A new neighborhood was built behind my property on what was
a farm. One of the new neighbor's adjoining my property
planted a row of Leyland Cypress trees just two feet inside
his property line. I planted a row of them ten feet from the
three lines so I will be able to mow around them when they
mature. The neighbor's trees are going to grow over the line
by several feet, restricting my mowing. I am seventy years
old with some health issues and I don't feel that I will be
able to, or should have to, keep his trees trimmed. I talked
to him about the situation and he said he is planning to
keep them trimmed, which I don't think is going to happen.
Any ideas on what can I do to get him to move the trees?
There's probably nothing you can do to compel him to move the trees. Any
plant that encroaches on to your property, you are allowed to trim however
you see fit. If you apply any chemical which would kill the trees, you
could be liable for the cost of their replacement. What you can do is tell
your neighbor that when the trees do encroach on your property, you are
going to give him one chance to trim them, then you are going to hire a tree
service to trim then and you are going to send him the bill. If he tells
you he won't pay it, tell him you'll be more than happy to let a judge
decide in small claims court.
I'm not sure exactly what the problem is here, unless you have limited
yard space on your property. Don't these trees add value to both
properties in terms of privacy and scenery? More than half the tree
will be on his side. And your neighbor paid for them.
If you do have limited space, then this is a problem, as leyland
cypress can grow to 60'+ and 15' across. In this case, there are
other screening trees that would have been better choices.
As for mowing issues, no matter where you plant them, unless they are
way inside his yard, you still can only get so close to them on your
side with a riding mower, leaving an uncut area.
If you really must do something, then I would try explaining to your
neighbor that you have the right to trim the trees where they extend
over the property line. Explain that with them two feet from the line
if they are trimed they will likely die because there would be
relatively little left of half the tree. Plus they will look like
hell on your side, but soundsl like he may not care about that. If
that doesn't work, then as a last resort, maybe a letter from your
lawyer explaing the above.
As I said in my original post, I planted a row of Leyland
Cypress at the rear of my property five years ago to form a
screen. I planted mine ten feet from the three property
lines so I will be able to mow between them and the lines.
His trees will eventually grow to meet mine, restricting my
mowing. I have one acre of property, so space is not the
issue. If he had a large oak or other shade tree crossing
the line, I would not have a problem with it. It's the low
level growth that bothers me. I don't impose on other
people's property and expect the same of them. I just don't
want someone to think they can use my property as theirs.
I did explain the situation to him and that if the trees are
trimmed to that extent they will probably die. My health
issues will put me in a position to hire someone to do the
trimming and hauling the trash. I don't feel that I should
be put in that position.
I'm feel I'm a good neighbor, helping my neighbors whenever
they need me. I have a fully equipped woodworking shop and a
welder and I gladly use them to help my neighbors without
The whole thing still makes little sense to me. Most people plant
privacy screens that are close to the property line and then just mow
up to their side of it, not both sides, with a wasted buffer strip on
the far side. It's also less work. The trees, while planted on one
sides property, often have branches that extend a reasonable distance
into the other party's property. This only seems fair, as both
parties are benefitting from the privacy screen, so to have it take up
some space from both sides is not unreasonable.
If I had your lot size with plenty of space, I'd be very happy with
the privacy screen your neighbor has provided. Legally, you can trim
it to your line, but I fail to see why anyone would want to do it.
BTW, how big is your neighbors yard compared to yours?
On 28 Apr 2004 06:42:50 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org (Chet Hayes)
The basic fact is that there is a row of the same trees on the
original poster's (OP) property. The neighbor doesn't need his trees.
They are redundant. The trees on the OP's property will not cross the
line, leaving more of the neighbor's property avaolable to him.
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No matter how good of a neighbor you are, there are always those who just
don't care about anyone else. This is why we have lawyers. You shouldn't
be inconvienienced by your neighbor's landscaping and it sounds as if this
will definitely happen. If you prune back your neighbor's trees to the
extent the trees die, you could possibly be liable for their replacement. I
still believe your neighbor should have to either take care of his trees
himself, or failing this you should be able to pay someone to do it at his
If you are unsure about what to do, I would suggest consulting with a
lawyer. I would suggest going to a real estate lawyer, because they would
be most likely to have experience in such matters and be most familiar with
property encroachment issues. A consultation and a letter on the lawyer's
letterhead (if needed) should only cost whatever the lawyer's hourly rate
is. Real Estate lawyers' hourly rates typically run about $75 per hour. A
letter from the lawyer to your neighbor explaining your intent to hold him
liable for whatever expenses his trees cost you would let him know how
serious you are about the issue and may in itself correct his behavior. In
the event you are forced to sue him in a couple of years, you will have
proof that you tried to resolve the issue with him very early on.
After reading POPPOP's post, I now realize we're talking about a
double row of trees. I realized the OP had also planted rows of
trees, but I didn't realize that one row was along the same line as
So, there is one line of trees 2 feet inside the neighbors property
and another 10 feet inside the OP's. I still don't see the problem.
Now you have a double row of trees only 12 feet apart forming a
privacy screen. These trees can grow to 60ft by 15ft. They will
overlap, forming one continuous privacy screen. Why would anyone want
or care about mowing between them, trimming etc.
Before I wasted money on lawyers, I'd do an internet search. It won't
be hard to find plenty of info that will validate the right to do
trimming over your airspace, but at your own cost.
Some neighbors suck. It is the luck of the draw I suppose. I have a guy next
door that thinks about 4 feet into my property is his. He isn't going to be
happy when I put up that privacy fence. Maybe you can put up a privacy fence
on just that property line. Any ideas on what would happen to the trees if
this was done?
I have a guy next
isn't going to be
up a privacy fence
to the trees if
I have thought of a fence, but then again the victim has the
burden of protection against intruders. Some people that
have replied to the thread said that since I have more
property than the neighbor, that I should be willing to let
it go and that I will benefit from the trees. First, I have
a row of trees that are more than five years ahead of the
neighbor;s and they are the ones I will benefit from. His
are redundant. Second, as far as me having more property,
that's what I am paying for and I want FULL access to it,
even if only to mow it. I had a next door neighbor who
thought the property lines meant little and he used my
property to turn on when mowing his grass. If my grass was
longer than his, I wound up with a scalloped edge along that
line until I mowed it. Both of my next door neighbors and I
do not cross the lines when mowing and we don't even blow
the clippings on each others property. They are great
neighbors. I wish the one in back was the same.
Here in the UK you are entitled to trim anything overhanging your
property line - it is a legal requirement, however, that you give the
cuttings to the owner of the tree afterwards.
I would give him fair chance to trim the trees for you. It is far
better to settle anything like this in a friendly manner before
resorting to more threatening behaviour.
If nothing gets done then possibly seek more sound legal advice than you
may find here on a newsgroup. You will probably find that you are
within your rights to hire someone to trim the trees and present the
bill to your neighbour, providing you gave your neighbour a reasonable
amount of time to do the job. But don't take my word for it - seek
legal advice if you cannot settle the matter amicably.
In a situation like this in the US, in general, you can trim tree
growth overhanging into your airspace, but there is no legal
obligation for the neighbor to pay for it.
Unless the OP has a small lot, which I didn't get the impression was
the case, I don't see what the real problem is. He gets a nice
privacy screen between the properties, paid for by the neighbor, with
less than half the tree width winding up on his property. Sounds like
an already amicable solution. Though, if I were the neighbor, I might
have talked to the OP first, to discuss what I was planning to do.
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