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neighbor cutting limbs: Wisconsin law?, roof damage from pine tar, etc.?
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I just moved into a place that has a big pine in the backyard that has caused damage to the neighbor's garage. The new owners want to cut down all limbs overhanging their property, which would be almost half of the tree. She claims the resin--not just overhanging branches--from the tree has damaged the garage roof. The owner of the property I live in, who is also a good friend, is willing not only to go along with this, but to cut down the whole tree, since he would get a deal on the cost by using her pruner.

However, this is a huge, wonderful tree that provides shade for the whole yard, which I really like and don't want to see go away. I bent my friend's ear a bit about it and he said he'd talk to the neighbor about the possibility of her cutting just the low-hanging branches in order to clear room for the new garage that she is planning to build, and to prevent future damage, providing it is only from branches scraping against the roof. He thinks that pine tar should help seal the roof, not eat it away.

At this point, I would really like more info on whether pine tar and whatever else drops from pines damages roof tile, as the neighbor claims, if Wisconsin law allows for her cutting the higher branches as well as the lower, and how much you can cut from such a tree without killing it.

Thanks!

Peter
 
Posts: 4 | Registered: Saturday June 11, 2005Report This Post
<Wayne C.>
posted
Hello Peter,

Cant speak to the damage to the roof from a professional standpoint, but would suggest that you find an attorney friend to tell you if Wisconsin follows the Common Law model for boundary disputes.

If it does, the neighbor may have pretty wide latitude in what they can cut that overhangs. There is case law in California that says that the neighbor has to be reasonable, and similar law in Mass. that says that the neighbor can prune but not damage your tree.

Both of these adaptations of the old common law position of a land owner owning above and below the line (with exceptions relating to fruiting trees etc) have much room for interpretation. Removing all of the limbs from one side of the tree will result in significant reduction in photosynthetic capacity and create many wounds, thus can be said to harm the tree. Additionally, the question of what is reasonable may need to be asked and answered.

Nothing very specific here and I dont pretend to be a lawyer, just a tree guy who spends a lot of time talking to lawyers.

Wayne Cahilly
 
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Thanks for the info, Wayne. I may know a lawyer to ask about this and am currently searching Wisconsin statutes on the web. I probably will look for legal forums on the internet as well. It sounds like it could be complicated legally, but this could pave the way for a good amount of negotiation between neighbors. Thanks again--your perspective helped.

Peter
 
Posts: 4 | Registered: Saturday June 11, 2005Report This Post
<peter t>
posted
Peter,

Did you find the information about the neighbor/tree situation in Wisconsin? I have a similar situation.

Peter
 
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<Susan>
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I, too, am in Wisconsin and have a neighbor's tree destroying my driveway with its roots, clogging my gutters resulting in them overflowing and water-damaging my finished lower level, and obliterating the sun from
my patio where I want it. Neighbor refuses to do anything.Any help or similar experiences out there ?
 
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