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Old 24.04.2020, 23:15
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Neighbour artificial tree advice

Hi all,

We have a new Neighbour that has moved in and have asked us to cut down our trees

We live in Geneva and with the tree gone we have very little privacy.

We would like to put trees taller than roughly 3.5m height however we donít have the 2m distance to the limit.

Is there any law prohibiting putting artificial trees within the 2m border limit?

We would like to put some artificial 3.5m bamboos along a 10ml line about 1.5m from the limit to provide us with privacy, technically these are not real trees/grass

They will be in pots and can be moved!

Would we need to get a permit from the state to do this?

Please advice

Thank you
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Old 25.04.2020, 08:37
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Re: Neighbour artificial tree advice

How old are your trees?

Check with your Bauamt, because where I live there is a 5 year Frist to objecting to a tree. That is, if the tree has been growing in place for more than 5 years the neighbor cannot demand that it be cut down.

They can demand cutting to a specific height, though, which sadly can kill the tree if you are not careful when pruning.

So before you do anything, check out local regulations. Don't just give in to demands without understanding your rights.

As to other plantings: Again, check local regs. It sounds like these neighbours will be difficult in general, so you really need a sit-down with the Gemeinde to better understand what you can, and cannot, do going forward.


<Insert my usual rant about the general tree-hating attitudes here. As the planet warms, we should be planting trees, not cutting them down. We should be grateful for the few old majestic trees we have left in our ugly concrete neighbourhoods... but I digress.>
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Old 25.04.2020, 09:21
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Re: Neighbour artificial tree advice

Asked you to cut down your trees?
And you didnīt laugh in his face?
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Old 25.04.2020, 09:59
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Re: Neighbour artificial tree advice

A new neighbour that comes in and rather than get along with everyone immediately starts to dictate tells me there will always be one thing or other they object to. People should be planting trees not cutting them down.

I absolutely would not cut down trees unless you are required to under local rules and the people to make that determination is the Gemeinde and not the new neighbour. Do they own the property or just rent it?
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Old 25.04.2020, 10:01
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Re: Neighbour artificial tree advice

What is their reason for wanting you to cut down the trees?

Our neighbors have a huge tree in their garden, near the public walkway, that spreads yellow pollen dust all over everything in the Spring. I can't even have my windows open or the dust will cover my sofa, etc. I can hear the neighbor above me constantly sneezing due to his allergies and some people have told me that they can't even walk by this tree because of their allergies. These same neighbors also have three very tall evergreen trees (~5 meters high) that are half-dead and look awful and block the sun from hitting my garden as well as some dead trees that are hanging over into my garden, which look awful. They clearly have all of these trees for the purpose of making their patio area private from the 4-story building across from them, but for the sake of their own privacy, they are negatively affecting their neighbors.

So yes, trees are lovely of course, but I think people should also be mindful as to how their trees, etc. might be affecting their neighbors.
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Old 25.04.2020, 10:39
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Re: Neighbour artificial tree advice

Lovely neighbors. It will definitely not be the last time they complain about something.
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Old 25.04.2020, 11:34
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Re: Neighbour artificial tree advice

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<Insert my usual rant about the general tree-hating attitudes here. As the planet warms, we should be planting trees, not cutting them down. We should be grateful for the few old majestic trees we have left in our ugly concrete neighbourhoods... but I digress.>
Who's that then? I love trees. I was very sad when one near us got cut down due to disease. Oh wait, here's one.

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What is their reason for wanting you to cut down the trees?

Our neighbors have a huge tree in their garden, near the public walkway, that spreads yellow pollen dust all over everything in the Spring. I can't even have my windows open or the dust will cover my sofa, etc. I can hear the neighbor above me constantly sneezing due to his allergies and some people have told me that they can't even walk by this tree because of their allergies. These same neighbors also have three very tall evergreen trees (~5 meters high) that are half-dead and look awful and block the sun from hitting my garden as well as some dead trees that are hanging over into my garden, which look awful. They clearly have all of these trees for the purpose of making their patio area private from the 4-story building across from them, but for the sake of their own privacy, they are negatively affecting their neighbors.

So yes, trees are lovely of course, but I think people should also be mindful as to how their trees, etc. might be affecting their neighbors.
You can require any overhanging branches be removed. Just talk to your community. My daughter suffers badly from hay fever. But she still would object to the trees being cut down.

