Finders keepers for fruit over the sidewalk?

Is it legal for me to glean fruit from private gardens if the fruit is overhanging a public sidewalk?

I consulted the King County Law Library, and they referred me to a chapter in the book Neighbor Law which addresses a slightly different situation, of fruit overhanging a property line between neighbors. In that case, “the location of a tree’s trunk determines who owns the tree. If the trunk stands next door, the tree, branches, leaves, and [fruit] belong to your neighbor. You may not legally help yourself to the fruit.” Each state may have slightly different laws, and they do not always address branches that overhang a public sidewalk. (In some states, like Mississippi, where pecans are a high-value crop, it is a misdemeanor even to collect fallen nuts on a public sidewalk during harvest season, and doing so can result in a fine and up to a month in jail.)

Given the dubious legality of gleaning from private property without permission, it makes more sense to join organized efforts to harvest unused fruit and vegetables.

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2 Responses to Finders keepers for fruit over the sidewalk?

  1. Well I just had to cut down branches of a tree that was hanging in my yard for outside the sun division. HOA nor the city would do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • msw blog says:

      I have found my city to be useless when it comes to residential issues. We had a tree in our front yard that hung over into the street, and they refused to cut it down, as it was not touching the power line. This led me to hire an arborist, to cut it down who charged several hundred dollars.

      Liked by 1 person

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