Now that we’ve agreed on what we’re calling a boundary line tree, let’s look at the question of who owns the tree. The general rule is that a tree is owned by the person who owns the land where the tree trunk is located.
It’s the location of the tree trunk that determines the ownership of the tree. It’s not the location of the roots or branches.
So if a tree trunk is entirely on one person’s land, then that person owns the tree, even though the roots or the branches may extend over to the neighbor’s land.
Example: Adam and Betty are neighbors and a tree is growing between their houses but the trunk is completely on Adam’s side of the property line. Adam owns the tree even though the branches or roots may come onto Betty’s property.
1: Lucy has a tree growing in her back yard. The tree trunk is entirely inside Lucy’s property, but the roots extend into the yard of Martin, her next-door neighbor. Also, some of the tree branches hang over Martin’s yard. Who owns the tree?
Lucy, because the tree trunk is on her property.
2. Who owns this tree?
Adam owns the tree because the trunk is on his property. Adam owns the entire tree even though the branches hang over Betty’s land.