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I have a boundary (on the property line) Willow tree that its roots are causing property damage.

Lake Oswego, OR |

I have had a Cert . Arborist letter stating the tree must be removed to prevent future damage . The tree roots have entered under my home , broke into the low point drain , broke rain drains and now afraid it is attacking an in ground swimming pool . I have tried to talk to neighbor and he will not allow the tree to be cut down . The home is going up for sale this summer and I will have to disclose and most likely will diminish the value of my home if not rectified . What next ?

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Attorney answers 3


It sounds like it's time to consult a real estate attorney. Property disputes like this can be very difficult and emotion-fueled and people are often not reasonable when it comes to their own property (remember that saying about a man's home being his castle), even if they are in the wrong. Hopefully, a good real estate attorney can negotiate a settlement without dragging this into court, but you'll need to know about the liabilities, potential claims, and damages involved. If negotiation doesn't work, then the next step is probably filing a civil suit for injunctive relief and money damages.

My responses to posts on AVVO are not legal advice, nor do they create an attorney-client relationship. In order to provide true (and reliable) legal advice, an attorney must be able to ask questions of the person seeking legal advice and to thus gather the appropriate information. In order for an attorney-client relationship to exist, you and I both have to agree the the terms of such an agreement.

Orion Jacob Nessly

Orion Jacob Nessly


An Oregon real estate attorney will also be able to tell you if injunctive relief (this just means the court making a person take a certain action or stop doing something they are doing) is an option here. The case cited by Mr. Millar is a Washington case, seems to have more to do with overhanging branches, and was ruled on almost 100 years ago. I'm not saying it's wrong or right, because this is not really my area of practice and I don't know. This is the reason that it would be a good idea to consult with a local real estate attorney to determine the specific rules in Oregon today.


I am not an OR attorney, laws vary from state to state, you should therefore consult a local attorney.
As a general rule, you are allowed to cut any branches or roots that are on your propert.

Gostina v Ryland, 199 P. 298 (Wash. 1921): "One adjoining owner cannot maintain an action against another for the intrusion of roots or branches of a tree which is not poisonous or noxious in its nature. His remedy in such cases is to clip or lop off the branches or cut the roots at the line."

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.


I believer there are court decisions supporting the right of an adjacent landowner to cut the branches of a tree which intrudes onto his property. I suspect the same rule applies to roots, but I am not aware of any decisions on roots.

I think the practical problem is trying to get at the roots to sever them, and the fact that removing them may kill the tree. I suggest you contact a property lawyer in your area. The lawyer might inform the neighbor of your intent to sever the roots, and a contact from a lawyer may convince the neighbor that you are serious, and get some response.

This comment is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship and obviously is not confidential. You should contact an attorney in your area who can review with you all of the relevant facts and give you specific legal advice.