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Trees can be an asset around your yard, but how do you deal with your neighbors’ trees when their branches extend over into your property? What are the laws about trimming or pruning their trees?

The best way to figure out how to handle the situation is to go over and have a conversation about which tree you’re concerned with.  You both may be able to come to a solution that works best for both of you. However, trees problems can be tricky. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about trees on you and your neighbor’s property.

  1. Am I able to cut down my neighbor’s tree?
    Of course not!  You also cannot hire an arborist to come chop down the tree.  If the truck is located on your neighbor’s property, even if the tree branches extend into your yard, it is their property.  If you do go onto your neighbor’s property and harm or alter the tree in any way without their permission, you may be liable for three times the amount of the tree, and charged with trespassing.
  2.  Can I cut down branches that extend across my property line?
    Yes, you are allowed to cut branches that come across your property line, however, you may be responsible if their tree is damaged as a result of your pruning.  You are not allowed onto your neighbor’s property to trim any branches on that side of the property line, and you can only trim branches up to your property line.
  3.  Can my neighbor make me cut down my tree?
    No, your neighbor cannot make you chop down your tree, but you can be held     responsible if you do not cut down your tree and your tree falls over and damages your neighbor’s property.  Call your local government if you fear that a tree may cause damages to your property. A professional can come out and assess the situation.
  4.  Who owns the tree if it’s on the property line?
    In this case, you would both be responsible for the care and maintenance of the tree.  If you wanted to cut the tree down, you would have to consult your neighbor to make sure it was alright with them.  A mediator can be hired to help negotiate what will happen with the tree.

With any situation involving property, consult your local and state laws to make sure you aren’t breaking any laws.