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Old 06-03-2019, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Hiding from Antifa?
7,095 posts, read 4,563,242 times
Reputation: 6417

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The neighboring house has a large oak tree with vines growing up into it almost all the way to the top. Some of the branches are over my yard and fence and my utility lines coming to my house are under some of the branches.
The owner of the house is renting it out, and the recent tenants just moved out. I want to know if the vines, if left alone might choke out and kill the tree. I can then let the owner know of my concerns, and warn him of a future large bill, if the tree dies and has to be removed.
Also, is it typically my responsibility to trim branches from my utility feeds, or is it the neighbor’s responsibility?
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:59 AM
 
Location: KY
579 posts, read 193,651 times
Reputation: 1391
Not an arborist here, but have many real life experience's on this topic. With most municipalities they have an annual contract with a tree service to maintain the power lines from vegetation/tree limbs. The tree company comes to our property every two years and cuts back limbs from our overhead power lines in our back yard's utility easement.

I would not try to limb up any tree limbs close to power lines, but just may want to notify the POCO instead about the limbs. Because if a private owner does so and a limb drops and damages the power wires/system... ouch, its on them to accept costs possibly to repair. . Plus, the electrocution factor for the owner doing their own power line trimming back is more prominent.

And the invasive vines will kill the tree as my neighborhood is full of 50 year old oak and maple trees that are being "choked" to death with invasive vines. I guess the owners think they add "décor" to the tree and just leave them.

All you may be able do while being diplomatic and not cause hard feelings IMO, is "mention" the vines to the landlord. As they may or may not know about the killer vines and just take offense to a neighborly "busy bodying". You cannot cut them off their tree though, unless they permit you doing so.

We have a 50 ft. Black Cherry tree dying in our back yard now, that when we moved here in 2015 it was too late for it. I cut the vines from it that were wrapped like a boa constrictor around the limbs all the way to the top of it. . The vines main "stalk" at the bottom of the tree (tree on left) was 2 in. in diameter, and the tree bark had literally grown around it some, and was embedded in the trunk. It took almost 3 years for all the vines to wither and slowly drop off the tree limbs a little at a time that I could pull off.





JMO

Last edited by greglovesoldtrucks; 06-07-2019 at 10:05 PM..
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Old 06-03-2019, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
2,653 posts, read 2,049,782 times
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OP Cruzincat, what is your location? I'll take a wild guess that you're somewhere in the SE USA. Also, what kind of huge vines are growing up your oak tree? English ivy? I know english ivy can be a real unwanted pest in the PNW like Seattle.

If you can, please take a picture of the oak and the vines climbing it. I'd love to see it. Greg's comments (above) make sense. From what I've been told, any neighbor's tree or shrub branches that grow over and above your property line are your responsibility to cut them if you don't want them, not the tree owner's.

BTW, oaks have very strong, hard wood, so that's in your favor. If the tree was a species more prone to limb breakage (like a willow or other softer-wood shade trees), I'd be more concerned. But your neighbor's is an oak, not a weak wooded species.
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:16 PM
 
12,003 posts, read 9,387,342 times
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I'll be watching this thread. I just watched a British gardening program where the host intentionally trained clematis vines up a mature tree.
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:46 PM
 
2,711 posts, read 934,722 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruzincat View Post
The neighboring house has a large oak tree with vines growing up into it almost all the way to the top. Some of the branches are over my yard and fence and my utility lines coming to my house are under some of the branches.
The owner of the house is renting it out, and the recent tenants just moved out. I want to know if the vines, if left alone might choke out and kill the tree. I can then let the owner know of my concerns, and warn him of a future large bill, if the tree dies and has to be removed.
Also, is it typically my responsibility to trim branches from my utility feeds, or is it the neighbor’s responsibility?
First off, call your utility company and report this condition to see if they will take care of it or they might inform you it’s your responsibility for the portion of the utility that’s on your property.

Next, send a registered letter to the owner of the oak tree voicing your concern for possible damage to your property stating a potential hazard. Send a copy of the same letter to the insurance company that provides coverage to you house. That should legally protect you as well as making your neighbor responsible for any tree part, branch that falls on your property. If you do t get on record, you would be responsible for removal of any part of the tree, or the entire tree if it ends up on your property. At least this was the way it was for us when we owned a house in NY.
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:23 PM
 
311 posts, read 261,671 times
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Tree laws differ from state to state so if you must know, ask a lawyer or at least someone who plays a lawyer on tv.

A lot depends on the oak species and it’s condition as well as the species of vine invading it.

