Tree Trimming Etiquette

One of the dilemmas that can cause homeowners the most grief is literally hanging over your head. It’s tree limbs and branches! They look beautiful and add shade and character to your property, but when they start to cross the property line between you and your neighbors, things can start to get somewhat uncomfortable. We've got a word of advice for when the branches start to intrude on your property and you’re not quite sure what you can or should do, here are some tree trimming etiquette tips!

As you well know, nature knows no property lines. The sounds and smells of your neighbor’s BBQ can easily enter your living space, and the same is true for trees planted well within their property lines. The first tree trimming etiquette tip, before you ever have any problem, is to have a rapport with your neighbors. You don’t need to become good friends, but being friendly can turn out to be extremely helpful in unforeseen situations when you need it most.

If you see that branches or limbs from a tree on your neighbor’s property are hanging over or across the plane of the property line, the first thing you should do is reach out to your neighbor with your concern. Do this before it becomes an emergency situation so you can have time to discuss and make a plan.

It is within your rights as a homeowner to trim anything that is on your side of the property line, but beware, you are not allowed to cross the property line in any way, for any reason, while trimming. And you should also use extreme caution against damaging the tree. If you damage the tree, you could be liable for up to three times the value of the tree.

With that said, the safest tree trimming etiquette tip that we can give you is that it’s typically best to call in a professional. Unless it’s only minor, cosmetic trimming that needs to be done, a professional can ensure that no irreparable damage is being done to the tree while ensuring that both you and your neighbor’s properties will remain safe.

If our tree trimming etiquette tips are not enough, or you are still unsure of what to do or just want more, legally certified information then check out the book, Neighbor Law, it is written by attorneys and has all your answers to neighborly disputes.