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.

1 comment:

  1. This makes no sense to me. So you can trim a tree if it's hanging over into your yard, but not eat the fruit if it's also on your side. That doesn't seem logical at all. I sometimes find laws to be really contradictory. So if you cut a low hanging limb that is on your side and there is fruit on it, is that stealing their fruit?
    Claudia Rosenburg |