Solving Tree Problems with a Neighbor What to do When Your Neighbor's Tree is Causing Problems in Your Yard

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Tree problems are common between neighbors. Debris, tree hazards or damage and, roots breaking up sidewalks are just a few of the typical disputes that can stress neighborly relations. Lou Giroud, ISA Certified Arborist and President of Giroud Tree Service, provides tips on how to work with your neightbor to fix a tree problem.

No matter how tempting, don't touch your neighbor's tree

It's a common problem. You share a tree with a neighbor. The tree is primarily in your neighbor's yard but the problems are on your side of the property line.

Most shared tree problems fall into a few categories:
Property Damage: The neighbor's tree falls and damages your property
Hazardous Trees: Dead, split or leaning tree that could damage your property if it falls
Tree debris: Falls on your pool, patio or gutters
Root encroachment: Roots lifting your driveway or sidewalk
Eyesore/Poor Maintenance: Tree blocks your view or, puts too much shade on your gardens.

"No matter how tempting, don't touch your neighbor's tree," advises Lou Giroud, Giroud President and ISA Certified Arborist. "By law, neighbors sharing a tree have the right to take care of their portion in any way they see fit. However, to avoid conflict and potential legal issues, it's always best to get your neighbor's permission before taking any action on the tree."

What can you do? "Start with a professional evaluation," suggests Mr. Giroud. "An ISA Certified Arborist is in the best position to assess the situation and give you a recommendation."

The next step is to reach out to your neighbor. "In working with 1,000's of tree issues between neighbors," explains Mr. Giroud, "I've found that the best results are gained through friendly communication."

1. If your neighbor is approachable, call or visit. Ask when they would be available to discuss the concern you have with the tree. When you meet, present the issue in a friendly way let them review your Certified Arborist's recommendation. If your neighbor can't pay for the work and it's important to you, offer to pay for it or share in the cost.
2. If your neighbor is never home, write a friendly letter explaining your concern and attach your Certified Arborist's recommendation.
3. If your neighbor won't respond, you can send a certified letter or hire an attorney who understands tree law. This step should only be used a last resort. It's cold and immediately put your neighbor on the defensive making him less likely to negotiate.

Disputes with a neighbor can cause a lot of stress. Your ISA Certified Arborist can evaluate your situation to help make the job of negotiating with your neighbor a little easier.

For more information on solving shared tree issues, go to Giroud's website:    For information on tree law and neighbor relations go to:

About Giroud Tree Service
Giroud Tree Service has been dedicated to keeping trees healthy and customers happy since 1974. Serving Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties, the company specializes in property inspections, diagnosis and testing, tree and shrub care, insect and disease control, tick control, deer repellent, brush clearing, fertilizing, and tree and stump removal. Giroud arborists are certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and have the knowledge and experience required to successfully diagnose, treat and maintain the health of your trees. The company was awarded Angie's Super Service Award® in 2005, 2006 and 2007, as well as the Consumers' CHECKBOOK top rating for quality. The "Giroud Tree work for Charity" program donates free tree care services to parks, historical sites and other non-profit organizations located in the Company's service area. For more information, visit their website at or call them at 215-682-7704.


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Cynthia Giroud
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