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Remedies for Wrongful Injury or Destruction of Tree on Boundary Line

Generally, a landowner is liable to a neighbor if s/he destroys a boundary line tree.  A landowner who cuts or destroys a boundary line tree without the consent of the adjoining owner may be liable for trespass.  The damages caused are measured as the difference in the market value of the property immediately before and immediately after the destruction of the tree. However, a landowner has the right to cut down a boundary line tree for excavating his/her land to build a residence.

The Court can grant an injunction for preventing one adjoining owner from injuring or destroying trees growing on the boundary line, even though the owner suing for the injunction had previously destroyed a part of the tree.  A defendant is restrained from cutting, destroying, or injuring a row of boundary line trees in any manner to affect or interfere with the plaintiff’s use.

In Cathcart v. Malone, 33 Tenn. App. 93 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1950), the neighbor cut down two shade trees on the property line between his land and that of the property owner while the owner was away. After returning, the owner sued for the damages resulting from the destruction of the trees and was awarded$ 350 by the lower Court.  On appeal, the court rejected the neighbor’s challenge to jurisdiction and ruled that the neighbor and the owner were tenants in common as to the trees, that as a co-tenant, the neighbor was not entitled to destroy the commonly owned property. The court also stated that the proper measure of damages was the difference in the market value of the land immediately before and immediately after the trees’ destruction.


Inside Remedies for Wrongful Injury or Destruction of Tree on Boundary Line