Home Buying in 95035>Question Details

User0, Home Buyer in 95035

Big tree on front pavement

Asked by User0, 95035 Wed Feb 24, 2010

Hi all,
In a house I am interested in there is a big tree on the pavement, I was wondering
1.) can I cut it down
2.) who is responsible, for cleaning, pruning etc
3.) downside of having a tree infront of a house.

Help the community by answering this question:


I believe that you can cut it down if you buy the property, though you might have to get a paving contractor involved since it will have to do with moving the pavement. It shouldn't be that big of an ordeal, but you will need to know all of the steps that go into the process. I would recommend talking to the sellers about it if you're concerned about whose responsibility it would be.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 31, 2015
needing a city permit.
you are responsible for safety or tripping on the side walk
concrete, roots
they want a replacement tree
and will tell you what to replant.

Sam Shueh
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2014
I sleep better if someone walks over a lifted paver NOT trip over it.
Flag Thu Dec 11, 2014
You might need a city permit to actually remove the tree. I would talk with some of the asphalt contractors in the area though, they might be able to help you remove it,conditional on the city's approval, of course. http://www.eliasbros.com
Flag Thu Dec 11, 2014
If the tree has damaged the concrete or road, there are a few options. The best would be to contact a grading contractor to fix it. You do not want to be driving on a driveway or road that is unsafe.
Flag Tue Oct 28, 2014
I think that it would be completely fine to cut the tree down. I would talk to the city beforehand before hiring a company to cut it down. You have to be so careful to make sure that you aren't impeding on any public property. http://www.carlostreeservice.net/about
Flag Fri Oct 24, 2014
I might just ask the city before you decide anything. They might not like what you have planned, and ask you to do something different. I would even ask them if they will do all the work to take the tree out, since it's them that will have a problem with the tree inhibiting the public's use of the sidewalk. http://www.rubydale.com/services.html
Flag Thu Jul 24, 2014
Hi User0,

Please check Milpitas's Street Tree Ordinance and other information regarding trees at http://www.ci.milpitas.ca.gov/government/pworks/trees.asp.

The downside to having a tree in front of the house depends on how big your yard is and how close is it to the house. As my colleagues and other commenters have mentioned below, a large tree's roots could affect your sewer lines and other lines. PG & E does prune trees that touch on or affect power lines/etc, but that is also a possible risk/downside.

Also, even though I have never had a client who experienced this, but some of my clients have worried about trees decomposing and falling over on their homes.

There are also many reasons why trees in the front yard are good for you and your home. I hope you examine those reasons as well!

Good luck to you,

Huey Nguyen
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 27, 2014
I agree, talk with the city before doing anything. They may end up sending someone out to cut down the tree for you. That way, you wouldn't even have to worry about it. If they won't take care of it, then you can call a professional to help you out. http://www.timberlinetreeservice.ca/en/services.html
Flag Tue Mar 17, 2015
I bet that if you called the city, they would send someone out to cut it down. It is in their best interest to remove that tree because it is damaging their property. They might just give you permission to do it too. I doubt that they would deny you from cutting down that tree. http://franciscostrees.com
Flag Tue Jan 20, 2015
They are completely right, the sidewalk is part of the city's property. You're going to have to check with them first in order to cut down the tree. I'm sure that they will let you do it, but it's better to get permission first. Who knows, maybe they will pay for the service. http://www.cornerlandscaping.com
Flag Mon Jan 5, 2015
I'm not sure if you can cut it down or not. I would call a tree service company and see if they can remove it for you. That will be a lot easier than trying to cut it down yourself. Good luck and I hope everything works out for you! http://www.treesafeqld.com.au/tree-services
Flag Wed Dec 17, 2014
Huey pretty much answered this thoroughly. I'm not a pro at removing trees but I'm pretty sure the city has a say. I'd talk with some local experts to find out.

Will Jenkins | http://www.ruddockpaving.ca/en/
Flag Mon Jun 2, 2014
Huey pretty much answered this thoroughly. I'm not a pro at removing trees but I'm pretty sure the city has a say. I'd talk with some local experts to find out.
Flag Mon Jun 2, 2014
If it might cause issues for your pavement I would definitely cut the tree down. You may already need repairs so you may want to take a look at the paving as well. If it is damaged then I would recommend taking out the tree and taking care of the repairs for your pavement as well. http://www.hamiltonpavingideas.ca/en/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 20, 2015
These are all great questions that I would guess a tree lopping company would know how to answer. If I were you, I would call one in your area or the area in which your looking to buy and ask them those questions. Some companies will even help you clean it up and help you with everything else you need. I would highly recommend calling one locally soon! http://www.advancetreelopping.com.au/services
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 14, 2015
Really depends ... is it in the municipality's right of way? If so...they are likely responsible for it's removal, or broken limbs. They are not likely to clean up the leaves (though they should). It will have pros and cons to keeping it or removing it. Cutting it down will likely require the concurrence of the municipality, and if they agree, they will likely also incur the expense. Best of luck...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 31, 2015
There are a few benefits to having a tree in your yard, but there are possible downsides as well. If it is really close to your house, it could put a large buildup of dead leaves in your gutters and on your roof that would need to be cleaned off. If the tree is on your property, you would be responsible for maintenance and cleaning unless you are part of an HOA. If you don't want to have it on your property, professionals should be able to get it down for you without too much trouble. I would look into the city ordainences if I were you. http://www.cleancuttrees.com.au
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 31, 2015

Ask a local arborist that can check the details with the city.

