Encroaching tree trunk and roots constitute a trespass under Montana law

The Montana Supreme Court reaffirmed the traditional rule that trees on one’s own land do not unreasonably interfere with the use and enjoyment of neighboring land even if they block the neighbor’s view and so are not nuisances Martin v. Artis, 290 P.3d 687 (Mont. 2012). However, the court held that it is a trespass for the tree’s roots to encroach on the neighbor’s land, at least when they are causing harm as they are here by buckling the neighbor’s fence.


The court seems to hold that the mere intrusion of the tree’s roots are sufficient to constitute a trespass. Most courts would disagree, relegating the victim to self-help, although the encroaching tree trunk might well constitute a trespass when it damages the neighbor’s fence, as seemed to be the case here.

See also: Trespass