RI Tree Laws - Trimming Rights - Overhangs And Property Lines

Rhode Island Tree Laws: Trimming Rights, Overhangs & Property Lines

  • Learn about Rhode Island tree laws and how they impact property owners, including trimming rights, property lines, overhanging branches, and potential penalties.

Trimming Rights and Property Lines

  • In Rhode Island, if a neighbor’s tree crosses onto your property, you have the right to trim the branches or roots back to the property line at your own expense. However, keep in mind that damaging the health of the tree or trimming branches on your neighbor’s property can lead to criminal penalties.

Overhanging Branches and Common Law Rights

  • Rhode Island recognizes your common law right as a landowner to cut off limbs of a tree or shrub overhanging or encroaching on your property from your neighbor’s property. Additionally, you have the right to cut roots that grow onto your land.

Minimum Clearance Requirements

  • The minimum clearance of an overhanging portion of a tree should be eight feet (2.44 meters) over sidewalks and 12 feet (3.65 meters) over all streets and thoroughfares, or as specified by the tree warden.

Potential Penalties for Violations

  • Violating Rhode Island tree laws, such as damaging the health of a tree or trimming branches on your neighbor’s property, can result in a criminal penalty of up to six months in jail.

Consult with a Professional

  • Before taking any action related to tree trimming or removal, it’s best to consult with a professional, such as a tree warden or an arborist, to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.



Understanding Rhode Island tree laws is essential for property owners to know their rights and responsibilities. Always consult with a professional before taking any action to ensure compliance and avoid potential penalties.


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