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Boundary tree

Boundary tree needs attention. But who’s liable?


This pretty Ash tree was an attractive feature at the end of not one but three gardens. Over the years it had grown right on the boundary where the three gardens met and had been no trouble to anyone, other than having to reroute the boundary fence a few inches to one side to skirt around the trunk.

Then, one fine summer’s day, as the residents were enjoying some peace and quiet in their back gardens, they were shaken from their reverie by an almighty crack! The Ash tree had split right down its trunk and was in danger of collapse. To make matters worse, it was threatening to land on a brand new summer house.

Our Service

The neighbours quickly got together and agreed to call Connick Tree Care. An examination of the tree told us that it needed to be felled, so we went to work, carefully removing the branches and reducing the three separate trunks of the tree piece by piece, to avoid damaging the summer house or any other surrounding structures.

Eventually we were able to squeeze into the space at the base of the tree and cut it down to a neat stump. We cleared away the wood and left all three neighbours very happy with the outcome.

When it came to settling the bill, they all agreed to share the cost. Had that not been the case, we would have been required to examine the tree to establish which side of the boundary it originated from, and thus who was liable.

Consultant’s Insight

Establishing legal ownership of a tree is a service our arborists are qualified to carry out. Sadly, this usually happens when there is a dispute because the tree is posing a problem and needs attention.

The law on tree ownership is very clear: a tree belongs to the owner of the land on which it is planted. Where a tree is planted to form a boundary, joint ownership is assumed, unless there is evidence to the contrary. However, establishing exactly where and why a tree was planted is not always straightforward.

Boundaries can move over time, as hedges grow, fences are replaced etc. Furthermore, many boundary trees are not planted, they simply grow there, from a seed or nut that happens to land. And as they grow, the trunk can expand to span the boundary line, making it very difficult to determine from which side the tree originated.

A qualified arborist, such as the consultants at Connick Tree Care, can determine the position of origin of a tree for the purpose of establishing legal ownership. We recommend that you do this before any tree or trees on your boundary become a problem and disputes arise. Uncertainty over ownership often leads to trees being neglected and that’s when costly problems occur, such as trunks falling on summer houses.

It can also lead to misshapen and weakened trees, where individuals remove branches and roots overhanging or encroaching into their land without consulting neighbours. For the sake of the tree, and the safety of everyone who lives around it, it’s always best to leave the arboriculture to professionals, who will carry out the work safely and leave the tree in good shape and health.

Client Testimonial

“Fantastic work! The team did a great job and were great to watch. Thanks for your prompt and very efficient service.”
Jayne Devlin

To determine ownership of a tree on your boundary, call Connick Tree Care today on 0800 975 4535 or send us a message.

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