Gordon R. McKenzie


WATCH OUT FOR THAT TREE - By Gordon R. MacKenzie

"If its on my side of the property, I don't want it touched." So said Wade Graham late one summer when his neighbor, Anthony Da Silva, floated the idea of cutting down Mr. Graham's Manitoba maple so Mr. DaSilva could rebuild his garage. Imagine Mr. Graham's surprise when he got home one day the next spring to find that Mr. DaSilva had cut the tree leaving only a stump (Graham v. DaSilva).

After a trial, the court decided that Mr. DaSilva was justified in cutting down the tree without Mr. Graham's consent, because it was damaging Mr. DaSilva's old garage. The base of the tree was on Mr. Graham's property. The trunk grew at an angle into Mr. DaSilva's property and one of the two main branches of the tree stretched out over Mr. DaSilva's garage. The other main branch of the tree had been damaged and came to rest on the branch over the garage forcing it onto the roof. Removing the damaged branch split the tree's trunk and the rest of the tree had to go.

The court's decision confirmed overhanging branches or roots from a tree on a neighbor's property may be cut, if they pose a threat, even if the tree is destroyed. Think twice before you gas up your chain saw, though, liability for trespass or cutting a tree on a boundary line still mean its better to work together with your neighbor.

This article is presented as general information only and is not to be relied on as legal advice. You should contact your lawyer to see how the law applies to your circumstances before any action is taken.

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