If a tree grows in your yard and crosses the property line, is it still your tree?

Okay, I promised in this post to stay away from the news, but I couldn't help myself today.  I was reading an article in this morning's Globe and Mail, and according to a recent Ontario Superior Court ruling, your neighbour can prevent you from removing a tree which is almost entirely on your own property. 

Since we began assessing our backyard, we have been researching tree removal bylaws to ensure that we would be compliant.  We are lucky to have very few trees that sit close to a property line.  Our hope would be that if a tree were ever in question, our neighbours would be reasonable (as would we) but I have heard of lovely neighbours suddenly behaving strangely when a neighbour wants to cut down a tree. 

One of my friends is currently speaking with neighbours about cutting down a tree (mostly on her property) because the roots are damaging the foundation of her house.  What would happen if her neighbour decided they were too attached to the tree?

I clearly disagree with this ruling.  I think people need to be free to alter their own landscape and if a neighbour objects, they should plant their own tree.  In an ideal world, people would come to agreements... but while this happens often (and it's nice when it does) our laws need to provide an absolute answer and not rely on the agreement of other parties. 

Not only would this affect my right to cut down my own tree but it also restricts my neighbour's right to trim branches of my tree that cross the property line.  In my opinion, this ruling puts the rights of both sides (those with trees and their neighbours) in jeopardy.  The only ones protected here are the trees.

It's sad, but you know what this makes me want to do?  It makes me want to cut down my trees before they are large enough for the government (or my neighbours) to have a say.  I'll bet I'm not the only homeowner who feels that this may be necessary if we embrace a future with such restricted rights for property owners...

What do you think of the ruling?
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