far side falls because it is leaning I hope someone isn't walking by when it happens. If the city sees it they will force him to fix it.He is going to pay a lot of money to fix this problem but some people just don't realize to be a problem solver you have to solve the problem. And yes I have his roots that are in my yard soaking in a solution to kill them. I might have to teach him that procrastinating is not going to make the problem go away. This is a neighbor who I actively do things socially with so I will talk to him again and will be forced to corner him with the question do you intend to remove these trees/plants? Even if I take the wall down and fix it I might break some blocks and finding this same color/size will be hard. And still isn't going to stop the roots. The very bottom course has not budged because of the footing it is set in but the next course up has moved a 1/4" into my yard meaning the pressure of the many roots across a 12' span between pilasters are actually moving the whole wall.A guy told me there are things/devices I can put against space where the roots are coming in and back fill it with dirt and they will stop but all I can see is growing is just what it says "growing". They will find another path and come out somewhere else and still we have a loose wall and getting worse in other areas that are fine today. I guess I should start documenting my conversations with him for liabilities sake. I tried posting pictures on here before and gave up. People made suggestions on here,I tried them and still no luck. The roots have stopped growing into my planter now that the dirt is removed because I am not watering in that part of my planter between him and I.None of the mortar on the joints is falling off yet but I can see into his yard through some of the joints so that alone would let anybody know the integrity of the wall has been affected.

lendosky 10-03-2011 03:33 PM

Contact the city. If that doesn't work see if you can put some kind of lien on their property if repairs are made due to the damage.

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