Can I remove branches from a neighbor’s tree that hang over my property?

I get the majority of my neighbor’s leaves and I would like to lessen the amount. The tree trunk is on his property. He has even asked me not to extend the fence, on my property, so that he leaves gather on my property.

Asked on September 22, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The general rule - which may or may not be the rule in Massachusetts - is that any part of the tree that overhangs in to your yard you have a right to trim or prune BUT not to the destruction of the tree or over your neighbor's property line.  So you can trim the branches back to lessen the amount of leaves that fall on to your property.  You can not intentionally harm the tree either.  So if by removing branches you mean going down to the trunk and the trunk is on his property then you can not take the branches down to the trunk.  You have to stop at the property line.  Good luck.

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