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Neighbors Chopped Down my Tree!

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  • Neighbors Chopped Down my Tree!

    After a recent storm, neighbors' help came onto my property and chopped down a large (18" diameter, 25' tall) tree on my property.

    I believe it dropped a branch toward them, but I was never contacted in any way, shape, or form... just saw it was GONE and is on the street waiting for pickup.

    We live in an area with small farms near each other; I am aghasted that anyone would do this.

    The property line is known; surveyed by both parties within the last couple years, and in fact, there's a survey marker right by the stump that clearly shows the line... putting the tree on my property.

    Anyone have this kind of experience? If the tree was damaged or threatening, then OK, let's discuss it and talk it over, don't just come chop the thing down!

    It was located in a vacant-ish area and would not have touched fences, barns, etc of neighbor, I don't think. I sent an email (not acknowledged) and said please talk to me first if something like this happens again.

    Not looking for compensation really, just... agog. They also killed some of my landscaping vines I planted on an adjoining fence when they sprayed weeds in the area. Sheesh.

    Last edited by Miss Motivation; Mar. 26, 2012, 02:30 AM. Reason: clarity

  • #2
    That really got my Bible-lady back up! Trees are so valuable, so to chop them down unnecessarily is downright sinful! Those neighbors just reduced their clean oxygen availability, too.


    • #3
      Actually, the only thing they could chop down were the branches hanging over the property line. And even if the tree was diseased it would still be your responsibility to remove the tree.
      You can't fix stupid-Ron White


      • #4
        I'd take this as a possible survey problem not let it slide. Id send them a letter( so you have documentation) then talk to them, nicely, because they may be have been thinking that they were helping you out. It costs money to cut down a tree and they MAY have done it as a favor.
        But if you don't say anything, if they dispute the property line in the future they could say you didn't say anything when the tree was cut down.
        Yes, it is upsetting though, sorry.


        • #5
          I would politely ask them to compensate you by planting a tree of a similar species in that location. A good-sized one, at least 5' tall, not a tiny whip of seedling stock.
          My Equestrian Art Photography page


          • #6
            I would consult with an attorney, best $ spent, before you get in any trouble with that neighbor.

            I would be worried that they choose to trespass and cut a tree in your property.
            Better stop this at the gate, see what the laws where you are say and be proactive, before that neighbor gets any other such goofy ideas.

            Any one that would do that is the type to, given an inch, take a mile.


            • #7
              I would be having a long chat with said neighbor about boundries and property lines. As others have said you could end up with a property dispute if, down the road, neighbors claims to have been maintaining the property and can produce invoices to prove it (i.e. bill for tree removal). I just do not understand why some people think it is appropriate behavior or thier right to enter other people's property much less make adjustments to that property. I would suggest putting up no trespassing signs on the perimeter.

              I watched the tenant from my neighbor walk over to another neighbors property (behind us) yesterday and chop down some of the bamboo that was growing. He walked right past the well marked survey post like he owned the place (which does not surprise me actually as the people he rents from think they own all the property around here and try to tell everyone else what they can and can not do on thier own property). I know the kid did not have permission to cut the bamboo down as I am pretty good friends with the property owner and they are getting ready to start building.


              • #8
                Yah, I wouldn't let it go as it could set a precident that he is maintaining property he will at some point claim is his, and if you don't dispute it, any judge might see it as aquiescence on your part. Put your complaint in writing, certified letter and talk to them in person. Contact your surveyor and have him come out to discuss and clarify the boundary with you, so its on record what happened and that you are defending your boundaries and the survey you paid for. Also call the cops, and make a report - pretend you have no idea who did it, if you want, just report it, so that any future episodes can be followed up on.

                Your neighbor may have done it on purpose, thinking that the cost will pay for its self when he gains rights to the property in the future. Wouodn't be the first time someone did something like that on purpose.

                You don't have to sue him, just put your affairs in order and do right by your property and don't let it slide because you don't want to create waves. The wave already washed over your beach, you need to tidy up the mess and make sure no one is unclear about what your position is and what the boundaries are.
                My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods


                • #9
                  I think you really need to have a friendly talk with your neighbor first to be sure it wasn't a contractor error before assuming they deliberately cut down your tree. Depending on the circumstances, either the contractor or the neighbor may be responsible for replacing the tree.

