If you and your neighbour disagree about a problem with a tree or hedge, it’s best to try to resolve things informally. Problems could include, for example, if you think a hedge is too high or branches from your neighbour’s tree are overhanging into your garden or spreading over the boundary line can also sometimes cause problems. Here, the law actually entitles you to trim the offending tree or shrub back across the fence – and deposit the cuttings in next door’s garden as long as you do not make the tree unsafe or kill it in doing so.  On balance though, it’s probably best to have a word with your neighbours first – unless a state of war already exists, in which case, prune away!

Meanwhile, as far as overhanging fruit is concerned, the law is perfectly clear: if it’s on your side of the boundary line, then it’s yours. But as with all things concerning boundaries, try and speak to neighbours before taking fruit and if you do pick from overhanging branches, make sure you stop at the boundary line.  I have found offering a pot of jam from the overhanging fruit is a great way of keeping the peace and maintaining good relations with my neighbours!

Finally, on the question of vegetation spreading over a boundary line, most councils understandably have restrictions on shrubs or trees overhanging the pavement or the public highway. How strictly they enforce this will vary, but they are perfectly entitled to demand that you cut back the offending plants. If you refuse to do so, then they’re liable to do it themselves – and they may be none too careful about it!