If you have your own land, then you should know who is responsible for cutting overhanging tree branches. You had probably encountered situations when the branches of your neighbors’ trees hung over your property. But there are certain rights that you have concerning the part of the tree hanging over your site.
The best solution is to personally talk to your neighbor about trees. However, before that, we advise you to gain experience and read our article.
The neighbor’s trees overhanging your property can be a problem for the following reasons:
- they block sunlight;
- they give unwanted pollen, leaves, and acorns;
- they pose a danger to people and property;
Overhanging branches, especially if they are in poor condition, can cause a conflict between neighbors. Before taking any action, find out your rights and responsibilities in this matter.
Understand Tree Ownership and Who Is Responsible For Overhanging Tree Branches
You definitely need to establish ownership of the tree in order to understand who is responsible for the branches hanging over another territory. By definition, the owner of a tree is the one on whose territory the tree trunk is located.
The tree on your aspect of the property line belongs to you, and the tree on the alternative aspect of the road belongs to your neighbor.
To perform actions on a tree, the owners of the tree must give their consent. But the rules can change depending on the city or region.
For example, in the state of Texas, a person is not required to cut healthy branches of a tree, even if they cross the line of a neighbor’s property and bring him any harm.
In any case, the decision on what to do with the tree must be approved by you and your neighbor!
If a tree trunk is in your territory, you are responsible for its health and dangerous situations caused by the tree.
To answer the question of who is responsible for trimming tree limbs, it should be noted that by law, you have the right to cut down those branches of a tree that have crossed your line of property.
Do not cross the boundaries of your personal site! If you damage the branches or the tree itself on the neighbor’s side (even on their side of the fence), you can be charged for more than the tree price.
Garden and ornamental trees are very expensive, so you shouldn’t complicate your life and violate your neighbor’s property.
What Responsibilities Do You Have As a Property Owner
If there are branches of your tree hanging over the border in another backyard, you must:
- deal with damaged or unhealthy branches;
- be legally liable if overhanging branches caused damage to people or your neighbors’ property;
- monitor the condition of your garden and eliminate hazards from weak or rotten branches;
- maintain the health and stability of your tree branches;
- comply with a neighbor’s request for a tree if it is dangerous or inconvenient;
If you wonder who is responsible for trimming tree limbs, then you need to understand that every homeowner has a “general responsibility to take care of the trees” growing on his territory. Remember that you are responsible for any damage that has been done.
For example, if your tree has a branch that carries a potential danger and has been leaning strongly over your neighbor’s house for several years (and the neighbor has already warned you about this), and you ignored it, and the branch finally fell, it is your fault.
You will be held accountable because you knew about the problem but did not solve it.
A tree owner who ignores this responsibility and fails to properly prune an unhealthy tree will be held liable for any injury or damage caused by fallen branches!
Neighbors don’t have to take the law into their own hands and solve the problems associated with your trees. They may require to cut down the tree or special services will do it.
You are not only responsible for tree particles that have fallen to another area: leaves, acorns, etc.
Please note that you are also not responsible for a healthy tree resulting from natural growth (the “Act of God” defense). But you cannot use this law if the damage could have been prevented thanks to your foresight.
What Rights Do You Have As a Property Owner
In addition to certain responsibilities, you also have rights as the owner of the tree. Of course, your neighbor can cut the branches overhanging his property, but he has no right to do this on your site without your permission.
You can only trim the branches of your neighbor’s tree overhanging your property with the following restrictions:
- the tree can only be trimmed to the property line;
- you (not your neighbor) cover the cost of pruning branches overhanging your property;
- pruning branches should not harm the health of the tree;
The court confirmed that the rights of homeowners regarding trees are unrestricted within their line of property.
Remember that you are protected by law from a neighbor’s invasion. Moreover, the neighbor must ensure that any of his actions (even within the limits of his part of the fence) will not harm the tree or kill it.
Why Is “Good Neighbor Policy” Important
This rule means that you should forge a friendly relationship with your neighbor to solve the problem with the tree on the property line. At first, your neighbor may complain that the branch of your tree is hanging strongly over his area and may cause damage.
It’s normal when a neighbor asks you to cut a branch or asks your permission to do it yourself. If you ignore his requests, the neighbor may contact a lawyer or lumberjack to help alleviate the problem.
All decisions on this issue are made by the court or mediator, and specific actions must be photographed and documented.
Video: Who is responsible for cutting overhanging tree branches?
Can you trim your neighbor’s tree overhanging your property? Instruction on what to think and to do about overhanging tree branches. Practical answers in this video.
Consider the health and condition of the tree before chopping down overhanging branches! However, we do not advise you to decide on your own about the trees near your neighbors’ property line, unless you have already agreed with the neighbor.
There is a large network of experienced tree maintenance companies that are constantly working with homeowners who have these problems.
The list of companies is constantly growing to help you save time and money. We can also recommend the services of John D. Perches, who is an attorney/shareholder at Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick.
In addition, to view past events related to the problem of overhanging branches, go to Berkeley Parents Network. Here you can look at both sides of a well-defined tree boundary question and decide for yourself who is right and who is wrong.
The 1994 Bosca v. Patel case rose to prominence when a California court ruled that a neighbor has no absolute right to cut off encroaching roots and branches so that they end on his or her line of property.
Regardless of who is responsible for cutting tree branches, respect your neighbors and their property, and keep your trees healthy.
Only mutual respect will help solve this problem!
P.S. – the article is intended only for a general understanding of the law. Consult a lawyer for specific circumstances.