First, let’s talk about the obligations of the tree owner regarding overhanging branches and encroaching roots of his tree. At this point, we’re just going to consider what the neighbor can demand that the tree owner do. We’re not going to consider what the neighbor can do herself. We’ll talk about that later.
So what can the neighbor demand the tree owner do? Well, if the tree isn’t poisonous and it’s not causing any problems with its overhanging branches, the general legal principle is that the neighbor can’t demand the tree owner cut down the branches or remove the roots. If they’re not causing any real damage, the tree owner doesn’t have to remove them just because the neighbor wants them gone.
But if the encroaching tree branches or roots are causing actual harm to the neighbor’s property, or if it seems very likely that they’re going to cause actual harm in the near future, then that may be a different story. Some jurisdictions say that the tree owner is responsible for pruning back the tree branches or roots because they have become a nuisance or because they are a trespass. Other jurisdictions, however, disagree and don’t think the tree owner can be required to cut the branches or roots.