Why Is Tree Removal So Expensive - Benefits of Trimming

Written by Ivy

Dec 14 2022

Why Is Tree Removal So Expensive - Benefits of Trimming

What are the factors influencing the cost of professional tree care, and why is it so expensive? In this enlightening article about the reasons behind the high cost of tree trimming, we'll respond to those queries and more.

Homeowners typically spend between $315 and $700 on tree trimming, with the national average being around $475. The average cost of tree service for a homeowner is $85, while the maximum cost to trim a large tree over 60 feet tall can be as high as $1,276.

Why is Tree Removal So Expensive


In order to prevent the loss of entire tree sections onto the property or into the path of traffic, it is frequently necessary to cut down trees one section at a time. Understanding how the tree supports itself as well as how these pieces will react to chainsaw cutting is necessary for this. Untrained tree workers or even homeowners trying to cut a tree apart without knowing how the tree will react to being cut are frequently the subject of accident reports in the news. Typically, specialized tools like aerial lifts or cranes are required to access the tree safely. Both purchasing and maintaining this equipment are expensive. In order to effectively use this equipment, it is frequently necessary to set up traffic control in congested areas where licenses and additional flagging assistance are required.

Difficult and Dangerous

In particular, tree removal is a challenging and hazardous task in the field of arboriculture. Tree crews are frequently asked to work on trees whose structural integrity has been compromised by storm damage or years of neglect. Dead trees, which are especially dangerous, frequently make up these compromised trees. A dead tree typically becomes brittle and rigid after a number of years. It frequently breaks when you try to cut it down, hurling broken branches uncontrollably onto your landscaping. This might, at the very least, result in broken windows or other types of property damage. The worst-case scenario is that a climbing arborist will be inside the tree making the cut as it disintegrates while he or she is inside.
Branches of trees with electrical conductors running through them are too frequently occupied by workers in the tree industry. This risk ought to speak for itself.

Insurance & Licensing

Due to the risk involved, qualified companies will have liability insurance to safeguard the homeowner's property as well as workers' compensation insurance to help cover any injuries sustained by the crew. Additionally, a few municipalities demand that tree services possess additional licenses in addition to their regular business licenses in order to operate. If you choose less expensive businesses that might not have insurance, you run the risk of having to cover damages that are many times the original job estimate if something goes wrong. Liability insurance is mandated for TCIA member businesses.

Trained & Certified Workers

Choose a tree service whose crew has up-to-date industry credentials and a history of training and experience rather than one that counts on its insurance policies to save it from damages brought on by subpar practices. How can you tell if a company's employees have the necessary skills and knowledge? Consult their credentials for the field. Programs like Certified Arborist, Certified Treecare Safety Professional, and company accreditation are all signs of a reputable company with the know-how to complete the work without incident. An accredited business must offer its staff at least 50 hours of training and devote a significant portion of its operating budget to credentialing. The cost of this training is ongoing.

Before deciding on tree removal, homeowners have the option of interviewing two or three tree care companies. A copy of the crew's competency certifications and the current insurance certificate should both be requested. If a company representative hesitates to provide these documents or insists they don't need to "prove" themselves, find another company to work with. When tree care is done properly, it will be an investment in your property that will yield valuable returns for many years.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Tree Trimming

The prices we listed above are all merely averages. Numerous variables will affect how much it actually costs to trim the trees on your property. Let's examine each of these elements in greater detail.

The Size of the Tree

The size of the tree that needs to be trimmed is one of the most crucial factors in determining how much your tree trimming will cost. Trees are typically divided into three sizes: small, medium, and large, by a professional tree trimming business.

Generally speaking, the cost of trimming a tree increases with tree size. This rule is adhered to for a number of reasons.

  • Large trees necessitate the use of heavy-duty trimming equipment, which must be brought to the job site by the tree service. The cost of the project will undoubtedly increase as a result.
  • Larger trees require more work to trim than smaller trees do. Because of this, the tree crew involved will cost more.
  • The risks involved in trimming a large tree increase. Costlier projects are always the result of higher risks.

The Location of the Tree

The additional risk involved in trimming a tree that is close to a power line is likely to increase the cost of doing so.

The tree trimmer will need to take extra precautions because of the power line's close proximity to make sure that any falling branches don't harm any power lines or nearby structures.

You will be required to pay more for the service because taking these precautions necessitates using specialized tools, more work, and is probably labor-intensive.

But here's a pro tip that not many people are aware of. Call your utility company instead of a tree trimmer if the tree in question is close to power lines. Utility companies frequently provide free tree pruning services because tree branches can damage power lines. It won't cost you anything to trim the tree that way.

