Privacy Hedge Overgrowth Into Neighbors Yard
I've recently bought a house with a large privacy hedge on my property behind a fence lining the back yard on one side. It abuts the fence for the length of the yard - 60 feet approx. I assumed, never having owned a home, that it would be my responsibility to cut the side of the hedge that grows towards the neighbors' yard. Encountering the neighbor once, I asked how they were able to cut the hedges on that side (since I assumed it would be intrusive to enter the neighbors' yard) and he stated with a scaffold. In my naievete I somehow imagined he meant a scaffold over the hedges from which I would hang - although I couldn't imagine how this would work. This I now know illustrates my lack of perspective and experience on the matter. After a month of the summer had passed and I let myself not think of this - somewhat convincing myself that it perhaps didn't really grow on that side (as the hedges were not growing on certain sides in my yard) the neighbor stops at the fence to ask when I was going to cut as he was tired of the hedges hitting him in the face as he mowed his lawn. So for the first time I stepped to a little opening in the back of the yard to look and saw that there was indeed a good deal of growth. I immediately felt badly for having him go through that and stated I would cut the hedges very soon and did so the next week.
However, I do not know what is the convention concerning this. I must say it feels strange to have to gain entry to his backyard - with a ladder over a fence when he's not home and his gate is chained - and cut the hedges from his property. Behind my house there are branches from the trees in that neighbors' yard that overhang mine and they have thick vines on them that grow into my yard. I am addressing that situation and trimming there and never thought to ask that neighbor to enter my yard to trim this growth.
The neighbor on the other side of the hedges even mentioned, in relating a story, that he'd recently trimmed the tree overhang from the neighbor on the opposite side of him. So in this instance he doesn't see it as that neighbor's duty to police the growth of their tree.
I originally thought it my responsibility because the hedges are large (8'-10' in height and 60' long) and thus the job is also large and I didn't see wny he should have this large job when they are my hedges, but I do wonder if I am being taken advantage of. I have a sneeking suspsion the previous owners did not agree to this arrangement though I have no proof.
Since I've started trimming the hedges they have been extremely nice and I appreciate this and welcome it. But, I do wonder if this would conventionally be my responsibility or if I am, as well, being extremely nice in taking this on. I've considered that even if it is the concensus that this would not usually be my job, I still might do it as they are a bit older and I enjoy the good will. And I believe they clearly feel this should not be their responsibility. However, I would like opinions on what the usual scenario would be in this situation. I've searched the web, and there doesn't seem to be much discussion on this topic in the US. Found a bit in the UK, but it may very well be quite different there. They spoke much about the legality issues and it clearly falls on the owner of the hedges, if I've read correctly. This is what largely shaped my original feeling of responsibility. But, just tonight a friend expressed surprised that I was cutting the hedges from the neighbor's property and that rekindled my curiosity as to the common wisdom.
Thanks for any insight you can provide.