I just planted 50 yew trees in my garden last year. Yew'd hate living near me. Have you considered moving somewhere where there are no trees?
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Old 25.04.2020, 11:43
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Re: Neighbour artificial tree advice

Are you both rentors or owners. Did they buy the house? We had a similar issue in the UK, at the back of us was a paddock, then the owner sold to a developer and they built a bungalow very close to our mixed hedge of trees. The guy who bought it then immediately started to ask us to cut the trees. We told them that the trees have been there since 1920 when our house was built- that they were there when the builder bought the land, there when they first saw the house, there when they visited the second time, there when they decided to buy, and there the day they signed the contract- so why did they buy it if they didn't like the tree hedge? Ah- they replied- it was cheaper than the others on the row. And we replied, yes, because they built it too close to the trees- thank you.

If you don't want light cut out by trees, don't want the pollen, etc- then you have to look carefully before you choose to rent or buy. Very different of course re trees planted after the event.
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Old 25.04.2020, 11:59
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Re: Neighbour artificial tree advice

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Who's that then? I love trees. I was very sad when one near us got cut down due to disease. Oh wait, here's one.

You can require any overhanging branches be removed. Just talk to your community. My daughter suffers badly from hay fever. But she still would object to the trees being cut down.

I just planted 50 yew trees in my garden last year. Yew'd hate living near me. Have you considered moving somewhere where there are no trees?
You're making bizarre assumptions / accusations in order to try to justify your own opinion. My garden is full of Japanese maple trees that I have potted myself (though they are the kind that will not grow taller than ~2 meters).

When we were first moving into our apartment seven years ago, at the hand-over, the woman who lived here before us told me how much she hated that tree (of our neighbors). At the time, I didn't fully understand why, but now I do. The "hauswart" here also demanded a few years ago that the tree be pruned back from the sidewalk because so many people were complaining that they couldn't walk near it without having an allergic reaction... and most people in our huge apartment complex have to walk next to it on their way to the Migros/Post/Apotheke plaza in our neighborhood, because that's the only path there is.

Enjoy your yew trees. I'm sure they're lovely. But your insensitivity to other people allergies is your problem. Not mine.
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Old 25.04.2020, 12:17
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Re: Neighbour artificial tree advice

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Hi all,

We have a new Neighbour that has moved in and have asked us to cut down our trees

We live in Geneva and with the tree gone we have very little privacy.

We would like to put trees taller than roughly 3.5m height however we donít have the 2m distance to the limit.

Is there any law prohibiting putting artificial trees within the 2m border limit?

We would like to put some artificial 3.5m bamboos along a 10ml line about 1.5m from the limit to provide us with privacy, technically these are not real trees/grass

They will be in pots and can be moved!

Would we need to get a permit from the state to do this?

Please advice

Thank you
@Jkpenosen.... as you seem to be in Geneva (your profile says Zurich, might want to update that) the best place to ask about both removing the trees and what you could possibly replace them with is the Mairie for your commune.
Their office should be reopening on Monday, but in the meantime you should find at least some of the information needed on the relevant commune's website.

Here's a link to the Cantonal rules and regulations about trees, these might vary slightly depending on if your property is rural or urban;

https://www.ge.ch/legislation/faq/f/plantations.html

The time period for neighbours protesting about trees (height, distance, etc.) seems to be 30 years, although you still need to adhere to the rules about height and so on. Fingers crossed your trees are older than that!

PS: in case you're a tenant rather than the owner pass the neighbours request on to the rental agency or landlord, it's their problem not yours.
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Old 25.04.2020, 12:28
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Re: Neighbour artificial tree advice

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Hi all,

We have a new Neighbour that has moved in and have asked us to cut down our trees

We live in Geneva and with the tree gone we have very little privacy.
Just for clarification as itís not clear from this sentence.

Have the trees already been cut down or have they just requested them to be cut?


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We would like to put trees taller than roughly 3.5m height however we donít have the 2m distance to the limit.

Is there any law prohibiting putting artificial trees within the 2m border limit?

We would like to put some artificial 3.5m bamboos along a 10ml line about 1.5m from the limit to provide us with privacy, technically these are not real trees/grass

They will be in pots and can be moved!

Would we need to get a permit from the state to do this?

Please advice

Thank you
As for the rest of it your best bet is to ask at your commune office. The rules vary so much between different places so the only way to get a definitive answer is from them, we can all tell you how it works where we live but it wonít necessarily be the same where you are.
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