All Rights Reserved. I am very cheered by the increasing number of people who seem to be figuring out that there are untapped sources of bounty all around us, even in cities. The apples we scrumped were from some trees in the public car park of our local council offices. Click here for more. And good news — if the fruit is found on public land, for example overhanging a footpath, you are well within your rights to pick it. Is the BBC to blame for attacks on Poles. So long as you don't damage the plants it should be OK. If your tree produces fruit, the neighbor has no right to pick the fruit, but he can collect and keep any that falls into his yard. Having a neighbor's tree hang into your yard can be annoying. They did learn to come and knock on the door eventually. In ours, the neighbour's tree is heavy with apples just perfect for eating, stewing or puddings – an artistically laden bough hangs down over the fence towards us. Under most circumstances, the fruit that grows on a tree belongs to the owner of the tree. Do you even have a sign asking people not to pick the fruit, or reminding people that the tree is your tree and not a municipal planting to beautify the public trail? Seems strange to me that it would be different anywhere else. You can cut branches and/or roots back up to the limit of your property, your garden fence, say. The fruit of a fruit tree belongs to the tree. It doesn't take long for the box to empty. I'm still eating the jam we made in August from the massive bramble bush that my neighbour had completely ignored. Should the tree or hedge bear fruit that hangs into a neighbour's garden, the neighbour cannot lawfully take the fruit or flowers subject to the Theft Act 1968. When I am out driving I see so many huge apple trees just bending from the weight of so much fruit. You are not allowed to go into a neighbour’s garden without permission to cut a tree back. I doubt anyone will care but I have to get the nerve up to just do it because they spoil or the lawn people cut it down. Ornamental or landmark trees can have a value of between $20,000 and $60,000. Elderflowers for lemonade and fritters and now elderberries (though the birds are heavy on those this year as well), enough blackberries for a portion every day once they started, until November, field mushrooms, damsons, naturalised apples, salad leaves, sloes. But no they will probably just sit there and become compost. Under most circumstances, the fruit that grows on a tree belongs to the owner of the tree. She may trim the branch back to the property line, but the tree owner retains the right to the fruit. The above links are four recent video reports from Newsnight. Our next door neighbour has an apple tree in their back garden which sadly doesn't overhang into our garden, but I wish it did. Urban foraging may not be strictly legal (so that presumably rules out blackberrying in the country too), but surely it is not 'ethical' to leave perfectly good food go to waste... Perhaps this highlights the dilemma between 'legal' and 'ethical'...sometimes the law is wrong... go for it Ethical Man...I think I might wash it before feeding it to my kids though. Would it be ethical then to poach on my neighbour's unprotected wireless internet signal which makes its way through the wall of our adjoining houses? Not only does this beautify the city, but many, as you would imagine, are fruit trees and here one may legally pick any fruit that protrudes beyond the boundaries of private property - even agricultural orchards. So what could be more ethical than picking fruit from trees on the streets around my house? I live near the bristol bath cycle path and I use it often for fun and exercise. I turned to BTCV – the organization formerly known as the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. a pavement) then it's theft, plain and simple. If the tree trunk is not on the boundary, the fruit on the tree belongs to the owner of the tree. During a recent storm, a couple of limbs fell and hit my neighbor's fence. “Urban foraging" shouldn’t be against the law; we live in a rather wasteful society as it is. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. And no wasteful packaging! Overgrown trees can block a neighbor’s view, hang over a neighbor’s fence, or pose a risk of injury. We used to shout for them to come back and help themselves from the fruit we had picked. I would be thrilled to go pick what was still good at a discounted rate! Fruit-picking laws protect tree owners who have put time and effort into growing their own fruit. Should fruit that overhangs a public road be left to rot on the tree because its owner cannot be bothered to pick it? In some states, the owner of a tree retains ownership of the fruit even when it extends onto a neighbor's property. Just remember to pick fruits more than the height of a dog above the pavement... Vote 1 for the right to pick stuff that grows over/on public access land. It seems harsh, given that the law relating to hedges is much more generous. The official rule is: hanging over the property line onto the street/sidewalk/your property, it's all good to pick and take. It would be impractical for us able to all live as they do in “the good life” but this and example of finding the balance. Loved your film Justin! 3 years ago. I would like to pick the grapes to make raisins. Sigh...waste! It never crossed my mind to throw them away. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! Das it. Until I actually picked one off the tree and shook the branch to drop more, and the pub owner came out and told me off for not respecting the tree. We used to have a huge passionfruit vine in our garden that fruited on both sides of a fence. Oh but their kids do sometimes enjoy throwing the rotting apples into our garden and at our cat. Go for it, Ethical Man! A few branches of Sue’s apple tree extend over the fence and hang above the yard of Sue’s neighbor, Janet. “The owner or tenant of any land is entitled to cut off branches which overhang or roots which penetrate from his neighbour's hedge, as long as he does it on his side of the boundary.” Although the cuttings do remain the property of the hedge owner. I have no idea what the law says about taking fruit that overhangs, but the general attitude seems to be share and share alike. If you’re among the tens of thousands of us living in spaces with backyards or patios enclosed with wood fences, you may think you can’t hang anything there. If … They never touch the things, which is such a waste. Talk about Newsnight is a blog from the BBC's flagship news and current affairs programme. There you should stop. Hello from Sacramento, California which has the most trees per capita of any metropolis in the world with the exception of Paris. But budding film-makers beware: “almost certainly legal” is not enough for Newsnight. Hmmm. Some people assume that if fruit falls from a neighbor's tree and lands on their property, they have the legal right to eat it. ... 