Stop neighbor’s tree roots from entering your yard and causing damage to the foundation and plumbing of your house by following our complete guide given below.

Transplanting Columbine

This is a problem lots of homeowners have, so we have compiled some of the easiest and most effective ways of solving this problem for you.

How To Stop Neighbor’s Tree Roots

Stop the neighbor’s tree roots from entering the yard by installing a root barrier all around your property or do some digging to cut out the roots or the entire tree. Another great option is transplanting the offending tree to another location.

You can stop the neighbor’s tree roots from entering your yard or roots under fence by either cutting off the invading root or the entire tree altogether.

Find out about all these options in detail below.

– Install a Root Barrier

A root barrier is a mechanism by which you can prevent tree roots from encroaching into your territory. There are two types of root barriers available.

– Types of Root Barriers

Chemical barriers work by destroying the invading roots and preventing their further growth. However, they also destroy other plant life in the vicinity, which is why we never suggest chemical root barriers.

Physical roots barriers are proper boundaries deep underground that prevent the invasion of neighboring roots in your yard. Instead, they force the roots to burrow deeper still.

– How To Install a Root Barrier

Ideally, you should have a root barrier installed around your property whenever you build or buy a new house. But you can also carry out this undertaking at a later time if you feel that your neighbor’s trees have begun invading your property through their roots. Learn how to install a root barrier here.

– Planning and Measurement 

Plan how much area between your neighbor’s property and yours needs to be chosen for this task. Take measurements thoroughly.

– Dig Out a Trench

Dig a trench that is about three to four inches wide all around the marked area. The depth of the trench depends on the tree whose roots you want to stop. Most tree roots go to a maximum depth of 24 to 36 inches or about 3 to 5 feet.

– Install the Root Barrier

Install your root barrier panel by panel into the trench. Your root barrier can be made of a variety of different materials such as plastic sheets, corrugated fiberglass, etc. Make sure that each panel sticks one to two inches above the ground as well.

– Fill the Rest of the Trench In

Fill the rest of the trench with soil and dirt. Add soil and water, then soil and water and so on until the trench is completely filled. This ensures that the barrier is firmly planted into the soil.

– Chop the Roots or the Tree

Chop the Roots or the Tree

Is it possible for a neighbor’s tree roots are damaging my property? Yes, when your neighbor’s trees are particularly large and strong, their roots might actually creep into the ground below your house and damage its foundation.

This is a problem common in houses built more than 20 years ago when adding root barriers was not common practice.

These days, with most of us having concrete foundations, not very significant damage occurs to them. Still, you still might notice certain damaging signs such as those given below:

  • Cracks in the floor of the foundation are evident. You will notice that most of these cracks are vertical.
  • The doors and windows of your house might start appearing askew.
  • In severe cases, your yard or floor might start buckling due to pressure from below.

– What To Do

Here are the steps you can take when this happens:

– Inspect the Roots

First of all, carry out a proper inspection to make sure that your neighbor’s trees are, in fact, responsible for this structural damage. Dig into the foundation near the trees and see if any roots are going in the direction of your foundation.

– Ask For Permission

Many people ask us “Can I cut tree roots on my property that belong to neighbors?” and “What do I do with neighbor’s tree roots in my yard?” The answer to that is that technically yes, but it is still better to obtain the permission of your neighbor first. If they don’t comply, then try involving the local municipal and horticultural authorities in the matter.

– Chop the Roots

One option is to chop off the offending root only. Obtain a permit for it first and install a root barrier against your foundation to prevent further encroachment by the root when it grows back.

– Chop the Tree

The second option is to cut down the entire tree. This might be your only option if the roots have begun a serious invasion into your foundation. Obtain a permit from both your neighbor and the local law-making authority to kill a neighbor’s tree. It would be better if you can employ a professional to carry out this task instead of doing it yourself.


