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big tree

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

big tree

Postby vaintrain » Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:00 pm

If your neighbor has a huge tree that hangs over your yard and touches your roof and fills up your gutter what right/leverage does one have to get them to trim it or get it away from your property? Its a nice neighbor but I doubt he has a lot of money to deal with this but I can't do my own gutters and that costs something too...plus there is a chance with a bad storm it could fall on my roof.
any experience wisdom on this one?
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Postby coldspot » Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:38 pm

I don't know what the true legalities are, but I would think that you have the right to cut and pay for whatever hangs over your property.
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Postby snoqueen » Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:51 pm

From my own experience, the parts of the tree that hang over your property line can be trimmed off by you (or at your expense). The rest of it belongs to your neighbor and what he does with it is up to him.

If you can afford it, I would do the following:

I would contact a reputable arborist for an estimate on trimming the tree. He would be able to suggest to you the way to do this without destroying it completely (trees do give shade, which cuts down on your AC costs). If the tree is rotten and poses a storm hazard, he'll tell you. In that case you might be able to work with your neighbor to get it removed.

I would also get someone else to clean your gutters once or twice a year, for your own safety and in order to keep your downspouts clear and your basement dry. I have had Madison Window Cleaners do this for me. The cost depends on the complexity of the job.
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Postby Ned Flanders » Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:21 am

My neighbor's half-dead willow tree hangs ominously over my garage.

We joke that he'll be buying me a new car any day now.
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Postby Garimba » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:06 pm

Ned Flanders wrote:My neighbor's half-dead willow tree hangs ominously over my garage.

We joke that he'll be buying me a new car any day now.


You should spend more time in your garage Ned!
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Postby 7timus » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:09 pm

We had an issue like this, although we are the tree owners. We originally agreed to go half with the neighbors, but ended up paying for all of it, for the sake of maintaining positive neighborly relations. Plus, we had a friend who worked for an arborist, so it wasn't very expensive.

On the other hand, my mother taught me to pitch a fit, call them names, then instigate a Hatfield and McCoy-type feud, complete with threatening to chop the tree down so it falls on their house and kills them in their sleep. That's another option.
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Postby vaintrain » Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:56 pm

haha I vaguely remember some tv show in the 60s about the hatfields and mccoys, wonder if thats on utube, yeehah

well I can see advice might vary depending on which side of the fence one is on, but thanks everyone this has been helpful, I think I will just start out by asking what his thoughts have been about doing anything and perhaps start with offering to pay half
does anyone know legally, not practically or ethically, but legally if person who has tree on their property might be more liable? that just makes intutitive sense.
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Postby warwickway » Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:17 pm

Interesting topic that can cause some serious rancor between neighbors. I work at a law office and we have been involved in cases between neighbors with SERIOUS tree issues.

First of all I would suggest that you talk to your neighbor regarding your desire to have the branches cut and make sure you keep some sort of documentation regarding that contact. If you ask your neighbor to trim the tree and he never gets around to doing anything after you've made a request, you should be able to trim the trees from your yard/without entering or disturbing your neighbor's property.

It's also not a bad idea, as another post suggested, to talk with an arborist. If your neighbor and you are on good terms and the tree poses a danger to your/their home, he may have a responsibility to take care of the tree or deal with the consequences if it ends up damaging your home. Contacting an arborist is also important if the trimming you plan to do has any potential to severely damage or kill the tree - if the tree were to die, you might find yourself in a legal bind.

My boss and I discussed the topic a bit - not a lot of case law as many of these cases end up getting worked out outside of the courtroom. One thing I do know is that LOTS of people get PISSED if you mess with their trees. Some plaintiffs ask for an ENORMOUS payout in damages when shared trees are cut down - increase in air conditioning costs, decrease in value of the home, landscaping costs to compensate for loss of border between properties, etc... Make sure you contact all parties involved and document those communications if you do plan on trimmin'. Hope that helped answer some questions.
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Tree

Postby Tom » Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:20 pm

We had a problem with our walnut tree dropping onto neighbor's yard. The neighbor complained to my husband and husband forgot about it and didn't tell me about it. I do all the yard work and would have done something about it. Neighbor ( whose backyard looks like a junk hole) took his chain saw and completely amputated one MAJOR limb of the tree. (When no one was home)

I told the guy to never talk to me again. My tree looks like someone chopped its arm off. I was VERY sad. This neighbor only did this because he is lonely and wanted the attention. He also kept the limbs from the walnut tree for firewood. I sent my boys over at night to take the limbs back.

I don't want anyone touching my trees!!!!!

There are walnut trees all over our neighborhood-our other neighbor's tree drops onto our yard--SO WHAT!!!!
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Re: Tree

Postby fennel » Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:34 pm

Tom wrote:We had a problem with our walnut tree dropping onto neighbor's yard. The neighbor complained to my husband and husband forgot about it and didn't tell me about it. I do all the yard work and would have done something about it. Neighbor ( whose backyard looks like a junk hole) took his chain saw and completely amputated one MAJOR limb of the tree. (When no one was home)
So your husband apologized, I hope. No excuse for butchering a tree, but it sounds like you guys dropped the ball — and the neighbor unreasonably went ballistic.

I hope the tree stays healthy.
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Postby vaintrain » Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:46 am

thanks again.
we'll see what happens.
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Postby sylvie » Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:45 am

I looked this up one time - in many places, you can legally trim those parts of your neighbor's plant encroaching on your property, but not enough to kill it.
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Postby habari » Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:28 am

I would adopt for your neighbor one of those puppy-mill puppies, (as a good will gesture,) and then just before you hand him the puppy, ask him if he would mind if you threaten to sue him if he doesn't cut down his tree, and then, if he starts to complain or protest this threat, just make like you are about to break the puppy's neck, (but don't really do it, just kind of play-act like you are, don't really hurt the puppy, just make him think like you might.)
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