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My neighbour has lots of thorny bushes and ivy that grow against (and more importantly through) the fence on our shared boundary. They aren't the gardening type and have no inclination to remove the plants but I'm getting fed up of trimming them back. The fence is made of very sturdy wooden posts and beams with a wire mesh across them.

I would like to know what I could put up against the fence that would stop bushes growing through the mesh. An added bonus would be something that would stop them growing under the fence too.

I'm not asking for a specific product recommendation, but if you do recommend a product, don't forget to disclose any affiliations.

I would like to know a technique or type of product I could use. Someone suggested putting some bamboo fencing up against it but I think the bushes would still get through the gaps. I was wondering if there is a type of plastic sheeting or something that could be used?

Edit Here is a photo of the fence, I've added lines to show where the post/beams are.
The gap between the posts/beams is approx 50x80 cm. The posts are approx 15x10 cm

Photo of fence to fill

  • @pnuts I know a proper fence is the way to go but it would be far too expensive, so I was looking for a cheaper alternative.That looks good, though I'd probably then want to put something more aesthetic on top (possibly the bamboo fence cover). – Notts90 supports Monica Jun 1 '17 at 15:21
  • @pnuts If I went for the fabric you mentioned I think I would try stapling it to the posts so don't think I'd need access, though even if they did, I think I'd struggle as the bushes are that thick and thorny. Looking at the site you linked, I think I'd be looking at £100 to do the fabric solution myself. I think to get a whole new fence would be at least £1500. I don't plan on living here long enough to warrant that level of investment in a fence. – Notts90 supports Monica Jun 1 '17 at 15:42
  • @pnuts I've added a photo above. I know someone who had a post and plinth/panel fence fitted recently (2/3 of length) who paid £800 and that didn't include removing the old one (as you can see, that would be quite a bit of labor costs for mine!). – Notts90 supports Monica Jun 1 '17 at 19:48
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I am very biased against any fabric of any kind in the garden so I am trying to disregard the fabric suggestion. Although, in this application it would make sense albeit ugly.

Have you talked with your neighbors? In any boundary problems it is imperative you strike up a conversation with your neighbors. You are not allowed to cut or trim in anyway that will harm any plant growing on their side of the fence, even weeds without incurring major ramifications. If your neighbors got huffy they would hold the upper hand.

From your point of view the problem is maintenance of this 'fence' as well as controlling the ivy and other plants from intruding on your property.

What I would do I'd dig a narrow trench down your side of the fence. Install some galvanized metal, 10" deep. That will help stop outside plants from growing into your yard. I doubt that you would be able to kill that ivy but do be careful if you run into critical root/trunk systems. I would purchase, if you do not already own, a great reciprocating hedger. I prefer gas powered but electric will do to keep the ivy a neat looking fence. Far better than that plastic.

It is a beautiful but higher than normal fence material. Use that ivy as a backdrop to some stunning perennials such as Crocosmia, the yellow one with a soft hedge of Quick Silver Hebe (need your zone) in front of your perennials. That is just one idea.

Keep your plants away from that fence by a foot so you have easy access to trim your 'fence' 3 or 4 times per season. I have been involved in the most insane and ludicrous law suits between neighbors dealing with less that you are now. The best thing you can do is to make lemonade from the lemons so to speak.

I would also go look up 'noxious weed management' for your area/country. In our country, English Ivy is one of the top ten worst weeds, seriously. You could use that in your communication with your neighbor as a bit of power, and use it judiciously. Nicely.

Also, thorny plants make excellent barriers for 'bad' guys. I don't see those plants in the picture but if they are there all the better. I hope this helps. Nothing is easy dealing with a boundary between neighbors. And a little bit more exercise is worth a good relationship with any neighbor as well as not being dragged into court and the ensuing ramifications! No one wins 'cept the lawyers.

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  • stormy's suggestions make the best sense. Landscape fabric won't stop plants from poking through fairly soon and end up growing like it's not even there. Even heavy construction grade plastic sheeting will degrade; how quickly depending on its UV resistance. – Jude Jun 1 '17 at 23:28
  • Thanks for the answer, the neighbour really couldn't give a dam so I'm not worried about boundary issues. I took a picture of this bit of fence as it's the thinnest growth so you can see the posts best. There are several other plants from bramble to thorny bushes and bushes that I have no idea what they are. – Notts90 supports Monica Jun 2 '17 at 6:22
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I was just thinking about something that may solve your issue, today (before I saw your question).

You could pile all your weeds and lawn clippings against the fence and let them compost (use the fence kind of like a compost bin). If you have enough weeds or lawn clippings (we have lots of fast-growing weeds, like prickly lettuce, lambsquarter, mallow, amaranth, foxtails, grasses, morning glory, creeping charlie, catnip, horehound, etc.), it should accumulate enough to block the ivy and such.

In the fall, you can always rake the compost back over your soil, and heap up the weeds again in the spring.

Anyway, I'm wanting to do that with our neighbor's metal fence, currently (not to block plants, except for our own weeds on that stretch of ground, and our neighbor's weeds that come through the fence, but because it sounds awesome, in order to make disposing of weeds easier, increasing compost, keeping hard-to-pull weeds by the fence down, etc.)

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    @pnuts Notts90 didn't mention that the plants were along the entire length of the fence (and the cost wasn't mentioned in the question itself; maybe not even in the comments when I answered it). How long of a fence are you thinking, anyway? (The price doesn't mean a lot to me, as I haven't studied fence prices, and I'm not in the UK, where they may be different; although I do have a rough idea of how valuable pounds are.) But yes, it's potentially a lot of compost. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Jun 3 '17 at 10:18
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I second the idea of getting a gas powered hedge trimmer. I would cut that crap back enough so you can get in between the fence and the bushes and then you can go in there every once in a while and trim it back with your hedge trimmers. Either that or just accept that the fence is now ivy, and just use the trimmers to keep it where it is. English Ivy will crawl through any fence unless there are literally no gaps. And even then, it will just crawl up the back side and come danglin' over taunting you. ;)

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