The Accessibility of the Tree

For good reason, accessibility also has an impact on the final price you pay for tree trimming.

To assist their trimmers in reaching the tree's highest point, tree trimming businesses typically use bucket trucks. However, if the tree is situated in an area that cannot be reached by the bucket truck, the tree trimmer will need to find another way to complete the task, such as by climbing the tree.

A price increase for trimming the tree is unquestionably justified given the additional work and risks involved.

The Health of the Tree

A sick tree puts the tree trimmer at greater risk. For instance, a tree that has been damaged by a storm, by lightning, or by a diseased tree is less likely to be physically stable, and as a result, tree work is likely to cost more.

The Number of Trees

Tree trimming costs are determined by the number of trees in your yard; therefore, the more trees you have, the more it will cost you to have them trimmed.

The Presence of Pests

Trees are frequently unstable as a result of pests, which may impact the project's overall cost. For instance, some pests, like the emerald ash borer, can weaken healthy trees while others, like woodpeckers, are a sign that the tree is rooting from the inside.

It is always advisable to contact a certified arborist if you suspect you have a pest problem, even though trimming these trees is riskier than usual and can result in a sharp increase in the cost of tree trimming.

This is due to the fact that while treatment may occasionally be able to resolve the problem, there are times when a damaged tree needs to be completely removed.

7. Why Is Tree Removal So Expensive2

The Cost of Extra Services

There are a few other tree-related services that tree trimming companies provide in addition to their main service of tree trimming. Tree removal, stump grinding, and stump removal are some of these services. Let's look at the typical cost of these extra services.

Removing a Tree

You might need to have a tree removed from your garden for a variety of reasons. For instance, an arborist may have advised complete removal of the tree because it is pest-infested. Additionally, if the tree is dangerously close to your house or to power lines and could cause damage to either or both if it were to fall during a storm, you might need to have it removed.

The national average for regular tree removal services is $630, with costs ranging from $385 to $1,070. However, if a tree has been struck by lightning or appears to be on the verge of falling over, you should expect to pay more. It could cost up to $1,935 to remove a large tree.

Stump Grinding

Your home's curb appeal may suffer if you have an untidy-looking tree stump in the front yard. Kids playing in the yard may also be at risk from it. These are a few of the most typical explanations why people decide to hire experts to grind tree stumps.

After the first stump is removed, the average cost of stump grinding is between $158 and $450 for the first stump and about $35 for subsequent stumps.

Stump Removal

Sometimes simply shaping a stump with a grinder is insufficient. The stump might be interfering with plans to erect a gazebo, a fence, or a tool shed. Additionally, the roots of the stump may still be spreading beneath your house, harming the plumbing and possibly even the foundation.

You need stump removal in these circumstances. The root system is not addressed by tree removal, which leaves the tree as a stump. Stumps and their roots are permanently removed from the ground during the stump removal procedure.

Stump removal could cost as little as $77 or as much as $1,036, with the typical homeowner spending about $326.

Should You Trim the Tree Yourself?

Yes, trimming trees yourself would save you money. Renting a pole saw and a chainsaw will still run you about $600 even if you buy some of the safety equipment and tools required for the job. Finally, if you're a novice and don't proceed with extreme caution, you could end up hurting yourself badly and harming the tree.

But in case you decide to trim the tree yourself, here are some safety advice.

  1. Regardless of what you may have read or seen on TV, never seal the cuts on the tree. The tree suffers harm because of it.
  2. It is reckless and potentially dangerous to trim trees while using ladders. Call the experts if you're not sure you can complete the task while wearing a safety harness and ropes.
  3. Wear safety gear at all times, including gloves, a hard hat, safety glasses, and ear protection.
  4. The use of a chainsaw is extremely risky, keep in mind. Call on specialized tree companies if you are unsure how to use one.
  5. It can be risky to cut down large branches because if you make a mistake, you risk inflicting harm on others, yourself, or your property. Once more, seek professional assistance if you are unsure.
  6. Make sure there is someone watching over you at all times so they can let you know if something is wrong before you even notice it.

How to Save on Tree Removal

Just because tree removal is costly doesn't mean you can't find incredible discounts that will save you a ton of money. Here are some of the most effective tips from Ben "The Tree man" that have saved our readers nearly half the price!

Take Advantage of Winter!

The tree business is very cyclical. This implies that some months, contractors are completely booked, while other months, they are almost out of work. Just look at this trend from google for the search "tree removal services near me."

