Mark McCown: Silence is the best advice in tree dispute

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 13, 2022

Dear Lawyer Mark: I usually don’t get a fishing license, but this year I’ve decided to play by the rules. Can you give me any information about what I have to do to get one?

Also, I live on the river, so do I need a license to fish from the bank on my own land? — FISHING ON THE RIVER

Dear Fishing: It is simple to get a fishing license – most fishing supplies stores sell them, and you can even get it over the internet. All you need to do is take your driver’s license and pay the fee. The fee is not much: as of this printing the cost is $25 for Ohio residents.

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As far as fishing from your own property, you will need a license for that, too.

It is possible to fish in privately owned waters such as ponds and lakes without a license. However, a license is required if you wish to fish in waters that fish can migrate in and through, even though you would be fishing from your private property.

Dear Lawyer Mark: My neighbor and I haven’t gotten along recently, and it seems like we’re arguing over everything that neighbors could possibly argue about. We’ve been doing little things to get under each other’s nerves, just to bug the heck out of each other.

Well, I’ve got a bunch of trees along our property line that he is threatening to cut down.

He keeps telling me that since the limbs hang over his driveway, he can do anything he wants to them, and will completely cut them off if I don’t keep my mouth shut and stop bothering him.

Can he do that?

I don’t think he should, because the trees are really on my property, no matter where the limbs are.

Please give some advice. — ARGUING IN ARABIA

Dear Arguing: Well, about the best advice I can give you is the same that your neighbor did – keep quiet and stop intentionally annoying him.

Your neighbor has the right, passed down through common law, to enjoy his land without others encroaching upon it.

A landowner’s rights extend from his property line straight up into the air indefinitely, and he has the same rights against intrusion that he would if the intrusion was on the surface.

Under the common law, your neighbor can cut off any limbs hanging over his property, but he can’t trespass onto your property and cut the whole tree down.

So, unless you want a line of half-trees standing, you may want to try to settle things amicably with your neighbor.

Thought for the week: If you get something for nothing, someone else gets nothing for something.

It’s The Law is written by attorney Mark K. McCown in response to legal questions received by him. If you have a question, please forward it to Mark K. McCown, 311 Park Avenue, Ironton, Ohio 45638, or e-mail it to him at The right to condense and/or edit all questions is reserved.