I have a similar situation except I'm on the other side. I have a
giant Elm tree that has a few large branches hanging into the
neighbors yard, crowding his power service line.
Last year he came and asked me to trim the tree and my Lilacs that
were pushing through the fence. I gladly went and trimmed the lilacs
back and disposed of the cuttings, but then his tone started to get to
me and I decided not to trim the tree. He wasnt necessarily rude, but
I could tell he was frustrated and all worked up. Once I thought about
it a bit I thought 'fuck him, trim it yourself." Why should I have to
care for his property, especially when his yard is littered with dog
shit and stinks.
Just the other day someone comes slamming on my door guess who. He had
the same tone, I could tell he was all worked up but still trying to
be polite. He asked if it was OK to trim the tree back and put the
cuttings in my yard. I said fine, but informed him that public service
had left me a notice and was scheduled to trim the Elm back from the
power lines in the next week or two. I also mentioned that it might be
illegal to do so, not to mention dangerous.
Once again his undertone was pissing me off and the pounding on my
door while not using the doorbell really drove it home.
Whats everyone opinion on this situation? Should I just swallow my
pride and go over and cut the limbs up to the 8ft(the only code I
could fine online regarding trees in passageways) or should I let him
worry about it?
It sounds like there is some "history" here, more than trees and shrubs?
THE neighbor from hell, and president of condo board, and relative,
in my experience is THE most unpleasant person I have EVER known. I am
retired, worked all of my adult life in very responsible profession. I
have met, and dealt with, all kinds. When I sense a dislike for
someone, I look for something to like about them, and rarely fail to
find something. When given a choice, I avoid people who are unpleasant.
The people I have known who have been truly unpleasant tend to have
had very difficult and rather sad lives. Not into kissing up to
bullies, but it is in both of your best interest to look for common
ground and something to agree about. I would not go onto someone else's
property to do landscaping unless they were close friends. If the guy
is angry because your plants grow, tough luck. I would avoid doing his
chores, but perhaps he would like help with a project sometime? Grill
some burgers and invite him over. Worth a try.
Elms can be pretty dirty trees, and seed lots of volunteers. Is that
the issue? Dropping a lot of dead wood in his yard? Perhaps a pro
trimming/thinning of the tree would help matters?
Remember, you asked for an opinion.
Bottom line, I believe no one should allow anything on their property
to prevent a neighbor from using their property how ever they wish.
Granted, your tree provides shade but maybe he wants to place flowers
underneath it that require full sunlight. Or doesn't want sap dripping
on his picnic table. Or bird droppings. Or maybe he wants to plant his
Similar to an in ground lawn sprinkler. It can squirt away, soaking
every car and pedestrian who passes. If you stood at the curb with a
garden hose doing the same thing, you would likely be arrested.
I would go over (ring the bell!) and be the better man. Tell him you
know he is frustrated with the overhanging limbs. Ask him to be
patient and see how the public service people trim it. That might suit
him. Before they come ask him exactly which limbs were the problem.
Maybe even tie some ribbon or rags on them. Try to be home when PS
comes. Perhaps you could politely ask them to remove the tagged limbs
as well. If not, at least the neighbor has committed to what it would
take to please him.
I called our city's forestry dept. and they informed me that he was
entitled to cut the branches, but I was ultimately responsible.
So I stopped off at Lowes yesterday after work and bought a pole
pruner. First thing I did when I got home was to go over and trim all
of my trees branches growing into his yard up to an 8' heighth.
Thanks to everyone for your replies,
If they trim trees like they do around here, I suggest you have it done
yourself. They did trees around here -- when they were done it looked a
cartoon cannonball went through, a big circle all the way down the
line. They don't give a damn about the tree, just the powerlines.
In property-line tree matters, my understanding of the law (locally,
notification of owner that overhanging tree is a hazard makes owner
liable for damage triggered by "act of God",
parts of tree crossing property line may be cut at that line at
discretion/expense of cutter.
Cutting at the line presumes a few things, and can leave ugly stumps.
And ... stump likely will spring back some from the line to the delight
of lawyers. :')
Depending, you might negotiate allowing cutting party to cut back to
marked points that won't deface or damage tree. Watch out on allowing
neighbor to cut over the line on your side- a few years back, neighbor
had workers prune our tree about 8' back from line. Way more than
Its your tree that is threatening to damage his property. While laws
vary from place to place, were he injured trying to protect his property
from damage by your tree, I would rather have his case than yours. I
think you should get over your emotional reaction to his tone of voice
and work with him to safely resolve the problem.
Around here, the utilities just trim the trees threatening their lines,
not the drops from their line to your service. However, if you contact
them and ask a favor, they will always (in my experience) go beyond what
they "have" to do, and trim branches that threaten the drop line.
Hummm... If your neighbor has been good in the past, take that into
If not, F him. You gave a perfectly good reason why NOT to do it
If the responsibility falls onto you trimming your own tree, then I
doing it when its convienent for you. If he wants to have a go at it,
let him then.
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