Can I trim my neighbor's tree?


You can trim the branches of your neighbor's tree that hang over your property line as long as you are reasonable and as long as you don't go your neighbor's property without permission.


Attorney Tom Olsen: Laurie, you're on News 96:5. Go ahead.

Laurie: I'm talking about my neighbor's tree. I live in a housing plan and the base of the tree is only a foot off my property. Half of the tree is over my deck and my house.

Attorney Tom Olsen: You mean the limbs?

Laurie: The limbs, yes. It's a big tree.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Well, Laurie, if this is what you're asking me, Laurie, your property line goes down to the center of the Earth and it goes up into space. Any branches that are hanging over your property line, you have a right to trim, with these qualifications. Number one, you may not go on your neighbor's property unless they give you permission to do so. Number two, you have to be reasonable. You couldn't just shave it right down the side of your property line but you can trim branches as long as you're reasonable. Does that answer your question for you, Laurie?

Laurie: Is there any way to get them to cut the tree or to remove the tree? All this stuff is going on my porch and on my property. It's ruining my quality of life.

Attorney Tom Olsen: The only way to get leverage over your neighbor to force them to remove that tree is if it is dead, dying, damaged or diseased. Stated it another way, if it's healthy there's nothing you can do to make them do that for you?

Laurie: How about there's all this stuff coming on my property. Like I said, the trunk of the tree is only one foot off of my property. The stem and everything, it's massive. Acorns and everything's on my property. Is there anything I can do about that?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Laurie, I'm going to stick to the answer that I gave you, and based on what you're telling me so far, the answer is no unless you want to reasonably trim, at your own expense, some of those tree branches that hang over your property line. Good luck to you, Laurie.