Q. My neighbor comes around my fence and through my gate several weeks each fall to collect the pecans falling into my yard from his tree. I’ve asked him not to do that, we fenced the yard so that we could sit on the glass porch for breakfast the same way we sleep, which is certainly not the way we wish to be seen.

His answer is that since it’s his tree, they’re his nuts and we can’t stop him. He’s not a nice person and he’s very rude about it, plus he often leaves my gate open, when he leaves. Please don’t tell me to lock the gate, it’s not built for a lock. When I tried that, he threatened me, but I’ve decided that I’ve had about enough. Is he right, are they his nuts?

We’re retired. We’re comfortable, but there’s nothing in the budget about hiring a lawyer. Can he legally do that? What would you do?

A. Personally and if I were bored, I might dump the leaves back across the fence, thus providing hours and hours of feuding neighbor entertainment. If the pecans are his, the leaves must be, also, right?. But in my state, neither the leaves nor pecans are his. If he leaned over your fence and his head feel off, that would be yours, also, medical aspects aside, although it doesn’t make a good trophy.

In my state and I suspect yours, you have the right to cut the tree limbs off at the point they cross the property line. We had a large windstorm recently. The insurance companies sent in adjusters, one of which told me that the minute a portion of a falling tree were to cross your property line, it becomes your tree. If it then squishes your car, your insurance company is on the hook, not the neighbor’s policy.

Neighbors with the flattened car, roof, fence, bicycle or dog don’t like to hear that, but in the insurance world, it’s classified as “An Act of God”. Those are covered by insurance on the property the Act damaged. As the adjuster explained to me, the tree could have been blown onto that property from five miles away and those things don’t usually carry ID to tell from whence they came.

The exception would be if your neighbor’s tree is dead or diseased tree, but only if you’ve made a formal notification that it’s a danger to your property and he does nothing. You don’t need a lawyer for the notification, just write the letter and send it both regular and certified mail to the neighbor. Copy your insurance company, which should get them stirred up enough to carry on the feud on your behalf, since they’ll then have a dog in the fight, as we sometimes say in the Deep South.

You shouldn’t need a lawyer for an opinion on the nuts, either the talking one or the ones falling in your yard. I expect your insurance agent or his company’s adjuster can provide chapter and verse of who’s responsible.

In the meantime, make the best of the situation. Learn to make a pecan pie.

Mike Hill has been a real estate broker and property manager in Valdosta, Ga. since 1976 and claims not to have missed anything that can go wrong in the real estate world or property management business. He can be reached through his web-site at www.mikehillrealestate.com. Questions sent through email will be answered through email, usually the same day.