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Neighbour wants to cut my tree down.

(102 Posts)
Lemonnhoney Wed 03-Jun-20 13:34:54

More of a WWYD.

Neighbour around the back of my house (gardens back onto each other) just came round to ask if she could cut the branches off a big sycamore tree at the end of my garden.

Apparently it's covering her garden with something? I'm assuming it's the flowers which are quite sticky with sap. She has just built a dog kennel too and apparently it's ruining it?!

It's quite a big tree and I get where she is coming from but it's so beneficial for wildlife, I see so many birds in it and it must be a habitat for thousands of insects.

I kind of fumbled about how I'm into nature and wasn't too sure and then said I'd have to ask my landlord.

I could pribably agree to her giving the tree a trim but to cut all the branches off? No way.

I feel awkward about it all though because I don't want any hassle.

AIBU for just ignoring her until she asks again then saying no 😂 I don't know what to say to her.

OP’s posts: |
Justcallmebebes Wed 03-Jun-20 13:37:50

She has a legal right to cut any branches overhanging onto her boundary but not to do any structural damage

BillywigSting Wed 03-Jun-20 13:37:55

She can legally cut back any branches that overhang her garden (but can't touch anything on your side) and doesn't have to consult you on the matter. However, she should absolutely not be doing it in the middle of nesting season and any tree surgeon worth their salt wouldn't touch it atm.

endofthelinefinally Wed 03-Jun-20 13:38:15

If you have a landlord it is up to them, not you.

Lockheart Wed 03-Jun-20 13:39:00

So she doesn't want to cut the tree down, she wants some branches removing.

She can legally remove whatever is overhanging her garden without asking (although should return the wood to you) but she has no ability to force you to make any alterations to the tree on your side of the fence.

Seeline Wed 03-Jun-20 13:39:07

If the branches are hanging over her property she can cut off anything up to the boundary without anyone's permission (assuming it hasn't got a preservation order on it).

EatsShootsAndRuns Wed 03-Jun-20 13:39:37

then said I'd have to ask my landlord

So speak to the landlord. She is entitled to cut off any branches that overhang her garden but only back to the boundary and she must OFFER them back to the landlord, not, as so many people think, just lob them over the fence.

brakethree Wed 03-Jun-20 13:39:52

Echo what Just said. She can cut off any branches that overhang but only from the boundary fence not right back to the trunk. They cannot cut the top of the tree off.

WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Wed 03-Jun-20 13:46:48

However beautiful a tree is, you don't have the right to expect her to accommodate part of your tree in her garden. You wouldn't build a 'flying' extension to a bedroom that hung over a boundary wall and encroached on the airspace of her property - and expect it not to be a problem, just because it doesn't actually touch the ground of her land.

Ignoring her until she has to bring it up again and then still saying no, or kicking it into the long grass, is the best way of causing aggro and potential long-term neighbourhood enmity. When you say you don't want any hassle, do you mean any falling out or causing her upset - or just that YOU don't personally want any hassle?

Whether you originally planted it or not, you can't seriously expect to occupy part of somebody else's garden with impunity - and leave them to clean up all of the mess it makes in perpetuity - and just think it's OK and can be ignored.

WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Wed 03-Jun-20 13:52:02

She is entitled to cut off any branches that overhang her garden but only back to the boundary and she must OFFER them back to the landlord, not, as so many people think, just lob them over the fence.

I'm sure that is the law, but it sounds dreadfully unfair to me. Somebody else's tree encroaches on YOUR garden, YOU have to go to the effort, time and possible expense of cutting the overhanging branches off, YOU have to approach THEM and offer them back and then, if THEY say they don't want them, YOU then have to dispose of them.

Not quite the same thing, I know, but if I precariously balanced a dirty old mattress on my fence and it fell over into my neighbour's garden, I'd be rightly considered an immense CF if, when they complained, I said "Oh, no, I don't want it back, thanks - just get rid of it yourselves!"

3cats Wed 03-Jun-20 13:52:48

The thing is nature has its place. Trees in gardens can cause a lot of problems, especially big trees like sycamores that shed a lot. Are you taking good care of the tree?

I think the best solution is to hire a tree surgeon to look at it and make sure it’s well maintained.

CheerfuIPotato Wed 03-Jun-20 13:53:03


VenusTiger Wed 03-Jun-20 13:53:35

Can't be doing with people who moan about nature: leaves, fluff (2 weeks of the year!), sticky flowers - we're slowly destroying this planet. As it's at the bottom of her garden, unless she had a patio area there then I'd be tempted to ignore as you've suggested.

We've planted 6 trees in our garden since moving in - there are trees all around us - the lady at the back of our garden (she sides onto the back of ours) has two massive birch that drop seeds and leaves all over our patio at the top, but we don't complain - we have a family of squirrels and a family of jackdaw who live all year round in our mature tree - I love watching them.

