For anyone who has a neighbor (which is most of us) we know that sometimes that relationship can be great, and sometimes it can be difficult. The same thing can be said about trees – they are beautiful but sometimes cause some problems. When those two things – neighbors and trees – meet up, they can cause arguments.

Fallen leaves, diseased trees, downed branches, roots, and more can cause people to argue with their neighbors. Even if you have a perfectly fine relationship with them, these issues can cause you to be a little annoyed.

But know this: a good neighbor is important, so you have to know what you are talking about when it comes to ending debates about trees.

This is just a starter guide to the information about what your responsibilities are when it comes to yard care and tree care

4. Who Owns A Tree Right Near The Property Line?

  • Many areas allow for you to trim any overhang
  • However: however has the trunk owns the tree
  • The tree has to be trimmed using best practices

According to an article on Home Guides, “When a tree on your property hangs over the boundary line into another yard, you have a duty to address all weak or damaged branches. If a weak or damaged branch that you failed to remove or maintain falls into the adjoining yard and causes damage to structures, land, people or pets, you are legally responsible. On the other hand, you’re not responsible for the tree’s debris that falls into the yard next door, such as leaves, acorns, seeds and pods. The neighbor is always responsible for cleanup of the accumulation of those things.”

This means that if there is a branch that overhangs your yard, you will be able to cut it if you want to. Of course, you want to cut it before there are any problems with structures on your property. If the trunk of the tree is not on your property line, you can only cut back as far as the property line. It is best to talk to your neighbor and come up with a solution that will fit both of you.

If your tree is the one overhanging your neighbor’s yard, it is best to take care of it before your neighbor does – just so you can make sure that it was handled properly.

3. Who Can Eat the Fruit That Comes From Trees?

  • You cannot pick the fruit off of a tree that you do not own
  • Fallen fruit is a gray area
  • Fruit belongs to the person who owns the tree

It is a question that many of us have had since childhood: who owns the fruit that has fallen from trees or even the fruit that hangs on trees? When we were children, many of us remember picking apples or berries from trees that did not belong to us. Were we committing crimes? In almost all instances, yes. According to NOLO, it is actually considered petty theft – though you are likely to get off with a warning. The fruit on the tree belongs to the homeowner, no question.

Where is there a question? When it comes to whether or not the fruit that has fallen onto your property belongs to you. In some states, the fruit that falls onto your property is yours. In some areas, it is your neighbors. This is confusing and another reason why having a great relationship with your neighbors can be helpful – you can all share the bounty.

2. Who Has to Clean Up The Fallen Leaves?

  • Leaves spread out responsibilities
  • Homeowners cannot dump leaves on another property
  • Tree owner has no claim to leaves or “nuisance”

No one wants to rake the leaves, no matter who you are. Sure we have these fantasies of raking them into piles and then jumping in them, but that lasts a few minutes and then we remember how much it hurts. To add insult to injury, sometimes the leaves don’t even come from our own trees. If leaves fall on your property from your neighbor’s home, who has to rake them up? You do. Even if you know the leaves come from your neighbor, they are your responsibility.

In fact, according to The Spruce, you have a legal responsibility to rake your leaves so that everyone is safe in your yard. You also have an environmental responsibility.  What happens if you don’t? Your local government can penalize you.

1. Who Has To Spray For Tree Pests?

  • Owner of the tree is responsible
  • Make sure to use the most environmentally friendly route
  • Contact a professional

If you see pests on a tree in your yard, you have to eliminate them. Even if most of the tree is over your neighbor’s property, you have a legal responsibility to handle everything. You want to take your neighbor into consideration when you do this – don’t use chemicals if they have dogs that love to play outside, don’t spray something into ponds that have fish, and maybe even talk to them to find a great time.

One thing you may want to do is alert your neighbor that there is a problem, as infestations tend to extend far beyond property lines. If the infestation is something that the local government knows about, you can get them involved as well, according to AVVO, which is the best thing to do if it is a particularly nasty infestation.

However, you cannot just go spraying your neighbor’s greenery. Instead, you can talk to a professional about taking care of your own problem and then preventing the infestation from recurring.

If you are looking for a tree care professional in Southern Ontario, give Van Till Tree Care a call today at (705) 653-3777. We will help you to better understand your trees and how to handle any green spots, pruning trouble, or soil issues that you may find – of course, we can also help you with many other issues that you might find for your trees – from the very top of the tree to the roots.

Header photo courtesy of John Brighenti on Flickr!

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