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Hi everyone, this is my first post, I've joined up as I haven't a clue about gardening and specifically need to find a solution or information. Basically, my girlfriend and I bought our first house in July after a long slog of scrimping and saving. It has nice big front and back gardens and in the front there is a 6' hedge between ours NAND the neighbours garden and it wraps around to the front (between ours and the pavement). It was part of what attracted us to the house as it felt like our own little back garden in the front if you know what I mean? Here's the problem. We came back from shopping about a month after buying the house and the neighbour was just finishing off cutting the whole thing in half!! I couldn't believe what I was seeing to be honest, but not wanting to have any neighbour disputes I didn't say anything. It's entirely our property as well, it's completely on our side of the fence. Anyway, I was wondering if it's going to grow back or if she's killed it, and if it might grow back, how long might it take and is there a anything we can do to speed up the process? It looks horrible now and people walk passed staring right into our living room. I don't know what type of hedge it is I'm afraid, if you need pics or more info just ask! Thanks in advance, Dave

Hello Daveyboy and welcome 

What a shock that must have been for you - whether it will grow up again depends on what sort of hedge it is.  Can you identify it or post some pictures for us please?

To post pics, just click on the little tree icon in the toolbar above where you type your post, and follow the instructions.


Oh Dave I do sympathise. I expect it's one of those situations where the neighbour has been maintaining the whole hedge and sees it as theirs which could be difficult to address. Pix to help us identify the type of hedge will help enormously, as Dove says.

If it's entirely on your side of the boundary fence then it's your property so they have no right to touch it. If you have a problem with the neighbour regarding that , you may need to get your solicitor to go over the deeds and check the boundaries, but hopefully it won't come to that.

The potty gardener

It may be worth having a chat and asking if they used to do it before. tell them that you would like their advice so you can  maintain the hedge for yourself now. Do it in a friendly way so they don't become offended.

Oh dear, these things just get the heart racing, don't they? Clearly this neighbour is going to need a firm hand. She must have known that what she was doing was wrong. Be polite, but don't be too polite.

Let us know the type of hedge it is. Some hedges even benefit from a hard prune and you may find that she has done you a favour.


Yeah I haven't mentioned it, I even went to the tip with the remains! I just hope it grows back.. I couldn't find the little tree to insert a pic so here are the links, might need copy and pasting into a browser to view though?

This is what it was like:

And this is how it is now:

I've no idea what it is, is it ruined do you think? I don't want to fall out with anyone over it so I just hope she doesn't do it again! I'd only the week before hired a hedge cutter and neatened it up too!

Difficult to tell from the first image to tell what type of hedge it is. A clearer picture would help.

I do sympathise wih your predicament. 

 It may be beneficial in the long run to plant a new hedge, then you can have no disputes over ownership or maintenance. 

Just promise not to plant leyllandi! Its the source of a huge number of neighbour disputes.


That looks to me like a hedge of roses - probably rosa rugosa.  If so it needs cutting back every year just as your neighbour has done - it will grow again.  If not kept under control you'd be living in a thicket.  She's probably done you a favour.

I suggest that next year you ask her to show you how to do it so that you can take over the maintenance yourself.


I`d be on her front doorstep by now asking her why she cut your hedge down, i can`t imagine she didn`t notice you`d trimmed the hedge the week before but clearly decided it was too high for her. With the hedge the height before would it of blocked out light to one of her rooms? or it may just be the case that she is letting you know she is in charge and if you don`t stand up for yourself you`ll be in a whole heap of trouble. Might be worth contacting the previous owner of your house and asking them about the hedge and the neighbour.

Thanks Dove, it's good that you know about cutting and pasting as well as gardening. i was having to sit here, tapping my fingers on the table, because I'm too dim to know how to do all that stuff!

I used to have a rugosa rose hedge and it really liked a good haircut. All sorts of lovely strong young shoots came up from ground level afterwards.


I'll see if I can post the pics 



 That's a rosa isn't it - and she's done him a favour.  Now he needs to pull the weeds out of the bottom and give it a dose of chicken manure pellets in the spring.

Seems like he's got a good neighbour. 

Oh, thanks for that! Yes, a rose and most likely rugosa. She put her back into it, didn't she? No damage done, no, and it will look lovely next summer. Weeds out though.

Sorry about the rubbish pics, I was trying not to get too muc of the neighbours house or garden in the picture as I don't want any reason to fall out at all! I like a peaceful existence and don't want any bad feelings being chucked about. However, I also want our hedge back! It shouldn't have been blocking any light as it's a decent distance away from the windows, all she has gained is a jolly good view of our garden and passers by have gained a great view of us sitting on the sofa! 

So if it is the Rosa Rugosa how long will it take to be the same size as the front one again? Does it really need cutting in half every year or would a more moderate trim have done the job? 

Thanks for all of your replies by the way

Ah thanks Dovefromabove, much better! So it was the thing to do then? I did pull the weeds out when we moved in but since it's been cut in half I've been reluctant to take any more thickness away from it!!



For a rosa rugosa that's a light trim - by midsummer it'll be twice the size and three times as glorious.  I'd have cut it back by double that.

 What you're missing is probably the green of the leaves, but rosa is deciduous, it won't have leaves on in the winter.  I promise you, it'll be fine. 

Great for wildlife too - a million times better than a boring Leylandii.

Hang some birdfeeders from the twigs and you'll be able to watch the small garden birds popping in and out of the hedge all winter, safe from any marauding sparrowhawks.  Fantastic!


Generally speaking, the more you cut a plant down, the more it tries to grow back to where it was. If you just tinker around with roses they just make little sprouty shoots at the top. So your rose is now going to be saying to itself "hang on, I should be 6 feet tall" and it's going to try to get there next year. Rugosa roses can easily put on 3 feet a year if they feel like it.

Now that it's had a good shock it won't need another one next autumn but it will needto  be kept a nice shape. Your neighbour clearly has the idea that this is her job. She is going to need to be put straight on that and watched like a hawk for ever more. Snipping is a habit that some people just can't stop themselves from doing.


As I suggested, ask her to show you how to do it next year, then take over , making clear that from then onwards it's Your Job 

Looks like they did a good job of it. How big is you're "green bin" to take that lot away? Did she burn it all? It is not a hedge as such, will never been green all year round. 6 months of the twiggy look and 6 months looking lush.


If you want the 'hedge' to thicken up at the base, in a couple of years' time I'd take some of the oldest stems out down near ground level.  The bushes will then grow new shoots from the base.  If you remove a few each winter that will keep the hedge young and fresh and thick and stop it getting straggly. 

Well, it's all done, dusted and sorted. Agree with dove.  

An opportunity to talk to your neighbour and ask for her advice and comments, that you would like to know how YOU should cut it back in future and when. Probably all this has been a good know both your neighbour and your hedge