Neighbor Cutting My Trees-What to do?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BJ, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    532
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Location:
    Mid-Missouri
    This last weekend a new neighbor decided to act without talking to me. We have a row of crabapple trees along the fence between us...they are mine on my side of the fence. I also have 3 climbing roses I have been training to run on the fence for the last 3 years. Saturday this neighbor decided to cut off every low branch he could reach on his side of the fence...and he also cut away most of the roses that were sticking through on his side and some of the larger leaders running on top of the fence! This is the second time we have had new tenants in this house that took it upon themselves to "trim" our trees and roses without our knowledge or permission. Of course they always wait until we are away from the house before they start cutting. WHY? Is there some law or ordinance that allows anyone to cut your vegetation??? Can I call the police or is this legal? Anybody else having this problem?? I'm at my wits end. These new breed city folks want their yards trimmed with no flowers or trees....we live in the country..no subdivisions...no rules..just country folks trying to grow trees and flowers for the birds and other wildlife. :)
     
  2. Yankee1

    Yankee1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    188
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Location:
    Arkansas
    If the branches cross over the property line they can do what they want to them.
     

  3. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    19,807
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    I don't know about where you live, but it is absolutely legal here to cut off any branches coming over on to your property from the neighbors' -- even going so far as to trim back on to the neighbors' property to prevent overgrowth.

    I frequently have to cut back one neighbors' junk pines, wild grape, spontaneous mulberries, and noxious buckthorn. If he'd keep them properly trimmed, I wouldn't have to deal with it. As it is, I have to take a lot of time and trouble to keep things under control -- especially the grape, buckthorn, and mulberry.

    OTOH, I would not cut back/down the clematis and another flowering vine that hang over the fence from the other neighbor. It does not interfere with my use of my yard, and it looks nice, too. Further, she is very careful to ensure that her flora do not overtake my yard.

    I, of course, give the same consideration to all my neighbors, and make sure that nothing in my space starts to overtake their space. If good fences make good neighbors, so does keeping your stuff inside your fence.

    Check the local code, as it may be different where you live.

    Pony!
     
  4. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,283
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2003
    Location:
    Southern Maryland
    Most states allow a neighbour to cut overhanging branches back to the property line.
     
  5. tsdave

    tsdave Grand Marshal

    Messages:
    231
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2002
    Its usually ok to cut them. But not if it kills them.
    as in ok to trim branches in your way, not ok to
    shave the trunk off at the property line, or strip all
    the branches off one side. But laws vary.
     
  6. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,553
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Location:
    Arkansas
    One man's weed is another man's prize flower :)

    Perhaps thinking that all your vegetation stops at your property line might help. Perhaps you could plant your roses on a trellis a few feet inside your property?

    Hugs
    Marlene
     
  7. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,530
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Location:
    Victoria Australia
    Even in another country as far away as me it is OK for someone to cut branches protruding over their property line....they even have the right to through the cuttings over the fence too. Grrrrrr. Hence we have no close neighbors now.
     
  8. h_oder

    h_oder Active Member

    Messages:
    40
    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Location:
    Ohio
    Pretty much the same as what everyone else has said. What I would do, is to go an talk to the neighbor & let them know that you understand why they trimmed the trees, but that you would've done that if they had simply talked to you about it first (assuming that you would have...). Let them know that you are not the type of person that would mind taking care of your own property.

    Also, I would let them know that you don't have any problems trimming the roses on the fence, but would they please let you know that they are bothering them. I, for one, wouldn't want to trim my neighbor's bushes along the fence line, b/c I don't want to screw anything up. But, then again, I know that my neighborw wouldn't have a problem w/my asking them to trim their bushes.

    Just my thoughts
     
  9. sapphira

    sapphira Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    644
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    virginia
    Actually, whose fence is it and how many inches inside the property line is it?
    We have a neighbor here before we were and she has all kinds of stuff literally planted up to two feet inside our property and we don't care, we just trim what we need to. In your case, if you own the fence and it is 4 - 6 inches inside your property line, then they cannot cut stuff off your fence. I would not bother to start a rowe over some greenery or even roses, because life is so full of hard things anyway, but I would definitely find out whose fence it is and how many inches inside property line it is and if its yours it is your job to trim etc. S.
     
  10. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    532
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Location:
    Mid-Missouri
    We've lived here since 1979..seen neighbors come and go..and these ornamental trees and roses growing about that long. Tree are beautiful in the spring as are the roses. We put up the fence 6" inside our property line. We do keep them trimmed up so that you can mow under them either side. They are at the back of the property so not blocking their sun...just blocking our view....we hate seeing neighbors so we planted this screen of ornamental trees. The climbing roses I tie to the fence so they are not really interfearing in any way with mowing. They cover the corner of the fence to hide the neighbors garden shed and the junk and firewood they keep between the shed and fence. From our side it is a natural habitat for wild birds in the winter and they eat the rose hips. These folks have lived here 1 month!!! No introductions, no HI over the fence....they just start chopping. Every fall when the growing season is over is when we do all our trimming and pruning of trees. Neighbors are sure not what they used to be...nice friendly folks who were interested in being friends. No wonder the youth of today are having so many personality problems....look at their role models!!! Rude and inconsiderate with no respect for other people's property. I'm saddened by these actions from someone so new to our lovely neighborhood. :cry:
     
  11. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    19,807
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003

    So, did you go over to meet the new neighbors yet, bring 'em a pie or jar of jam or loaf of bread and say, "Welcome"? Growing up, I learned that it's the "old neighbors" who are supposed to make the effort to greet and welcome the new folks...

