Trees and Neighbours

“My neighbour’s tree is growing over our garden – what can I do?”

If branches are growing over your property you do have the right to remove them. However, you are obliged to offer the branches back to your neighbour, otherwise it technically becomes theft. You are also required to obtain permission if the tree needs climbing, or ladders need to be placed against the tree, otherwise you are trespassing. The tree also needs to be pruned properly so that it doesn`t die.

My advice would be to talk with your neighbour first, and see how they feel about the tree. Formal letters, or any mention of ‘legal rights’, can cause unnecessary friction. It might be the correct way, legally speaking, but I have yet to see this approach work out well for either party. And I see it a lot!

You never know, they might be planning to get it pruned anyway, but have not yet found a tree surgeon they trust not to wreck their tree.

Show them ‘before and after’ pictures from our website and they should be reassured that it is possible to prune back a tree that overhangs without damaging it. With a bit of thought and skill the tree should look untouched. Incidentally, if you don’t get it pruned properly the first time they may never let you touch it again.

If you, or a friend, ever have a problem with a neighbour’s tree please call me. We can nearly always sort out neighbourly tree disputes so everyone is happy.

For the Government’s advice booklet on hedges and neighbours: http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/overgardenhedge