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Question DetailsAsked on 6/10/2011

Is it okay to pick plums from my neighbor's plum tree that hangs on our property?

My next-door neighbor has a plum tree which hangs over into our yard. Otherwise they fall on the deck (and there are a lot of them!), which isn't great for the deck and is a pain to clean up. I'm thinking we're in the right to pick them, but on the few times that the neighbors have seen us, they've been quite upset. What do you all think?

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5 Answers


You have the right to maintain the part of the tree that encroaches on your property. You may pick the fruit, prune the branches, etc. Obviously, one would prefer to maintain a good relationship with their neighbor however, one must also do what one must to protect the value of your own property. A friend of mine recently had all the trees that hung over the neighbor's fence "hard cut" in order to stop further damage to the roof and our cars. While we're not really sure the neighbors even noticed, nothing has been mentioned. Good luck.

Answered 9 years ago by IndyGuitar


Many years ago, seeds in a birds dropping created a Mullberry tree ( yes a tree not a bush of the childrens song )

My wife & I and the birds loved it but a neighbor, with a yard never used except to store junk and 5 gal duck sauce buckets, (from the chinese restaurant the neighbor worked in) full of gutter rainwater complained about the fallen berries. We would go into their yard and prune if they didn't but finally the tree was too high and in a moment of weakness I told the arborist they hired to trim thier side to take the whole tree down and I shared half the cost. My tree would not have grown over their yard if they had not cut down all the trees that were in their yard when they bought the house. But my tree sought the light of the open space in their yard.

My neighbor had the legal and moral right to prune the branches on his side and I never complained about that. And you have the right to pluck those fruits rather than let them fall on your deck and cause a mess and tripping hazard. The neighbors appear to be greedy persons. I wouldn't worry about appeasing such people. My tree did not die. A few months after being cut down 4 shoots appeared from the stump. I planted silk trees in the space between the Mullberry tree and the fence that separates our yards so between the trees and my pruning I will see to it that it stays a bush.

Answered 9 years ago by aceinspector


I am not sure, but under Real Estate Law or Town/Property Law, if for some reason man made or mother nature, if the tree ends up falling onto your property during a storm or otherwise, then the tree becomes your problem even though it is your neigbor's tree.

So if that is the case then you should be able to pick the fruit from the part that is hanging inside your property.

I would look it up before explaining that to your neigbor if they seem to get irritated when you pick the fruit, but I am pretty sure that is the case if it is hanging over your property line then it is yours.

I hope it helps :)

Answered 9 years ago by Terry


First, what do you mean by they've been quite upset? Do they come on to your property to pick the plums? Do they do any maintanence of the parts of the tree that are on your property?

If they do harvest the plums on your side, it's a neiborly courtesy to let them. It's tricky while the plums are still on the tree. When the ripe ones fall they are yours but yes it is a pain.

You can always have someone prune the branches back so that they don't make a mess of your property.

Answered 8 years ago by help1968


Yes I think you have the right to eat the fruit. The neighbor doesn't have the right to dangle his tastey plums on your side and expect you to just sit there and suffer hunger pains all day. You could make a tasty plum crumble.

But to further cement your conviction, I suggest you first ask your neighbor if you can pick the fruit. If he (or she) says "yes", then all is well. If he (or she) says "no" then you have twice the reason to take the fruit! At this crucial point in the experience, you know he or she is just being a selfish citizen and has given you a green light, albeit unconsciously, to take the fruit.

Or, you could take the fruit, then bill him or her for your labor and make your plum crumble too.

Cory Markert


Answered 7 months ago by CoryLMarkert

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