When the good weather arrives, the flowering trees gradually turn into fruit trees. If you have a garden, you may have already had to deal with your neighbor’s branches sticking out on your property, cherries falling in your garden, and other fruit just waiting to be picked. What to do in this case ?
It is article 673 of the civil code which regulates the picking of fruits. On this subject, the law is formal: you do not have the right to pick cherries, or any other fruit, from the branches of the tree or shrub planted on your neighbor’s property; even if the fruit protrudes from the fence that separates you. For his part, your neighbor has absolutely no right to enter your garden to pick the fruits that are inaccessible from his home, unless you authorize him to do so.
Good news ! The civil code still sets out a nuance: you have every right to pick up your neighbor’s cherries if they fall in your garden or in public space. However, be warned, according to Mon Jardin
Attention: only roots, brambles or twigs can be removed by you, at the limit which separates your two gardens. If the tree or shrub still bothers you, you are prohibited from cutting the overhanging branches. On the other hand, you can force your neighbor to do so.
If it is legal to pick up fruit that has fallen to the ground in public spaces, what about those present on fruit trees or shrubs on public roads?
During a walk in town or in the countryside, it is common to discover fruit trees or shrubs. And the temptation to pick up the fruit can sometimes be great. As long as the tree is not located on private property, no law prohibits picking the fruit.
However, Femme Actuelle reports that other regulations may be set by the municipalities. It is therefore customary to check with the town hall if it is authorized to do your little picking.
The idea is broadly the same for forests. Indeed, it is tempting to pick chestnuts, strawberries or mushrooms when you take a walk in the forest.
The National Forestry Office thus authorizes harvesting in state forests because these belong to the State. The law tolerates that you pick up fruit “in small quantities, except for protected species benefiting from a protection status that it is forbidden to touch”, specify our colleagues.
Thus, you are in principle authorized to collect the fruits which you find on trees which are not located on a private domain.
If you live near a field and you have ever wondered if you have the right to pick the cherries or other products found there: the answer is yes, if the harvest has already taken place. Indeed, this action called “gleaning” consists of picking up in the fields all the products that have not been harvested or harvested. According to Le Réveil du Midi, this practice is completely legal and dates back almost 500 years! In 1554, a royal decree authorized poor, elderly or crippled people as well as children to pick up fruit and vegetables left aside by farmers.
Today, this law is governed by article 520 of the civil code which stipulates that standing crops are immovable property, and fruits or fallen remains are movable property. No doubt, therefore: you can indeed pick up cherries from neighboring life annuities.
Be careful, however, to respect the rules of gleaning…
However, picking cherries in the fields is a right that is subject to six rules, which must be respected. So first of all, make sure that:
To make things easier for you, the France Nature Environnement association advises you to contact the owner of the field where you wish to glean, in order to negotiate a charter. It will give you additional rights, such as the use of tools.
Not only legal, the practice of gleaning is widely encouraged, in particular by France Nature Environnement, to fight against food waste. According to Le Figaro, the French throw away an average of 29 kilos of food per year. The objective of France Nature Environnement is therefore to denounce food waste by bringing back to the fore the ancestral practice of gleaning.
The association recalls in particular that gleaning is not just an individual action intended to satisfy one’s food needs, but can be put at the service of the most needy. Thus, gleaning becomes a “social, educational and militant” action.