Trees overhanging your garden

When a neighbouring tree has branches or roots that overhang or encroach onto your property, you have a common law right to prune these back to your boundary line unless the tree is protected. Trees can be protected if they are within a property in a conservation area or if they are covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

It is a criminal offence if you fail to notify us of works on protected trees and could result in enforcement action, and even prosecution

To find out if a tree is protected you can contact us using the details below. Find out how to apply and carry out works on protected trees.

An application may not be needed if the tree is protected but the works are to remove a dangerous branch (but only if it presents an immediate and serious safety risk) or to abate a nuisance. Please note that in the context of tree legislation "nuisance" does not simply mean an annoyance; there must be actual damage (or the immediate risk of it) to an extent which would enable court proceedings to be taken. Find out more about exceptions relating to works on trees subject to an Order.

Pruning overhanging trees

When exercising your common law right to prune trees to your boundary line it is important that the following points are observed:

  • as a matter of courtesy it is recommended that you contact the tree owner before any work is undertaken
  • carry out the works with reasonable care and if more than minor trimming is required it is recommended that the advice of a professional Arboriculturist is sought
  • branches or roots should not be cut back beyond the boundary in anticipation of them overhanging or your neighbour could take action against you for damaging their property
  • you cannot alter the height of trees on neighbouring land you can only cut back branches as far as the boundary line
  • you must not trespass onto neighbouring land
  • any material that is removed belongs to the tree owner, so it must be returned to them unless they state otherwise

We have a list of tree surgeons who carry out work in the Broadland area.