Can You Cut Back a Neighbour’s Overhanging Tree

While some property owners will have no problem with a neighbour’s overhanging tree for others it is a very real issue. In fact, overhanging trees are a common area of tension between neighbours and if not handled with discretion and tact, they can result in litigation and years of hard feelings. In this post the team at Epic Tree Care will examine the issue and answer the question “Can you cut back a neighbour’s overhanging tree?”


First Things First: Establishing Ownership

If there is a tree overhanging your property that you would like to cut back the first thing to do is to determine who actually owns the tree. As a point of law, a tree will always belong to the owner of the land where it was planted or grew naturally. That is true even if the tree’s roots now extend under the neighbour’s yard or the branches hang over the neighbour’s property.


There may, however, be instances when a tree straddles the border between two properties. And if that is the case both neighbours should check their Title Deed to see if the tree is mentioned. If there is no mention of the tree in either Title Deed the preferred approach is to work out an arrangement between you for dealing with issues related to the tree.


Can You Cut Back a Neighbour’s Overhanging Tree? What the Law Says

Regardless of whether the tree is jointly owned or the sole property of your neighbour you have a legal right to cut back any branches hanging over your property, but only to the property boundary. Exceptions exist for trees that are protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or that are located in a Conservation Area.


If you decide to go ahead and cut back the overhanging branches be mindful that your neighbour is within their rights to ask for the cuttings (and any fruit that may be on them) to be returned. Do not, however, assume your neighbour wants the cuttings back and toss them into his or her yard. You could be cited for fly-tipping if you do so. The bottom line is if the neighbour has not asked for the cuttings to be returned it will be your responsibility to dispose of them properly.


One More Thing…

Can you cut back a neighbour’s overhanging tree? Yes, as long as there is not a Tree Protection Order in place and as long as the tree is not located in a Conservation Area. Just remember, do not toss the cuttings back onto your neighbour’s property unless they specifically requested them. And do not enter your neighbour’s property without permission for the purpose of cutting back the tree or depositing cuttings. You could be cited for trespassing and prosecuted. 


Get in Touch with Epic Tree Care

If you need to have one or more of your trees pruned or you need stump removal, a tree survey or any other type of tree-related service contact the team at Epic Tree Care by calling us on 01542 647607.

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