All the best,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 6, 2015
where the tree is. Is it on public property? You don't want to tamper or mess with anything that can get you in trouble. Maybe you should just call a professional and ask his opinion. http://www.cornerlandscaping.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 6, 2015
You might be able to cut it down, but you'll need to find out if it's on your property or on city property. The responsible party would be different depending on whose property it's on. The biggest downside to having a tree in front of your house is the possibility of it falling down on the house. I would suggest trying to get it removed if at all possible.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 29, 2015
needing a city permit.
you are responsible for safety or tripping on the side walk
concrete, roots. They want a replacement tree(s) and will tell you what type to replant.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 11, 2014
You should probably look at what it would cost to cut it down and check with the city before you do. My grandma wanted to cut down one of her trees a few years ago, but she found out that the tree was a city heritage tree. I'm not really sure what that means, but she couldn't cut it down because of it. It might be beneficial to leave the tree in the front yard as long as you maintain it. If you leave it, make sure you have a tree service trim it often to control the growth. http://www.tidwelltreeservicega.com/services
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 3, 2014
I would recommend getting it trimmed just to start with. This can reduce the possible fire hazard or sight blockage, but without depriving you of a nice tree on your property. Getting rid of it altogether can make the space seem bare and reduce your privacy, so I would only do so as a last resort.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 2, 2014
It really depends on where the tree is located. If it is on city property, then they are responsible for it. In that case, you would not be able to cut it down. If it is on your property, you would be free to hire a tree lopping service. You will be responsible to any damage to the sewer lines or sidewalk.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 22, 2014
It never hurts to ask the city if they will cut it down. If it is technically on your property, then it will be your responsibility. LIke Eugene said, you want to make sure that there aren't power lines or anything that you could hit while trying to cut it down. Hopefully the city will pay for someone to come and repave the sidewalk afterwards because that shouldn't be your responsibility. http://www.dawcon.com/services_sales.htm
Flag Thu Feb 12, 2015
I would look into a tree service company to come and help you. They should know what to do to help you and what you need to do. They can also help answer any questions you may have. Good luck and I hope everything works out for you! http://greatlandtree.com
Flag Tue Jan 6, 2015
You probably need to check with the city you live in. Just about every city has different codes and things as far as trees are concerned. For example, if you live in a place that has strong winds, the city might have limits to tree height and proximity to other houses, power lines, etc. It might be a good idea to get it removed if you're in violation of one of those codes. http://www.vabeachtreeservice.com/Tree-Trimming-Virginia-Bea…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 20, 2014
It depends, the safest approach is to check with the city if it is not on your property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 20, 2014
If it's on the property it would be the owner's responsibility to do upkeep. Presumably that would be you by buying the property. With that being said as the owner you would also have the freedom to cut it down. it may require a permit, but that wouldn't be too hard to get. There isn't any inherent "downside" to having a tree in front of your house. There are some things that could be problematic but nothing huge.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 10, 2014
What do you mean on the pavement? Is it on the sidewalk or your driveway? Either way I think you would be in charge of the costs of removal or maintenance. It's technically on your property which means it is your responsibility, even if it is growing in a weird place. http://www.ashmeretreesolutions.com.au
Flag Wed Feb 4, 2015
I would get a paving contractor and tree removal company to look at it. First, have the tree removal group come and get the tree out. Then bring the paving contractors in to make it look pretty again. It will probably cost quite a bit to get it all done.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 6, 2014
Better check with local government to find out who owns the tree, is the tree on your property or city sidewalk? If the tree is on your property then you are responsible for the care and maintenance, if the tree is on city property then you have no control. A nicely shaped tree usually adds value and curb appeal to any house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 8, 2014
I would have to agree that it would be a good idea to check with the city first about the tree. They might have certain specifications that you need to know before you have the tree taken care of. I would consult with them first, because you could definitely safe some money on tree service. http://www.treeservicessarasota.com
Flag Tue Nov 11, 2014
I just had a tree removed from my front lawn because it was too close to my house. I was worried it might fall over during a storm and cause a lot of damage. We had it chopped down and then hired someone to do stump grinding. I can hardly tell it was ever even there anymore.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 4, 2014
Well if you were to cut it down, I would expect that you would also be the one to clean it up. You could see if the owner would do the work for you if you want the house. The downside to having a tree are the leaves.

Will Jenkins | http://www.treesunlimitedmass.com/Tree-Services-Worcester-MA.html
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 17, 2014

Here is the link to the city of Milpitas Tree Ordinance.

