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Fruit from a neighbor's tree extending into my yard

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My neighbor has a tree whose branches extend into my property. Am I allowed to pick the fruit without requesting permission?


Rabbi Moshe Bloom

The fruit still belongs to the owner of the tree, even though the branches extend beyond his property. Thus, it is forbidden to take them without requesting permission (Rema, CM 167:2).[1] In such a case, the tree owner is even permitted to offer the fruits that grow in his neighbor's yard as bikkurim (Rambam, Bikkurim 2:11).[2]

Nonetheless, it is the tree owner's responsibility to trim the branches that extend into neighboring yards (Shulchan Aruch, CM 417:4). If he fails to do so, however, the branches and fruit still belong to him.

It is permissible for the neighbor to trim branches of a tree that have entered his property (Shulchan Aruch, CM 155:26).

If the fruits have already fallen to the ground, it can be assumed that the tree owner gave up on them, and the fruit can be taken (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Ganzfried 182:12).

[1] Rema (CM 167:2), quoting the Tosafot and the Tur, writes as follows:


"But if [the tree – Mishnah Berurah] stands in the field of one of them and leans toward the other field, we follow the main part (the trunk of the tree), and everything belongs to him (the owner of the tree, not the neighbor)."


Similarly, Netivot HaMishpat (155:15), on the Shulchan Aruch's opinion:


"But near the boundary, even though all the roots extend into the neighbor's [field], behold, it belongs solely to him (the owner of the tree)."


[2] Rambam (Bikkurim 2:11): "And if the tree is near the boundary of his neighbor's [field] or leaning into his neighbor's field, even though he is obligated to distance it, he may bring [first fruits] from it, for Joshua bequeathed the land as an inheritance with that intent."