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Neighbors At Odds After One Refuses To Cut Down Apple Tree So The Other Can Get A Hot Tub

Mark Christian Killlick Calver/Unsplash

When something is incredibly sentimental to us, it can become vitally important to try to relay those feelings to someone else.

Especially in the other person envisions the sentimental thing being removed from the picture, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Late_Adhesiveness859 tried to connect with their neighbors who were demanding to cut down the apple tree that was full of family memories.

But when they refused to see the value in it, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what to do.

They asked the sub:

“AITA for not removing a tree from my property as my new neighbor demands?”

The OP was sentimental about their family’s apple tree.

“I live in my late grandparents’ home. I’ve spent the last few years modernizing it and making it fit my style.”

“There is one thing I’ve not touched, however, and that is the apple tree in the back garden.”

“My grandparents planted it on the day they moved into the house, and it came from my Grandfather’s family orchard as a sapling, a way of bringing a bit of his family with them.”

“I love the tree and some of my favorite memories as a child are picking fruit from it or climbing it when I was little.”

Their new neighbors did not share in the delights of the tree.

“New neighbors recently moved in next door and they keep complaining about the tree. They want it to be cut down as it is casting shade into their garden where they want to put a hot tub.”

“None of the tree overhangs onto their property at all, it just sadly cuts off light in that one specific area.”

“I’ve apologized but told them I won’t be cutting it down and suggested they put their hot tub somewhere else in the garden as it’s a big space.”

“I’d even planned to try and smooth things over when it grows fruit this year by bringing them a bag of fresh apples.”

“I’ve also explained the sentimental value this tree has but they don’t care or see what the big deal is about a tree.”

The neighbors continued to push the OP to remove it.

“Instead, they are p**sed off at me and complaining about how it’s just a tree and it’s not a big deal to cut it down.”

“The husband has also been threatening to get lawyers involved to force me to cut it down.”

“I’ll admit, that p**sed me off and killed any good will I had towards them or desire to smooth things over.”

“I’ve since told them to do whatever the f**k they want but warned them I’ve got a camera in my back garden, so if they mess with my tree, I’ll know.”

“(I set this up a few years ago due to local kids stealing all the apples. I don’t mind giving apples away to people as it grows plenty but I have an issue with people helping themselves.)”

The OP was unsure what to do.

“I know it’s just a tree and it’s perhaps silly to be so enraged by their demands and threats, but it has sentimental value to me.”

“Is it really that unreasonable for me to not care that it casts some shade into their garden?”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the OP had the right to keep the tree because it was on their property and part of their family legacy.

“NTA. That is a part of your property that you love and cherish.”

“AND they knew the tree was there when they moved in so clearly it wasn’t a deal-breaker for them.”

“You can’t always be a people pleaser. Protect your peace and protect your tree!” – Lobaby1414

“NTA. I admit this is a weird thing to get hung up on but hot tubs are, you know, hot. I feel like shade would be nice. Like, hot tubs are frequently placed under shade on purpose.”

“It’s also an activity often done in the evening anyway. Like, was the plan to sunbath on top of the hot tub? I’m so confused as to how shade could in any way diminish the hot tub experience.” – exhauta

“I have a century-old American Elm and it is the most wonderful thing in my backyard, I pay a considerable sum each year to keep it healthy.”

“My s**ta** neighbor complained about it dropping leaves one year and got a disdainful response about how some people treasure the greenery on our block and if he doesn’t like it, he can move to Phoenix or somewhere else where all they grow is pavement.” – Frodo_Picard

“If possible, cut a clone from Grandpa’s tree. Or actually cut a couple of clones from it ‘just to be safe.'”

“People with balls big enough to threaten legal action over your tree on your property that does NOT overhang onto their property can’t be trusted. Even with cameras rolling, I could see them having it cut down while you’re at work, consequences be d**ned.” 

“I think plant people get it. We have 2 types of fruit trees that I have loved and cherished deeply because they came from a ranch that’s been in our family for generations.”

“My great granny died when she was 103, so we were lucky enough to have similar memories to my parents AND grandparents picking fruit from those parent trees and making pies and whatnot from those trees. Somebody would have serious issues if they messed with my trees.” – Jovon35

“Get a lawyer and send a certified cease and desist letter-regarding harassing you about the tree. While I get that it probably doesn’t qualify as harassment, it has the added bonus of notifying them (with a legal record) that they do not have permission to cut down the tree.”

“Also, call all of the local tree trimming and removal companies and let them know that you do not give them permission to remove the tree. Now there is a trail of notice, so nobody can claim, whoopsies, I misunderstood, and they have clear notice of liability.” – little-story-8903

“Tree law is my favorite aspect of law because at its core it’s very simple:”

“The plaintiff is entitled to be restored to the state they were prior to the occurrence of harm, with a fully grown, mature tree in their yard.”

“It just so happens that a) it’s extremely expensive to source, transport, and situate a fully grown tree, b) they don’t always take the first time, which requires often several attempts at getting a fully grown tree to settle in place and not die, and c) when those trees were a sentimental piece, they’re entitled to damages for it.”

“It’s exactly the same concept as if I ran my car into yours: You’re entitled to an undamaged car. It’s just the nature of fixing the death of a mature tree that makes it supremely expensive.”

“And I love it. I love tree law so much.”

“OP should get ahead of it and warn them in advance that if they fuck with his tree, he can and will bankrupt them over it.” – sfwjaxdaws

Others also pointed out the couple knew about the tree when they purchased their house.

“They knew it was there when they bought the house.” – Arisia118

“They have as much of a case with a lawyer as a kid screaming, ‘Mom, he is breathing on me! He is breathing in my direction and it is gonna get on me!'” – DuckingGolden

“NTA. Your property, the tree was there before they purchased their property, and they can f**k right off for the s**tty and entitled demands and threats.”

“They are d**khead, keep your camera active, and don’t hesitate to file charges if they do anything.” – liquidc4181

“NTA. They bought the house knowing there was a tree there. They can find a different spot for their hot tub if it’s so important to have sun on it. They do not have any legal basis to sue, they are just threatening you with empty threats.”

“It’s a sign of what kind of people they are. If you have to interact with them, see if you can only do it in writing, and then save all communications as evidence. Make sure you keep recordings from your cameras.”

“I completely understand your attachment to the tree. My grandparents had a huge cherry tree that we used to climb and eat the cherries from. I can still taste them even though it’s been over 30 years!” – Canning-mama-1998

“NTA. Not at all. I’d watch out for these people. It takes pushy people to move into a neighborhood and go to the house of someone who has lived there for years and demand that person cut down an apple tree grown from a family orchard.” – General_Relative2838

Though the OP understood the potential repercussions of not being nice to their new neighbors anymore over this issue, the subReddit said the OP had nothing to legally or morally worry about.

The neighbors couldn’t sue for something that wasn’t damaging their home and their yard, and they also had other places they could put the hot tub.

What the neighbors needed to be more worried about would be the consequences of their actions if they were to decide to do something about the tree themselves.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.