As it protects more and more urban and suburban lands in Allegheny County, Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) increasingly has found itself the target of complaints regarding trees that neighbors felt were threatening to their homes and businesses or insufficiently maintained.

To find guidance on tree ownership and responsibility, ALT’s Vice President of Stewardship, Emilie Rzotkiewicz, reached out to WeConservePA, who subsequently organized a statewide discussion on the topic.

“We soon realized that there were a lot of land trusts just like us across the state that were unsure of tree laws within Pennsylvania,” said Rzotkiewicz.

WeConservePA then sought to fix this knowledge gap. The eight-page guide, Tree Law in Pennsylvania, was the result. Authored by Gilbert P. High Jr., Esq., the guide provides legal insights on typical neighbor disputes and responsibilities concerning trees near property lines. It also addresses the issues of liability for injury as well as the damages a court might award for cutting down or harming someone else’s trees.

“Understanding the issues in tree law is imperative to effectively conducting our work,” said Rzotkiewicz. “Tree Law in Pennsylvania has allowed us to make more informed decisions.”