Can you ask your neighbor to remove a branch or take down their tree?
Take a look at the picture below and answer this: If your property was on the left of the fence and your neighbors tree was hanging over the fence and into your yard do you have the right to ask him/her to remove it? Additionally, would you ask them to if you had the legal right to at the risk of damaging the relationship?
Yes, you have the right to ask them to cut it, and, I believe you have the legal right to cut that portion that is in your yard if they do not. However, as far as damaging the relationship, it would depend on whether or not the tree branches were causing a problem in my yard. If the answer is "yes", then I would explain very nicely why you need to remove the branches. If they then have a problem with that, I don't think I would worry much about the relationship. I would be asking you, if it were my tree, if the branches were bothering you and let you know that you are more than welcome to trim them back.
You can always ask. I would be cautious about cutting a limb. I would check with city ordinances, subdivision covenants and your insurance company. You also have to consider the liability issue. If you are on a ladder, trimming a neighbor's tree without his permission and fall, will your insurance cover you or will it be an illegal act.
If the neighbor is totally unreasonable about cutting a branch off the tree that great Uncle Ned planted on that property 60 years ago, then you better check with the authorities before you do.
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