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planting up to property lines

 
pollinator
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Some baby trees and bushes arrived in the mail, so I can get to building my forest (and small meadow area, as well). I'm just wondering about planting trees that will be near a property line... that is, they will be close enough to it that when the trees are mature some day, they will likely drop at least a little of their leaves/fruit/nuts over the property line. The seedlings themselves I will be planting many feet away from the line.

What is your take on this? Will I be unnecessarily upsetting the neighbours?

Here's the context. We have pretty much a whole acre in a residential area that's kinda partway into the country. Many neighbours here have their own acre or half acre. There is pretty much no fencing except if someone has a pool... so we just share grass on the property lines. People here usually have a few trees plus a TON of lawn. Way too much lawn in my opinion.

I'm planting a small forest in really the only/best spot for it, but that means it would come up to the edge of this imaginary line. It's not exactly a food forest, although there will be berries and maybe pawpaws (haven't ordered those yet). The trees are mostly trees native to this area, in hopes of building a little ecosystem to support insects and birds. But will acorns and pawpaws and leaves falling near or over the line be upsetting to people?

Would you do this?
 
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I think you'll be ok planting them on your property, and I see you're in Canada and it may be a good idea to look into the details of what defines a property line in your country. For example, where I live, a property line also includes an imaginary vertical plane extending skyward. What that means is a tree planted on my property may be mine, but if a branch extends over the property line, that branch belongs to the neighbor, and they can legally prune or remove branches up to the imaginary vertical plane. It's never happened to me nor have I heard of anyone doing such a thing, but it is the way the law is written here. If I may make one suggestion if it hasn't already been done, check for easements and utility company right-of-ways before planting. If a tree grows into a utility companies easement or right-of-way on someones property, they can prune or remove trees and they don't have to ask land owner permission. I make sure to not plant anything near any power lines on my farm and allow plenty of room for their trucks in the event they need to come do maintenance or repair after a storm. Hope this helps!
 
pollinator
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I wouldn’t plant on the property line. When I moved into my current house there was a line of cottonwood trees the previous owner had planted on the line. The neighbors harassed me about it constantly until I gave in and cut them down. Save yourself some future headaches and don’t plant so closely.
 
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I would probably plant it so that 75% or more of the mature tree is over my lot.  Then it will be a long time before that first acorn falls on their land.  In my old subdivision there were plenty of mature trees reaching well over the lot line.  

Maybe if you're planting something particularly messy (mulberry? standard pear?) I'd keep it more on my side of the line.
 
pollinator
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^^What Mike said.

If you go any closer, the next owners will curse you for a dunderhead. As in, "Good grief, what were they thinking! It would have been so much easier for us if they'd given it 10 seconds of thought before they planted." (I have been making that speech for the last five years.)

Plus: make sure you leave room to put in a fence. Very important. Situations change, and neighbours change too. Not always for the better.
 
pollinator
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Don't hang your tree branches over on someones else properties.
If the mature radius of your tree is 15ft, then your tree should be 15ft from the property line.

If you are planting some blueberries with a radius of 1ft. Then I would say okay plant it on the property line.
 
Mike Haasl
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I'm guessing there's a bit of a regional/local element to this as well.  In the subdivisions near your area, what is the standard practice?  If people commonly crowd the property line, then it gives you some guidance that you don't have to stay 100% on your side of the line to adhere to local convention.
 
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I think it depends, where I am our trees overhang one side, someone else's overhang our other side, there's a hedge that is trying to escape.. but no one cares as we all have more than enough space. But I used to live in a 2 up 2 down terrace and the trees on the other side of the back lane had gotten to the point where they blocked all light and were in places touching the terrace. There we cut them all back to the property line (on the far side of the lane) WITHOUT the owners permission as he wouldn't give it. (the law in England states you may cut back any overhanging branch or encroaching root back to the property line, but you must offer it back to the owner)  Some of those trees got severely hacked, if the nursing home had just planted them a few meters further back then there would not have been an issue.

How prissy your neighbours are about their lawns will also count, as will which way the sun goes round. I really want a big hedge to block the view of one neighbour, but putting it on the edge of our field, which is not the property line we own the lane as well, would block all his southern sun and I'm not that mean a neighbour.

