7. So if I know who owns the tree, that answers the question about who gets to decide who has the right to cut it down or trim it, right? Uh . . . right?

We’ve been talking about who owns a tree that’s on or near a boundary line, which is a fairly common legal question.  Often, however, people want to know who owns a boundary tree because they assume that whoever owns the tree always has the right to decide what happens with that tree, and always has the financial responsibility for whatever damage the tree may cause.

Actually, that’s not true. Sometimes the owner has the sole responsibility and is the sole decision-maker, but sometimes not. So asking “who owns the tree,” while it’s a good and valid question, isn’t always the question that people really want to ask. In the next section, we’ll talk about what rights neighbors may have with respect to a border tree even when the tree trunk is entirely off their land and they don’t own the border tree at all.

What's the Real Question