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Am I Responsible for Trimming a Neighbor's Tree Over My Property?

By Elton Dunn

Trees that fall across property lines cast shade into your yard, drop leaves and add to yard management. If you're unhappy with the size of a neighbor's tree, it's your job to trim overhanging branches, within reason.

Legal Considerations

Even though the tree is on your neighbor's property line, trimming branches that fall over on your side, such as those coming over a fence, is your responsibility, according to the American Bar Association. You can trim the part of the tree on your side at any time.


Legally, you can't remove the tree altogether or cit it back enough to kill it. You also can't trespass onto your neighbor's yard when pruning, unless the tree is about to cause serious damage to your yard.


When you're planning on trimming back a neighbor's tree, the American Bar Association recommends talking with the neighbor to give him a friendly heads up. Even if he objects to your trimming the branches, you still have the right to trim.


About the Author


A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets.