Finding out that a neighbor killed your tree is a very frustrating and heartbreaking experience. It’s natural to feel like you’ve been wronged and that the perpetrator should be punished. But before you take matters into your own hands, it’s important to understand the law.
It is illegal to kill or harm a tree on someone else’s property. If you can prove that a neighbor killed your tree, you may be able to take legal action against them. The penalty varies in each area, but at the very least, they must pay the owner for any damages and for the value of the tree.
There are other laws to be aware of in regards to tree cutting and removal, even on your own property. If you want to know more about what you can do about your neighbor killing your tree, you’ve come to the right place.
This post contains affiliate links from Amazon and other stores. This means Yard Blogger may earn a commission should you make a purchase using any of our links. Please refer to our full affiliate disclosure policy for full details.
Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!
Having your tree or trees cut down is heartbreaking, and you can sue. But thankfully, you can also prevent it from ever happening with video surveillance you can view from your phone.
Here are our top choices from Amazon:
Ring Smart Lighting: This is compatible with Alexa and is a bright motion-activated light with a camera. You must have an Echo 4th generation, Echo Show 10 (3rd generation), or a Ring bridge to connect it with Alexa and other Ring security devices.
EXVIST Camera and light: The light and camera combination is useful for getting a good look at who is getting into your trash. It acts as a great surveillance and security camera. It’s easy to set up, and you can easily view footage on any device.
SEHMUA Wireless Outdoor Camera: This is a solar-powered camera that has wifi capabilities and where you can talk to people when you see them on your property from anywhere you are.
Neighbors Cutting Down My Tree
Neighbors might cut down your tree for a few different reasons, but they are wrong to do so in any case.
In this section, we will discuss what you can do about neighbors who want to cut your tree down, or what you can do if they already have. Let’s get started!
Can My Neighbor Cut Down My Tree Without Asking?
It is illegal and goes against more than one law if a neighbor cuts down your tree without asking. At the very least, if they don’t agree to pay you for the tree and the damages they caused, you can sue them for the value of the tree and for damages.
In some states, this is a more serious offense, and they could be fined for three times the value of the tree, cost of damages, legal fees, and a reforestation fee.
Other states are not so severe, and this might be better resolved among neighbors.
Can I Sue Someone for Cutting Down My Tree?
You can definitely sue someone for cutting down your tree. You can sue them for the price of the tree itself and any damages done. You might also get your attorney’s fees paid for. Additionally, they might be faced with a fee for not having a permit.
All areas are different in regards to how much the fee is, or how much they owe the tree owner for cutting it, but most likely you will get something.
However, if the tree was leaning or dying and they thought they were helping you – try to resolve the issue with them instead.
You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Pick Fruit Off Your Neighbor’s Tree
Can I Sue My Neighbor for Cutting Down My Tree Without Permission?
You can sue your neighbor if they cut down your tree. In some states, you are entitled to three times the amount of the value of the tree among any cost to you, like attorney’s fees and damage caused by the cut tree.
Your neighbor may also face fines for cutting a tree down without a permit. Not all areas or states are like that, but some dish out serious fines.
Talk to your neighbor first and let them know you want the money for the tree and damages before you take them to court.
How Can I Stop My Neighbor from Cutting Down My Tree?
You can stop your neighbor from cutting down your tree by telling them you will sue them if they do so, or you expect to be paid for the value of the tree and for any damages. That’s about what you would get if you sued.
You can also let them know if it’s illegal in your area to cut down a tree without a permit. That can come with a hefty fine.
Also, in some areas, if you sue, they can be charged three times the amount of the value of the tree plus a reforestation fee.
My Neighbor Cut My Tree Down Without Permission?
If your neighbor cut down your tree without your permission, you can sue. You might be able to get three times the value of your tree, money for repairs, and legal fees paid. They can also be charged for cutting down a tree without a permit and a fee for reforestation.
