California residents may not like that a neighbor's tree crosses over to their property. However, they are only allowed to trim or cut the portion of the tree that is in their yard. People may not take steps to cut on their neighbor's property or destroy the tree itself. Furthermore, the fruit that a tree may create belongs to the owner of the tree regardless of where the fruit itself may be located.
However, there may be an exception made for fruit that falls onto an individual's property. The fact that a tree produces leaves that fall or blow into a person's yard is not something that an individual can complain about. Leaves are considered a natural product of the tree as opposed to a nuisance created by the neighbor. The only recourse a person may have is to remove branches that encroach his or her property.
When it comes to determining ownership of a tree, most courts look at where the trunk is located. If the trunk is located in a neighbor's yard, then the neighbor owns the tree even if most of the branches are located in another person's yard. If a tree is considered a boundary tree, multiple parties may have ownership to it, and the tree cannot be removed or destroyed without permission of all owners.
Those who are engaged in a neighbor dispute over a tree may be able to resolve the matter with an informal arrangement. For instance, a neighbor may agree to move a tree or cut some of the branches to reduce the number of leaves it produces. However, if friendly talks don't work, it may be necessary to consult an attorney. Legal counsel may review local laws or other statutes in an effort to resolve the matter.