How Much Does it Cost to Cut Down a Tree?
Average cost of tree removal is $850. It can cost as little as $225 to cut down a tree if it is an easy project (less than 15 feet tall). For very tall trees or more complex jobs the cost of tree removal can be more than $4,000, although removals costing more than $2,000-$3,000 aren't very common.
Average Cost of Tree Removal
The average tree removal cost is around $700 for a medium tree that's around 40 feet tall. This is for a straightforward job that doesn't require any special equipment or have any other factors that make it more difficult to cut down the tree. The removal prices are affected by many different factors, with the biggest factor being the size of the tree. As you will see below, the costs to get rid of a tree dramatically change depending on the size of the tree.
Small Tree Removal Cost
The average cost of removing a small tree is around $500 and it can be as low as $225 to remove a small tree if the tree is very young. Trees less than 25 feet would classify as small trees and they are usually very easy to cut down.
Medium Tree Removal Cost
The average cost of removing a medium tree is around $700 to $850. This would classify as any tree that is between 25 and 50 feet tall. Trees in this range are usually not very tall, but they can be quite wide and take up a lot of space. This is the most popular size range for people who need to remove a tree. These sized trees can have extensive branches and take longer to remove than a smaller tree.
Large Tree Removal Cost
The average cost of removing a large tree is around $1,000 to $1,500. This would be for any tree that is 50 feet or taller. At these sizes you can expect to pay at least $500 for tree removal services, but it can be even more than $3,000 for really large trees. Trees in this size range usually require specialized machinery to be cut down and they are by far the most expensive type of tree to remove.
If the crew needs to use a bucket truck or a crane, then you should expect to pay more. Cranes are very expensive machines and they require specialized training in order to safely and efficiently operate them.
Dead Tree Removal Cost
The average cost of removing a dead tree is around $900 to $1,400. The price for removing a dead tree depends on the size and condition of the tree. The removal process can be more difficult when you have a dead tree because it can be structurally weak and be a hazard. You may also have to treat and remove the stump once you get the tree down. If the tree is structurally weak, then you should expect to pay more compared to removing the same type of tree that is in a healthy condition.
Fallen Tree Removal Cost
Removing a fallen tree costs about $600 to $900 for a typical job. You should expect to pay about 40-50% less to remove a fallen tree compared to a healthy, living tree that is still upright. While most of the time it's cheaper to remove a tree that's fallen to the ground, if the tree has fallen on a structure (home or car), or is at risk of falling on a structure then it adds to the difficulty of the project and it will cost more.
Factors That Influence the Tree Removal Service Costs
As you have just read above, the height of the tree is one of, if not the most important factor that goes into the cost to remove a tree. If the contractor is removing a small tree, the cost will be much less than for a large tree. A taller tree takes more time to safely cut down, which means that it will cost more money.
After the tree height, the size of the trunk diameter is one of the biggest cost factors. A larger trunk diameter means that the tree is bigger around and takes more time to cut down. A large trunk also means more wood that you are getting rid of, which makes it cost more. Larger trunks also can be more dense and tougher to cut through, which can mean that the crew has to spend more time cutting the tree down.
Type of Tree Species
Tree species is a large factor affecting the costs of tree removal. This is because different species require different removal methods, and those methods are much more expensive than others. Some tree species, like oak are more difficult to remove and are very expensive to remove. Others, like hickory, are easier to remove, but have a lower cost.
Age of the Tree
This is another big factor in the cost for tree removal. Smaller trees tend to be much smaller than very old, mature trees, so they cost less to remove.
Condition of the Tree
Whether the tree is healthy, diseased or damaged plays a crucial role in the cost. A diseased or damaged tree may also be more difficult to remove, which adds to the final price of the project.
In order to safely cut down a tree as quickly and efficiently as possible it's crucial that the tree company has easy, clear access to the tree. A tree in an open field or a large front yard is much more simple to cut down than a backyard that equipment (such as a crane or truck) can't easily reach.
One of the ways that you can keep your costs down is to make sure to clear the area and provide the best access to the tree as possible. In some cases, it might even make sense to temporarily remove a back or side yard fence in order to provide a clear path the the tree.
Obstacles and/or Hazards
The most common hazards that make felling a tree more difficult are telephone lines and power lines. Other common hazards can include a home or building, a fence or shed or any other type of structure.
