Special offer
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!, St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent (Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374)

Spam prevention
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

the neighbor owns up to his property line and that includes above it to the heavens and below to hell....yes, he can cut those branches....

Oct 04, 2017 01:36 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Oswego, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Ask the neighbor to have it trimmed for safety reasons. Should they refuse you can cut it back to the property line. They cannot encroach!

Oct 04, 2017 01:44 PM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

I'm going to be interested in seeing the answers from all over the country, and hope that some of the attorneys among us will weigh in. Because I think it's the tree owner's responsibility to keep that tree trimmed back to where it does not encroach. So if it was my neighbor, I would request that they have the tree trimmed back to where it cannot fall over into my yard. If they refuse, I would probably contact my attorney to make sure it's okay for me to do so. I wouldn't want to wait until a problem came up.

Oct 04, 2017 01:36 PM
Chuck Mixon
The Keyes Company - Cutler Bay, FL
Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR

It is not a clear CUT answer. Sure the tree is encroaching onto your property, but is cut back to the point that tree is out of balance to the point the topples over and does damage to the property of the tree owner, it most likely will be found that the actions of trim resulted in the cause of the damage.

A court found in the favor of the tree owner, that the tree was out of balance. Due to extreme cutting on one side, this caused it to fall and cause damage to the owners home.  Experts  explained that the tree had withstood  years  and many hurricanes. The tree fell over 3 month after being trimmed in a minor thunderstorm. they argued that the tree should be trimmed on all sides equally would of reduced that chance of the tree falling over. 

So be careful with trimming trees and try to make all parties happy and agree  before work begins.

Oct 04, 2017 04:38 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

I don’t think it is always a simple matter as there may be local regulations. It would seem best to have the “owner” of the tree take care of the issue. Consulting an attorney might be prudent.

Oct 04, 2017 01:51 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Wanda Kubat-Nerdin I would say if it was a nuisance encroachment, they could trim the tree. However, asking permission keeps good neighborhood relationships.

Oct 04, 2017 01:37 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

It occupies air 'over' the neighbor's property - it's absolutely his/her right to trim it. 

Most 'nice' neighbors alert the owner of the root of the tree first though!

Oct 04, 2017 05:02 PM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!

You are allowed to trim the portions that overhang your yard... but nothing that could damage the viability of the tree.  So it's probably best to hire a professional arborist, when doing the trimming... just in case.

Oct 04, 2017 03:43 PM
Sharon Altier
Coldwell Banker Realty - Elmhurst, IL
Luxury Property Specialist, CSC, SFR

We had that problem when we were younger. A neighbor's apple tree grew onto and over the fence surrounding our pool area.  We would be hit by apples all the time and they would be bobbing in the pool.  My parent would keep cutting the branches on our side of the fence and the neighbor was ticked the tree not thriving.  You don't plant a tree on a propert line.

Oct 04, 2017 02:22 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Yes it is legal but no more than the fence line...

Oct 04, 2017 01:30 PM
Anthony Acosta - ALLATLANTAcondos.com
Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker

That's a great question for an attorney in your area.

Oct 05, 2017 04:38 AM
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

In the State of Utah Wanda Kubat-Nerdin , you can trim to the property line, provided you don't damage or destroy the tree, or remove its fruit.   If you injure the tree, you could be liable for three times the damages, more if the damage was intentional.   Utah Code Ann. § 78B-6-1002 (partial authority)

Most of the answers here believe it's legal, but given the picture you provided, the encroachment is severe--it's not merely an overhang situation, potentially placing corrective measures within your state's triple damage statute.

Oct 04, 2017 06:42 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I would write a letter to the neighbor requesting it.

Oct 04, 2017 04:25 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

In IL, you can chop the parts that are on your side of the yard. Problem I see with this scenario, after trimming the tree will fall over.

Oct 04, 2017 03:31 PM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

Yes, but it's best to check with the neighbor and just ask if they mind if you trim some limbs back. They might prefer to trim it themselves, or hire a professional arborist to trim it back.

Oct 04, 2017 02:04 PM
Susie Kay
Ultra Real Estate Dallas Fort Worth - Plano, TX
North Dallas Specialist

That happened to me just recently and we talked to the neighbor.  The weekend they trimmed the tree.

Oct 05, 2017 07:20 AM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

In my city, the owner of the tree is responsible for maintaining it. However, if it encroaches on my property, I am legally permitted to prune it back without asking permission.

Oct 05, 2017 06:13 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

I believe that could very much depend on laws in each local jurisdiction.

Oct 04, 2017 10:24 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

yes you can.  But I totally agree with Debe about the good neighbor policy

Oct 04, 2017 09:30 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Like most things in life, this is not a question that involves a simple trim/not trim answer in my opinion.  I'm glad to see Brian L. Sirota, Esq. answer from his legal perspective.   

Oct 04, 2017 08:25 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Generally those brances are the responsibility of they person who owns the land below them, but since trees are very expensive it is best to check with a lawyer and an arborist before cutting any of them.

Oct 04, 2017 06:56 PM
Steve Higgins
RE/MAX Kelowna - Kelowna, BC

Yes you can if it is encroaching on your property. Proper thing to do would be check with your neighbor first.

Oct 04, 2017 06:12 PM
Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

I would check with the local authorities in your county or city.

