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How to Solve a Tree Problem with Your Neighbor

Neighbor Disputes Trees can be safety hazards

Do you have a neighbor whose tree is invading your yard? It’s a common problem, and an encroaching tree can lead to major disputes. Although you may be tempted to prune or remove a tree hanging over your property line, it’s always important to get your neighbor’s permission before taking any action. The experts at Giroud Tree & Lawn share tips on how to handle these tricky situations.


Most shared tree problems fall into a few categories:

  • Property Damage: The neighbor’s tree falls on your property
  • Hazardous Trees: Dead, split or leaning tree that could damage your property if it falls
  • Tree Debris: Falling on your pool, patio or gutters
  • Root Encroachment: Roots lifting your driveway or sidewalk
  • Eyesore/Poor Maintenance: Tree blocks your view or, puts too much shade on your gardens.

Neighbor Disputes Trees can be safety hazardsHow to Handle a Neighbor’s Tree

“Don’t touch your neighbor’s tree,” advises Lou Giroud, ISA Certified Arborist and President, Giroud Tree and Lawn.   “By law, neighbors sharing a tree have the right to take care of their portion in any way they see fit.   However, to avoid conflict and potential legal issues, it’s always best to get your neighbor’s permission before taking any action on the tree.” 

1. Have the tree inspected

“Start with a professional evaluation with an ISA Certified Arborist,” advises Lou. “An expert with the right certifications is in the best position to assess the situation and give you a recommendation.”

2. Reach out to your neighbor

“In working with 1,000’s of tree issues between neighbors,” explains Lou, “I’ve found that the best results are gained through friendly communication.”

If your neighbor is approachable, meet with them face to face to explain your concern and let them review your Giroud Arborist’s recommendation. Come to the table with realistic expectations and share what you can offer to remedy the situation. Explain how both of you will benefit by taking care of the tree. If your neighbor is never home, write a friendly letter and ask them to call you. 

3. Handling no response or a negative reply

If your neighbor won’t respond or responds negatively, you may need send a certified letter or hire an attorney who understands tree law. Trees that are not taken care of are not just unsightly; they can also be a safety hazard! You need to do what you can to protect your property and loved ones.

Take Action

Give Giroud a call at 215-682-7704 to start the process! We’ll send out an ISA Certified Arborist to perform a FREE inspection of the tree and give you a detailed report with a recommended course of action that you can share with your neighbor.  Don’t let a tree come between neighbors. Contact Giroud Tree and Lawn today!


For information on tree law and neighbor relations go to: http://www.enotes.com/everyday-law-encyclopedia/neighbor-relations

Author: Jeanne Hafner

Leave a Reply


  • David Crance

    Do you have any recommendations for a lawyer in the Philadelphia area who I can speak to about a neighbor’s tree? I’ve contacted several with no replies.

    • Jeanne Hafner

      Hi David, We would love to help. Unfortunately, we don’t have anyone who we can recommend. Best of luck to you!