Tree Pruning Liability
Who’s Responsible for Maintenance
August 13, 2020
When trees cross the property line, who needs to prune it? It’s a question many homeowners struggle with and could lead to disputes, especially when something goes wrong. Learn a little about tree pruning liability. Then talk to your neighbors to come to an agreement about the best way to handle the work.
Tree Pruning Liability
When branches of a tree starts to grow across a property line, it also crosses a liability line. Different states have different rules on pruning trees on or around your property. The general rule: if the tree trunk is planted in your yard it’s your responsibility. This includes any parts that cross a property line. If it crosses a line and presents a hazard, the neighbors should be notified of any pruning.
The clearest way to determine if an existing tree is your responsibility is to consult a property survey. These are usually done when a home is bought or sold. If a tree trunk is within your property lines, that tree is your responsibility. You must make sure its health is maintained, especially if branches reach over property lines. If you need to complete any maintenance work, talk to your neighbor so they know what to expect.
If there’s no updated survey or no records available, have a new survey done in order to solve any boundary dispute. When a tree is directly on a property line, both homeowners are responsible for maintenance. Thus, both parties must approve any actions.
Other Responsible Parties
There are some exceptions when it comes to tree maintenance. If branches are close to any utility lines, contact the county to have the tree removed or pruned. Also, houses part of a homeowners association may have other requirements. Typically, the association employs a landscaper to maintain the trees in the neighborhood.
If you decide to prune branches from a tree planted on another property that crosses into your yard, you will be held responsible for any damage your work has caused. You can always alert your neighbor to your concern of overhanging branches or a tree that doesn’t look well. If you have given a warning and they don’t comply, they are liable for any damage it may eventually cause to your property.
Any tree debris, such as leaves, twigs, and acorns that fall into your yard is your responsibility to clean up, even if it’s from a neighbor tree. If whatever falls from the tree is diseased and causes damage to your property, it could be seen as your neighbor’s responsibility. This is also why it’s important to be vigilant and voice any concerns about the tree.
If a healthy tree happens to fall into a neighbor’s yard during a storm, your homeowner’s insurance should cover the damage. As long as the tree wasn’t ever called in to question, any accident should not fall on you to fix.
For more information on proper tree maintenance and the best way to determine who should do the pruning, contact Elite Tree Care. From maintaining healthy trees to diagnosing issues, we can help ensure your trees are cared for so there’s no need for a dispute.
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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.