A Brief Guide to Hedges and Trees on the Boundary

As we enjoy the fantastic summer weather, you’ll no doubt have noticed the rapid growth in your garden! Your lawn may not appreciate the searing heat, but established hedges and trees, with their deep roots, are growing rapidly. This made us think about the all-too-common challenges of hedges and trees on or close to property boundaries.


Most neighbours come to a friendly agreement over who can do what to overhanging branches and the like, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

We’ve all read about boundary despites and arguments over leylandii that have gotten out of hand. Any tree that grows out of control has an impact on neighbouring property, from root damage to blocking light and draining the land of its natural water supply.

It’s a common misconception that you can do what you like with an adjoining tree or hedge. The same can be said for simply tossing cuttings and leaves back onto your neighbour’s property.

In fact, you are allowed to cut back overhanging branches and overgrown hedges back to the boundary and no further. The same is true of tree roots which are causing damage to your property.

However, you’re not entitled to trim the height of plants without the explicit consent of the owner of the tree or hedge.

An interesting anomaly regarding cuttings, leaves and branches from a neighbour’s tree is that whilst you may offer them back to the owner, he or she is not obliged to accept them.

The owner, on the other hand, may ask you to return any fruits, branches and cuttings if they so wish! It is their property after all, even though it was encroaching to some degree upon your own.

Tree Preservation Orders

Another point to consider before unleashing the chainsaw is it’s not uncommon for large and established trees to be the subject of a tree preservation order, often referred to as a TPO. If there’s a TPO in place, neither you are the owner can touch the tree without specific permission, not even for the lopping or cutting back of branches.

If in doubt, it’s worth checking with your local authority as there are hefty fines associated with unauthorised works to protected trees. And if someone was to remove a tree covered by a TPO altogether they could be fined up to £20,000. Per tree!

As we often say at Parker Home, if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly. If you’re considering significant changes to trees, it’s a great idea to consult a professional tree surgeon.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of useful links for more information: