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Tree Surgery Question
Whose responsibility is it to cut branches of a tree?
Hi, I live opposite a large house with a fence, and a large tree overhanging it, the branches of this tree are getting larger, but overhanging onto our car spaces. There are two, one behind the other - next door are my car spaces, so the tree is not overhanging into my actual car spaces. But I'm concerned as the branches are becoming bigger, and am concerned if there may be a storm etc? In the future, it also getting messy our side. Please help? I have not approached the neighbour about this yet. Regards, Cathy Parnell
Many customers ask this question, don't worry it's relatively straightforward.
The person who owns the land (your neighbour) on which the tree grows i.e. where the base of the tree is, owns the tree and is responsible for it, but is not necessarily responsible for felling the tree or pruning branches that overhang their neighbours' (your) property, even if these are seen to be causing a problem.
You are entitled to cut/prune the offending trees back to the property boundary (imagine a glass wall continuing up from where the fence / boundary is, where it intersects the trees and branches you can cut), but you must ask permission if you or your tradesman are cutting over this boundary, or if it is necessary to access your neighbour's property in order to do the work, which it often is.
In short, it's always a good idea to politely ask the neighbour for their co-operation and access through their property, and then go ahead and do the work yourself or pay to get it done. If you are expecting the neighbour to do it, you could be waiting a long time! :-)
Hope this helps.
Brendan Tree Feller
Tree Surgeon and Arborist for Nottingham and the East Midlands
Answered 8th Jul 2013
Brendan was absolutely right, these situations are common, the land owner has responsibility for his or her trees, therefore in your circumstance, should a large limb fall and damage your car the land owner would be responsible. As mentioned you are within your right to prune branches that protrude over your boundary but it always good practice to contract a qualified Arborist whom will contact your neighbour and discuss the options and reassure them the highest level of care will be given to their trees. An amicable professional approach is the solution.
Chris Wills, Chris Wills Tree Services, North Devon & North Cornwall.
Answered 3rd Mar 2015