The Hive Law

Can I Throw A Neighbor’s Tree Branches Back In Their Yard?

Can I Throw Neighbors Tree Branches Back In Their Yard - If A Neighbors Tree Branches Are Over My Yard

“Can I throw my neighbor’s tree banches back in their yard?”

We get this question all the time from property owners.

Let’s dig in.

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Can I Throw Neighbor’s Tree Branches Back In Their Yard?

Yes, you can throw a neighbor’s tree branches back in their yard if they put them in your yard.

But only if they cut the tree branches and left them in your yard.

Or they cut them and let them fall into your yard.

But let’s say that overhanging branches died and fell into your yard.

In this case, you cannot throw your neighbor’s tree branches back into their yard.

There are two scenarios here:

  • your neighbor cut limbs and they ended up in your yard
  • overhanging branches died and fell into your yard

When your neighbor cuts tree branches, they are not ended up in your yard naturally.

Your neighbor is causing them to end up in your yard.

That’s true whether they:

  • throw the tree branches into your yard
  • are tree trimming and letting them fall into your yard

If this is the case, you can throw a neighbor’s tree branches back into their yard.

But, let’s say that your neighbor’s overhanging branches died and fell into your yard.

An overhanging tree is crossing your property line.

The tree trunk may be on their property.

But the tree branches are hanging over onto your side of the boundary line.

Because of this, the overhanging branches on your side of the property line are your property.

When these die and fall into your yard, they are your own property.

You cannot throw these tree branches into your neighbor’s yard.

This is because you cannot throw your belongings into your neighbor’s yard.

Just like they cannot throw their belongings (tree branches) into your yard.

What To Do If A Neighbor’s Tree Branches Are Over My Yard?

You are responsible for your neighbor’s tree branches that are over your yard.

Let’s look at a couple of scenarios.

The Tree Trunk Is Mainly In Your Neighbor’s Yard

Let’s say that the tree trunk is in your neighbor’s yard and it’s nowhere close to the boundary line.

But your neighbor’s tree branches are overhanging into your property line.

You are allowed to trim branches to clean up a large tree that’s overhanging into your yard.

In fact, you are responsible for:

  • tree trimming parts of the tree that overhang onto your property
  • costs associated with tree services, tree trimming, debris clean-up, etc.

But, what you are not allowed to do is:

  • cause tree damages that kill a healthy tree
  • cut tree roots

Leaves, acorns, and tree branches from an overhanging tree are your responsibility.

These items are not considered damage by law.

The Tree Is On Property Line

Let’s say you have a boundary tree that is encroaching on the property line.

And that the tree trunk is on both sides of the property lines.

In this case, you both are the owner of the tree.

And you both are responsible for taking care of the boundary tree.

By law, you both are required to:

  • take care of the large tree
  • trim branches
  • clean up debris
  • pick up and haul off tree branches
  • pay for tree services
  • pay for your own property damages (if any)
  • split the cost of tree removal
  • clean up a fallen tree (regardless of whose property it fell on)
  • keep up with city ordinances
  • keep up with homeowners’ association rules
  • deal with nuisance claims together
  • pay for your own gutter clean up
  • maintain a good relationship with each other about the tree

But you do not have the legal right to:

  • damage tree roots
  • cause tree damages
  • throw these tree branches into your neighbor’s yard
  • do anything that could kill a healthy tree

What To Do If A Neighbor Throws Branches In My Yard?

Let’s say a neighbor throws tree branches into your yard.

You can throw your neighbor’s tree branches back into your neighbor’s yard.

It is not your responsibility to clean up your neighbor’s tree branches.

By law, they are not allowed to throw their tree branches into your yard.

First, you should try to be a “good neighbor,” depending on what the relationship is like.

Just ask them to please clean up the tree branches they left in your yard.

But, let’s say that you did that and nothing worked.

You have the legal right to throw your neighbor’s tree branches back into their yard.

Common Scenarios With Your Neighbor’s Tree

So, we answered if you can throw a neighbor’s tree branches back into their yard.

But what about other common scenarios dealing with your neighbor’s tree?

Your Neighbor's Tree Falls In Your Yard

Let’s say that:

  • your neighbor’s tree or a portion of it falls into your yard
  • it was a healthy tree that was well maintained
  • there was no disease or rot

In this case, your insurance company will cover any real estate property damages.

This is because they consider a healthy tree that’s fallen an Act of God.

Meaning that the situation could not have been anticipated by any reasonable person.

If You Have A Homeowners’ Association

If you belong to a homeowners’ association, you should ask them to step in.

They can make the neighbor take care of tree branch pick up on your property.

There Are City Ordinances About Overhanging Branches

Let’s say that a tree trunk is across the property line on your neighbor’s property.

But your neighbor’s tree branches are overhanging on your property.

In this case, it’s still your responsibility to cut overhanging branches.

You cannot cut overhanging branches and throw them in your neighbor’s yard.

You are responsible for the overhanging branches that are on your side of the property line.

This includes:

  • tree trimming
  • dealing with city ordinances and local laws
  • paying for an arborist

It’s A Dangerous Tree That Could Cause Property Damage

It’s your neighbor’s responsibility to inspect their trees and make sure they are safe.

Dangerous trees include trees that are rotting or are diseased.

Let’s say the tree falls and they were neglecting to take care of their tree by:

  • not trimming the dead parts off the tree

  • not inspecting it for diseases

It’s their responsibility to pay for any property damages that occur.

With this, you can fill out the form on this page to get in touch with an attorney.

To protect yourself ahead of time, you should file a complaint with the city.

Let them know that you believe your neighbor’s tree is a hazard to your property.

When the tree falls, they are more likely to be liable for damages.

But, if you file a claim with the city, they may:

  • force your neighbor to cut the tree down
  • cut the tree down themselves

Throwing A Neighbor's Tree Branches Back Into Their Yard

Please note that this article is not legal advice.

You should consult an attorney about your local laws.

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