The growth of trees can affect more than one property. While the tree may be based on your land, as it grows larger, branches can cross boundary lines or cause other issues, such as blocking out natural sunlight in a neighbouring garden.

While you may have received a tree felling request or want your neighbour to take action on a tree in their garden, there are some steps to make things easier.

Here are our top tips for resolving tree disputes.

How to solve tree disputes

If you want to cut down a neighbour’s tree or it needs pruning to stop it from being a nuisance, the first thing to do is chat to them or their landlord about the situation. You could even start with a letter if you’re nervous, involving any other neighbours who may also be affected by the issue. However, it’s often easier to have polite, constructive conversations in person, and you may find your neighbour is more than willing to have help maintaining their trees.

If you have no luck by informal means, the next step is to contact your local council. If the hedge or tree problem meets specific criteria, you may have grounds to make a formal complaint. This includes trees that are mostly evergreen, over two metres tall and are affecting your enjoyment of your garden or home. You may need to pay a fee to use this service.

Can you trim a neighbour’s tree?

While you must never remove a tree that’s not on your own land, you may have the right to trim branches that have passed into your property from another space. However, you can only prune the tree or hedge up to your boundary line, or your neighbour could have grounds to take you to court for property damage. The exact boundary between properties is often unclear, so if you’re in any doubt, seek legal advice.

That’s why it’s so important to speak to your neighbour first. They may even be elderly or lack time to trim their trees, welcoming the extra help. If the trees are based in a conservation area or there’s a TPO (tree preservation order) in place, you may need permission from your local council before any work takes place.

Involve an expert tree surgeon

Tree felling disputes often occur when there’s a disagreement about the best course of action. One neighbour will usually want overhanging branches cut back to stop them from infringing on their garden, but the other party involved wants to preserve the condition of the tree.

That’s where involving an expert tree surgeon is the perfect solution. They can assess the tree or hedge and recommend the best pruning methods to keep all parties happy. If a tree is dying or has become unsafe for both properties, they may suggest a complete tree removal.

Get expert tree care advice

Do you need advice from a professional tree surgeon? Speak to Fair Oaks Tree Services. We operate across London and Surrey, including Sutton and Ewell. For more information or a free quote, call now on 07780 445079.