Understanding Tree Law And When To Contact A Property Lawyer

You just bought a beautiful home, with plenty of foliage across acres. But here’s the issue: your neighbor’s tree branches into your driveway (or into your property line). If those branches fall onto your house or your car, you’re responsible for the damages — not your neighbor.

You are allowed to trim the branches, but there's not much you can do if your neighbor doesn’t want to chop down the tree. But if you damage the tree that lies between your property line, you could be on the hook for thousands of dollars.

Even if you own a home, here’s why you need to consider tree law to avoid being sued by your neighbors.


Why Is Tree Law Important For Homeowners?

If you own property with an abundance of forestry, you’ll need to be careful when managing your tree line. Here are three situations you might experience while surveying your land:

  • A tree within your property line
  • A tree that grows across property lines (half on yours, half on your neighbors)
  • A tree on your neighbor’s property, but some of their tree branches intrude on your property

If you’re contemplating pruning or chopping down a tree within your property line, you’re in the clear! Since you own the land, you can do whatever you desire to the forestry.


However, things can get murky when a tree sits between property lines or your neighbor’s tree branches onto your land. One wrong move and you might have an expensive lawsuit on your hand.

You’re responsible for trimming tree branches that invade your property line. But here’s the thing: if you cut the branches too much and cause the tree to die, your neighbor can sue you.

And if you cut down a tree that sits on a property line without your neighbor agreeing? They can sue you for that too.


The Consequences Of Cutting A Tree Outside Of Your Property Line

Now you might be thinking, how much can you expect to pay if you’re found guilty in a tree dispute? Well, it’s not pretty. Let’s look at a property law case regarding tree removal from 2002:

The case of Linebarger Vs Owenby describes two Arkansas neighbors caught up in a tree law dispute. Owenby hired Canal Wood Company to cut down trees within their property. But the company went past the property line and cut down some of Linebargers’ trees.

In the end, the Linebargers’ won $6,725.10 in the lawsuit. This figure included the clean up cost, tree stump value, and home price devaluation.



Nearly $7,000 is expensive, but this figure is lower than the Linebargers’ asking price. In reality, Canal Wood Company cut down more than $44,000 worth of trees on the Linebarger’s property.

In the case of Linebarger Vs Owenby, the defendant, Owenby and Canal Wood Company, were not responsible for paying the price of the cut trees.

However, some judges may rule that the defendant pay for the estimated value of destroyed foliage.

While $44,000 may seem high, think about how years it takes for a tree to grow and how much it would cost to replace a developed tree (which can be vastly different from the sapling price).


What To Do If You Find Yourself In A Tree Dispute

Whether you’re suing your neighbor for cutting a tree, or find yourself being sued, you need a property law attorney to help you. The attorneys available at Hickey and Hull are here to support clients during property law disputes, including cutting trees!



Contact us today and you’ll be connected to a dedicated lawyer. Whether you cut a tree outside of your property line or have a tree overhanging on your property, a lawyer can help you navigate the law.

Consider contacting Hickey & Hull for legal representation regarding property law and subsequently, tree law. With five offices across Arkansas, our clients can talk to an expert attorney in their area and receive legal representation at a Hickey & Hull Law office.