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The LW Treecare Blog

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Poisoning your neighbour

It is recognised that particular issues may stem from where trees with poisonous fruit and / or foliage is allowed to overhang onto neighbouring property, where animals can graze upon this poisonous matter both removed from and attached to the tree. Without question, the accepted precedent with regards to overhanging branches apply, and principally under the ruling from the Rylands v Fletcher [1868] case (not to do with trees, but instead the escape of water from the defendant’s reservoir), which stated: “it seems but reasonable and just that the neighbour who has brought something on his own property (which was not naturally there), harmless to others so long as it is confined to his own property, but which he knows will be mischievous if it gets on his neighbour’s, should be obliged to make good the damage which ensues if he does not succeed in confining it to his own property.” In this sense, as long as a poisonous tree is confined to the bounds of the grower’s property (duty of care), there is no issue to arise.

In addition, whoever is responsible for looking after a boundary (in terms of fencing, where livestock are present) where poisonous trees reside will, if there is an accident, be held liable for the injury or death of livestock that have consumed such poisonous materials originating from the trees.

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