Understanding these times can significantly alter how much you spend on tree removal!

The best time to hire a tree service is in the winter when business is slow for most businesses and when demand for the services is highest. Therefore, a contractor is more likely to offer you their best price for your removal job during the winter because they are desperate for the job to continue.

If you need help right away during the summer, you can also look for some quiet businesses. But first, you'll need to know where to look.

Remove Obstacles to Improve Access

As was already mentioned, difficult access to your tree increases a contractor's labor costs, which has an impact on their final quote. As a result, eliminate anything that prevents a contractor from bringing equipment up close to a tree to reduce costs.

You can take down a panel of your fence, depending on where the tree is located, to let the contractor position his tools as closely as possible to the tree.

If the tree is in your backyard and you don't have a driveway, ask your neighbor if they would mind letting the contractor access your tree through their yard.
You could save thousands of dollars just by using this one trick.

Clear the Space Around the Tree

Contractors will need enough space around the tree to make it easier to bring the branches to the ground in addition to accessibility and location.

The contractors will charge you more because their labor will be more costly if your home has a small amount of space. Little room for movement also means that it will take more time, labor, and skills to move the branches to the back of a truck.

By promising the contractor you'll get rid of everything around the tree's base, you'll make it simpler for him or her to chop down the tree. Their labor costs will go down as a result, lowering your total quote.

Offer to Dispose of Green Waste / Cleanup Yourself

Once the tree has been cut down, you won't need to pay the contractor extra to dispose of the wood. You have the choice of hiring a skip, offering the wood for sale as firewood on sites like eBay or Gumtree, putting it in your green waste bin, or even leaving it out for the council's trash collection day. Cleaning up tree debris yourself will help you save a few hundred dollars either way.

Hire a Gardener Instead

A certified arborist is not required to perform every tree removal job. For the small, brief trees, i.e., less than 5m high with trunks smaller than 15 cm in diameter, your gardener can handle the job just fine.

Additionally, because they don't need the pricey tools or insurance, they'll do it for a significantly lower cost.

Why Do Estimates Vary So Drastically Between Contractors?

Well, the methods used by different contractors to evaluate projects vary. This implies that you shouldn't count on them coming up with the same number. But there might be more to quotes that are too far apart than first appears.
Among the possible reasons include:

  • Contractors who are experiencing a slow month: Desperate contractors are more likely to be aggressive with their pricing when trying to land a job. So, in comparison to the going rate in the market, they will quote a fairly low price.
  • Contractors who are booked solid for a while will price their projects quite high as a polite way of letting you know they can't take on your job right now. They might find a solution if you can match the price, though.
  • Wages for their employees: Ideally, the wages received by a contractor's tree crew will have a significant effect on their final quote. For instance, contractors who pay their employees the minimum wage will provide lower estimates than those who pay them more.
  • Differences in assessment: Since there isn't a set method for evaluating a tree project, some contractors may be more thorough in their inspection and as a result, include the majority of the costs that will be incurred throughout the project. Other contractors don't provide adequate detail, which opens the door to numerous unanticipated costs once the project is underway.

Note: You can learn a lot about a contractor's experience and the quality of work they can produce by looking at their pricing. In order to avoid making a costly mistake, ask the contractor why they are charging what they are.


When trimming trees, especially those with larger branches, it is always best to hire a pro. It may seem simple to trim a tree, but doing so without the proper training is risky. Call a nearby arborist who can take the loppers off your hands so that you can be safe.

Remember, most homeowners can expect to pay $475 for tree trimming, with an average price range of $315 to $700. Your locality, the size of your tree, and the difficulty of the work will all affect these costs.

Some homeowners may pay as low as $85 for a small tree trimming job, while others may be closer to $1,267 for a high-end trimming project.


Why Are Arborists So Expensive?

Most arborists need to purchase very expensive equipment, and they also have to pay higher worker insurance premiums. As a result, they will have to charge more to cover their operating expenses because their overhead expenses are quite high.

Should Tree Stumps Be Removed?

Yes, stumps begin to decompose and become a haven for numerous insects, including termites and carpenter ants, if they are left unattended. The best way to prevent these insect infestations is to remove it.

Can I Remove My Own Tree?

Yes, but you must first obtain a permit from your local council in order to move forward with the project. If the tree is very large, an arborist with the necessary training must assist you.

Can You Negotiate Tree Removal?

It is possible to negotiate a better deal that fits within your budget if you find a contractor's quote to be too high. This might entail handling the majority of the cleanup and waste disposal yourself.