3 Is it Legal to Trim a Tree Hanging Over the Fence? I also see this same fruit going to waste and not being picked. That leaves me with a tonne of rotten fruit at the end of the season, which is a total waste. If the tree rests on private property but the fruit hangs over into public land, residents can legally pick it. Windfall fruit still belongs to the owner. When planting trees to make the place look green and pleasant, why not plant fruit trees? Maybe the bike riding coppers are becoming more ethical too! Is there a difference between eating the fruit raw (to save energy) or cooked (in crumbles)? If my neighbor owns a fruit tree, and the branches hang over my property, can I eat the fruit? Excuse me, from which hedges are you plucking figs, grapes and apples? The branches of a neighbor’s tree may hang over onto your property. As for your daughters, I think it’s great that you take them with you and are trying to impart some ethical living into their upbringing. It's great, it connects you to nature. Kudos, I have to say I strongly approve of this. This isn't something you want to be fighting with your neighbors about. I wish more people would at least offer up this fruit to some agency who could send volunteers to pick it and bring it to soup kitchens, food shelves for low income people, and homeless shelters. People have the right to pick this fruit, regardless of whether the tree belongs to them or not. Not quite the same, I know, but where I used to live we had a big holly tree in the front garden. Our only concern was that they didnt fall out of the tree. I have a grape vine growing in my front garden and have a tendency to put up a sign on my fence encouraging people to help themselves. Hi, I lived in Bath for a while and there was a walnut tree in my area on the boulevard that people paid no attention top, so during the autumn all the walnuts were dropping down and I helped myself all the time. You are wrong, friend, and happily so. Conflicts between these interests bring to prominence issues such as the rights and responsi… The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. I wonder how long an individual could survive off of "Urban Foraging". You may not reach over someone's property line to pick or take. I don't see any problem with people picking fruit off trees. Can You Pick Fruit from Your Neighbors Tree? Another thing that comes up is when we walk on little dirt roads and pick wild berries, is it ok to pick them if they are at the end of someone's quarter mile long driveway? Every autumn I do and see lots of others pick blackberries with the police riding past on their push bikes clearly allowing the law to be flouted!! In fact, there are maps on the Internet compiled by so-called urban foragers marking trees for picking. It publishes an invaluable reference work: “Hedging”. You may not be entitled to all fallen fruit on the ground on your side of the fence. Fruit trees that grow on public land are open to the public. I am so glad I found this discussion. We didn't get on too well with the previous owners, so had to conduct our foraging raids in the dead of night or early morning! That fruit overhanging into your property does belong to you, at least in Hawaii. Who does it harm? More investigation was needed. His work has been published in "Law of Inertia Magazine." If the tree rests on private property but the fruit hangs over into public land, residents can legally pick it. Many a time I have picked blackberries from bushes along paths for my mum to make crumble with. Can you cut them back to their side? Fallen Fruit. And lastly there is a wild grape vine hanging down in a local stores parking lot. This is not always the case. I would look it up before explaining that to your neigbor if they seem to get irritated when you pick the fruit, but I am pretty sure that is the case if it is hanging over your property line then it is yours. The following are general rules regarding overhanging tree branches. Although you have along way to go before you restore our complete faith in you, after the Jamaica trip, but this helps. The look on their faces was priceless, I don't think they had ever experienced anything like it! "During a mango season six years ago we were encouraging people to pick the mangoes hanging over the footpath as … I went to a farm stand and the people had a field full of tomatoes that were just rotting on the vines. So if that is the case then you should be able to pick the fruit from the part that is hanging inside your property. Sue seems to always have more apples than she can eat, and Janet would like to pick the apples that hang from the branches of Sue’s tree over Janet’s yard to share with her neighbors. "I believe once a fruit branch extends over your fence or over the sidewalk, the fruit on that branch is available to the public," was one early response to Davis' post. If you do, you may be liable for damages. After 3 such events we'd raised enough for a small forest for this dry Sahel region of W Africa!And it was fun, re-connecting us through stories of childhood fruit picking & offers of recipes. As the fence broke the fall, the limbs did not completely detach from the tree, They are still hanging on by a little of the bark, but leaning on, and hanging over the fence. Perhaps trees that produce fruit should be planted more often in large cities to help feed those who need it such as the homeless. It is much more ethical than going into the supermarket and buying fruit which has traveled thousands of miles. Can I collect windfalls from a neighbour’s tree that overhangs my garden? I live in the rural United States. Foraging is great, as you normally tend to pick what you can eat or cook. Remember, properly installing and maintaining