Neighbor's Tree coming into our backyard over wires

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Topic: Neighbor's Tree coming into our backyard over wires

General Discussion July 23, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Neighbor's Tree coming into our backyard over wires

I need some advice on getting a tree trimmed that is running over and under various wires coming out of the back of our rowhouse. The tree is technically located on our neighbor’s property, so we can’t request a removal. All we want is the branches trimemd that run into our property and wires, so we aren’t looking to pay someone, rather find the city service that will come and take care of it (since it is a potential hazard at any moment). I tried calling PEPCO and they said they only do ground wires and won’t touch a tree unless it’s interfering underground. What is the best way to get this taken care of? Do we call comcast or verizon? Do we call the city? Any insight would be very helpful.

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For starters, I don’t think this has anything to do with the city; the wires, the tree, and the property do not belong to the city so I don’t think the city enters into it.

I am fairly sure that the utilities won’t do it either, but you could call and ask. Basically, the tree is on private property so it’s the property owners’ responsibility to keep it trimmed properly. Now even though the tree is not on your property, I believe you are entitled to trim any parts of it that encroach on your property if the owner of the tree won’t or doesn’t want to do it.

Bottom line, I think it’s your responsibility and you either have to do it yourself or pay someone to do it. If you talk real nice to your neighbor maybe he’ll take care of it.

Have you talked to your neighbors? Our tree was growing over onto our neighbor’s property and we weren’t aware (we don’t use the backyard that much). She came over and asked us to trim it back to the yard line, so we did. Problem solved.

If the owner of the tree won’t trim his/her tree, you do have a right to trim it yourself to the property line. However, I’m not sure what the law is in DC regarding if you can be held liable if you harm the tree in trimming it.


If the wires they are crossing are Pepco lines then they will come out and trim the branches. I have had them do this for me in the last 6 months. I would call back and hope you get a different person. Your neighbor is only responsible for the parts of the tree that are over their yard. I would talk to them about getting someone out and see if they wanted to split the cost. If you feel like you can wait trimming is cheaper in the winter months.

Even if you decide to have the branches trimmed, the tree contractors will need to be able to climb up the tree trunk to access the offending branches, so you will need to at least discuss with your neighbor. It’s usually the kind of thing neighbors should work out together.

This is an easy one that just requires a little bit of applied common sense. If the tree branch is hanging onto your property, you can trim it. Your neighbor can’t, because doing so (at least without your permission) would be a trespass onto your property. Likewise, you can’t trim the tree past your property line without your neighbor’s consent.

The only caveat here is that if a branch hanging into your yard causes some kind of damage to your property, s/he’s liable.

Again, common sense dictates you should talk to your neighbor about taking care of the situation.

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