Number of Branches
If a tree has a large number of branches or limbs then the cost to cut down the tree will be more compared to a tree with fewer branches. The crew usually has to cut down all of the branches before it can start chopping off chunks of the tree trunk, so each additional branch adds time to the job.
Chopping down a very small tree with an axe will cost much less than cutting down multiple branches or limbs and then the trunk with a large chain saw. If your tree felling job requires the pieces to be lowered by ropes and cables, or you need to use a wood chipper or a crane then prices for the job will increase.
Time Required To Cut Down the Tree
As with any other type of job, you should expect to pay more when it takes longer to complete a job. Cutting down a tree is no different, and the longer that it takes the tree removal company to finish the job, the more expensive the job will be.
Since the amount of time is one of the biggest factors influencing the cost to remove a tree, many companies price their projects by the hour. You may get an estimate that breaks down the pricing per hour.
Time of the Year
Most arborists are very busy during the spring and summer months, which is why the cheapest time of the year for tree removal is in the winter. Much less customers are searching for tree removal services in the winter, so companies have much more time available in their schedule, so they often drop their prices to get more business.
Where You Live
The city that you live in will also be one of the larger cost factors determining how much tree removal costs for your project. Some cities have much higher cost of living and even tree removal services cost more in the more expensive cities.
To show you how much where you live determines the prices to remove a tree we will compare prices for a few different cities. In a high cost of living city like New York or San Francisco you should expect to pay more than $1,000 to remove a 50 ft tree, while in a lower cost of living city such as Tulsa or Kansas City the same tree may cost about $650 to $750 to remove.
The Tree Removal Companies Providing Estimates
Each tree removal company determines how much they will charge for their services, making it another variable influencing pricing. There is often a large range between tree removal companies operating in the same city. The best way to make sure that you get a fair price on tree removal is to compare prices from a few local arborists.
Unfortunately, some tree removal companies will offer low estimates and charge a higher rate once they are on the job site. We will explain how to avoid hiring these type of companies and give you tips on how to hire the right company for the job.
Time Frame - Emergency Tree Removal Costs More
If you need to remove a tree ASAP it will cost you. Due to the time sensitivity of the job companies will charge you more for immediate service. Most tree companies are busy and it's not easy to fit customers in their schedule, so it may mean that they are working overtime for your job.
Also, if you need emergency tree removal due to a storm or bad weather, chances are that other people in your area need to cut down a tree fast as well. This means that you will have to be prepared to pay a premium price.
Tree Removal Cost by Tree Type (Species)
As we explained earlier, there is a huge range when it comes to tree removal costs and the type of tree species plays a large role in pricing. If you are chopping down large tree like a maple, cedar, or eucalyptus, then tree removal costs will be more expensive and run anywhere from around $1,000 to more than $2,500.
For smaller species such as ash or magnolia trees you will likely pay around $250 to $900. Here is a breakdown of tree removal cost by tree type:
- Date Palm
- Plane Tree
- Sweet Gum
Pine Tree Removal Cost
The average pine tree removal cost will be about $750. Larger pine trees can cost more than $1,500, while smaller pines can cost as little as $300. Pines can grow to be very tall, so if you are getting rid of a very old pine, chances are it will cost more to remove.
Palm Tree Removal Cost
You should expect to pay around $600 and $1,200 to remove a palm tree. On the low end, a palm tree removal cost can be as low as $300, and on the high end it can be more than $2,500. While it's rare, you may be able to get a palm removed for free as they can sometimes be transplanted to a new location. Palms are very expensive to purchase new, especially mature, healthy ones.
Crane-Assisted Tree Removal Cost
The average cost of crane assisted tree removal is $1,500 but can cost more than $3,500. Cranes are used to remove the tallest trees, which are more dangerous, require larger and more experienced crews, and take much longer to take down. This method is often used when a tree is more than 75 feet tall. A crane or a bucket truck helps the crew to reach higher branches and safely remove limbs and branches. Cranes may be used if the tree is damaged or diseased and the crew cannot safely climb up the tree using standard techniques.
Tree Branch Removal Costs
The cost to remove tree branches can vary significantly, depending on the number, size and location of the branches. The typical fees to remove tree branches will be around $150 to $300. For more difficult to reach branches, or for jobs where you want to remove a large amount of branches, you should expect to pay more.