your fence saves you money and avoids stress. Court have also ruled that you can cut branches that invade your property (but it's preferably to get a court order first). People were v happy to let us have their fruit when we asked. Oh, and I have been known to knock on a neighbor's door and ask if I could pick fruit from their tree. My colleagues were astounded, although they did accept the peppers. Good job on this piece. Most are very pleasant and happy someone is willing to bother. Now we're wondering about a street community orchard with trees planted in private gardens & on public ground, produce shared & a link to support sustainable agriculture sub-sahara. But these produce pollen - no doubt contributing to the increase in allergic problems. The house across the road from us has a very productive nectarine tree overhanging the street. The comment from One Eyed Owl therefore rings true with me. I can come and help? But there's the rub; if you let people do it, eventually toerags would abuse it to get away with damaging trees for the fun of it. Yum. And with this in mind, it becomes clear that the responsibility for maintenance or damage caused by overgrowth lies with the owner. Clearly the law has changed since medieval common law: the phrase "by hook or by crook" refers to a pilgrim's right to graze food that overhangs their route. It's better than letting it go to waste. The Ethical producer, Sara, confiscated my car back in April so I’ve had the opportunity to watch the local fruit trees blossom and the fruit ripen on the boughs. We had a damson tree at the bottom of the garden. What I really dislike is the buying of masses of food in supermarkets and then wasting half or more. When I was a kid, urban foraging meant eating fresh blackberries, making crab-apple jelly and rosehip cordial - all foraged in North London city streets. I would feel terribly guilty about that, I think. If it was within said reach of the path, it could be gathered. Few things taste better than homegrown fruit picked ripe from a tree. Perhaps this could be a way forward for local councils? There are usually olive and lemon trees planted out on nature strips (the bit of public land between the houses and the road in most Aussie suburbs). This is anomalous: On one hand, you can’t legally pick up and eat the fruit but, on the other hand, your neighbors can’t legally enter your land and retrieve it. Not being precious about such things, we always said yes. Obviously there are limits, if I know my neighbours feels strongly about there apples, for example. Ohhh and here is something else that got under my skin. Unfortunately, most people don't take advantage of this. Strictly speaking, Diserens said the law allows for people to pick fruit if a tree hangs over on their property or in a public space, like a sidewalk. crazy that this is even an issue!I had a'fruit for free' bonanza this summer in which 'excess' fruit from our allotments, friends etc was sold via e-mail groups,among neighbours etc, all money going to a charity supporting sustainable development in Mali (W Africa). Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →, The Vermont Institute For Government: The Law of Trees, "Naple News: Two Charged With Picking Fruit From Naples Resident's Tree", CES: Growing Apple Trees in the Home Garden. I don’t know the laws about fences but I know the way of relationships. I hope the police don't catch up to you and your newly criminal daughters, cheers! I hope your endeavors change attitudes and laws regarding this subject. Our local environment park has a weekly market where a lot of produce comes from an Urban Orchard scheme where people sell the excess fruit from their gardens. Should I be arrested for stealing those figs and – more heinously – drawing my children into my life of crime? So is the law right? There's a limit to the number of apple crumbles I can eat and, as they're cooking apples, people seem more hesitant to take them off my hands because they'd have to cook them in some way. I frankly have no problem with anyone picking the apples from my tree. In most places no, if its on the outside of the fence, and its on a public area, the tree owner can't stop it. Surely nature's fruits should be enjoyed by all - even if they were planted by the neighbours. Do we waste food or what! In this case, you may have questions about your rights regarding the portion of the tree that is on your property. And while you’re at it, can you cut all the roots that are in my lawn?” If I had a dime for every time someone asked me that question, I’d be the better looking version of Bill Gates. This article explains a few things to keep in mind when faced with a neighbor dispute over trees. A blank wood fence is not unlike a blank wall inside your home — it deserves a little sprucing up! I was shocked to find that the law on picking fruit from overhanging branches could not be clearer: “A neighbour has no legal right to any fruit on overhanging branches.” Which I guess makes me and my two young daughters criminals. This is a topic that has been on my mind all summer. The street side always had less fruit on it as passers by helped themselves, but we had so much fruit on the garden side of the fence we didn't care. My neighbor asks us to pick them but we don't for the rambutan harvested from our own trees are more juicy and delicious. Couldn't you knock on their door and simply ask? In fact, there are so many suburbs with productive fruit trees in Australia that whole neighbourhoods have set up produce-exchanges. No, not without their permission. Nor can you lean over into his garden to cut back the ‘offending’ branch – you will be trespassing. She may trim the branch back to the property line, but the tree owner retains the right to the fruit. ... whether you may eat the fruit off branches hanging on your property, and more. But when the intruder brings mangos and other fruits, it may be a welcome visitor. No it's not stealing if the fruit it's on your side of the fence. In quite a small area, too, resticted to the places where either I take my dog for a walk, or that are around my cultivated fruit trees. Still trying to get past the blogger's gatekeeper ('you are not allowed to post to this blog'). Please join in - read our guide to posting comments, or send us an email. 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