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Property Boundary Trees

​Trees that straddle property boundaries can be a source of conflict if neighbours disagree about the condition and value of a tree. Listed below are some general points to keep in mind if you have a tree that sits across your property line:


You cannot remove a shared tree without the permission of all owners

A 2013 Ontario Superior Court decision​ determined that trees with​​ trunks straddling property lines are considered shared property, and therefore require the permission of all shared property owners to remove. Removing or intentionally altering or damaging a shared tree without permission could result in civil action against you, and harm your relationship with your neighbours.

 

You have the right to trim and control all vegetation that extends over your property

All tree branches, shrubs, and other foliage extending over your property can be trimmed without requiring your neighbour's permission, even if the plant originates from your neighbour's property. You may do this work from your property, however you cannot enter your neighbour's property to do the work without their permission.

It is always best to talk to your neighbor before taking any action that could harm or damage their tree or shrubs. Avoid any actions that could threaten the health and longevity of the tree: over-pruning, removing branches or limbs, or damaging the bark of the trunk all risk exposing the tree to infection.


Dead or dying trees at risk of falling are a serious property standards matter

The Township's Property Standards By-law #98-182 requires that property owners maintain their properties free from dead or dying trees that are at risk of falling over. It is your responsibility as a property owner to ensure that your tree does not pose a safety risk to you or your neighbours.

If you are concerned about the condition of a neighbour's tree, speak to them first before contacting the By-law Enforcement Department - they may not be aware of the potential hazard. By-law Enforcement Officers will investigate calls for trees at risk of falling and advise property owners of their obligations under the Township's by-laws. See the Diseases and Hazards ​page for information on identifying diseases and hazards and how to address them.


If you are unsure if a tree is considered shared, consult a land survey

A survey will identify where a tree is situated relative to all property boundaries. Remember that the root structure of a tree is usually measured from the base of the trunk at a radius of 1.5 times the height of the tree. This means that if your tree is wholly on your own property, removing it may impact or damage your neighbour's property because the roots extend beyond the property line.


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