Trees on Property Line: Conflicts and Responsibilities

Trees provide property owners with many benefits, ranging from shade in the summer to protection from storms, a place for their children to play, and more. However, a tree on a property line between you and your neighbor can also cause tension. 

For example, your neighbor’s tree may have branches hanging over your yard. You may wonder if you have the legal right to trim these branches. 

Tree owners need to know their rights and responsibilities. This guide will explore trees and how property lines come into play. Once you know your role in things, schedule effective tree services by Starwood Tree Service in Cortland to keep you and your neighbors safe and happy. 

What to Know About Trees on or Near Property Lines 

When a tree sits on a property line between two neighbors, both neighbors share the tree’s value. Additionally, both neighbors are responsible for adequately maintaining the side of the tree on their property. Here are some specifics on what you can do to care for your shared tree:

Are You Allowed to Trim a Boundary Tree? 

As a property owner, you can trim or prune the tree section on your property line. However, unless there’s an apparent hazard, you’re not allowed to cut your neighbor’s section of the tree. 

You’re also not allowed to damage or destroy a tree without your neighbor giving you consent. Unfortunately, this means improper pruning or trimming techniques can lead to conflicts, as they can cause damage. Using chemicals that damage your neighbor’s tree is also forbidden. 

Can You Trim Branches Hanging Over Your Yard? 

While you usually don’t have the legal right to remove a tree on a property line, you can trim branches hanging over your yard. Even if the tree in question doesn’t sit in your yard, you can still trim these extending branches since they are technically on your property. 

Can You Remove Dangerous Tree Roots? 

Besides removing hanging branches, you’re also allowed to remove dangerous roots growing into your underground piping system. Even if the tree trunk completely sits in your neighbor’s yard, you can still eliminate these hazardous roots. 

However, you’re also generally responsible for this cost and any damage caused to the tree in the process. Therefore, to avoid trouble with your neighbor’s insurance company, it’s best to contact a certified arborist. 

Can You Eat Fruit Hanging Over Your Yard? 

If your neighbor owns a fruit tree with branches hanging over your yard, it can be tempting to snag a fruit or two. However, these fruits technically belong to your neighbor and are considered their property. 

Who’s Responsible if a Tree Falls? 

While the law can vary, in most areas, a property owner remains responsible for any natural boundary tree damage on their property. Also called acts of God, these events include hurricanes, rainstorms, lightning strikes, snowstorms, etc. 

The main exceptions for weather-related events are when you can link them back to negligence. For example, if your neighbor has a tree that’s been dead for several years and a sudden storm finally causes the tree to fall on your property, they might be liable. 

Of course, if a homeowner attempts to remove a tree and it falls, causing damage to your property, they will be liable. To avoid these risks, trust tree care professionals to remove a tree while avoiding property damage expertly. 

Call Starwood Tree Service Today 

Trees on property lines can cause tension between neighbors, so it’s best to hire a third party to maintain those trees. Our Starwood Tree Service can help remove any troublesome tree, keeping you and your neighbor on good terms. 

Want to learn more? Discover common tree cutting mistakes here. Then, call our team at (330) 231-5022 to schedule service! 

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