They say fences make good neighbors, and for the most part that is true. But what about unsightly trees that invade your space and tree limbs that don't respect boundaries crossing the fence line? Is there anything you can do about it?
What Can You Do Legally?
Legally, you can't go over and trim trees on other people's property, but there are some rules you can follow to maintain your landscape, even if the neighboring yard is unsightly.
Try a Friendly Talk
Before taking any action, first go over and chat with your neighbor to come up with a solution. Maybe your neighbor just doesn't have the time or resources to trim trees. It's important to understand the other side's story, so working together you can come up with a solution.
Maybe your neighbor thinks the unsightly tree is fine and doesn't feel tree trimming is necessary. In this case, you need to walk away and do what within your legal limits.
Try Trimming on Your Side
Check local laws first, but in most states, local laws do allow you to prune or trim parts of a neighboring without permission if a tree's branches cross over the property line. While trimming, only prune up to the property line and stay in your yard. Keep in mind that if your pruning or trimming damages the tree in any way, you may be held liable for that damage.
If you have a black thumb or are not experienced, it's best to hire a professional tree trimming service and ensure it's done correctly so the tree is not harmed.
What About Trees Posing a Hazard?
Legally, you can't force a neighbor to cut down a tree on his or her own property, even if you believe it poses a hazard. Again, try talking with your neighbor and explain why you feel the tree is dangerous and should be removed or trimmed. Add in a gentle reminder that if the tree damages your property, he or she may be held liable.
What Happen If There's No Agreement?
The worst-case scenario is that you take your neighbor to court, but this should be a last resort to keep the peace. There are other solutions, such as offering to help pay for tree trimming or removal services. Consider hiring a mediator to take a look at the tree in question and offer a professional opinion. Work together to come up with a solution that satisfies both parties.
For more information about tree trimming, talk to a company like Treetime Inc.