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  • Writer's pictureLizé Groenewald

Dealing with Your Neighbour's Tree: A Guide for South African Homeowners

As a homeowner, you want your property to look neat, tidy, and well-maintained. However, when a neighbour's tree becomes a problem, it can be difficult to know what to do. Whether the tree is blocking your view, dropping leaves or branches on your property, or causing damage to your home, there are steps you can take to address the issue. This guide will explore what you can do about your neighbour's tree in South Africa.



Assessing the Problem


The first step in dealing with a problem tree is to assess the situation. Look closely at the tree and consider the following questions:


-Is the tree blocking your view?

-Is the tree causing damage to your property, such as cracking your driveway or breaking your fence?

-Are the tree's roots causing damage to your foundation or sewer lines?

-Are the tree's branches or leaves causing damage to your roof or gutters?

Is the tree a danger to you or your family, such as if it's diseased or in danger of falling over?

If the tree is causing any of these problems, it's time to take action.



Communicating with Your Neighbour


Before taking any action, it's important to communicate with your neighbour about the problem. This can be a difficult conversation, but it's important to approach it in a calm and respectful manner. Explain the specific issues you're facing and ask if they're willing to work with you to find a solution.

If your neighbour is willing to work with you, you can discuss possible solutions such as trimming the branches or roots or removing the tree entirely. If your neighbour is unwilling to make changes, you may need to take further action.



Measuring the Tree


When it comes to dealing with your neighbour's tree, it's important to know exactly how tall the tree is and where the branches are located. This information can be used to determine if the tree is in violation of any local regulations or zoning laws.


To measure the tree, you'll need a measuring tape or a laser distance measurer. Measure the height of the tree from the base to the highest point of the canopy. Then, measure the distance between the tree and your property line. Make sure to also take note of any branches that are overhanging your property.



Consulting with Local Authorities


If you've communicated with your neighbor and they're unwilling to make changes, you may need to consult with local authorities. In South Africa, the local authorities are the municipalities. Contact your local municipality and ask to speak with someone in the building or zoning department. They can advise you on any local regulations or laws that may apply to your situation.


For example, in some municipalities, trees that are taller than 3 meters (10 feet) may not be allowed to be planted within a certain distance of a property line. If your neighbour's tree is taller than 3 meters and within the distance, it may be in violation of this regulation.



Removing the Tree


If your neighbour's tree is causing significant damage or is a danger to you or your property, you may need to consider removing it. However, removing a tree can be a complex and costly process.

If you decide to remove the tree, it's important to consult with a professional arborist. A professional arborist can advise you on the best course of action, and can also safely remove the tree without causing further damage.



Tree Maintenance and Problem Prevention


To prevent future problems with your neighbour's tree, it's important to encourage your them to maintain it properly.


Come up with some sort of agreement that will suit both parties' needs.


Do you have or have you had any tree/neighbour situation, and how did you resolve it? We'd love to hear about it, send us an email or tag us in one of your posts on Facebook or Instagram

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