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Cutting branches in public domain

Rabbi Yoel LiebermanAdar 16, 5781
Question
If there is a bush that produces flowers (not fruit) with its roots inside a private domain on a boundary wall and the bush has grown over the wall onto a public sidewalk, is it permissible to cut some branches and flowers from the bush that is on the sidewalk?
Answer
ב"ה Shalom If your question is in regard to the fact that the branches present a hindrance to the passersby in the public domain, then you may cut down the branches to the height which allows passing without hindrance. (שולחן ערוך חושן משפט הלכות נזקי שכנים סימן קנה סעיף כז, שולחן ערוך חושן משפט הלכות נזקי שכנים סימן קנה סעיף כז) However, if you are asking if you may take the flowers for the sake of flower picking because they are now in the public domain, then you may not do so. Because, although the flowers are now in the public domain, since the tree and its roots stem from the private domain they belong to the tree owner. Only, in a case in which the flowers fall and they become ruined, the flowers may be taken, because in such a case the owners forego their ownership of them . שולחן ערוך חושן משפט הלכות שותפים בקרקע סימן קסז סעיף ב, שולחן ערוך חושן משפט הלכות אבידה ומציאה סימן רס סעיף ו, קיצור שולחן ערוך סימן קפב, טו, שו"ת אגרות משה חושן משפט חלק א סימן מג) All the best
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