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Old 08-27-2012, 02:40 PM   #21
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It's hard to tell from the picture whether he cut too close to the tree or not. There is a branch collar on each branch where the limb meets the main trunk, and you are supposed to cut just to the outside of the branch collar and the tree will naturally seal over the cut.

Here is a link to check the images of branch collars. branch collar - Google Search

If the cut is too close to the trunk, you won't know for awhile whether it will affect the tree or not. If you are very concerned, you should have an Arborist check the cut. Your city might have an Arborist on staff that can check it for you for no charge.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:42 PM   #22
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You can do small claims (think Judge Judy), no lawyer required.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:45 PM   #23
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When he is gone, go over and cut a big limb off one of his trees.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:55 PM   #24
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When he is gone, go over and cut a big limb off one of his trees.
Good one. Or maybe a live skunk in the mailbox?
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:56 PM   #25
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Midnighter777 -
If you don't ask the question, you shouldn't be surprised you don't get the answer.
You feel "owed" the answer. But it may have been so obvious to him (and obviously not to you) that he assume you know the answer to why he did it.

I would ask him, and only get upset about him not offering a reason if he doesn't give an answer when asked directly.

Or - if this neighbor is friendly with other neighbors... perhaps ask them.. Maybe he's been complaining about the issue (as he perceives it) to others... so he assumes you know why the limb was a problem (to him.)
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:56 PM   #26
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I suppose you could write a 5 foot high swear word in his lawn with bleach in the middle of the night...
I always use Roundup.
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:05 PM   #27
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I'll offer this: Consider all your possible actions, likely outcomes from those actions and then what is the best way for you to move forward from this piont? Nobody wants to be taken advantage of or treated like crap. If you value revenge enough to get into costly legal battles, have you and your neighbor hate each other and possibly have some kind of physical altercation some day perhaps even getting arrested, then take that path. Bottom line is there's lots of idiots and inconsiderate people in this world, sometimes it's just best to "manage" the situation and feel incredibly grateful you're not like your neighbor.
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:10 PM   #28
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I see why you are pissed but in the big scheme of things it's not such a big deal. If this is the worst thing that happens in your life it will be a good thing. Take a few days to calm down and it will go away, after all it's only a tree branch. He didn't cut the whole tree down and he did do a good job.
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:11 PM   #29
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Maybe you can file a trespassing restraining order. If he trespasses again, have him arrested. Quite an aggressive move, probably not ideal to foster an amicable relationship with the neighbors.

Personally, I would make it clear that I don't want to find him or his kids on my property again. Then move on with my life. The cut looks clean, the tree will probably be OK.
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:15 PM   #30
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Cut down one of his branches!
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:22 PM   #31
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Of course you are mad. I'd be mad, too. But it's unlikely you can recover anything from him that will be worth the time and effort involved, and you can be sure the situation will escalate in an unfortunate direction if you try.

Look at what you gained: You gained the very valuable information that your neighbor is an inconsiderate jerk and he and his son are willing to do damage to your property. That insight has cost you one tree limb. You now know exactly how you should proceed in every interaction with these people. That's important information, you got it without getting physically hurt, and you are free to pass it along to your neighbors for their own benefit. I think you should move on from here and hope your anger and the tree are both healed with time's passing.

I would document the damage to the tree and his remarks to you. If the tree dies or if some other situation develops, that could be handy.

Don't attack his yard, he'll know you are responsible and the situation will escalate.
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:54 PM   #32
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Braumeister- it seems liked he owed an explanation to me, and he did not provide it. Why is the onus in me to determine why he did what he did, after the damage is done. There clearly was a failure to communicate, but I place this failure on the neighbor- not on me.
Please forgive me for giving the impression that I was being critical of you. I was trying to put myself in your shoes, and coming up short (hmm, mixed metaphor there, but you know what I mean).

If I had been there, I would certainly have asked him to explain his reason for the action. I got the impression that you were extremely upset over it, but not enough to press him for an answer. I don't understand that.

Now you seem to be looking for advice about possible legal recourse. If you go that route, doesn't it seem likely that the first question you'll be asked is "Why did he do that?"

Unless you clear the air with your neighbor first, you won't have any answer to that, and your legal proceedings will immediately come to a grinding halt.

