Can you trim the roots and branches of neighbor's tree?


You can trim those roots and branches of neighbor's tree that come over your property line. You must be reasonable and you cannot go onto your neighbor's property without their permission.


Rob: I want to follow up on another tree question regarding a tree, an oak tree that's in a neighbor's yard. The roots have really gotten large. It's destroyed my neighbor's driveway completely and it's buckled up my entry sidewalk that's probably within four feet of my house. What I'm concerned about is the roots getting up underneath the foundation. I talked to the lady, she doesn't mind the tree being removed, but she cannot afford it.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Okay, and?

Rob: I don't think my insurance will cover damage to my structure based on that.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Rob, you have a right to trim all tree branches and all tree roots that come over onto your property as long as you don't' damage or destroy the tree. So Rob, a better relief for you might be to trim those tree roots back as long as it's not going to kill the tree or make it dangerous. Could you do that?

Rob: I don't know. I have not had anybody out there to actually try to get to the entire root system. This is a pretty massive tree. It's destroying her house and it's going to destroy my house. I just feel that. With all the sidewalks buckling and her driveway completely destroyed. I could probably go on ahead and approach her and pay for it maybe, but is there a way of going through the legal system and putting a lien on the property or whatever?

Attorney Tom Olsen: No, Rob. You cannot make her pay to remove that tree. If you want it removed, you're going to have to pay to do it, but get her permission as well. Rob, I think you need to talk to an arborist about cutting enough roots to protect your property without damaging or destroying the tree. That maybe your cheapest way out of this. Good luck to you, Rob.