    It's still not too late to do that, and to have a chat with them about the trees and roses. "Say, we noticed that you trimmed back kinda hard there, just wanted you to know that the fence and the flora are on our property, and we do a thorough trimming in the Fall. Was there a reason you needed to cut back so much?"

    You may not become best buddies, but at least you might be able to have a civil relationship. Which beats the daylights out of what some folks are going through!

    Pony!
     
  12. fellini123

    fellini123 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,550
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2003
    Location:
    Central Virginia
    And I wouldn't complain about the neighbors very much here, or your thread will disappear. Remember we are on HT, everything is right....everything is good.......there is nothing bad.......there is nothing wrong..........we are all happy happy happy.
    Where was my prozac??
    Alice in Virginia
     
  13. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    19,807
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003

    Oh, come on, Fellini. You can see for yourself that your comment is way out of line, and really, it's not the sort of thing that belongs in this forum.

    If you have an issue with the owner and moderators, then you really do need to take it up with them in PM, rather than attempting to cause dissension.

    Pony!
     
  14. crystalniche

    crystalniche Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    880
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I would go over there and ask them why they didn't come to you if they had a problem with your shrubs. Not mean or anything but just to let them know that it might have been a good idea to ask before snipping. Being tenants they most likely have no idea where the property line is and might not even care. I have found that tenants in most cases do not have the same respect for property that owners have. Many feel they are temporary and can always move if things get rough. By asking you might find that they thought the shrubs were in their yard and had no idea that they were harming anything by cutting them.
     
  15. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,143
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    If the fence is 6 inches inside your property line then they have no right to do anything to things growing on the fence, whichever side of the fence they are clinging to.

    Once it passes the property line (6 inches and one micron for arguments sake) they have every right to cut off the "transgressing" growth. This has nothing to do with whether they choose to introduce themselves, talk to you or anything else.

    Make sure the property line is clearly marked and tell them you don't want them trimming your plants on your property. You don't have to be mean about it but you should be clear....in writing is even better. I would also speak with their landlord.

    Mike
     
  16. GrannyG

    GrannyG Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,323
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2005
    Location:
    near Abilene,TX
    If the fence is inside your property line, I would inform them that it is your property and to notify you if they have a problem with any overgrowth onto what they think is their land. I think I would paint the survey stake bright orange so they can tell.
     
  17. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

    Messages:
    5,960
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Location:
    Wyoming
    Something that strikes me as a little odd about this is you say they are tenants. That would mean they rent or lease. When I was renting I never would have cut any tree encroaching on the place unless the landlord told me to. Then only if it was required by the lease agreement or he was paying me. I think you may want to look a little deeper into who is actually wanting this done.
     
  18. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,259
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    Maryland
    Ummm, weren't you going to call the police on them for trimming some bushes? Doesn't sound like you were too interested in being friends either.
     
  19. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    532
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Location:
    Mid-Missouri
    So..I did finally go meet the new neighbor who just recently bought the house. Lordy she is elderly and lives alone. Why a person like this would buy a house with a huge yard to keep up I just can't figure. Anyway..she apologized and said that the neighbor next to her offered to cut her grass...and she didn't even know he had cut the trees and roses! She is a bird lover too and understands why I've spent 3 years training the roses to fence that was to be used as winter cover for the birds. She said she would tell her "helper" not to cut the trees or shrubs any more. Problem is he cut through the fence and cut the trunks of the roses on my side. Now I have dead roses wired to the fence. This guy has probably just been itching to trim those trees and bushes so he used this as his golden opportunity. He's never been very friendly to any neighbors and never has offered to return a "Hi" or even wave. Guy is a OTR driver..not home much...don't know anything other than his name is Robert. So hopefully the trees and shrubs will recover and things will return to normal next spring. I'll probably have to replant roses as these were cut pretty severe.

    Many who responded to this thread say "neighbors have a right to do what they want with foliage that crosses the property line". Is that a written law??? If so..where is it written? or is this just an unwritten law that every homeowner is expected to know and honor? I think it has more to do with people not respecting others property. My parents have an 80 acre farm...someone built a new house close to the fenceline and then cut down the trees on my parents property so they could watch the deer in the pasture. They didn't ask...they just did it because they wanted to and apparently didn't think they needed permission. City folks moving to the country trying to make everything citified. :shrug:
     
  20. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,259
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    Maryland
    It is a written law in many places. You would have to check your state, county or local codes to find out where yours in written exactly. Of course it varies from state to state, town to town, but I think most property laws state something along the lines that if something crosses over to your property, you have the right to remove what is on your property. I don't think it's city-fied, or anything like that. Think of this way. If your neighbor had cherry trees along the fenceline, and you had cows, goats, or any ruminant, you would not want to risk those cherry leaves dropping in the pasture and killing your animals. So of course, you would normally have the right to trim them back to protect your animals. Or limbs that were over the fence and looking like they could fall and damage the fence. Same thing.

    I'm glad you talked to your neighbor instead of calling the police.