What to Know About Trees and Property Lines

Trees are a valuable addition to home landscaping. They are beautiful to look at, provide shade, and just give an all-around mature look to a yard. Trees have been known to be the root of neighborly squabbles, however. If you want to be a good neighbor while still planting trees around your property line, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Fallen Leaves

When autumn rolls around and leaves begin to fall, your neighbor may complain if leaves from your tree find their way into their yard. The truth is, though, that you are not responsible for natural debris that winds up in your neighbor’s lawn, or vice versa. Although, if you are feeling extra neighborly, you may wish to offer to rake the leaves from your neighbor's yard, even though you are not legally obligated to do so.

Broken Limbs

Now say a limb from your tree crashed into and damaged part of your neighbor’s home. Are you liable? Well, it depends. If the tree was healthy and well cared for before a storm came and you can show proof of such, insurance companies are likely to rule the incident as an “act of god”. If, however, the tree was dying, sick, or not tended to and you refused or failed to give attention to it, then you may be responsible for repairing your neighbor's property.

Encroaching Branches

A common tree related dispute is when branches extend over a property line. In this case, the neighbor who is not the tree’s owner has the right to trim the branches back to the property line. Aggressive, petty over trimming that results in the decline of the tree’s health, on the other hand, is not allowed. If your tree dies as a result of excessive trimming by a neighbor, they can be liable to replace it.


Sometimes confusion over who legally owns a tree happens. Mostly this confusion occurs when a tree is planted near a property line. Put simply, whoever’s property the tree’s trunk is on is the owner of the tree and responsible for it. It’s always a good idea to have your property surveyed before planting trees near perceived boundary lines, as you may be mistaken about where yours stops and theirs begins. And if you and your neighbor share boundary trees that are planted on your property lines, both of you will hold shared responsibility for them. Make sure to come to an agreement with your neighbor when it comes to care and shared expenses.

At the end of the day, you can enjoy your trees and be a good neighbor at the same time. If you want to be a part of a great community with great neighbors, be sure to check out our available homes in our carefully curated communities today! Every Energy Smart New Home is built with energy efficiency as a standard. Learn about how our homes are made here.

By Energy Smart New Homes 5-18-2021