Understanding the Role of Property Lines During Tree Trimming in Watertown, MA

May 3, 2017 6:10 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When it comes to property lines and tree trimming in Watertown, MA, it is important to know what you can and cannot do, both as the owner of a tree or someone who neighbors a tree owner. Here are a couple of questions that are commonly asked about trimming tree branches that grow near or past property lines.

What am I allowed to do if I don’t own the tree?

Legally, the owner of the land in which a tree trunk resides is deemed the owner of that tree. If the base of the tree is in your neighbor’s yard, it is their tree, and the responsibility for maintenance and upkeep will ultimately lie with them. However, if the trunk isn’t on your land but the branches from the tree hang over the property line in to your yard, you do have the right to trim them so that they no longer overhang onto your property.

There are also instances where a tree’s trunk is on both sides of the property line, which in some jurisdictions means that both homeowners have shared ownership of what is referred to as a boundary tree. Since there is no sole ownership, it is always best to have a conversation with your neighbor before making any modifications to a tree. Trimming tree branches does have the potential to alter both the aesthetic appearance and the health of a tree, and making decisions without consultation could damage a previously good relationship with a neighbor.

What if I am the sole owner of the tree?

As the owner of a tree that is in your yard, you are responsible for monitoring the health of your tree regularly. If anything were to happen with your tree and a neighbor’s property suffered damage as a result, you could potentially be found liable if you were deemed to be negligent in caring for the tree. Be sure to inspect your trees for any dead limbs or cracks around the trunk area, as well as the awkward growth of any branches that could become a problem and pose a threat to your neighbor’s property in the future.

It is also your responsibility to make sure that the size of your tree is not breaking any mandated height limits or view ordinances that have been established locally. As the tree owner, it is still a good idea to keep the lines of communication open with your neighbors to let them know about your plans, just so they are aware of the work that will be taking place near their home.

The best way to do your part to make sure that trees remain healthy is to make sure the limbs and branches are trimmed regularly. If you are the owner of a tree and need additional help making sure your tree is healthy and not posing any danger to your neighbors, contact BBD Tree Service. Offering tree trimming in Watertown, MA and more for over 17 years, you can trust that we will make sure that you, your neighbors and your trees are safe. Give us a call today to schedule a visit!

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