Can I Throw Neighbors Tree Branches Back in Their Yard?

Like most homeowners, you may wonder, “Can I throw neighbors tree branches back in their yard?” 

A neighbor’s tree that overhangs your property can be a prickly issue, especially if it litters branches and leaves in your yard. While trees boost a home’s visual appeal, they can create a big mess if left unattended. So, what should you do when your neighbor’s tree branches encroach on your yard?

This article answers your question and lets you know the legal implications of throwing the tree branches back in your neighbor’s yard. You’ll also know what to do if your neighbor’s tree hangs over your property.

Can I Throw Neighbors Tree Branches Back in Their Yard?

No, you can’t throw neighbors tree limbs back in their yard unless you have their permission. Doing so without their consent is illegal and can have legal implications if the neighbor litigates in court. This is irrespective of whether you cut the branches or they fell naturally in your yard.

While it may seem noble, throwing the branches back into your neighbor’s yard is considered illegal dumping. In some cases, you may be accused of vandalism as the action may be interpreted as damage to a neighbor’s property.

According to most state laws, a neighbor’s tree limb that hangs over your property is your responsibility. But there’s more to tree law that makes everything utterly bewildering. The law claims that your neighbor’s tree is their property, and you have limited rights regarding how much you can tamper with it.

So, if the entire tree is rightfully your neighbor’s property, what can you do to avoid unnecessary conflicts? To retain a good relationship with your neighbor, take it as your responsibility to remove the branches or leaves falling in your yard.

What To Do with Neighbors Tree Branches That Fall in My Yard

After you’ve collected the tree branches, you may be unsure what to do with them. Below are the options you may consider:

Talk to Your Neighbor

Sometimes your neighbor might not be aware that a branch from their tree has fallen in your yard. The best way to avoid aggravating the issue is by approaching them for a talk. Make them aware of the situation and discuss the way forward.

If your neighbor requires the tree branch, they may come for it or request you to throw it back in their yard. If you have a damaged relationship with your neighbor, you may seek legal help before taking any other step. This will help you know whether you have the right to throw back the tree branch. Alternatively, you can consider doing the following:

Wait for Your City To Pick Up the Yard Waste

Collect the branches and leaves and bundle them up. Check your city’s website to know when next they’ll pick up yard waste in your neighborhood. If the city provides a lawn waste bin, cut the branches to the desired length so they can fit in. If not, purchase paper lawn bags. Then wait for your city to come and pick them up.

Take the Branches to a Yard Waste Drop-Off Site

Some cities have yard waste drop-off sites where you can take your branches. You can research to know if your city has one and its location. Remember, you’ll need to cut the longer branches before putting them into the paper lawn bags. Check the guidelines regarding how much yard waste you should bring and how to drop them off.

Use Them as Firewood

Do you have a firewood rack in your backyard that’s almost depleted? If branches from your neighbor’s tree keep falling into your yard, you can store them on your firewood rack for winter use. Cut them into sizable pieces that’ll fit on the rack.

Alternatively, you can get rid of the branches by burning them. Ensure to check your neighborhood’s requirements for creating bonfires.

When Can I Throw Neighbors Tree Branches Back in Their Yard

While throwing tree branches back in your neighbor’s yard is illegal, you can sometimes do so without breaking the law. For example, if your neighbor cut a tree limb and threw it on your property, you can throw it back. You can also throw it back if they cut the branch and allow it to fall into your yard.

But before throwing the tree limb back to the property, approach them and inform them they’re violating your rights. If they’re uncooperative, you can seek the help of a lawyer or report the issue to the city officials.

Below are the instances you should not throw the tree branch back to your neighbor’s property:

  • If you trimmed neighbors tree branches overhanging your property
  • If it’s due to natural causes such as heavy rain, lightning strikes, or strong winds.
  • Age 
  • Wear and tear on the tree branches.
  • Pests or diseases attack the neighbor’s tree and cause the branch to fall.

How Can I Prevent Neighbors Leaves From Blowing Into My Property?

Leaves are a natural product of the tree and can blow in any direction. If your neighbor’s tree leaves blow into your property and clogs your pipes or gutters, it’s your responsibility to handle the issue. Grab a rake and get rid of the leaves that fall in your yard.

Another option is blocking leaves and tree branches from falling into your yard. Here’s what you can do to prevent neighbors leaves from landing in your yard:

Request your neighbor to trim the branches: Approach your neighbor and talk to them about trimming. Be polite and help cut or pay for the tree trimming cost.

Install leaf barrier screens: Leaf barrier screens can help prevent leaves from blowing on your property. You can install the screens around your property to create a fence-like structure for keeping errant leaves on the other side.

Construct a wooden fence: A robust wooden fence can protect your home from intruders and prevent neighbor’s leaves from blowing into your yard.

