by Ruth

Our neighbors planted trees that were evergreens that reach to be 50 ft. tall as a border between our properties.

After the recent snow/ice storm, one of the trees fell on our house, and thankfully no damage resulted.

Another of the trees bent over our fence about 6ft over, but no damage resulted! They were so sweet in coming to us about it, and we found out they were planning to replace them in the spring with green giant arborvitae trees. I

feel that with just 1/2 acre lots and about 25 ft. between our houses, (just an estimate – it may be less..) that those trees are just too big (growing to be 60 ft. tall, and not sure how wide around. Aren’t these trees meant for parks, or larger properties?

What would your suggestion be regarding this?

The trees would be planted very close to our property line, and our family has always enjoyed seeing sunsets on that side of the house. I’m afraid these trees would overtake that side, as well as to take away our sunsets from view.

How far from our property line would you suggest the trees be planted if our neighbors are adamant about having those trees put in?

He said there would be 7 trees planted within a 20 – 22 ft line.

Our house is just about 12 ft. from his property line.

How far back should they be planted, and how far apart would you suggest? I just want to see sky, and the sun shining in our house, and the trees that fell on our house and fence blocked it, and I’m afraid these will be doing the very same thing except to a greater extent.

Please tell me your advice on this matter.
Thank you very much.



Drought Smart Plants reply:

Hi Ruth – with a name like Green Giant, I would imagine that these trees will indeed be as much of a problem as the original ones. I can understand that your neighbors value their privacy, but maybe there is some other type of tree which will be a win/win for both of you.

The choice of Thuja, or arborvitae is a good one, as the root systems are not invasive, however, you’ve experienced first hand one of their drawbacks – weak growth that can break or even uproot the whole tree in severe weather.

I would see if there are any covenants in your area as to set backs of large trees from property lines, and also if there are any guidelines within your city bylaws for site lines.

Other than a bribe for your neighbor, or an offer to share the cost, unfortunately you don’t really get much of a choice of tree types, but giving them some options of other varieties that may not get so big may be enough to sway them.

Good luck!