Can you legally cut a branch off of your neighbor's tree that's hanging over your fence?  The answer might surprise you.

There have been many viral videos on TikTok involving disputes around this topic.  Few things will turn your life upside down worse than neighbor wars.  We're going to take a look at case law for Michiganders along with best practices to help you live good in your neighborhood.

Let's start with case law.  There are a few Michigan laws in place that deal with this type of situation or disputes that stem from trees growing over a neighbor's property.  To prevent us from getting into the weeds Sinas Dramis Personal Injury Law Office sums it up like this,

Old Michigan case law states that you can trim tree branches that cross over the property line onto your property. However, you cannot trim past the property line onto the neighbor’s side.

It seems like common sense.  However, common sense doesn't always seem to prevent out-of-control disputes.

Can I cut neighbors overhanging tree limbs in Michigan
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Cutting Branch from Neighbor's Tree on Your Property Best Practices

  1. Make sure you know your property line.  If you can't find the iron property stakes that are usually buried about 6 inches underground, you may have to hire a surveyor.
  2. Have a conversation with your neighbor.  Give your neighbor the courtesy of a heads-up.  Just let them know that you know the property line and are just trimming the parts of the tree that is hanging on to your property.
  3. Do NOT cut or remove trees and/or branches that are not on your property.


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Gallery Credit: Laura Hardy

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