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Tree being cut whilst away

(23 Posts)
Hoping4alotterywin Wed 08-Jun-16 10:42:44

Not the most tantalising of subject matters but I was approached on my way home from the school run by a mother (let's call her X) who's daughter is in my son's nursery. This woman has seen me plenty over recent months, even pulled her car over so her daughter can shout hello, so to be approached with a casual "Oh I've been meaning to talk to you" didn't come across as that sincere, but any way I digress. Her house is at the end of my garden and I have a large fir tree at the end which I have kept tamed as much as I can as a working single mum. I like my tree because it blocks out their view of my garden (their houses are raised above my garden) X said "I don't know how you'd feel about us chopping the tree down" going on to explain that it blocks out her sun and she's such a massive sun lover. I said well the question has to be asked why did you buy a house with a north facing garden and a giant great big tree at the end of it? She said "Oh I know but the house is perfect" X said that she wouldn't take off any branches she just wanted the top taken off (about 4 foot) By this point I was just wanting to leave the convo so i said that I didn't want the bulk of it touched because it shields my garden from view but if she just wanted the top taken off than that was fine. X said "Oh good because I've taken photos and spoken to my tree surgeon friend already" so it did creep me out a little that she's taking photos and felt a little like she had decided and was just asking me as a formality. After she ended our convo with "well I'll let you know when we plan on doing anything" Half Term came and went which we went away for. Yesterday I had a lady round who lives on the same row of houses as her and she said "So I saw X's husband cutting your branches" and when they mentioned it the couple said that I had agreed that they could do it. Initially when I saw my tree I thought there were branches missing but dismissed it. Now the branches weren't over hanging their fence because if they were I wouldn't have had a problem, they were just obviously blocking her precious sun. Incidently my friend who is neighbour of X asked if it was alright to chop the branches on her side as they were over hanging her trampoline and their fence and I had said go for your life. So I feel that X has asked, got an answer and then waited for me to not be there and leant over to cut them off; and when I say leant, they would have had to climb on the roof of their shed lean over their fence, reached across and cut them off! I have her DD party to go to and really don't want to as I may something which I regret, am I being unreasonable??

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Wed 08-Jun-16 10:49:39

Sounds like you haven't actually noticed any difference to your tree, so while I would be miffed I wouldn't do anything if I were you.

Laiste Wed 08-Jun-16 10:55:29

It's a tricky one because her wish for light and sunshine in her garden is no more ''precious'' than your wish for privacy. Exactly how high does the tree need to be for both of you to be happy?

I would take the initiative and ask her when she's going to get the tree surgeon in and agree properly how many feet to cut.

Lighteningirll Wed 08-Jun-16 10:55:48

I would make it absolutely clear in writing (emails are great as you can keep them) that it's your tree in your garden and you like it and want it left alone. You've been very vague with her and she's taking liberties.

JoffreyBaratheon Wed 08-Jun-16 10:57:07

It's creepy because she cut the side that's in your garden, not her's. And the stuff about tree surgeon friend is no doubt made up, because why then would her husband do it?

Nothing you can do about it now, but if she asks to do it again in the future, you can refuse because she overstepped the mark this time.

Nothing wrong with lopping anything on her side, overshadowing her physical air-space but it sounds like she went out of her way to mess with it on your side.

PaulAnkaTheDog Wed 08-Jun-16 10:58:51

I can understand them being hacked off at your tree blocking their light. They haven't gone about this the right way though, however your comment about why they bought their house probably fucked them off, so being polite isn't their first thought.

MyKingdomForBrie Wed 08-Jun-16 11:03:39

They're very unlikely to have a right to any light though so it's a bit tough their being 'hacked off'.

It's your tree and you can keep it however you wish, but I would for the sake of neighbourly relations just re-iterate that you don't mind four foot off the top but please do not cut any branches off the sides and please do not touch the tree again without you being present to agree or disagree. She has no right at all to do what she did.

Onlyicanclean10 Wed 08-Jun-16 11:06:01

It's impossible to comment op or say who is unreasonable without seeing the tree.

However I would say her right to have sun is as important as your right to privacy isn't it?

Go round and look at it from her garden. You might not realise how big it is

Artistic Wed 08-Jun-16 11:10:28

Why not offer to have it cut yourself and they pay for the tree surgeon. Keeps you in control of the situation. I've heard horror stories of tall tress being chopped down drastically in such situations! Be careful.

StopLookingAtMyAccount Wed 08-Jun-16 11:11:02

Well, she did ask, you did, sort of, say yes and you couldn't tell what they had done. However, it was out of order of them to do so much.

I would probably not say anything and wait until they ask again.

namechangeparents Wed 08-Jun-16 11:22:42

If the tree were struck by lightning or there were a storm, could it hit her house? That would be more of a consideration for me than vague arguments over light etc.

