When a tree growing on a neighboring property has branches extending over the property line, those branches may cause a conflict with the adjacent property owner's ability to fully utilize and enjoy their own property. In many situations a property owner has the right to prune nuisance branches back to the property line, however, this is only the case when doing so will not unreasonably damage the health, structural stability, or aesthetics of the tree.
To reduce the potential legal liability associated with such pruning activity, it is strongly recommended that a property owner seek qualified council prior to conducting any such pruning. A properly credentialed and qualified arborist, familiar with tree pruning techniques, standards, and Best Management Practices, can provide guidance as to how such conflicting branches may best be reduced or removed without causing unreasonable damage to the tree, or exposing the property owner to unnecessary legal liability. This is particularly relevant when dealing with mature trees, which may be valued at tens of thousands of dollars, or when the branches to be removed are greater than a few inches in diameter.
None of the opinions expressed are intended to be taken as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney regarding the legal aspects of your individual situation.