IANAL, and certainly not qualified to give advice to anyone, just offering another perspective.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:00 PM   #33
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The arborist suggestion is a good one. Talk to your neighbor again, ask why they did it, and tell them you are concerned that the tree was damaged and they will have to pay for an arborist to check it out and repair/protect if needed.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:02 PM   #34
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Seems to me you have three problems that you can reasonably do something about.
A mess on your driveway, a speciman tree that may be compromised, and a jerk that you would like to never see on your property.
Send a letter telling him that the tree needs to be checked and the mess moved. He can either take care of it himself, or you will do it and bill him. Please respond in 48 hours or I will assume your desire to be billed. Of course, as you proceed through this process you may need the services of the small claims guys.
Just in case things escalate, this link may be of value.
How to swear like a drunken sailor

As far as pranks go, I'm an old school guy who simply enjoys the old "Place flaming bag of dog crap on doorstep--ring doorbell and run." YMMV
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:05 PM   #35
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Braumeister- the tree branch was healthy, it was trimmed and maintained by the electric company, he trespassed on my property to do what he did, the branch was growing in the direction of the street. I believe the branch was high enough to not interfere with any cars, vans, etc.

Why should I care what his explanation is for doing something that completely lacks any civility. A reasonable person would provide his explanation for wanting to do something PRIOR to taking that action.

I really have no desire to interact with these people. They have proven that they lack any sense of appropriate behavior. Honestly, no explanation that they could provide would justify their actions and the way they went about it.

Any further interaction with them won my part will only increase my anger with them because of their self-centered behavior and lack of civility.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:15 PM   #36
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Braumeister- the tree branch was healthy, it was trimmed and maintained by the electric company, he trespassed on my property to do what he did, the branch was growing in the direction of the street. I believe the branch was high enough to not interfere with any cars, vans, etc.
My guess is that it DID interfere with his car. Specifically, I'll bet it dripped a lot of sap onto his car.

Does that justify his action? Hell no! But that is my guess.

FWIW I would NOT go to court. Doesn't seem worth the hassle and potential "bad blood." But I would take pictures, and document the incident. And I'd let the neighbor know very clearly that Iwas displeased. I'd probably write a very polite letter to him documenting the incident.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:27 PM   #37
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My guess is that it DID interfere with his car. Specifically, I'll bet it dripped a lot of sap onto his car.

Does that justify his action? Hell no! But that is my guess......
As someone who occasionally has to park under an elm tree, I also think this is the reason the neighbor cut the limb.

Maybe when you ask the neighbor why he did it (or even if you don't), you can also ask him to let you know if there are problems with your landscaping so you can get them taken care of vs. him doing it. Tell him your insurance agent told you it's important that you handle work on your property for liability issues or something. That way it's not personal.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:50 PM   #38
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The neighbor's reasons aren't relevant unless he can prove that it was an eminent danger to people or property.

BEFORE you dispose of the mess I recommend an inspection by an arborist with a report about the health of the tree and any impact it may have on it long term. Our arborists recommend sealing that extensive a cut, do whatever the arborist recommends. Send the arborist's bill and any expenses related to this stunt to the neighbor and if he doesn't pay up take him to small claims court. Also tell him that any subsequent incursions constitute trespass.

Some cities require an arborist opinion before committing tree surgery such as in the picture particularly when it is along or near a street. I wouldn't get them involved at this time, just know if you have any local ordinances.

Maybe it is just because I live in a timber producing state but around here cutting a tree you don't own is a serious violation of state law. The State Police stop pickups with wood in the back and do our own version of 'papers please'.
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:03 PM   #39
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The neighbor's reasons aren't relevant unless he can prove that it was an eminent danger to people or property.

BEFORE you dispose of the mess I recommend an inspection by an arborist with a report about the health of the tree and any impact it may have on it long term. Our arborists recommend sealing that extensive a cut, do whatever the arborist recommends. Send the arborist's bill and any expenses related to this stunt to the neighbor and if he doesn't pay up take him to small claims court. Also tell him that any subsequent incursions constitute trespass.
I think this makes the most sense. That way you protect the tree, risk maybe a few hundred bucks, and make it damned clear to your neighbor that further incursions will not be tolerated.

Hell, there are states where a further trespass would allow you to legally shoot the trespasser. In NJ you are just about allowed to politely ask the to leave, but even then you might be sued.
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:05 PM   #40
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I think this makes the most sense. That way you protect the tree, risk maybe a few hundred bucks, and make it damned clear to your neighbor that further incursions will not be tolerated.
I liked your suggestion involving bleach.
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