Check your property deed
It’s always good to double-check your deed – and theirs – in order to establish whether a problem tree is truly on your side of theirs. We are constantly visualizing where our lines are, but a good, thorough double-check is always worthwhile. It saves you a mountain of headaches later on in the process.
Talk. No, really – just talk
99% of the world’s problems arise out of a lack of communication. Simply present the issue, be clear and open and be friendly. Keep the conversation consistently about ‘next steps’ so that they keep progressing and aren’t tabled until they’re too late. And for additional comfort levels – consult a pro – get their advice and recommendations in person or on paper. It’s one thing to express concerns; it’s a whole other ball of wax to present them. There’s a significant difference.
Planning and safety come first, all at the same time
You should never do serious tree work without a precise plan and with everyone’s safety in mind. While pay is something that can be sorted out, many injuries are not – so make sure that if you do decide to proceed forward that everyone’s safe. Especially in situations where you have a shakier relationship with your neighbors, it’s always good to get things in writing so everyone knows what is going on at every step.
No conversation, no cutting
Nothing should get done without having a specific conversation about what will happen at each specific phase beforehand. There are a myriad of reasons for this – practically least of which has to do with it just being the right thing to do. For one, if the wrong thing gets done, you can damage the tree, the structure or other parts of each other’s property. That’s bad. Second, you’re putting each other’s safety at risk. Even if the job is done well, there could be unexpected collateral damage that occurs. That’s also really bad. So make sure you’re communicating directly – or at the very least – through a professional who has this thing down.
The best way to ensure a happy ending is to communicate, plan and do your due diligence. Heck, sometimes things don’t work out – and in the event they don’t – you need to at least ensure that you’ve crossed all your t’s and dotted your i’s. And remember, while disagreements are common, it’s not common or advisable to ever take matters into your own hands. Especially when you have pros at your disposal ready to help.