A hazard tree is defined in Chapter 152 of the Apple Valley Code of Ordinances
as: a tree which has structural defects in the roots, stem, or branches that may cause the tree or tree part to fail, and such failure may cause property damage or personal injury.
Two important criteria must be present for a tree to be considered hazardous: a tree must have a significant defect and there must be a target within falling distance, if the tree failed. A tree considered hazardous near a structure or public use area might not be considered hazardous in a wooded area where there may not be a target.
Hazardous trees are addressed in the City Code of Ordinances in 152.42 C:
- (B) Charges for services. The city may charge the abutting property owner or legal possessor the cost incurred by the city for maintenance and/or removal of trees located within any right of way or easement. Any charges not paid within 30 days of the due date stated on the city’s invoice shall be deemed delinquent and subject to collection as a special assessment to be collected in accordance with M.S. 429.101.
- (C) Removal of hazard tree. Any hazard tree on any private property, which if it fell may land within any public right of way or property owned by another person or entity, shall be removed immediately and in no case more than 15 days after being served notice by the city to remove the tree. Any such tree shall be deemed a public safety hazard and public nuisance and subject to the provisions for special charges assessment as set forth in clause (B) herein.
A nuisance tree is a tree whose branches or roots extend across a property line and are injurious to health, or indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property (Minnesota Statute 561.01). It is always in the best interests of neighboring property owners to discuss and agree on a solution to nuisance tree issues. Pruning branches and roots from your neighbor’s tree at the property line is allowed, as long as the following criteria are met:
- Do not cut the tree down even if the trunk is located across the property line, unless agreed upon by both property owners.
- It is strongly recommended to obtain the opinion of a certified arborist regarding the tree’s health and proposed action prior to work being done.
- Prune only up to the property line and do not trespass onto your neighbor’s property to do the work.
- Pruning must not cause a declining health problem or expose the tree to potential disease infection like oak wilt; or root pruning causes instability.