Trees are sources of beauty, as well as frequent sources of conflict between neighbors. A neighbor’s tree can grow so that branches or roots encroach on your yard, causing actual or potential damage. If you’re facing such a situation, understand your rights so you can decide how to address it.
Branches Hanging Over Your Yard
If the trunk of a tree is located in your neighbor’s yard, but branches extend onto your property, the neighbor is the legal owner of the tree. That means you can’t cut it down, but you do have the right to trim any branches that hang over your yard to avoid damage to your property.
Before you start trimming, notify your neighbor to give him or her an opportunity to address the problem. If the neighbor fails to take action, you may trim the branches yourself, as long as you don’t cut any branches beyond the property line or trim the tree so much that its structural integrity or cosmetic appearance is affected. You may not enter your neighbor’s property to trim branches unless there’s a risk of imminent and grave harm.
Issues With Leaves, Acorns and Fruit
A neighbor’s tree branches encroaching on your yard can allow leaves and acorns to litter your lawn and clog your gutters. The neighbor isn’t responsible for fallen leaves or acorns, since those are natural occurrences, but you can trim branches that extend onto your property.
Fruit that’s still on your neighbor’s tree belongs to your neighbor, even if the branch it’s attached to is hanging over your property. State and local laws vary when it comes to ownership of fruit that has fallen from a tree.
Damage to Your Property Caused by Your Neighbor’s Tree
A neighbor’s tree branch that hangs over your property may fall in a storm, resulting in damage to your home, car or other possessions. If the neighbor took reasonable care of the tree and a storm caused a healthy branch to fall, it’ll be considered an Act of God, and the neighbor won’t be held responsible. If the tree was dead or diseased, and the neighbor was warned but did nothing about it, you may be compensated for damage to your property.
Sometimes a tree on one person’s property has roots that extend so far that they damage a fence on the adjacent property. If that has happened, your neighbor could be required to remove the tree. Your options may be limited if the tree is situated on the property line and the roots extend into your yard and damage a fence located entirely on your property. Check your state law.
Try to Work Things out
If your neighbor’s tree is encroaching on your property, attempt to resolve the problem with a friendly conversation. If that fails, you may have to contact the local government or take your neighbor to court to address the issue.
Hi, My next door neighbour has a berry tree that is damaging my interlock and becoming a nuisance with my grandchildren and my dog. The berries are staining the clothes, my dog’s paws are wet with berry stains coming into the house on my wood floors. Last July I lost my husband and I asked them to remove the branches from my side. They got someone in to cut the branches but the branches are still on my side. I recently spoke to the neighbour and told them that it is a big problem in my back yard, he said that the berries get all over his children too, but that’s not my problem the tree is his. Also I am 67 years old and have to maintain my lawn on my own which is not easy. Please advise me what to do. He said he will look into it but how long should I wait.
You might want to go ahead and speak with the City Government about your neighbor’s tree damaging your property and see if there is a case there.
I have three trees on my neighbors property that are close to my property line.two trees Large branches have fallen on my driveway. Fortunately , not when my cars or I were in driveway..they would have killed me if they had fallen on me. I paid for removal even parts of branches on my neighbors property. We ( me and neighbor) hired a tree company to trim the trees. But branches continue to turn brown and large branches fall. It has happened three times. The tree company said He cannot/just cut branches overhanging my property unless he cuts branches to balance the tree. If I hire an aborist to submit a report on the dangers to my propert or life will that be sufficient to fotce my neighbor to trim or=cut down a tree
My neighbor’s tree is damaging my cars. If I park in my driveway tiny amounts of oil like drops are getting attached to my cars. It’s extremely hard to remove that from my cars. I have asked my neighbor if he would allow me to pay to remove it but his answer is no. Can I do something about it?
My neighbor has maintained blighted walnut trees over my driveway, house, storage unit and walking paths for years and has caused damage to gutters, roof and even caused injuries. We researched the real estate history, and all the red flags for equity skimming had been done. It turns out her family member exited to Canada with a second Canadian who bought our house at an inflated price, installed skylights under the trees and then abandoned the house to short sale. Neighborhood “friends” moved in to the attic to party and grow a pot farm. This crowd even came with a Health Department link who closed our complaint of ripped vinyl siding and dented gutters claiming the trees were “healthy”. We still can’t conveniently park our car, and are on lookout for falling branches and rotten walnuts everywhere. Having our house appraised and keeping photos of damages is our plan, with lawsuit for intentional neglect and physical harm down the road. Lesson learned – red flags could mean your neighbor wants to buy your damaged house for a discount. Don’t give in.
