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Who do the leaves belong to?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by cutting edge, Mar 14, 2001.

  1. cutting edge

    cutting edge LawnSite Member
    Messages: 194

    Do the leaves belong to the property where they fall or to the owner of the tree?
  2. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    im going to have to go, the property they fall on. i would like to go to some accounts and blow the leaves back into the yard they came from, but in the long run, theyd be back in the yard i would clean up. its a lose, lose situation.
  3. dfor

    dfor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 829

    They belong to the property where they land.
  4. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    As my insurance agent so simply stated: "When the tree is standing, God owns it. When it falls, or any part of it falls, the owner of the property it falls on owns it."

    At least here, if a tree falls across two properties, mine and my neighbors, any good tree service will cut tree right at property line, and just do the part on my property. Will only do the neighbor's if the neighbor also hires him. Just a common sense liability issue.

    Also in IN, if your neighbor's tree falls on your house, your insurance will cover it, not theirs - and vice versa. If you do not know the legal rules in your area, find out before you get into a bind by clearing your customer's tree from a neighbor's property. In any area, you should get permission of the neighbor to go on his property!
  5. LScom Addict

    LScom Addict LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    Living in the Upstate area we are quite rural for the most part. When the leaves begin to fall we will pick up the foliage on our customers properties only. If a tree is on the border of a lot, after I finish there is a visible line where I have removed the leaves from one side of the tree only. If the neighbor would like his lawn cleared I would be more than happy to do so for the same rates.

    We service three houses in a row. The house at the end of the street is the end of the wind tunnel so to speak. His bill is almost triple to what the other two are paying, and we service all three accounts. I think that who's responsible for paying for their tree's debris is an issue to be resolved between the homeowner's.

    I am a Lawn Care Operator and provide a service. I dont care where the mess comes from just that you pay the bill. It would be like having a drain get clogged and then asking me to bill the parent of the child who clogged the drain at a Birthday Party. It just doesnt work that way.
  6. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,183

    What exactly was your reason for this question?
  7. slingshot

    slingshot LawnSite Member
    from pa
    Messages: 115

    yes you are right. i was also thinking that same thing if the drain gets plugged you cant have the kids parents pay for the plumber to unclog it . if you did your kid would never have any friends to come to them birthday partys.
  8. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Messages: 3,010

    where I live if your tree falls on my property you will be given enough time to do something about it. after that time has elapsed you will be politely, but firmly, asked to remove it.

  9. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    I have to agree with the Addict for the most part. There are a few exceptions that I like to follow.

    If the tree is that close to the line and there are no other trees competeing in the area for leaf removal I would use a wheeled blower and blast the debris(foliage as some say) back onto my clients lawn.

    If the tree is drooping numerous leaves into the neighbors yard, and there are others from abuting properties as well then I would leave the neighbors untouched. I think that as the Professional Contractor it is our duty under circumstances to clean up after the neighbors.

    Afterall, that is what we have been contracted to do. I dont try to intervene in neighborly disputes but if an obvious situation can be avoided I try to show a little courtesy to our clients and their neighbors. lets not forget that when the neighbor needs his property landscaped or mulched, we WANT their business too.

    Good Luck this season!
  10. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    The original question related to the ownership of the leaves. To be sure, the ownership remains with the owner of the tree. But, the only question that is worthy to consider: What to do with the leaves of others that are left on the property of your customer?

    I've always disregarded ownership of the leaves, just focused on getting my customer's property cleaned up. I could get exercised about where they came from, but that doesn't negate the need of getting rid of them, getting them off my customer's property. I work to the property line, never into a neighbor's property. In a few cases, the neighbor has contracted me to clear his leaves too, and that elminiates the question of boundary lines.

    I charge my time and cost to dispose of the leaves. In a few instances, my customer would have had very few leaves to clear. But, with the aid of wind, his property became a haven for leaves of the neighbor, giving me work. So, being optimistic about the matter, I got work that I would not normally had.

    I have had a problem with year-to-year differences with an individual customers. Because of windy conditions, one year, my customer's property had few leaves, the next year, many leaves. This meant a difference in leaf removal costs, which raises questions. I just needed to explain.

    More disturbing are those neighbors who, on purpose, rake/blow their leaves into my customer's property, at least along the edge. When questioned, "...you have much better equipment to handle them than I have."

    On a related note, I have had instances where a neighbor who mows his own grass continue to cut further and further from the property line. IOW, when there is no sharp line to mark the boundary (e.g. fence, bed, etc), they cut less and less of their own, expecting me to mow to his cut line, not just the boundary line. Every time, his cut line is six inches further - soon, I'm cutting an extra 2-3 feet. Same response when quetioned, "...you have those big mowers and can cut it easier than I can." My policy the past couple of seasons, cut to the line. If there is an uncut strip of 2 feet, so be it. After a few times, the neighbor gets the message and cuts to the boundary.


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