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My neighbours at the rear of my property have 3 large sycamore trees approx 42ft from our houses but much further from their house, over the years we have watched our gardens deteriorate, i can no longer grow grass or veg .during the afternoon my once sunny garden is in constant shade. We asked the neighbour to trim them but she said tgey were grown for privacy. Last year during high winds parts of the trees blew down, we are concerned now that if they wereto fall they would actually hit our houses,is there anything we can do about this.



If you've got buildings insurance, speak to the company that provides it, and ask them if they can help by making an assessment about the trees and any possible threat to your house and outbuildings. Otherwise, try your local Council, probably the Environmental department - the trouble is, these days, they're so short of money they may not have the time or money to even think about this, never mind pay attention to it.

Your argument shouldn't be based around lack of light or deprivation of nutrients within your garden, but on the distance between your house and those trees, and the threat they may present to the foundations, or threat from their falling - tree root spread can be roughly estimated at up to three times the height of the tree. You haven't said how tall they are, but if we assume they're 45 feet, that means a possible root spread of up to 135 feet. In reality, there's no way of knowing where the roots are or how far they've spread without geo detection, and even that's only a guide, and if those trees were there before your house was built, then there's no argument, they won't be considered much of a threat.

19 Jul, 2015


The maximum recorded root spread for sycamores in the UK is 20metres. The potential for damage to your property by sycamores 42ft away is relatively small but if you involve your insurance company you premiums will increase. You will, of course, have declared to your insurers that there are trees taller than 10m within 5m of your property (those are the usual height/distance stated by UK companies)

I sympathise because I have a council sycamore tree right outside my front door, but I have to say that you can only ask your neighbour again and explain the effect their trees are having on your garden. I can't see that they will get much privacy from them - unless their land is considerably lower than yours as the tree canopy will be somewhere about roof height for full grown trees. Although you have no recourse over the loss of light, it is worth explaining to your neighbour that their desire for privacy is affecting your enjoyment of your home.

19 Jul, 2015


You are legally entitled to cut off anything that overhangs your property as long as you return the branches to the tree's owner (but don't just throw them over as this can cause a lot of bad feeling!) but its as well to mention this to the owner first. And bear in mind that if its done drastically it might unbalance the tree. Healthy sycamores are very unlikely to blow down unless there is an unusually violent storm, eg hurricane or tornado. We have a long row of mature ones down one side of our garden, some much nearer the house than that and apart from seedlings everywhere they don't cause any major problems. Its annoying about the veg but you can still grow rhubarb, currants and raspberries unless the shade is deep and all day.You can reseed the grass with a variety designed for shady places which might help.

19 Jul, 2015


BE VERY CAREFUL about calling a homeowner's insurance agent over to have a look. Reason, if they see a viable potential for damage to your home your insurance rates could go up. The lower the rates you have, the greater potential for this to happen. Read your policy contract very carefully before you make a move.

20 Jul, 2015

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