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A MATTER OF LAND:The problem of the hanging mango tree

Published:Sunday | June 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Craig Francis

I want to first say a big thank you to Cassandra Francis, my recent guest columnist. Your response to her has been tremendous. This means she will be invited back in short order. This week, I will respond to a reader's question. The question and response are below.

Dear Mr Francis,

I am a regular reader of your column and I must say you have shed light on a lot of areas that I was naive to. I am having a problem I am not sure you will be able to advise me on, but I am going to present it to you just the same. I live in the Kingston 19 area and the boundary wall between myself and my neighbour is a mesh wire fence.

At the fence, my neighbour has a very huge mango tree which, when it bears, all sort of persons open my gate to come and pick them. In addition, a lot of the mangoes tend to fall from the tree and burst upon impact with the ground. This creates a lot of flies until I am able to find the time to clean up the area.

I had cut a few of the branches last year and he created quiet an uproar. Now the tree has grown and is creating the same problem and more, because now there are pigeons in the tree and they tend to pitch on my line, etc., and leave their droppings there.

I want to chop the branches that are hanging over but I am worried that it will create the same disturbance as last year. How do I go about getting them cut, and what rights do I have in doing so? Where do I go for help in this matter?

Await your kind response. Thank you.


Hopeful reader.

Dear Hopeful:

The first thing that should be noted is that anything that "violates" your boundaries is encroaching on your property.

With this mango tree, the fruits and limbs that hang over or "violate" your boundary fence are effectively yours, for the picking or pruning, etc. You can pick the fruits that hang over your property and also trim the limbs that hang over your property, as your neighbour is not allowed (without your permission) to "breach" your boundary come into your yard to pick cut or prune these limbs, even though the root is on his property.

So if these limbs and fruits are causing a nuisance to you it is in your right to have this nuisance removed. That being said, I would recommend you and your neighbour talk about the issue to see if an amicable solution can be arrived at (in your case, he gives you his blessings to prune the tree). However, if that fails and you feel the need to cut the limbs, please do so when the tree has stopped bearing and no fruit is on the tree.

I can suggest something worth trying; give your neighbour permission to come over your yard and pick the fruits. Also, see if you can arrange to have him clean up when the fruits fall, and lock your gate with a lock to keep out the undesirables. If you and your neighbour could agree to this, you and he just might save a perfectly good fruit tree and you and your neighbour live in harmony.

I have given you some options, now you have to choose which suits you best.

Keep sending your questions and comments and let's continue to explore A Matter of Land. Until next time, traverse well.

Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at or his Facebook page Precision Surveying Services.