                  Just don't assume it was deliberate until the neighbor confirms one way or the other.
                  Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                  Witherun Farm


                  • #10
                    At this very moment, there are bulldozers in my yard removing the landscaping that the neighbor planted without permission. You do need to "clarify" the situation now, before it becomes a further problem.

                    Reminds me, I need to walk out there and make sure they didn't pull up the survey marker - again. It's a misdemeanor in this state.


                    • #11
                      had a similar issue with my neighbor.
                      he kept mowing and planting stuff just over the property line. he refused to stop and i had to sue for trespass.
                      i won, he appealed and i won again.
                      so for the past few years he has had his snow plow guy push salty snow onto the trees which the former owner planted. they have now died and look crappy--no way in hell am i cutting them down!
                      lol, they are good for the birds so he has to deal with dead trees now instead of living trees.
                      jerks are jerks the world over i'm afraid.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kestrel View Post
                        Reminds me, I need to walk out there and make sure they didn't pull up the survey marker - again.
                        You have one of those too. Mine thought it was ok to move those things around as she choose also (see above post, neighbor that thinks she owns everythig around here). After I had the last survey done (paid for two cause she kept moving stakes) she came into my yard with a t-post and planted that where she thought the line should be (about 15' inside of my property line). Mind you she had to pass the newly installed 3 foot surveyor stake with the orange surveyor tape on it to do so. I took pictures of the rusty old t-post with the surveyors stake in the backround, pulled the t-post and chucked back over on her property. Promtly put a complete perimeter fence around the place and concreted the surveyor stakes in with the wood posts. Let her try and move them again.


                        • #13
                          If the tree was yours then they committed vandalism, a crime, in cutting it down.

                          Make a police/sheriff report. Call your insurance company and make a report. Then call the neighbor and ask, nicely, for compensation. If they refuse, then ask the local DA to prosecute.

                          If there is a boundary issue, be aware that in many states it's a felony to move a survey marker.

                          They had a right to "trim" branches that "broke their close." They did not have a right to cut down the tree.

                          Don't let it slide; it will only get worse.

                          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                          • #14
                            The neighbor's help did it? Do you normally have a decent relationship with the neighbor and/or their help?

                            If so...and if this wasn't a prized planting..I'd talk to neighbor about it without a big drama and let them know to not do that again. Let them explain their side too...they may have thought they were doing you a favor or made a mistake or whatever.

                            If the neighbor is a PITA and like my last neighbor...you could always do what I did and scare the living bejeebers out of him and then move.

                            Our last home was a Wisteria Lane type neighborhood where everyone also knew everyone.
                            Our buddy-neighbors built a bigger home and sold their home to the neighborhood pains-in-the-butts. Our last winter there we had heavy snow and ice often. We had landscaped clusters of white birches scattered around our backyard and those tend to lay down under heavy loads of ice. They always pop back up again after a melt though.

                            The PITA husband walks into my backyard, up to a stand of "sleeping" birches and starts hacking them up with a chainsaw!!! I arrived home as he was still working on them. This is the middle of my backyard...he had to CLIMB a fence to get to them! He had the gall to say first, "Oh I thought these were on my property." You climbed a fence! "Well, you just left them lying there and I didn't want to buy wood for the fireplace."

                            AACCCKKKKK! Neighbor on other side broke up the ensuing battle...I was swinging a snow shovel at him, LOL!
                            We moved. Or I'd be in jail.

                            I hope it's not like that? If so, I can send you my snow shovel.
                            You jump in the saddle,
                            Hold onto the bridle!
                            Jump in the line!


                            • #15
                              Huh. Years ago, my ex & I bought the cottage next door to my sister-in-law's mother's. Said cottage had been unoccupied for almost 30 years, but it is lakefront, and of course therefore, the frontage was golden. Took a few years to fix the place up, but we immediately began working on it, and enjoying it in the summer. Since lake is a water source for the village, very strict regs regarding removal of trees close to shore. One of the trees in front, immediately next to the water, annoyed SIL's mother as it didn't allow her a clear view of the far end of the lake. We were asked to 1st cut it down - NO (couldn't anyway because of the regs). 2nd - take all the lower branches off - well, it was our first summer there and we wanted to see what was what before making landscaping decisions. Then miraculously, hummingbirds decided to nest on the lower branches over the lake in that tree that summer! No one that I knew had ever seen a hummingbird nest before, and we had several friends, old and new, stop by to see them.