To get rid of most vines, all you need to do is cut them off at the base. Leave them in the tree and they will wither away on their own.

Generally you can trim the branches that come over your property line but not in a way that will damage your neighbors tree.

Your best bet is to contact your neighbor, explain your concerns and try to work out a deal where you hire a certified arborist to prune the whole tree and you pay your share. You are ultimately responsible for curing the problem on your property. If the tree were to fail for some reason and your insurance company learns that you could have fixed it when you knew there was a possible problem, but didn’t, they could decline to pay.
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:44 AM
 
Location: Hiding from Antifa?
7,095 posts, read 4,563,242 times
Reputation: 6417
What about dead branches on my side of the tree? Does the owner have any responsibility? They are too high up for me to deal with personally. If they would fall, they would do considerable damage to a privacy fence, and possibly the house if it first bent downward and the base toppled away from the tree.
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:58 AM
 
Location: Hiding from Antifa?
7,095 posts, read 4,563,242 times
Reputation: 6417
I was able to reach the branches that were threatening our utility feeds coming to the house with an extension pruning pole. While I was doing that I met the owner, who was cleaning up after some tenants who had just moved out. I mentioned the vines, to which he said he had a tree in his yard the same way, that was worse, and it was like that for over 20 years, until lightening took the tree out. So he is not concerned, even though I mentioned it would cost a lot more to have a dead tree removed, than to stop the vines from growing even more. Made me wonder if the presence of the vines might provide a better path for the lightening.
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Old 06-05-2019, 05:12 AM
 
Location: Hiding from Antifa?
7,095 posts, read 4,563,242 times
Reputation: 6417
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougStark View Post
OP Cruzincat, what is your location? I'll take a wild guess that you're somewhere in the SE USA. Also, what kind of huge vines are growing up your oak tree? English ivy? I know english ivy can be a real unwanted pest in the PNW like Seattle.

If you can, please take a picture of the oak and the vines climbing it. I'd love to see it. Greg's comments (above) make sense. From what I've been told, any neighbor's tree or shrub branches that grow over and above your property line are your responsibility to cut them if you don't want them, not the tree owner's.

BTW, oaks have very strong, hard wood, so that's in your favor. If the tree was a species more prone to limb breakage (like a willow or other softer-wood shade trees), I'd be more concerned. But your neighbor's is an oak, not a weak wooded species.
Central Maryland. This forum does not allow you to upload photos. I don't have a webpage to save my photos to, so I don't know how I can do that.
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Old 06-05-2019, 07:50 AM
 
Location: KY
579 posts, read 193,651 times
Reputation: 1391
The OP and I have the same problem. The pic of the dying black cherry tree in my post above was taken by me, to give to our homeowners insurance agent. In most jurisdictions, a neighbor can trim up vertically only above the fence or property line. They cannot cut ANY limbs/ vegetation on their neighbors side of the vertical center line of the property line.

The dying tree in my pic belongs to my neighbor although someone MANY years ago, set his chain link fence back 6 ft. to avoid the steep grade. So I mow and maintain 6 ft. of my neighbors property the dying cherry tree sits on.

I had a tree service guy bid to take the tree down and clean up, then stump grind it. $1200.00. So I talked to my neighbor who owned the cherry tree. At the time he was putting the house up for sale, as it was one of his rentals.

When I pointed out to him that if and when the tree fell over, it was going to take out one back corner of our homes roof while exposing a bedroom to the elements. He told me to take the dying tree issue up with the new owner, as he was NOT paying to take the tree down.

So I emailed my HO agent and sent him the same pic that I posted above, but with our house in view with it. One could easily see from my pic, our home will get hit when the tree falls if in one piece. My agent told me in these situations when a owner does not take care of their known diseased dying trees, we neighbors cannot make them do anything about it.

Because no damage has been done to our property YET, to make a claim on and that we are just using a calculated estimate with the great possibility, that damage will occur. But he told me to take pics and document for future needs. And in various cities and towns, they may have ordnances to protect property owners in these dying tree scenarios, mine does not.

I asked my agent what happens if my new neighbor will not take the tree down, and one day it falls and damages our home. He told me that his company would pay to get our home fixed immediately. Then, they would sue our neighbors insurance company or the owner personally if need be, to get their monies back.

So take good pics of the tree in topic that are time stamped, and document any conversation's with the owner about the dying tree.


Most oral conversations about neighborly disputes though, are just taken as "hearsay" because people lie when testifying even when under oath ...everyday. But good pics, texts that are recorded with screenshots, and emails will always be ones edge if and when it comes to litigation time.

Good Luck. JMO
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