Can I trim neighbors fruit trees growing over my fence?

Asked over 2 years ago - Long Beach, CA

my neighbor has 5 fruit trees growing next to fence on there side. Im tired of picking up fruit on my side, trees are mature and some branches are on my side. My gardener is leery about cutting the branches growing on my side.So I always notify when we will cut them. Can we be held responsible? can I also hold them financially responsible?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Robin Mashal

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Disclaimer: The materials provided below are informational and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

    Although you technically may trim tree branches and roots that intrude into your property, you should do so cautiously. It is good practice to inform the neighbor and ask if they are willing to do it for you. Otherwise, you need to be very careful not to cause damage to the tree. Be sure to consult your own attorney to protect your legal rights.

  2. Frank Wei-Hong Chen

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, but you have to be very careful here. In California, you do not have the absolute right to cut or remove branches from your neighbor's tree.

    In the case of Booska v. Patel (1994) 24 Cal. App. 4th 1786, the California Court of Appeal held that a neighbor does not have the absolute right to cut encroaching roots and branches so that they end at his or her property line. You must take into account the health of the tree before you start trimming, cutting or chopping. You might be liable for reasonable costs of replacing destroyed tree with identical or substantially similar tree.

    Therefore, you ought to communicate with your neighbor before you take any action

    Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in... more

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