In our backyard, we have a berm that provides a modicum of physical separation between our property and the train tracks that are on the other side. There is no safety fence or sound wall, just the berm.
Technically speaking, the berm is owned by the railroad that operates those tracks, in this case, the Union Pacific Railroad or UP-W(est). Owning the berm means that they are responsible for upkeep of the berm. Care to guess how much time has been logged by UP in their maintenance of the berm in either my backyard or those of my neighbors? In the last 14 years, zero. They do not come out and clean up the weeds or cut out dead trees or plant new flora or anything of the sort.
As a result of this lack of maintenance, our HOA has actually had basic maintenance tended to by our contracted grounds crew. They would come out and edge the grass around the berm, trim dead or overgrown branches, and they even mulched once or twice in the time we've lived here. Due to rising expenses, though, this work has lessened over the years to the point where nothing is done now by our grounds crew. I can't fault them. They tried.
Katie and I have taken some of that work upon ourselves. We planted some boxwood bushes, cut off dead branches, and we've even mulched a couple times. But it's not always easy to keep up with it all. There are weeds that we saw growing on the far side of the berm that we've watched grow steadily closer to and finally migrate up and over the berm over the years. Our berm was actually pretty nice and green until you realize that 90% of that greenery was weeds.
Yesterday, we went out back and removed as much of the junk as we could.
(We never took a “before” shot of our own yard, so this is a photo of part of the berm in our neighbor’s yard so you get an idea how overgrown it has gotten... our berm was actually worse.)
Some of them refused to let go with some ridiculously strong and deep tap roots, which are unlike anything we've seen in typical weeds. It was a couple hours of work, but it looks so much better.
I just wish the railroad would get out here and check out all they need to do to make things right by us. I know it would be a lot of work and money they don't want to spend, but I would think the damage that could potentially result from a lack of oversight would be far more expensive ultimately.
Oh, wait... insurance. The corporate safety net.