At a home in a Chandler subdivision the branches of a neighbor’s large eucalyptus tree have grown over the common wall into another backyard. On a windy day the leaves from this large eucalyptus tree litter the yard, stain the patio, and clog the pool cleaning system of their neighbors. As a result the neighbors have had to replace the pool pump because of overheating due to the leaves clogging the pool cleaning system. Can the neighbors trim the branches of their neighbor’s large eucalyptus tree? And if so, can the neighbors get reimbursed for the cost of the trimming?
As a general rule, a homeowner is entitled to trim up to the property line the branches of a neighbor’s tree that hang over onto the homeowner’s property, provided that this trimming will not kill the neighbor’s tree. Therefore, prior to trimming the overhanging branches of a neighbor’s tree, a homeowner should consult with an arborist or other professional. If trimming is allowed, the neighbor is generally not liable to reimburse the homeowner for the cost of the trimming. However, if the branches of the tree cause “sensible injury” to the homeowner’s property, the neighbor will be liable for any costs, including the homeowner’s trimming costs. 145 Ariz. 115. The homeowner’s property damage to the pool cleaning system, including the replacement of the pool pump, is probably a “sensible injury.” Therefore, the neighbors should be able to get reimbursement from the neighbor for the cost of trimming the branches due to the large eucalyptus tree. Additionally, the cost for the new pool pump should be reimbursed as well.