Can one legally trim branches that go over the property line if it kills the tree?

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Can one legally trim branches that go over the property line if it kills the tree?

 Arborists say only a small part can be trimmed safely only in winter to avoid deadly disease. It is a large oak leaning slightly over the fence but deemed safe for many years. Nothing needs trimming unless esthetically of 1 dead branch and a few small areas. They wish to trim 80% in mid to late May leaving a 50 foot stump. How much would this affect property value? We like the tree greatly & bought our property 17 years ago because it has a wooded yard. What can be done to save our tree?

Asked on April 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The person on whose property the branches, leaves and fruit if applicable encroach has the legal righit to trim and remove to the property line and can sue you if the encroachment caused any damage.  So if you have professionals telling you to trim 80% of the tree on your property, your neighbor has nothing to do with that. However, if the majority of the tree is leaning on your neighbor's property over the fence, they only have a legal right to take the encroaching part unless they get an order demanding you remove your tree.  Talk to a land use attorney if you wish to save your tree.r


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