Dealing with Overhanging Tree Branches

Whose Turn is it This Time?


If a tree branch hangs over your yard, but its trunk is rooted in your neighbor’s, is it your responsibility? Dealing with overhanging tree branches can be tricky business. Learn more about who’s responsible for what and what to do about it.

Who Should Be Dealing with Overhanging Tree Branches

Whether walking down a sidewalk, mowing your yard, or even looking out the window, tree branches can get in the way. When it comes to trimming them, a few factors come into play:

  1. Is the tree in your yard? It doesn’t matter if you actually planted it, but if the trunk is within your property line, it’s your tree.
  2. Do the branches pose a threat? They may be dead or dangerously looming over cars, structures, or public walkways. If the branch is a risk it should be trimmed by whoever owns the tree.
  3. Are power lines involved? Branches that hang over power or utility lines should be trimmed by area professionals. Call your local authorities and have them come out to do the work.

Trimming Other Overhanging Branches

If a neighbor’s tree is hanging over your house, obstructing the view, or hitting you in the face every time you walk the dog along the sidewalk, just go talk to them about it. Explain the situation and ask them to get it trimmed. You may offer to do the job if you’re able, but don’t do anything without informing the tree owner first. Also, keep in mind that you’re responsible for any damage to the tree after you prune it.

Neighbors can’t force you to cut down or trim a tree located on your property, especially if it doesn’t pose a threat. However, if they point out something is wrong with it, it’s in everyone’s interest to get it fixed.

If a tree sits right on the property line, first, that’s poor planning, but it also means you share it with your neighbor and need to both agree to what happens to it.

For any other questions about tree property rules, contact your state office or attorney for any such laws. Reach out to Elite Tree Care for more information about the proper way to prune any overhanging branches and how to help ensure your tree doesn’t become anyone’s concern.

Tree Pruning Guide

Download Your FREE Tree Pruning Guide

Learn how, when, and how much to trim or prune your trees to maximize their health and beauty. This guide covers the factors that go into tree trimming (pruning) and will help you make a more informed decision about hiring a professional tree service.