Do you have a neighbor’s tree that is impacting your property in some way? Even if a tree isn’t located on your property, it could certainly be affecting it—and you might be wondering what you can do.
This can definitely be a sticky situation. But there are solutions. Having been in the tree care business for decades, we have seen many different situations and received numerous questions about how to handle them.
In this article, we’ll help answer some of those questions so that you can get back to enjoying your property to the fullest.
Can I Trim My Neighbor’s Tree?
As you might imagine, a common question that we receive has to do with trimming or pruning a tree that does not originate on the homeowner’s property.
Homeowners might call us and say, “my neighbor’s tree is touching my house,” or “my neighbor’s tree is overhanging my property,” and they want to know what they can do about those limbs. The good news is that you do have the right to prune or remove any questionable limbs or branches that hang over your property line.
If it’s on your side of the property line, you have the right to deal with it. That being said, there are still some steps we’d advise you to take.
Review Your Property Deed
First, make sure the tree parts you are planning to deal with truly are on your side of the property line. You can review your property deed to verify exactly where your property lines are located. Keep in mind that even if there is a fence, many fences aren’t always exactly on a property line. We have seen many situations where a fence was further on one side or another (even if they weren’t supposed to be). You should still review your property deed.
Communicate with Your Neighbor
Of course, we still would always recommend that you have a discussion with your neighbor ahead of making any plans. If you are just having branches that are touching your home trimmed, you’ll be responsible for the cost.
However, if you have a discussion with your neighbor, oftentimes they might be willing to have the entire tree pruned, and you can work out arrangements to split the cost.
But even putting the cost discussion aside, having a conversation ahead of time is just a good way to avoid preventable problems with your neighbor. Open communication is always key. If you feel more comfortable with some professional information on your side, you can contact a certified arborist to evaluate the situation.
Let Your Certified Arborist Help
If you have a good relationship with that neighbor, it often helps to have a conversation prior to even bringing someone out to inspect the tree to avoid any awkward situations. However, if you feel more comfortable having your Certified Arborist communicate with your neighbor on your behalf, that can work, too.
At Joshua Tree, we can write a letter complete with our findings and recommendations on professional letterhead so that you can show it to your neighbor as proof of your concerns if necessary.
A Word on the Importance of Proper Pruning When Dealing with a Neighbor’s Tree (or Any Tree for that Matter!)
One thing that we would advise against is ever cutting without communicating. You might be wondering why you really have to talk to your neighbor if the tree limbs are on your side of the property. But if you were to ever improperly prune the tree, and cause damage, you would be legally liable for the tree.
Who is Responsible for Neighbor’s Tree Falling on House?
Maybe your concern about a neighbor’s tree is more than just a simple trimming need. Perhaps you are fearful that the tree could actually fall on your home. It might not look like it’s in the best shape or maybe it has even dropped a limb into your yard.
You might be wondering if it falls, am I responsible?
This can be difficult. Most of the time if a tree falls on your home, even if it originated from a neighbor’s property, it will be your homeowner’s insurance that covers it. It’s your property so it becomes your responsibility. We understand that this is not what homeowners want to hear but it’s important to recognize that this is how it works.
However, if it can be determined that the tree was dead (and that is documented), then it will fall back on the neighbor that owns the tree.
If you have concerns about your neighbor’s tree, it is definitely worthwhile to have a conversation with that neighbor. We often work with homeowners who decide to have a tree removed and split the cost with their neighbors. Oftentimes, there are benefits to both sets of homeowners if a tree is in bad shape and needs to be removed.
Working with a Tree Care Professional Who Will Set You Up for Success
We understand that tree issues can be complicated—and dealing with a tree that doesn’t even originate from your property can add even more confusion. But having a tree care expert perform an assessment can give you some peace of mind as far as what actions you can take.
At the end of the day, you shouldn’t have to worry when you just want to be enjoying your property to the fullest. Whether it’s your tree or a neighbor’s, with a tree care professional on your side, you can be set up for the best possible success.
If you’d like to have a tree on your Allentown or Lansdale, PA area property assessed, contact us for a free consultation. Then you can rest assured knowing that we’ve got it completely under control.