Indeed, could it hit your house?

SilverBirchWithout Wed 08-Jun-16 11:37:38

I would ask to meet with her and the 'tree surgeon' on site and clearly discuss together a solution that works for you, considering some of her wishes but making clear that your ownership of the tree gives the final say on what can be done.

Also make it clear that in future you will not permit work to be done on your side of the fence unless you are present. Make it clear what she can do legally, ie they can only cut branches that over hang her garden and only if it doesn't cause the plant damage that could potentially kill it. Anything else you agree to is you doing her a favour.

And then confirm what has been agreed by email.

Hoping4alotterywin Wed 08-Jun-16 11:56:18

As a follow up and thanks for all your messages. The tree is probably a good 50ft so it's a whooper and we have a 120 ft garden so it's not thankfully going to take my house out in a storm. I will have a look into a tree surgeon costings as I get they want sun etc but it will have to fall quite far down on the list as 'things to find money for' at the moment. Their garden sits about a ft above my 6ft fence at the end of my garden to give you an idea so it was the lower branches they'd had a go at which were in front of the top of her trellis. I have had a cup of tea and a moment of reflection and have come to the conclusion I'll just leave it, I'm sure there are bigger things to worry about in life, it was just sad that it had happened. Oh and not my proudest moment to ask why they had bought the house (obviously in hindsight it could have been perceived as rude) Not really a reason but I was bamboozled by her approach and felt a little jumped on at the time. Thanks for the messages though again one and all! x

IamaBluebird Wed 08-Jun-16 12:11:06

Nice follow up Op. A cup of tea and a moment of reflection usually works for me too. Unless I'm in a right old strop brewflowers

Laiste Wed 08-Jun-16 13:14:31

One of the rulez of starting a thread on AIBU is that you're not meant to actually be reasonable OP. Did you not get the memo? grin

whois Wed 08-Jun-16 13:37:57

t's a tricky one because her wish for light and sunshine in her garden is no more ''precious'' than your wish for privacy. Exactly how high does the tree need to be for both of you to be happy?

It isn't tricky.

The tree was there first and is in OPs land. Hence OP gets to decide what she does with the tree.

Idontknowwhoiam Wed 08-Jun-16 13:42:27

It's not legal to cut anyones tree.. you can trim branches that overhang your property but that's it.
She also has no right to sunlight and the tree didn't suddenly appear overnight and block her sun!
You're quite right

Idontknowwhoiam Wed 08-Jun-16 13:44:44

You're quite right to point out it was like that when she bought it and unless it's causing a hazard she cannot demand anything be done about it (to you or council)
If you're ok with what's been done now fair enough but I'd probably point out that she didn't do what was agreed incase she thinks it's ok to have a go at it again!

clarrrp Wed 08-Jun-16 14:14:54

I would make it absolutely clear in writing (emails are great as you can keep them) that it's your tree in your garden and you like it and want it left alone.

That's not really how the law works though.

Neighbours are perfectly within their right to cut any branches that overhand their property - exceptions being some protected trees. However, they are NOT allowed to come onto your land or cut any branches on your land without your permission.

ceebie Wed 08-Jun-16 14:25:26

OP, I wonder whether she is now happy with the work done to the tree or whether she is planning anything further. I would suggest that you just confirm to her that you assume that the work is complete and state (very clearly) that you don't want any further work to be undertaken without seeking your permission first. Obviously she has a right to remove overhanging branches. I do think that your earlier responses to her were somewhat vague, so you need to ensure that you are communicating clearly from now on. If she does want further work done, make sure that both sides are completely clear on what is proposed (ideally in writing).

OhMrBadger Wed 08-Jun-16 14:29:55

Is it a leylandii? I'm sure I read somewhere about there being rules about them that don't apply to other trees/shrubs.

Must go find out...

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 08-Jun-16 14:31:39

I would make it absolutely clear in writing (emails are great as you can keep them) that it's your tree in your garden and you like it and want it left alone. There are times in this life when you have to make the decision, do I want to be right or do I want to be effective?

It's a 50ft tree, which makes her neighbours very unhappy. I'm assuming that OP doesn't need all 50ft for privacy. So working out if there's a compromise height and telling the neighbour they can pay to keep it to that height. Everyone wins.

Willow2016 Wed 08-Jun-16 14:37:30

She said she would talk to you about what they wanted to do ---she didnt.
She said she wanted the top cut - she didnt
She cut the branches on YOUR side of the fence that were not hanging over her fence - she had no right to do so.
She has no actual right to light thats an urban myth.
The tree was there first - you were spot on when you asked her about buying the house! Why didnt she buy a south facing house with out a tree nearby ? smile

Just tell her next time she has to have you present and it has to be her 'tree surgeon' so at least he knows what he is doing.

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