DappledThings Wed 03-Jun-20 13:53:43

You need to clarify whether she meant branches which overhang her garden which she can do without asking as others have said or if she means taking bits that are in your garden.

However, she should absolutely not be doing it in the middle of nesting season and any tree surgeon worth their salt wouldn't touch it atm
Not entirely true. We were due to have 6 trees taken down last week. They only took 5 because the 6th had a nest in it. You have to check but you don't have to not do any tree work on the off chance of nesting.

Lemonnhoney Wed 03-Jun-20 13:54:30

I don't want any hassle in the aspect of i don't want to cause her upset. She said she would be happy to pay for it. I know I wouldn't have to do anything.

Thanks for the info. I'm happy for her to cut down any over hanging branches. But she said that she had done that and it wasn't enough. She doesn't want things blowing into her garden so wants to chop all the branches down to the trunk.

The problem is that the tree trunk is in the bottom corner of my garden. Right next to the boundary of 3 other gardens.

Yep agree with a poster that it's pribably not best to just ignore the situation. Should I just tell her she can cut down the branches on her side then?

OP’s posts: |
AGrownManMadeWager Wed 03-Jun-20 13:56:16

You'll need to direct her to your landlord. You can't give permission to cut a tree down that doesn't belong to you.

3cats Wed 03-Jun-20 13:57:38

It’s not good to cut branches down to the tree because rot can set in and kill the tree.

If you can afford it, please get a professional in to look at it.

Lemonnhoney Wed 03-Jun-20 13:58:05

@VenusTiger im totally with you on that. I love bird watching in the tree. It must have about 7 different bird species in it regularly.

A mature tree is a valuable thing imo. But I'm sure many will disagree and say its a nuisance

OP’s posts: |
Defiantly41 Wed 03-Jun-20 13:58:12

You should check if it has a tree protection order on it first via your council. Then she should employ a tree surgeon at her expense, if it is a big tree, removing branches willy nilly may make it unstable, a tree surgeon would make sure any lopping did not harm the tree.
And, of course, nature being what it is, the flowers/sap/leaves whatever could still blow into her garden!

parietal Wed 03-Jun-20 13:59:11

tell her to contact the landlord, but also remind her that she can't cut the tree during nesting season because it is illegal to damage the bird nests. So she will probably have to wait until autumn.

NotEverythingIsBlackandWhite Wed 03-Jun-20 13:59:41

I would go back to her and tell her she can cut off branches back to the boundary, as allowed by law, and nothing further.

When we were pruning a relative's tree last year, the neighbour at the end of his garden asked us to cut it down because the leaves blow into her garden in the autumn. It doesn't even overhang her garden. When I said no, that my relative loves this tree, she said that she didn't like it. She seemed quite surprised that wasn't of importance to me.

peajotter Wed 03-Jun-20 14:01:59

How big is your garden? How big is the tree? Sycamore trees can easily grow to 30-35m tall. That’s up to five times the height of an average house! They are enormous and give a lot of shade, which can completely cover a small garden to the north.

Maybe speak to your landlord and suggest removing it before it gets too big and replacing with a more manageable and wildlife friendly tree. Elder, hawthorn, Apple etc. Sycamores aren’t really great for wildlife compared to our native trees and it will cost an absolute fortune to remove it if it grows to full size.

ElsieMc Wed 03-Jun-20 14:04:35

No, do not agree to chop the branches down. I live in a rural area with a number of people with second homes which were built in a wooded area. There have been so many requests to chop down trees, the Council have actually put legal preservation orders on trees in the village. Ridiculous situation.

Yes, she can cut back to the boundary but no further. She cannot de-stabilise the tree. She must be about to do it herself, because it is nesting season at present and the fines are huge for breaching the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Generally she will not be able to do anything until September at soonest.

My neighbour got in tree surgeons to cut back a large tree and hedge and they had to leave the job at the end of September last year because there were still nests. Where would you stand if you allowed her to cut back legally if she cut with your agreement? Does she get fined or do you?

I have large trees just outside our boundary wall. They are messy and we have to clear up, but I would rather preserve trees than cut them down taking away wildlife habitats plus they were clearly there when we bought.

TabbyMumz Wed 03-Jun-20 14:06:44

It's not your tree. You need to contact your landlord. It's his tree. If I was a landlord and I found out the person renting my house gave someone permission to do something I'd be really cross. Contact your landlord as people have been saying.

WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Wed 03-Jun-20 14:08:55

the neighbour at the end of his garden asked us to cut it down because the leaves blow into her garden in the autumn.

I'd say that leaves are par for the course and you just have to suck them up (a leaf vac might be more appropriate, though grin). They're everyday transient debris that can be carried on the wind from other people's property into your garden like anything else can. You might as well expect the council to stop all birds flying over your garden in case they poo in it.

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