Good Luck to you.
Web Reference: http://www.terrivellios.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 28, 2011
I bet you could call a paving contractor and see what he would say about the damage from the tree. He's probably seen a lot of things like this, and has some pretty good suggestions. I can imagine that it won't be too hard to figure out. http://curtispaving.com
Flag Thu Jul 24, 2014
Hi User0

Right if the tree is on the pavement, it belongs to the city, and it's unlikely that they will let
You cut it down, unless of course it is diseased or tilting and likely to fall on the house.

It would be the city that would be responsible for pruning and trimming the tree, also time to time
PG&E does trim trees of they interfere with power lines.

Actually, Cities have passed ordinances where in San Jose it is preferred to have a tree associated with
A house. The down side can always be that the bigger the trees get the roots can interfere with the
Sewer line from your home to the city sewer line.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 28, 2011
Not sure what you mean by "on the pavement" but Milpitas does have an ordinance about removing trees - contact the Milpitas Public Works Department.

As for pruning, cleaning, etc. again the Public Works Dept. can tell you, but if it's in the park strip (the area between the sidewalk and the curb the homeowner is responsible for cleaning, and the city may or may not prune. If it's interfering with power lines PG & E will prune to keep it away from the wires.

Generally trees actually increase the value of the home: they provide shade in the summer keeping cooling costs down; a deciduous tree will shed its leaves in winter allowing more sunlight in then; and they're beautiful.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
Trees sometimes raise the value of the home, but they often detract. If your tree is causing problems with power lines or your home foundation, it should be removed. Talk to any local tree company and they should be able to provide more specific advice for your tree. http://www.carlostreeservice.net/about
Flag Tue Mar 24, 2015
Mountain View has a Heritage Tree Ordinance that may apply.

I so you can contact the Forestry Division at (650) 903-6273 or by e-mail at parks@mountainview.gov.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, so this isn't legal advice. For that, you need a lawyer.

First question: Who owns the tree? The general principle is that you can trim back a tree that's intruding into your space so long as you don't kill or injure the tree. That often occurs with trees growing on one neighbor's property, with the branches extending over into the other neighbor's airspace. The second neighbor is allowed to trim or prune those branches. But not to do such severe trimming or pruning that the tree's health is endangered.

If it's your tree--if it's on your property--you can generally do anything you want. However, there are cases when you can't. For instance, there is a well-known case in the Washington, D.C., area of a big poobah who owned a house near a river. He didn't like the trees in the way, so he cut them down. Some of the trees may have been on public property; others may have been on his. But there are instances in which trees even on private property may be protected. That often involves environmental concerns. It might also come into play in historic districts and areas, where the appearance of the property and surroundings are protected. So, be careful before doing so. If there are such restrictions, they often would be listed in the covenants or other documents you'd receive at closing. So, in this case, the listing agent should be able to address that issue.

If it's your tree, you're responsible for pruning and maintaining it. If the tree belongs to someone else, the owner is responsible. However, as noted above, non-owners do have the ability to do certain pruning and branch removal.

The downside: If it's your tree, maintaining and pruning. A big tree--say 30' tall--could cost in the range of $800-$1,000 to thoroughly prune. Or to cut down. I went through that just a few months ago. Also, if the tree is too close to the house or nearby structures, its root system can do all sorts of damage to a home's foundation. Or they can get into the sewer lines and mess them up. And as the roots grow, they can cause driveways and sidewalks to rise and buckle. One other item: trees have leaves. Lots of them. They mean a lot more leaf raking, and those leaves also get into gutters and can jam them up.

Still, trees are great. I love them. (You'd asked for the downsides, not the benefits!)

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Not sure what you mean by on the pavement.

It will depend on where on the property it is. Is there a sidewalk and then an easement between the sidewalk and the street? If so, it could be on city property and therefore would be the cities responsibility. Unless the tree is deceased or dying, most likely the city will not cut it down just because you don't want it.

The city is responsible for pruning the tree and cleaning anything up such as a large tree branch falling down. Minor branches and such that fall on your yard are usually the home owners responsibility.

Depending on how big the tree is, it could be helpful. A large tree provides shade to the house and can help keep cooling costs down.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
I agree with Patrick, I'm not sure what is meant by the tree being on the front pavement. If it's growing through the sidewalk or through your driveway, that will need to be taken care of and you can do that if it's on your property. I would check with the city first to make sure you can actually cut it down, if that's what you're leaning toward. I don't know of any major downsides to having a tree in front of your house except making sure it's pruned off the sidewalk and raking the leaves when they fall. http://www.activetreeservices.ca/en/tree_removal.html
Flag Thu May 14, 2015
Generally in cities, if the tree is originally planted between the sidewalk and the street, it is the cities responsibilty to remove and maintain. If it was planted on the house side of the sidewalk and fell on the sidewalk, it would be the homeowners responsibity. I would suggest speaking with the city public works department to varify before undergoing any work and expense.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 24, 2010
That's what I was thinking. If the city planted the tree, it's not your job to maintain or remove it. But if the previous owners put it in, you should see about getting it taken out. I doubt the city would plant a tree in a place that could become dangerous for the house, so the second option is more likely. In that case, talk to a tree removal company and they can let you know if you have to inform the city.
Jenn | http://www.charlestonstumpstompers.com/services/
Flag Tue Oct 28, 2014
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer