My neighbor/landlord wants to cut down a tree. How can I stop this?

Trees on private property are the responsibility of the property owner. Here are several steps you can take to support your neighbor or landlord to save a tree.

1. Find out the reason for tree removal. Is their reason aesthetic or do they believe the tree is doing some harm to their property or poses some other danger? If their reasoning is related to the appearance or maintenance of the tree, proceed to step two. If they believe the tree is a hazard proceed to step four.

2. Share the benefits of trees with your neighbor or landlord. Write a letter, or even better, speak with them in person. Let them know that trees increase property value and reduce energy costs. Refer them to our site to learn about the benefits of trees

3. Rally positive support from neighbors and encourage the property owner to preserve the tree or trees. This is a great opportunity to strengthen your community. Listen to the concerns of your neighbors. The closer you and your neighbors come to developing a shared vision of your neighborhood, the easier it will be to realize that vision.

If you live in an apartment complex and the building manager/owner wants to cut down the tree, a strong response from residents may help convince them to preserve the tree or trees. Talk with other apartment residents and determine if you each should call the building manager/owner directly or write a letter that everyone signs.

4. Stay positive. Caring for living trees can be a passionate endeavor. Avoid anger and blame when dealing with people who don’t see your point of view. Your positive attitude will inspire others and keep your own spirits lifted.

5. Negotiate with your neighbor. Try to understand their point of view. Really listen to them. One helpful technique is identifying “resistance phrases.” For instance, when someone says, “That tree is lifting my foundation,” try answering with “If we can find a way for the tree to not damage your home will you leave it intact?” Keep listening. Pull out your emotional objections and try to find realistic solutions.

6. Consult a professional. One reason owners may want to remove a tree is that they think it is hazardous or will damage a building. To assess the situation you can hire a tree care professional such as an arborist, or other certified tree care expert. For arborists in your area please visit www.isa-arbor.com/findArborist/findarborist.aspx. There will be a fee for the consultation, so keep that in mind. In legal disputes, expert witnesses and attorneys specializing in landscape law can be consulted.