A Minnesota man sold part of his property, then planted trees along what he thought was the boundary line. He and his neighbors treated the trees as the boundary line for 23 years, until a new neighbor looked up the deed and discovered that the actual property line was six feet over the “tree line” onto the man’s side.
The two went to court, but the court sided with the man.
The fact that everyone had treated the tree line as the boundary for so many years meant that the new neighbor no longer had a right to contest it, the court said.
The law varies from state to state, but there have been a number of similar cases in which some practical marker has been treated as a boundary line for many years – such as a hedge, a rock wall, a stream, or plow lines between farm fields – and as a result, that has become the official legal boundary, despite what the deed actually said.