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Spreading Vegetation; Noxious Trees or Plants

Under  common law, a property owner does not have the duty to destroy noxious weeds naturally growing on his or her land.  An adjoining property owner cannot complain about trees or shrubbery on adjoining land even if they are so high or thick because growing trees or shrubs have been done within the landowner’s rights to make use of the land.  Even if the vegetation in the neighboring land is unpleasant or unsightly, the adjoining landowner cannot claim it to be a nuisance although it may affect his or her enjoyment of property.

In Preston v. Schrenk, 77 Idaho 481 (Idaho 1956), both parties owned adjoining properties.  The appellant farmer had planted around 320 acres of land to dry-land winter wheat.  The farmer brought action against the landowner claiming that dust, dirt, and weeds blown from the landowner’s property onto the farmer’s land damaged his machinery, house, and health.  The trial Court of Montana ruled against the farmer and motion for new trial was denied.  Upon review, the appellate Court ruled that the landowner’s action was not unusual, unreasonable, or negligent, but were in accordance with longstanding practices in dry farming and that the result of such acts did not amount to a nuisance to the damage of the farmer.  The trial court’s judgment was affirmed and the landowner was not held liable.

In Marino v. Lorch, 2 Misc. 3d 56, 774 N.Y.S.2d 254 (App. Term 2003), the action was brought against the defendant, adjoining landowner claiming cost of repair of the plaintiff’s pool filter that was damaged because of pine needles and pine corns that fell from an overhanging tree.  The court held that the adjoining landowner could not be held liable due to the absence of evidence that the tree was defective and that landowner had actual or constructive notice of its condition.

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