Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Neighbors and Trees and Legalese: Everything You Need To Know

Trim the overhang? Eat the fruit? What's legal & what's not?
Ever wanted to tame your neighbor’s overhanging tree or shrub but weren’t sure about your rights? Better safe than sorry. In the tree service business, there is a fine line between homeowner happiness and increased liability. Let's face it, a dispute with your neighbors can exhaust a significant amount of peace of mind. This is one reason why hiring the right professional tree service is crucial! In the meantime, Signature Tree Service is hoping this blog article may save you a little time and hassle. With a clear understanding of the law and your environment, you will know where to draw the line with neighbors without drawing in liability. One idea is to print/share this article with your neighbors anonymously so all connected property owners are educated on the facts to promote healthy coexisting, and community peace of mind.

Here Are The Most Frequently Asked Questions on Trees and Neighbors:

Q: In case my neighbor’s tree branches hang over my yard do I have the right to trim them?

A: According to the law you have the right to trim the limbs and branches that go beyond your property line, but understand that you cannot cross to the neighbor’s property and cut or destroy the tree. If this happen you will be liable for its destruction.

Q: Can I eat fruits from my neighbors tree which hangs over my property?

A: This is a definite no! The fruit belongs to your neighbor and you have no right to pick any of the fruits. There is some confusion when it comes to a fallen fruits as the courts seem divided on this issue. 

Q: My neighbor’s tree sheds leaves into my yard when the wind blows, can I file a nuisance claim?

A: Leaves are usually regarded as natural, therefore you do not have good nuisance claim over the matter. It may be disappointing to know that even if they cause damage in your yard you cannot make any legal claims against your neighbor. It is only when the tree is hanging over your property that you are entitled to trimming of the hanging branches.

Q: A large tree hangs its branches over my property but the trunk is located in my neighbor’s, land, can I claim ownership of the tree?

A: The tree is owned by your neighbor, as long as the trunk is in the neighbor’s property he or she has the all the rights .You can only claim co ownership if the tree trunk cut across the property border. In such a case each of you can claim shared responsibility for the tree.

Q: If my neighbor, in the process of digging up in his land, destroyed a tree which was on my side, can I claim compensation for the tree that was destroyed?

A: You have an absolute right to claim compensation for the damages. Your neighbor should have engaged you and received permission before digging near your landscaping.

Q: Where can I get more information on what the laws in Northern California say trees and my neighbor?

A: We found helpful information online at You may also seek the guidance of a certified arborist to get advice about a specific tree situation and avoid conflicts with your neighbors. Signature Tree Service is happy to help you understand more about the species of tree, its risk and our local laws. Call us anytime to schedule an appointment with Curtis Fosnaugh, Certified Arborist and Tree Risk Assessor at 707-449-8653.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Shopping Local: How Overthinking Can Remove Choice

On A Personal Note...

Signature Tree Service has always prided itself on being a local business. Owner, Curtis Fosnaugh, loves his home turf in the countryside of Northern California. Having grown up here, Curtis has a natural affinity for agriculture and horticulture. From there, came his love of trees.

We've developed over the years due to demand for quality by consumers that Curtis is driven to satisfy. Signature Tree was fortunate that customer satisfaction, referrals and repeat business saw us through The Great Recession. And we’ve added satellite offices and crews to cover areas where we were getting calls but could not service locally before.

Recently, we were not chosen for a job in Sonoma because we are a Vacaville based company, just 35 miles from Sonoma! And, although our marketing agency is based in Sonoma County and we have many local ties to the area (referral networks, friends/followers, Home & Garden Shows, satellite office), our neighbors in this particular scenario felt Signature Tree was too far to be local.

Northern California is our home and we wouldn’t trade it for the world! So let’s talk local…

Local vs. Regional vs. National

You would think that “local” in California is a larger footprint than in, say, tiny Rhode Island, but due to the awareness of buying local among highly conscious Northern Californians, it remains quite small in our area. When consumers here want “local”, they are talking within about 20 miles or less. This is micro-local. Anytime you can shop on a micro-local way, it’s the most effective place to start when shopping local.

The challenge is that micro-local can remove choice. Control over the quality of service/product is reduced when variety and competition are slim. The product or service within 20 miles may not be as high of quality as a “regionally-local” item from the next county over. 

Local job: Root collar exam, Napa. April, 2014
This is why regionally local is a completely acceptable form of shopping local. Regionally-local is the next best thing to micro-local. Some of the revenue and tax dollars will remain in your county, and all state taxes are recycled. Also, the company providing the product/service is likely hiring individuals from your county so local economic development (LED) is happening and strengthening local economy (i.e., our marketing agency being based in Sonoma County).

National companies are the antithesis of “local”. They often talk the talk about having local franchise owners and employees but when it comes down to it, most of the revenue from national companies goes back to their home state. 

One of the ways national companies grab business from smaller local/regional mom & pops is through a strong online presence. National companies have a larger marketing budget, allowing them a strong reach to consumers. And it works! Often, consumers will see 72 reviews and pick up the phone without considering whether the company is local, regional or national.

NorCal Supporting NorCal

Signature Tree Service always appreciates doing business locally. No matter where the job, you will NOT find Curtis frequenting franchise restaurants—ONLY locally owned and operated.

We are proud to be Northern California’s local and regionally-local Certified Arborist and Tree Risk Assessor. We proudly open the doors to quality and local competition that is healthy for our communities, economies, and of course, trees! 

If you have a question or need our help, feel free to call Signature Tree Service at 707-449-8653.