So my last point. talk to the neighbour on if they care or not!
 
pollinator
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What about liability? I have been places that if the neighbor parks under the tree and a branch falls on his car, it was his fault for parking under it and places it is your fault for owning the tree.  But if the whole tree falls on his house it is almost always your fault.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Hmm, hadn't thought about liability. Everybody is easygoing until somebody's shyster lawyer says "easy money" and your insurance company discovers it has no spine.

It illustrates why a proper setback from the line is a better plan. If you plant something closer, it better be something you are willing to chop down at your expense. That would be a heartbreaker.

 
Heidi Schmidt
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:^^What Mike said.

If you go any closer, the next owners will curse you for a dunderhead. As in, "Good grief, what were they thinking! It would have been so much easier for us if they'd given it 10 seconds of thought before they planted." (I have been making that speech for the last five years.)

Plus: make sure you leave room to put in a fence. Very important. Situations change, and neighbours change too. Not always for the better.

Yes, room for a fence is a good idea. As for next owners, they'll have to cart me out of here on a stretcher, and (fingers crossed) I've got many decades left!

curse me for a dunderhead <---- made me laugh
 
Heidi Schmidt
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Thank you all... you've given me many good things to consider.

I've done the planting now. The closest tree is (estimating) 15 feet from the property line? The trouble is, we can't see the property line, we have to imagine it, as there is nothing to show it. We do know where our corners are, but the lines run at an 8 degree angle to the street, so it's that much harder to envision. (to be clearer, 8 degrees off of the normal 90 degree angle) :)

I'm so excited about my forest. I'll probably start a new thread to show how I've gone about it and what I've put in.

Thanks again!
 
S Bengi
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Seeing as how your trees are 15ft from the property line and they will not be bearing for 3-10 years. you can put some berry shrubs right on the property line.
Strawberry, Raspberry Thorn less blackberry and gooseberry, jostaberry, currants, blueberry, juneberry, goumi, maybe even figs and pomegranate, they are shorter the further north you go. And if you build a trellis you can grow artic kiwi, issai kiwi which are both normally only 10ft, or regular hardy kiwi and fuzzy kiwi. My mascadine grape stay small because I am so far north but regular grapes on a trellis/arbor can also be kept small with pruning. There is also maypop-passion fruit too.

 
pollinator
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Heidi Schmidt wrote:

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:^^What Mike said.

If you go any closer, the next owners will curse you for a dunderhead. As in, "Good grief, what were they thinking! It would have been so much easier for us if they'd given it 10 seconds of thought before they planted." (I have been making that speech for the last five years.)

Plus: make sure you leave room to put in a fence. Very important. Situations change, and neighbours change too. Not always for the better.

Yes, room for a fence is a good idea. As for next owners, they'll have to cart me out of here on a stretcher, and (fingers crossed) I've got many decades left!

curse me for a dunderhead <---- made me laugh



Yes, think about the 'next neighbors' .
While you intend to stay forever, the neighbors may not (and you can never really know) So an agreeable neighbor now could become a new, less agreeable neighbor in the future.
And yes! One or both of you may need or desperately want a fence...

To some extent, none of us know what lies decades ahead for us, and if you had to sell what might benefit you vs. be a liability?
 
gardener
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Code comes into play here. There may be restrictions. On how close you can plant a tree to the property line.  By any means, just to be a good neighbor, wouldn't plant any fruit bearing tree so that the fruit could fall on my neighbors property.  I would not plant non fruit bearing tree to overhang my neighbors property without permission.
 
pollinator
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My views are much like Mike's.  Maybe because we both live in Wisconsin.  I try to keep my tree trunks 10 feet or so on my side of the property line.  If I have a neighbor in the future that doesn't like the place I plant the trees, and this isn't really possible where I live, just an intellectual exercise, Wisconsin law is pretty clear.  Here is a summary: "When applied to common trees, Wisconsin law states that owners can trim on their side of the boundary line so long as the trimming does not cause "unreasonable injury" to the neighbors' trees. This includes limbs and trunks. Wisconsin also penalizes those who intentionally harm trees."
 
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