                              SIL's mother was a very gracious appearing lady, who had numerous visitors every summer due to well known family connections. People were always paying homage to her. I always thought she was so sweet, until one Christmas she told me how she just has the gardener go to the neighbor's behind her house in town, and trim back their lilacs every year because she doesn't like them. The following spring - I showed up at the cottage, and found the hummingbird's tree stripped of all the lower branches. I was livid. Called up SIL to ask her what was going on. Seeing the best defense as being a good offense, she and my brother immediately began to light into ME, saying I was not allowed to say anything to SIL's mother, because she would get upset - even though she had ordered the job! and I should have cut the branches anyway. It became, and still to this day, 15 years later, a bone of contention with their deciding I was the unreasonable one.

                              Oh, and the same summer, we decided to get a survey done. Heard from the surveyor when it was marked, and found that a beach area they claimed was theirs, was 100% ours, but it was always "shared", so we just continued on. The following week, the markers had been moved (by my brother) to make the beach area all of theirs. Note, cottages were originally built by owner of our cottage, who 50 years before had sold the 2nd one to SILs parents, with the larger of the two being ours. Who would sell off a lake cottage and give the beach area between the cottages away? Then it turned out the surveyor was a friend of my brother's, and when we questioned the moving of the markers, he garbled some response that we were previously mistaken as to their location. This is my home town, but I had been away for years, my ex worked overseas, and my brother became a new prodigal son/political candidate, so everyone thought they could take advantage of us.

                              But I've never had, nor has anyone else I know, ever seen visible hummingbird nests over the lake since.

                              Of course the moral of the story, is to never buy property adjacent to your relatives. Especially if you are not in agreement politically!!

                              And believe it or not, we do still all treat each other quite well - except, er, for my brother and SIL's still trying to get us to "join" their side. So we don't do dinner that often!
                              But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                                He had the gall to say "Well, you just left them lying there and I didn't want to buy wood for the fireplace."

                                AACCCKKKKK! Neighbor on other side broke up the ensuing battle...I was swinging a snow shovel at him, LOL!
                                We moved. Or I'd be in jail.

                                I hope it's not like that? If so, I can send you my snow shovel.
                                But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                                  AACCCKKKKK! Neighbor on other side broke up the ensuing battle...I was swinging a snow shovel at him, LOL!
                                  We moved. Or I'd be in jail.

                                  I hope it's not like that? If so, I can send you my snow shovel.
                                  MB, you always entertain!
                                  Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                                  Witherun Farm


                                  • #18
                                    MistyBlue my hero.


                                    • #19
                                      Well my other neighbor pointed out that only a blonde Polak brings a snow shovel to a chainsaw fight.

                                      He's a state cop too.

                                      I loathed that tree-chopping neighbor. And I get along with almost everybody. But that man...he used to send his children over to swim in my pool when I wasn't home.
                                      Lawsuit anyone? And he was the type to sue anyone and everyone. And he moved next to me instead of staying on the other side of the neighborhood.

                                      The tree was the last straw.

                                      Miss Motivation...if your neighbor is like my meighbor was...that nasty conniving balding piece of whining dung....then my advise is to whack him with a snow shovel. Multiple times. Shrieking Italian, Polish and Greek swears helps. (I can swear in a lot of languages but am not actually multi-lingual) Helps more if your other neighbor likes you and is a LEO.

                                      If your neighbor is otherwise normal and sane...discuss it with him/her/them. Maybe they noticed the tree was rotten or at risk. Maybe they made a mistake.

                                      But bring a shovel to the discussion...because if he whines, "But I didn't want to pay for firewood" then start swinging!
                                      You jump in the saddle,
                                      Hold onto the bridle!
                                      Jump in the line!


                                      • #20
                                        CVPeg...oh he-ll no...that would've lit me up too.

                                        You need to do the gracious, bless-your-heart right back.

                                        Go over and remove all the shutters from one side of her house.
                                        They look ugly and you're the one who has to look at them.

                                        Smile and send her a home made basket of muffins. Blueberry and Dulcolax. Bring a shovel.
                                        You jump in the saddle,
                                        Hold onto the bridle!
                                        Jump in the line!