What To Do If A Neighbor's Tree Is Overhanging Your Garden

Keeping your garden in good shape is an ongoing task, especially if you have trees in your yard. They require even more effort since they're larger than plants and need regular caretaking and pruning. However, when you have a neighbor's tree that has branches overhanging into your yard, it's quite a different story. When caught off guard, you may not know what to do simply because it is not your tree. However, certain rules apply which can help you keep your yard clean and safe, and protect you from your neighbor's problematic tree.

A neighbor's tree hanging over your yard can present various challenges, from leaf litter and falling fruit or berries, to too much shade on your plants, to potential damage and safety concerns. Trees, especially large ones that aren't cared for or have broken branches, are a hazard. Because of the risk of harm to you and your family, it's of prime importance to get the trees pruned as soon as possible.

Speak to your neighbor

Of course, one of the first things to do is communicate with your neighbor. They may not even realize that their tree is posing a problem or that it has grown over into your yard. Bad weather can also make the problem more urgent since neighbors also need to ensure that trees are safe and healthy after a big storm. If you are friendly with your neighbor, an open and respectful conversation may be enough to do the trick. Simply explain the issues you're facing due to the overhanging branches and maybe even suggest a solution. You can ask if they are OK with you cutting what comes over into your yard (if you are willing to do that). This is often the best solution with elderly neighbors or those who can't tend to their tree grooming for whatever reason.

If that's not the case, you can ask them to take care of it since it is their responsibility. You can suggest specific branches that need attention from your yard's view, focusing on safety and preserving the overall health of the tree. Be receptive to their perspective, stay friendly, and attempt to find a solution that works for you both.

You can cut branches on your property

If your neighbor is not interested in working with you to find a solution or even worse, combative, the next thing to do is understand your rights and responsibilities. A tree belongs to its owner and they are responsible for pruning it. However, if the branches are hanging over your yard, you have the right to trim them up to the boundary of your property line. You can't throw the branches into their yard or leave them for the neighbor to dispose of or clean up. Things can get dicey when a neighbor's tree falls into your yard.

Still, some trees are so huge that you can't trim them yourself and someone needs to pay to have the compromised tree fixed. Ensure the trimming process is done safely and responsibly. Hiring a qualified professional may be the best solution in certain cases, especially for large or high-risk branches. Another option is to consult a certified arborist, who can assess the situation, advise on responsible trimming practices, and provide a written report supporting your claims.

As a last resort, you may need to involve legal counsel — but only after exhausting other options. Keep records of your communication with your neighbor, photos of the overhanging branches, and any relevant documentation like arborist reports. In the end, safety should always be a priority.