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Question DetailsAsked on 6/26/2015

Poison ivy and poison sumac

Can i force my neighbor to eradicate his overabundance in poison ivy and poison sumac plants that cause me a great deal of discomfort and send me to the dr.s 3× this year already ? I am 91-year old and can't deal with the truly horrendous rushes anymore !

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1 Answer


Yes, with difficulty, unless you are in an area where they naturally occur everywhere in the locale, in which case you could never prove his are causing your problem.

Would take one of two things - an action by the local government under a noxious weed abatement program if such exists in your town or county.

Second route is harder - would require a court action (or at least threat of one) for maintaining a public nuisance or for trespass. The former claim can succeed if you can show direct harm from actions or plantings on his property that would be expected to harm the general public - which those two plants most likely would qualify as. The trespass approach would be harder to win at - because courts generally hold that natural things like pollen and leaves are the problem of who's property they end up on, not the owner of the plant. However, there are exceptions where people have won such cases - farmers with invasive plants on adjacent fields and cases where seriously invasive species like thistle and such drift seeds across property lines. Would take an attorney and can take a lot of bucks to win that type of case, though you might get some response with a letter from an attorney.

Of course, if they are removed you need to take measures to be sure they are not burned, and during cutting they will be releasing more irritants that might cause flareup of the effect for several days.

Would probably be a LOT cheaper to offer to pay to have them sprayed and killed, then cut down after they die off - and pay for a respray every year on the poisonous varieties as long as you live there, because even if you won a lawsuit (unless maintaining such plants are illegal in your locale) you would still pay the costs of pursuing the suit even if the court ordered the neighbor abate them, which is likely a lot more than the cost of abatement.

I would also look into allergy shots - my father was pretty sensitive to those two and also to spanish thistle and poison oak - once-yearly shots took it down to the point of negligable irritation as long as he did not actuaslly get into cutting or brushing against them - as long as they are not burnt, of course, which spreads the irritants very widely and would clearly be a public hazard.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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