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Pennsylvania Law on Trees

Posted by attorney James Tupitza

Trees: A landowner may use self-help to remove encroaching tree limbs (so long as he does not trespass on the neighbor's property), and thereafter recover his reasonable expenses from the trespasser. The landowner will not be held responsible for any resultant damage to the trees. In the alternative, the landowner may seek injunctive relief, together with incidental and consequential damages. Jones v. Wagner, 425 Pa. Super. 102, 624 A.2d 166 (1993) (Note: In a footnote, the court notes that it may be possible to have a prescriptive easement for the tree limbs after 21 years)

However, the Superior Court recently held that no prescriptive easements are acquired by the growth of tree branches or roots which encroach onto a neighbor’s property. The Court based its reasoning on the concept that the growth of trees cannot notify a landowner of a claim to the use of the ground and because of the “potential of widespread uncertainty occasioned by such easements convinces us that they should not be recognized as a matter of public policy." Koresko v. Farley, 2004 Pa. Cmwlth , 844 A. 2d 607 (2004).

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