Your neighbor can cut the limbs off your trees and bushes, but only if they hang on their side of the property line. You can also do the same for branches that reach over onto your side of the property line.
If you share a fruit tree, you also go onto their property to pick fruit from it, but the tree has to be on the property line.
Can I Stop a Neighbor from Cutting Down My Tree?
You and your neighbor can cut limbs and trim back bushes that are across the property line, but your neighbor cannot cut down an entire tree that is on your property. You can sue them if you choose for the value of the tree and the damage done in the process.
You can also sue them for trespassing, and in some states, they can be fined for cutting down a tree without a permit or fined for reforestation costs.
These fines and their amount vary from state to state, and sometimes the state leaves it up to the city and county.
Laws for Tree Removal
There are laws regarding the trees on your property. In this section, we will go over what your rights are in regards to the trees on your property and the laws for cutting down trees on and off your property.
What is the Boundary Tree Law?
If there is a tree that is on the property line, it is shared by both neighbors. If it is a fruit tree, both neighbors can enter the other’s property to pick from the tree. Neighbors can also trim the tree or bush on their side of the property.
Not all states have the same law, however, but typically this is what is expected.
Be sure to check with your local government and neighborhood council to be sure you’re not doing anything illegal in regards to having a shared tree.
What are My Tree Rights?
Trees that are on the property you own are your responsibility and your property. So, if one of your trees falls onto your neighbor’s house, you could be liable. On the other hand, if someone poisons your tree, you can sue them for the destruction of property.
You can also sue them for cutting down one of your trees. Nearly everywhere, they will be liable for any damage they caused while cutting down the tree and must pay the price of the tree.
In some states, they must pay three times the value of the tree and a reforestation fee.
Who is Responsible for Cutting Overhanging Tree Branches?
Your neighbor is responsible for cutting any tree branches from your tree, or a tree on the property line, on their side. And you are responsible for cutting any branches on your side. This includes branches you might not want to be cut.
If you are having issues with your neighbor cutting down branches excessively or letting the branches become too heavy on their side, talk to your neighbor and see if you can come to a compromise.
Maybe they will let you manage the whole tree so they won’t have to deal with it.
You might also enjoy our post on If Your Neighbor Can Remove Your Boundary Fence Legally
What Happens if a Neighbor Cuts Down a Tree on My Property?
If a neighbor cuts down a tree on your property without your permission, you can sue and will most likely get paid back for the tree and any damage they caused by cutting down the tree.
In some states, you can get paid for all legal fees, plus three times the value of the tree as it stood before being cut.
On the other hand, if your neighbor asks you to cut down a tree that looks dead or has limbs that could fall and hurt someone, then you should remove it.
If it does fall, you are responsible for damages.
What is the Penalty For Cutting a Tree That’s Not Yours?
You have to pay for the value of the tree and for any damages you caused while cutting down the tree. If you do so without permission, they can still sue you, and you could be charged for all legal fees, three times the value of the tree, and reforestation fees.
If your neighbor has a tree on their property that is causing issues (a dead tree that could fall and cause serious damage or injure someone), you should politely ask them to take care of the problem.
If they refuse or do not take action, you should tell them that any damage caused by the tree will be their responsibility, and they’ll be held accountable for any costs.
You should also contact your local municipality or city hall to see if there are any ordinances in place that require property owners to take care of dangerous trees on their property.
What is the Penalty for Cutting a Tree Without a Permit?
In some states, it is illegal to cut down a tree without a permit, even on your own property. Most of the time, it’s a fee, but depending on the event, jail time can be the penalty. Most states, however, leave that decision up to the county or city.
If you have a tree that needs cutting that could fall on a powerline, call your power company. They might cut it and remove it for no charge to you.
They will not cut a tree they do not believe will be an issue for the power company, though.
It’s not okay for someone to poison a tree. It is harmful to the environment, and it’s disrespectful to the person owning the tree. Here’s what you can do about it if this happens to your tree. Read on, my friend!
