Nuisance trees and problematic weeds: what are my rights?

Whilst features such as trees, ivy and shrubbery can make even the smallest of gardens look beautiful, they can pose a nuisance if you’re living next door when they start encroaching onto your side of the fence. From unwanted insects like bees and wasps, trees blocking out your light and serious issues such as Japanese knotweed, as a neighbour it is important to know what your rights are and what you can and cannot do.

What can I do about overhanging branches and destructive ivy?

If the branches of your neighbour’s tree(s) have started to grow over onto your land, you are well within your rights to cut them back to the boundary point between you and your neighbour’s property – provided that the tree in question isn’t under a preservation order. However, any branches, flowers or fruit from the tree that you cut down are still the legal property of your neighbour, and they have the right to ask you to return them.


Unfortunately, whilst you’re expected to return any fruit from the tree back to your neighbour, if any leaves from the tree fall into your garden during the autumn and winter months, you have no legal rights to ask them to come around and clear them up.

If one of your neighbour’s trees or ivy from their walls is causing significant damage to your gutters or property, you can ask your neighbour to get them cleared, or to pay for the cost of any damage that they may have already caused. If they refuse, you may be able to sue them – however, you have no legal right to gain access to your neighbour’s property to take matters into your own hands as this will be classed as trespassing.

What can I do if my neighbours have Japanese knotweed

Widely considered as the “UK’s most aggressive and destructive plant”, Japanese knotweed can cause serious problems for homeowners – however, if your neighbour has Japanese knotweed on their property, they are under no legal obligation to remove the weed from their own property. If the weed begins to encroach upon your property, however, you may be able to take court action against them and it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

At CEL Solicitors, our expert team of solicitors are on-hand to give you information and advice about your rights as a homeowner suffering with problematic trees, ivy or Japanese knotweed. Contact our expert team of housing solicitors today on 0808 273 0900 or email