Install a wire mesh fence: This is an ideal option for homeowners looking for an easy and quick way to prevent neighbors’ leaves from sneaking into their property. Installing this fence is straightforward and requires lower installation costs.

What To Do with My Neighbor’s Tree Limbs on My Property

A neighbor’s tree whose branches hang over your property can be dangerous to your family or property. If the branches overhang your home, they pose the risk of falling and causing damage to your home. They can also fall on someone and cause injuries.

To avoid exposing your family or property to danger, you can legally trim the overhanging branches. Check the property line to ensure you’re cutting branches that hang over your property. Always remember to notify your neighbor before taking action.

If you’ve agreed with your neighbor to trim the branches, consider the following to ensure you’re doing the job in the right way:

  • Assess the tree branches to determine the equipment needed. If you’re dealing with larger branches, you may need a ladder, chainsaw, pruning saw, gloves, goggles, and a hard hat. When trimming smaller twigs, you can use hand shears or lopper shears.
  • If you’ve rented or borrowed the equipment, consider all safety instructions to protect them from damage.
  • If you can’t trim the branches on your own, consider enlisting the help of a family or friend.
  • Hire a professional arborist if trimming the branches puts your property at risk of damage. You’ll also need to hire a professional if power lines are below or near the branches.

When trimming the branches, be cautious not to affect the tree’s health and aesthetics. Careless pruning of branches that invade your property can damage the entire tree. If this happens, your neighbor can litigate for punitive costs.

What To Do if My Neighbors Tree Roots Damage My Home

Like tree branches that encroach on your property, you can cut roots from your neighbor’s tree if they begin to damage your infrastructure. However, you must do this meticulously to avoid harming the tree’s health.

If the tree dies after cutting its roots, the owner can sue you for damages. You may be required to pay your neighbor hundreds of thousands of dollars. In most cases, the cost should be enough to replace the tree.

What To Do if My Neighbor’s Tree Hangs Over My Property

Does your neighbor’s tree seem like it might fall on your house? As a property owner, you can request your neighbor to do one of the following:

Inspect the tree and exercise caution to prevent it from falling on your home. Your neighbor can secure the tree by trimming it to distribute weight evenly. Alternatively, your neighbor can use cables or thick ropes to brace the tree trunk and attach it to stakes. This can prevent the leaning tree from falling on your property.

Remove the leaning trees that endanger your family and home. But what if you’re unsure how to ask your neighbor to cut their trees? In this case, you can put a note in their mailbox requesting them to cut the tree. Alternatively, you can use one of their friends to pass the message.

If your neighbor is reluctant, you can take legal action by filing a lawsuit against them. The court can assess the situation to determine if the tree endangers your property and order tree removal.

What if the hazardous neighbor’s tree falls and damages your home? If you requested the owner to secure or remove the tree but failed to take action, you can claim compensation. Your neighbor is liable for damage if you can prove their negligence.

If the tree falls on your property due to a natural cause, the law interprets this as an Act-of-God. In this case, your insurer can pay for the damages.

Who Owns the Tree?

Can I throw neighbors tree branches back in their yard? Before taking any action, consider who owns that tree. Sometimes you can have equal ownership of the tree if it grows on the property line. So be sure to check the property line.

Looking at the property line ensures you’re not crossing legal boundaries. It’s also the first step to avoiding conflict with your neighbor. You can check the property deed if you can’t locate your property line. You can also contact your local department to find out if they have records showing your area’s property lines. Alternatively, hire a land surveyor for accuracy.

According to tree law, the tree belongs to the property owner if the tree trunk grows on their property. This is irrespective of whether the tree branches extend to the adjoining private property. So the tree growing on your neighbor’s property is their responsibility.

However, neighbor’s branches that encroach on your property are your responsibility. You can trim them but be cautious to avoid harming the tree’s health.

Trees That Grow on Property Line

While this is a peculiar case, it’s common to many homeowners in the US. If the tree grows where the property line passes, you and your neighbor share equal ownership. That means it’s the responsibility of both parties to care for the tree and ensure it doesn’t pose any risk to your families and properties. You’re both required to do the following:

  • Trim branches
  • Get rid of the tree branches
  • Pay for tree services
  • Clean up debris
  • Pay for the damages the tree causes to your property
  • Get rid of the fallen tree

You must agree with your neighbor if you need to cut the tree. And since the tree is the responsibility of both parties, you should split the cost associated with the tree falling. If you can’t find a solution together, find a mediator, such as a local property expert. You can also take the case to your local Home Owner Association.

Final Thoughts

So, Can I throw neighbors tree branches back in their yard? If your neighbor’s tree branches encroach on your property, they’re your responsibility. If you cut the branches or they fall due to a natural cause, you’re not legally allowed to throw them back in your neighbor’s yard. Doing so is offensive and can have legal implications.

Talk with your neighbor to find a solution to this issue. You can also trim the branches to prevent them from falling or blowing leaves on your property.