Clyde S
Clyde S
  • Hometalker
  • Alpharetta, GA
Asked on Sep 11, 2012

Limbs overhanging new neighbors backyard

Woodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.comBecky HBecky (J) P
+6

Answered

I understand the Georgia "self-help" principle. I have two large sugar maples in my yard and the new folks have been eyeing them. If they start whacking on them I do not know how much harm could be done. Any suggestions?
9 answers
  • Walter Reeves
    on Sep 11, 2012

    Take pictures NOW to document what part and how much of your trees hangs over the property line. Consider hiring a certified arborist to advise on how much could be removed without harm. www.georgiaarborist.org

  • Lori J
    on Sep 11, 2012

    We bought a house with an amazing cottonwood tree but the previous owners had done little to maintain it. They tend to droop and its reach is very large. Our poor next door neighbors had dealt with nearly crawling to mow for years, and each request to prune brought a tirade. Between our offer and closing, they did some stealthy pruning, hoping we would not be offended. When I pulled out my pole saw and started to trim things up all around (as in, yes there is a house back there), our friendship was cemented. We have a honey locust (which I hate, but lack the ability to deal with in the location it is in) that has really grown into their spruce tree. They asked before having a pro trim their trees. I know they were fishing for us to share the bill, but I was happy to give them permission to cut (without financial support). I strongly suggest some long neighborly conversations and compromises.

  • Becky (J) P
    on Sep 12, 2012

    I always thought the rule was you can trim anything hanging in your yard as long as you don't kill the tree. I personally trim my neighbors Bradford Pears all the time. They are starting to block the sun for my vegetable garden. (My mom hates to see me coming with the trimmers. For some reason I love to prune trees lol)

  • Lori J
    on Sep 12, 2012

    Becky J, I have to prune when my husband is not at home. He gets is worried that I am going to give them a crew cut or something. Since I do nearly all the yardwork, I retain the right to prune. I hate getting whacked in the face with tree branches. Sadly, our house long belonged to people who never pruned. Lots of suckers, and ground dragging branches.

  • Becky H
    on Sep 12, 2012

    When it is your own tree, that's the perfect time to visit your neighbors and chat with them about the limbs overhanging their property. I would highly recommend consulting a certified arborist, as Walter mentioned earlier. If the arborist states cutting those limbs would be detrimental to your tree, then that is a valid reason to leave them, and your neighbor will understand this. One of our neighbors planted a live oak on a 20' wide strip of her yard (40 yrs. ago). Whenever she pruned her tree (about 1ce every 15 yrs.............encouraged by hurricanes bearing down upon us), she only trimmed what was overhanging her house, not wishing to spend money protecting our home. Last year our certified arborist advised us that portion overhanging our home was a "second lead" and it was a threat to our home. If the foliage was not lightened up and the second lead cabled, it was the major threat to our home. He offered to send a certified letter to our neighbors stating the tree was a threat to our home. Should the lead fall on our home, OUR home owners insurance would have to pay for damages, providing it covered that type of damage. If we notified the tree owner of the threat, failure to address the issue would return any financial burden to the tree owner; she would have to pay. However, if someone was killed when the tree fell, a lot of good that would do. In the end, we chose to have ANOTHER chat with our neighbor advising them and pointing out to them the issues with their tree as supported by our certified arborist. For the first time in 30 years, our neighbors paid to have a great deal of weight removed from over our home. What was interesting was when the neighbor complained about the size of the tree. I asked her who planted the tree, and she admitted she'd planted it all those years ago, not knowing it would grow so large. Another reason to learn about any tree you intend to plant! Pruning 40 years of overgrowth off a tree cost her thousands of dollars........which she could have avoided by not putting a tree in an inappropriate location or working with an arborist on a regular basis. The second lead could have been removed when it first sprouted up, but she didn't know enough about trees to know it would return to haunt her.

  • Clyde S
    on Sep 12, 2012

    Thank you all so very much! I'll get the photos and then speak with the new folks.

  • Becky (J) P
    on Sep 12, 2012

    wow Becky H! That's crazy! my neighbor went crazy when they moved in (about 2 years before us) and planted about 10 Bradford pears along their prop line. I totally dislike these trees because they break too easy. We have a Pin Oak that was obviously here before both of us and they planted the pear tree next to it, so now there are competing trees, with my pin oak winning. Hopefully the house will sell and the new people will see some of them need to come down.

  • Becky H
    on Sep 13, 2012

    Becky J. we all wonder why some don't either learn a little before planting or just use common sense. A little neighborly consideration would go a long way too. It's just an enigma to me.

  • Why not prune them yourself? Of course the neighbor has a right to trim back branches if they enter into your yard, within reason. But why wait for them to simply hack them back. perhaps being friendly and asking them about them wanting them cut, you will make a great new friend and save your tree in the process.

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