– Dig Around the Plumbing

Sometimes your neighbor’s roots will extend under the ground in your property and reach your plumbing. They will find a source of leaking water like a crack and move towards it. You will soon begin to experience some problems.

– How To Tell if Your Plumbing Is Affected

Here are some tell-tale signs that your plumbing has been affected by your neighbor’s roots:

  • Your drains will start to clog and will not clear even with a plunger or a drain cleaner.
  • You will begin to experience changes in the water pressure of your house.

– What To Do

Thankfully, you will not have to cut the entire tree or even a whole root in order to save your plumbing.

Simply dig around the plumbing then call in a tree trimming expert to trim that part of the root that has grown towards the plumbing. Also, call in a plumber to replace the damaged pipes. Before closing the dug-out trench again, protect the plumbing with root barriers.

– Transplant the Tree

Sometimes when a tree starts to extend its roots too much into the ground, getting rid of it becomes the only option. However, instead of killing the plant or cutting off its roots which also puts it at risk, why not transplant it someplace where it can thrive without bothering anyone?

Neighbors Tree Roots 1

If both you and your neighbor are on the same page regarding this option, then there is no better alternative.

– How to Transplant a Tree

Before transplanting a tree, we suggest you contact or hire a professional. If you want to go ahead with this yourself, then you must educate yourself first.

Determine the diameter and the depth of the tree’s root ball first, then demarcate the area on the ground where this entire root ball is potentially present. Wet the soil deeply before you start digging. Dig the whole tree out very carefully. It’s better if you take it out with some soil still attached to it.

Use a proper vehicle to transfer this tree to a previously dug hole in the ground. Take great care of the plant for the first couple of weeks so it doesn’t end up being damaged by transplant shock.


Not planting trees with invasive roots and planting trees at a distance can prevent neighbor’s roots from entering the yard. Read some useful preventative guidelines to stop the invasion of neighboring trees in your yard:

preventative guidelines

  • Educate yourself about trees with the most invasive roots. Discuss with your neighbor before planting these trees. Some trees with the most aggressive roots are the maple, poplar and willow trees.
  • If your house’s foundations weren’t reinforced with root barriers, then trees should be planted at a distance of at least 10 feet from pavements and underground utilities.
  • Trees with invasive roots should be planted even further than this. It would be better if you could double the distance to 20 feet.
  • It would be best for your yard if you take the effort to install proper physical root barriers all-around your property. This will prevent neighboring roots from invading under your property and destroying it.


Is it okay to cut neighbor’s tree roots that are above ground?

It’s not recommended to cut neighbor’s tree roots without their permission, even if they are above ground. This could damage the tree and potentially lead to legal disputes. It’s best to communicate with your neighbor and seek professional advice.

How do I stop neighbor’s tree roots without killing tree?

Install a root barrier or apply a slow-release herbicide to kill the roots without harming the tree.

How long does it take for rock salt to kill neighbor’s tree roots?

It can take several months for rock salt to kill tree roots, but it can also harm surrounding plants and soil. Consider alternative methods.


Now that you know what to do when your neighbor’s tree roots are invading your property, you don’t have to stress about it. Here is a quick recap of the important points we learned:

  • The best option to prevent neighbor’s tree roots from invading your yard is to install root barriers all around your property. Dig a trench about 3 to 5 inches deep and install root barriers made of various materials panel by panel into it.
  • When the neighbor’s tree roots begin to damage the foundation of your property, you will begin to see cracks in walls and uneven foundations. In such cases you can either take the offending root out or in severe cases, the whole tree might have to be removed.
  • Remember that you will need the permission of your neighbor before you do anything to their trees.
  • It would also be wise to read up on related laws in your region about what to do with invasive tree roots. Also, as for permission from local authorities before doing anything.
  • Sometimes, transplanting a tree might be your best option. We strongly advise you to seek professional help in this regard.

A neighbor’s tree roots invading your lawn can be a real nuisance, but proper knowledge and some effort will go a long way to ensure the future safety of your yard.

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