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Owner upset after discovering neighbor chopping down trees: 'It's trespass and vandalism'

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time a neighbor has gotten involved in a little tree surgery.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a neighbor has gotten involved in a little tree surgery.

Photo Credit: iStock

An upset Redditor took to the platform to vent about the thoughtless actions of their soon-to-be neighbor and to ask for some guidance.

With building work set to start on their acreage, the Redditor had been taking care of the land until their new home was ready to move into. While they noticed the arborvitae on the property needed a little love and care, they expected the trees could be revived.

However, the neighbor didn't have the same opinion. The original poster was devastated to discover the person next door had hopped over the fence and decided to cut down between eight and 10 of the trees, which were estimated to be over two decades old.

On the r/treelaw community, the furious OP asked for some advice about the potential value of what had been destroyed before they enlisted the help of a tree law attorney. 

"Arborvitae are short on the market right now," one commenter said. "Largest we have is 10' and is about $700." 

"Call a landscaper," said another. "In Western Washington, I got a bid of $1500 each for 12 12-foot tall ones. They are certainly not 20 years old."

That would suggest the OP could have seen a minimum loss of around $7,000, potentially climbing up to $15,000 or more.

Meanwhile, other commenters were angry that the neighbor thought they had the right to cut down the trees, noting that they could get in a lot of trouble.

"It's trespass and vandalism," one user said, with others suggesting that the OP contact the police.  

The OP noted a family member had knocked on the neighbor's door. In response, they said they thought the trees were dead and seemingly showed some remorse. However, even if the trees were on the brink, that shouldn't have given them the right to take matters into their own hands, especially since it was likely obvious that work was being done on the land.

It's not surprising the OP was incensed, as the trees would have been a valuable feature of their new home — both monetarily and for the health and well-being of the upcoming homeowners.

Trees absorb harmful toxins from the air, releasing oxygen in return. This would have improved the air quality around the property, and time spent among trees has been proven to boost health and happiness. Meanwhile, the trees would have also offered natural shade and provided a home to birds and insects, which would have boosted pollination efforts. The neighbor would likely have benefited, too.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time a neighbor has gotten involved in a little tree surgery, whether their intentions were good or bad. It's best to seek permission from the folks next door before interfering with their green space, or else you could land yourself in trouble with the law — and at the bank. 

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