Can You Throw Neighbor’s Tree Branches Back in Their Yard?

We’ve all beared witness to the comedic roles of neighbor vs neighbor in hilarious movies or classic sitcoms, but it’s less than humours when it’s happening right in your backyard.

Have you found yourself sighing out of frustration every time you look in your yard and mumbling your neighbor’s name under your breath?

Let’s cut the chase to the age-old question: Can I throw the neighbor’s tree branches back in their yard? By the end of this article, you’ll know how you should go about getting rid of the branches in your yard in the best way possible. 

There’s a little more of an obstacle to this question than you may think, so let’s consider the factors together and get to the bottom of this feud. 

The collected knowledge within this article is not professional legal advice, should you be looking to receive legal advice be sure to consult a local attorney. 

Taking A Look At The Property Line

The first thing to cover is determining where exactly the tree lands on the property line and where its branches are branchin’ out. 

Trees are of course beautiful and provide so many positives to our world and atmosphere but frustration is understandable when a neighbor’s tree branch is constantly shedding leaves, pine needles, or tiny broken-off pieces of branches in your well-kept yard.

So when is it okay for you to take action? Knowing where your exact property line is will be vital in this step, as explained by tree law expert RJ Laverne

The tree is mainly on the neighbor’s side:

If the majority of the tree trunk, or the whole trunk itself, is on the opposite side of your property line the tree is legally your neighbor’s. But, if there are branches that clearly hang over onto your side of the property you do have some rights to trim up those bad boys.

This is also where you want to be cautious though, you’ll be in a world of legal trouble if you cause any health damage to that tree since it is technically not yours. Pruning wrong or cutting off certain branches can be extremely harmful to the tree and in the worst case cause it to die. 

Taking some time to chat with your neighbor about this task would be the best way to find a solution, but if that is long past you can also talk with an arborist or landscaper to be confident in what branches you can prune and what you shouldn’t for the tree’s health. 

The tree is right in the middle of the property line:

Well if this is the peculiar case you and your neighbor have more in common than you think, you own a tree together! That’s right, if the tree is precisely in the middle of the property line it is legally both yours which means any decisions with that tree must be met with full agreement.

Talking with your neighbor in a calm and level-headed fashion can help you both find a solution that works for you, stick around later in this article for a walk-through on how to compose this kind of conversation with your neighbor.

If this causes a greater headache, then you may have to bring in your local Home Owner Association consult or local property experts to be a mediator.

Can You Throw Neighbor's Tree Branches Back in Their Yard

Before You Start Chippity Chopping

Now that we’ve got that settled you may feel a compulsion to grab your sheers and get to cutting, but let’s take a deep breath and cover all our bases first.

To ensure you won’t be in any potential legal trouble, taking some time to double-check with your local laws or community neighborhood guidelines is an excellent step.

It’s also important to look into your local laws on this matter because it can vary from state to state; better safe than sorry! 

Typically there are help numbers, or even Q&A sections, within your city’s website that you can utilize for sound advice and confidence moving forward in solving your tree branch fiasco. 

So, How About Throwing Them Branches Huh?

Alright, so here’s the answer to your burning question. If the branches are your neighbors, as in the tree is on your neighbor’s side, then you technically can throw them back because it is their property.

The follow-up question to that though is, is throwing tree branches back into your neighbor’s yard the right thing to do? 

If you and your neighbor have been bickering for quite some time, your relationship is too damaged to have a calm conversation or there is some kind of neighbor rivalry going on between you, then it may be a passive-aggressive way to say “Hey, here’s your branches back maybe you should trim them back.”

But this isn’t suggested, even if you feel like a relationship is on the rocks with calm and level-headed communication a lot can get done. 

Talking With Your Neighbor

It’s important to keep in mind that in any conversation you enter your mindset will determine a lot of the outcome. If you go into this conversation angry and negative, that is most likely how the aftermath will feel.

But if you go with an open mind and calm demeanor, you may be surprised by the doors that can open before you. When someone is nice and patient with you subconsciously that is how you’ll want to mirror them, and the same goes for when someone is unnecessarily rude to you.

Also remember that if you already have a history of not being each other’s biggest fans going into this conversation you don’t have to have the outcome of becoming best friends, you’re both just simply trying to come to a resolution that works for both parties and keeping the peace. 

Of course, your neighbor could still not respond how you may hope, but alas you can’t control how they’ll respond but you can control how you react. 

Getting Rid of Tree Branches on Your Own

Still don’t feel like chatting but you don’t want to cause conflict? We’ve all been there on the high road, here are some helpful tips on how to properly dispose of tree branches as told by WikiHow

  • Look into your city’s website/resources to find out when yard waste is picked up, you can place the tree branches in a city-provided lawn waste bin or purchase paper lawn/leaf bags. Once you find out which day of the month yard waste is picked up, you can leave it on your curb to be taken care of. 
  • There is also the option of searching out a yard waste-specific drop-off site, some cities have these already in place. You’ll want to make sure you follow the guidelines of how many branches you are able to bring in and how they are to be dropped off (Ex: if the branches need to be cut to a certain length, or put into bags). 
  • If it is allowed in your neighborhood/community you can also have a small bonfire to burn the branches; make sure to keep your bonfire under control and safe!

Now that you know how to calmly and confidently confront this type of situation, you can start to get your yard back to exactly how you like it. Just remember to act like the kind of neighbor you would want to have.