Tree Care Services of Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR

Don’t Blow Leaves Onto Your Neighbors Property and Other Rules

By AK Timber in Tree Care

Whether you like your neighbors or you are mortal enemies, tree care is something that we have to work together for – no matter what your relationship is. Trees are beautiful and if anything can bring you together with someone that you have nothing in common with other than a property line, they can. For most of us, trees are just a beautiful part of your yards. However, some people find that they do fight over their trees.

Whether it is falling leaves, trees pests, branches that fell, or a large branch overhanging your garage, tree care can sometimes cause some pretty big arguments. A good neighbor can be extremely helpful with tree care, but a bad one can make you start questioning what your rights and responsibilities are as a homeowner. Even if you have a good neighbor, fights over trees can quickly turn sour.

That is why you need to know what your responsibilities are, what their responsibilities are, and where you can take control. Here are some rules to follow for neighborly tree care:

4. You Own What Is On Your Side of the Property

  • You can trim the overhanging part of the tree
  • The tree belongs to the property where the trunk falls
  • You can only trim to the property line

If your neighbor has a tree that is right near the property line and is causing problems for you, or even if you just don’t like the looks of it, you can cut it in most places. In some counties, this isn’t the case so if you don’t get along with your neighbor, you can always check local rules for the full details. If you can trim the tree, it is important to know that you can only go as far back as over the property line, if you go any further, it is a problem.

If you have the opposite problem and a tree that is in your yard overhangs your neighbor’s yard, you can cut that back as well – and you should, just to make sure that everything is handled properly.

According to FindLaw,  “As a general rule a property owner who trims an encroaching tree belonging to a neighbor can trim only up to the boundary line and must obtain permission to enter the tree owner’s property, unless the limbs threaten to cause imminent and grave harm. A property owner cannot cut the entire tree down and cannot destroy the structural integrity or the cosmetic symmetry and appeal of a tree by improper trimming.”

3. Can I Harvest From My Neighbors?

  • You can eat fruit from the tree after it falls
  • Air rights do not have a place here
  • You must clean up fruit even if you do not eat it

Something that many of us learned as children is that many people are protective of their trees and shrubs, whether they are apple trees or berry trees. The eternal question is this: who actually owns that fruit? According to ABC News, someone can be arrested for theft if they just pick fruit off of someone’s tree without their permission beforehand.

If the fruit falls onto your property, on the other hand, you can pick it up and eat it – but you might want to check it for any pests that are quick to attack. Of course, it is important to know that sometimes fruit will fall onto your property and your neighbor will come over to get it – and that is actually illegal.

2. You Can’t Blow Leaves Onto Your Neighbor’s Property

  • Wherever the leaves fall, that is the property owner who has to eliminate them
  • You cannot dump the leaves on someone else’s property either, even if a majority of them fall on your yard
  • The tree owner has no claim to the leaves

No one really wants to spend their Saturdays and Sundays raking leaves when they worked all week long. Raking them into a few piles is fun, but doing the work to get them out of gardens or putting them into trash bags gets old very quickly. For people who don’t have many trees in their yards, they sometimes wonder where all of those leaves come from – and they get angry.

However, if leaves or other debris fall onto your property, they are yours to eliminate. After all, probably a few leaves leave your yard as well. You have to clean up everything on your property and dispose of it properly (meaning not on someone else’s side). One of the main reasons for this is that it is hard for anyone to really determine where a leaf comes from – or who it belongs to.

According to Home Guides, you might want to rake your leaves in your neighbor’s yard if they are older or cannot do it themselves – just to keep up the relationship.

1. Pests Require Teamwork

  • Tree owner has the responsibility of pests
  • Spraying sometimes ruins other areas of the yard
  • Contact a professional in many cases

Many people don’t have problems with their neighbors until they see that they are spraying poisonous materials into the air. If you see this, it is in your family’s best interests to maybe talk about other options. As the reverse, you want to do the same thing for your neighbors.

However, we need to take care of pests as they come, so what should you do? Mostly, your neighbor will have to take care of his trees and you will have to take care of your own. However, sometimes you will have to work together to eliminate the problem. The best thing to do is talk to each other to try to work through it.

For many places, infestations need to be tackled and if your neighbor isn’t willing, you can contact the local government, according to AVVO.

Contact AK Timber Services for all of your tree care needs – we can help you at any stage of the tree process, from planting and taking care of your tree to pruning and cutting it down to watering. Of course, we can also help you with any questions about whether or not you can remove trees or debris from your yard. Call us today at (360) 635-1076 for all of your tree care needs – we offer free estimates.

Header photo courtesy of lns1122 on Flickr!