How Do I Know If My Neighbor Has Poisoned My Tree?
If your tree was poisoned, it will show signs like yellowing leaves, excessive loss of leaves, stunted flower buds or leaves, or the foliage around the tree dying. If you notice this, drench the ground in water at least a foot deep.
If you suspect your neighbor poisoned your tree, ask around your neighborhood to see if anyone saw anything.
Or, put up a security camera and see if they come back. Once you know who it is, you can sue because poisoning a tree is illegal.
How to Tell if My Neighbor Poisoned My Tree?
A neighbor may have poisoned your tree if they have ever complained about the tree, or you get a sense that they don’t like you. Ask around your neighborhood if anyone has seen anything suspicious. You can also put up a camera to see if they come back.
If you’re not sure your tree is poisoned, look for dead grass and such around the tree. Also, look for yellowing or falling leaves. Flowers will be dying or stop budding as well.
If you believe it’s been poisoned, drench the tree roots in a foot of water and do that every week for three weeks.
You might also enjoy our post on What to Do if Your Neighbor Poisoned Your Dog
What Can I Do About Neighbors Spraying Chemicals on My Property?
When neighbors spray chemicals on your property, first tell them not to. They might think they’re helping cut down on weeds. However, if they continue to do so, you can sue them for trespassing, for any damages, and for the destruction of property.
You can also shine a flood light on the yard if you think they are doing it at night. This should deter them because they are more likely to be seen.
You can also set up video surveillance and put up a 24-hour video surveillance sign.
Can Someone Poison a Tree?
Someone can poison a tree. There are many ways to poison a tree without anyone realizing it until the tree starts dying. However, it is illegal to poison someone else’s tree or a tree on public property. They can be fined heavily for doing so.
You can also be fined for cutting down a tree. If you notice a tree that looks like it could fall and cause damage, let the owner know so that they can take care of it.
If they don’t take care of it, you can offer to hire someone who will cut it down.
If you are poisoning a tree to save other trees and vegetation, then you will most likely still need a permit unless it is on your own property.
Can I Stop a Neighbor from Poisoning My Tree?
If you notice your neighbor poisoning your tree, you can report them because it is illegal. Also, to prevent this from happening, put up video surveillance and a sign that says 24-hour surveillance.
You can sue someone who poisons or cuts down a tree in your yard. In most areas, you will get the value of the tree, the money for damages, and possibly attorneys fees.
In some states, you get three times the amount of the tree, and they are fined reforestation fees.
Can You Save a Tree That’s Been Poisoned?
If you caught it early enough, you can save a tree that’s been poisoned. To do so, pour enough water on the tree and soak the soil down to a foot. Repeat the process every week for three weeks. This will add good bacteria to the soil to break up the poison.
The water will also dilute the poison and its effects on the tree. If the poison has done a lot of damage, drill holes in the ground around the tree every 800 mm.
Then mix sugar with water and pour into the holes.
What Can I Do About a Neighbor Cutting My Bushes?
First, simply ask your neighbor to stop cutting your bushes. They may think they are helping you. If they continue after that, put up no trespassing signs and then report them to the authorities if they enter your property.
You can also report them to your neighborhood community council or your landlord if you are both renting from the same person or business.
Additionally, you can put up a privacy fence to deter them from trimming your bushes.
Can I Plant a Tree on a Property Line?
If you want to plant a tree on the property line, check with your adjacent neighbor to see if they are okay with it. Also, check your neighborhood standards on trees or the city’s policy on planting trees in your area. It might be an illegal species to plant.
Allowed tree species differ from area to area. Some trees grow so well in some areas they begin to multiply quickly.
But that same species might not be an issue for the next city over. And, remember to be considerate of your neighbor since trees can create a mess.
Neighbors think they own the place, and on their property, they do, but when they treat your property and your trees like it’s theirs, you don’t have to just sit around and let them do it.
Now you have the tools and knowledge to talk to them, or if that doesn’t work, to sue or report them.