I have been advised by two tree service companies that it is not my responsibility here in the state of new york go trim my tree hemlock branches that grow on my neighbors side of the fence.
Is that true?
Can you cite the law so I can show my neighbor?
What do tree service companies know about your responsibility to take care of your tree? It is your responsibility to trim your tree, not your neighbor’s responsibility. What is wrong with you that you do not love your neighbor enough to see that your tree is not impacting you neighbor? Did your neighbor plant the tree on your property? Does your tree impose on your neighbors property? Should your neighbor endure an imposition to your property? Grow up (be responsible for your actions, maintain your tree) and do the right thing. Prune your tree so your neighbor does not hate you.
Who is responsible for the branches after they are cut? Does the owner of the tree have to dispose of the branches or the person who cut the branches?
i have a tree that is solely my neighbors tree. almost 90 percent of the tree branches are in my yard and affecting the roof of my garage and if it falls will take out my garage and the back half of my house. Besides baring the expense of hiring a tree cutter why is it my resonsiblity to trim his his tree?
can he deny me from trimming his tree that over hangs my hard and could cause major damage to my property.
My neighbor who has a full time gardener has let his tree grow uncontrollably over our garage. And he refuses to do anything about it. We’ve tried talking to him multiple times that even if we cut it it will continue to grow and it will cost us a lot to continuously hire someone to cut it. He refuses to help or even offer to have his gardener maintain his tree. All he says is if you want to cut it, cut it. We even had a tree trimmer guy come by for an estimate and he refused to talk to him even though the tree trimmer said that the tree branches could potentially damage our house. What else can we do to resolve this situation? What can we do to prevent the tree from growing back over our yard?
My neighbors tree branches extend into my yard i asked him to trim it but he fails to do so..This has been ongoing for over 20 years.Tomorrow im hiring a tree trimmer to cut the branches that extend on to my property..Im fed up with asking my neighbor to trim his tree because it makes my property look bad and his tree snuff the life out of my plants because of the lack of sun..What is my legal position after the job has been done? I’m thinking compensation or at least half of the cost of my out of pocket expense $$$
How can we get a neighbor to cut their tree down, if the roots are damaging your new driveway?
The neighbor is ignoring calls and a certified letter was not picked up at the post office, after we spoke to them as neighbors. It is now going on two months.
Did you ever figure out this situation? I have a similar experience going on and wondering how to go about it.
My neighbors trees are the full lenght of the side of my house. I am 66 yrs old. I can nolonger take care of his trees. they are two feet from hitting my house. I have no way I can use that side Of my back yard. I live on a fixed income and no way can I have them cut. He tells me they are his gift to me. How is this fair?
Behind my backyard fence is a wooded area. During the last hurricane a large oak tree leaned 45 over my newly installed fence and my shed . It’s inevitable to fall. I mailed return reciept letter and picture to the person owning the property hoping they will cut it down before it falls . When it falls who is responsible ? Since it hasn’t fallen yet is that still considered an act of God or giving the owner fair warning makes him/ her responsible ?
I also have a neighbors tree problem. When I bought my home in 2018 my backyard cement patio and fence was straight. In2019 I noticed that the fence is being pushed upward and the patio slads are inching up and cracking. In 2020 I had a tree company cut 4 big limbs of my neighbors tree that was hanging over my garage. I thought maybe that would help stop the cracking of my patio and further damage to my fence. But the tree continues to grow and now the lifting is spreading even more. So basically the tree continues to grow and make my fence worse and the patio as well. I am truly concerned. I called an arborist and he said that the tree is healthy and doesn’t need to be cut but I told him how it’s damaging my fence and foundation in my yard. It’s getting worse by the year. I need to do something soon. I can’t just ignore this any li get. I live in North Plainfield NJ and just wondering what can I do?what
I forgot to mention that my neighbors tree is literally braking my fence apart. It’s lifting the fence upward and the nails are all coming apart and a few slabs are already cracked. I am so worried that by next year it will brake apart if I don’t act. And I have a German Shepard that I am with in the yard and worried that one day he might want get out. This is why I have to do something besides the fact that my neighbors tree is damaging my fence and cement patio and foundation. It’s getting worse by the year. It’s all I think about. Lately I have trouble sleeping and also I think about this everyday now. Please can someone advise me what I need to do. I am in North Plainfield Nj. Please send me all the advice. What can I do. Please help.
My neighbor has a large sycamore tree on their property line on their property. The limbs hang in my yard and over my home while the roots extend into my yard and have caused my sprinkler system pipes to break. What rights do I have to have the neighbor correct this?