Oct 04, 2017 05:25 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I don't know what the law would say. But......

If it was my property, and a neighbors tree was leaning on my property, possibly dropping its leaves and chestnuts or chipmunk crap or whatever on my property, I wouldn't feel bad about trimming it.

Oct 04, 2017 04:31 PM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Yes.  It is encroaching onto your property.

Oct 04, 2017 04:04 PM
Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Tampa, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Tampa Home Buyers


It is YOUR property up to the heavens and the neighbor is an idiot for planting it so close to the property line...and it they did not plant it, they need to trim it so that it does not encroach on the neighbor.


Oct 04, 2017 03:42 PM
John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Wanda Kubat-Nerdin It should be legal, but must fallow local rules.

Oct 04, 2017 02:56 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Probably. You need to comply with the local laws and regulations.

Oct 04, 2017 02:14 PM
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Trim but don't kill or you are liable.

Oct 04, 2017 01:47 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate Services

I would check with local municipalities. My clients just closed on a home last month.  The neighbors tree was encroaching over the fence and into the chimney presenting a safety hazard.  We knocked on the neighbors door and  explained the situation.  He agreed that it needed to be cut and authorized my clients to have it trimmed.  

Oct 05, 2017 08:38 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

Sounds like the tree is a hazard. Check with a local attorney, but my understanding is that on your side of the property trimming is permitted.

Oct 05, 2017 07:06 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

I think it is legal, but I would check with the local authorities first.

Oct 05, 2017 06:11 AM
Steven Nickens
Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers - Wailea, HI
R(S)GRI ABR, Maui Real Estate Hawaii

Neighbor always wins, including roots encroaching.

Oct 05, 2017 01:29 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Start with talking with the neighbor and then if you can't come to an agreement look for other avenues.  But if there is a danger to property take care of it right away.

Oct 04, 2017 07:27 PM
J.R. Schloemer
Kentucky Select Properties - Louisville, KY

Barbara Todaro summed it up, short and sweet.

Oct 04, 2017 07:15 PM
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR

Knowing Wayne Martin is or was an attorney, I'll bow to his wisdom

Oct 04, 2017 06:08 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

I believe this to be a legal issue. If the encroached neighbor trims it and damages the growth of the tree, the tree owner could sue for damages. I do know that if the tree falls onto the encroached neighbor's property it is the encroached neighbor's responsibility to take it away. That is our local law and our insurance paid for removal. It doesn't seem right though.

Oct 04, 2017 05:54 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Jeff Dowler has a reasonable answer.  A

Oct 04, 2017 05:05 PM
Dave Halpern
Dave Halpern Real Estate Agent, Inc., Louisville, KY (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert


Oct 04, 2017 04:52 PM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

Depends on which local and state laws prevail over the dirt in which the tree is rooted.

Some state laws could compel the owner to correct verifiable harm.

IN the land of fruits and nuts an owner was required to remove a tree because the shadow it cast fell upon the neighbotrs solar panel.

Other states and local laws allow property owners to protect all that encroaches on their property line but not compel the 'tree owner' to fix.

In other locations unsolved tree murders has been known to occur.

Oct 04, 2017 02:23 PM
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Guaranteed Offer for your Home - eXp realty - Atlanta, GA

If the tree falls on your home, then you are responsible; not the neighbor. Go ahead and trim the branches that encroach onto your property's space.


Nov 03, 2017 05:41 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

In Colo.  The neighbor has the right to cut the part on their side.  Does not make for good neighbors sometimes.

Oct 09, 2017 04:30 PM
Marnie Matarese
Showing you the best of Sarasota!

It is legal here in Florida.  And it does make for some strange looking landscaping.

Oct 07, 2017 04:03 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

It happens very often...unfortunately. I am not sure about the legal suggestion on it , but principals usually reach out to the neighbor to discuss the matter privately since some trees can be damaged and die if not trimmed professionally. 

Oct 06, 2017 11:18 AM
Sandy Padula & Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Florida Realty Investments - , CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Yes, but if the trimming will affect the vitality of the tree, you might give the neighbor the opportunity to have his own arborist in to take care of the problem to fix any potential problems back on him. A paper trail of all diligent efforts to enlist his input and control of the situation is to your benefit.

Oct 06, 2017 08:21 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Discussing the issue with the neighbor is the first step. If the neighbor refuses to trim the tree the neighbor has the right to trim what is encroaching on his property.

Oct 05, 2017 10:01 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Burlington, MA
Metro Boston Homes For Sale

Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - when Barbara Todaro says so....

Oct 05, 2017 09:16 PM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

It is here.

Oct 05, 2017 11:51 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA
https://HugginsHomes.com - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

Yes.  You can do what you want when it's on your side of the line.  I trim the branches of my neighbor's tree every 1-2 years when they start covering up my orange tree.

Oct 05, 2017 08:56 AM
Ben DeHaven
Haven Realty & Investments - Lakeland, FL
Proudly serving Winter Haven & Lakeland, Florida

I'd reccomend talking to the neighbor first, then doing what is necessary to clean up over the line. Make sure the property line is established. 

Oct 05, 2017 07:32 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Only after the neighbor refuses to take care of the problem.

Oct 05, 2017 05:44 AM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Coldwell Banker Realty

Parked and reading...

Oct 05, 2017 05:27 AM