Tree Stump Removal Costs
The cost to remove tree stumps depends on the size of the tree stump and where it's located. The average tree stump removal costs around $300, but can be as low as $100 or more than $700 for very large stumps.
Tree Removal Cost vs. Tree Trimming Costs
How do tree removal costs compare with tree trimming? This can be a difficult question to answer because the prices of tree trimming services can vary greatly based on a variety of factors. Some companies charge by the hour, while others quote a flat rate price for services.
Tree Clearing Services
Tree clearing jobs are typically much larger in scale than just removing one single or a few trees. Tree clearing costs around $3,000 to $6,000 per acre. This assumes that the area is easily accessible by heavy equipment and that there are no structures or major obstacles in the way.
Tree and Stump Removal Costs
If you are looking to get a tree stump removed at the same time you are removing a tree then you should expect to pay a few hundred dollars to get the tree stump removed. Removing a tree stump is a time consuming, labor intensive project that typically requires high powered stump grinders or other specialized equipment.
The exact price that you will pay to get the stump removed while taking down a tree will depend on the method used and the size of the stump.
When to Get a Tree Removed?
While trees can dramatically increase curb appeal of some properties, there are many reasons why it may be time to remove a tree from your property. Here are a few of the reasons why you would want to remove trees:
- Damaged Tree - The most common reason people decide to remove a tree from their property is because it has been damaged.
- Diseases - Another common reason to cut down a tree is that it is infected with a disease or fungus. Some arborists can treat diseased trees, but many cannot.
- Growing Too Tall - Another reason to remove a tree is if the tree becomes too tall. The tallest trees in a yard can reach 100 feet and taller. Since removing a tree that tall would be very expensive, you may decide to simply take down the top part of the tree to reduce its height.
- General Tree Health/Appearance - Another reason to cut down a tree is if its health or appearance has declined significantly over the years.
- Obstructions / Potential Damage / Hazards - Some trees that grow close to structures can damage the buildings.
- Blocking a View - Another reason for wanting to remove a tree is that it blocks your view of something you want to see.
- Clearing Land for Other Use - whether you want to build a new deck, install a swimming pool or add another room to your home, there's many other potential uses for that space that a tree occupies.
Additional Services That Can Add to Your Costs
There are some other tree services that can add to your total costs. Here are a few other tree services that you may need:
Stump Removal or Stump Grinding
Removing a stump is a difficult, time consuming and expensive process. The cost depends on a large number of factors. The average cost to remove a tree stump is around $300.
Stump removal costs can vary depending on the type of equipment used, the size of the stump and the location of the stump. Removing stumps should add a few hundred dollars to a tree removal job.
Tree Root Removal
If a tree is growing close to your home, it may grow roots that damage the walls, floors or other foundation of the building. If this is the case, you may need to get a tree service to remove the roots from around your house.
Limb Chipping or Log Splitting
If a tree has some limbs or logs that need removed you may have the crew chip off the wood or split the logs into small pieces for disposal.
Tips for Saving on Tree Removal Services
Here are a few helpful tips to save money on tree removal services.
- Get Multiple Quotes - As with any other type of job, comparing prices from different companies will be the best way to ensure that you get a fair price. In general, most companies should be in the same ballpark. You should be wary of any price that seems way cheaper than the competitors, and you should only choose a company like that after checking out their reviews or references. A common tactic that some companies use is to bid low to win the job and then charge additional fees once the project has started.
- Choose a Reputable Company - A few companies will offer low estimates and then charge you more once they arrive at your home. It's always a good idea to choose a company that has good reviews, or one that has been vetted
- Prepare in Advance for the Job - You can save money on this project by doing some preparation work in advance. Time is money, so if you can prepare for the job in advance you can get your project done faster. One thing that you can do is clear the area of any obstacles and make sure the tree is easy to access.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Tree Removal So Expensive?
Tree removal services sometimes charge on an hourly basis and tree removal jobs can be very time consuming. Most arborists charge around $200 per hour, while some charge more. When you factor in travel time, equipment usage, safety equipment and other indirect costs removal prices can increase quickly. It is also dangerous and requires specialized tools and training, which can be expensive.
Does homeowners insurance cover tree removal?
Homeowners insurance typically does not cover the cost of removing trees. The exception to this rule is when a tree is leaning close to your home or if the tree has been damaged by a storm or other type of natural disaster that occurred in your area.
Can I remove a tree myself?
You can remove a tree yourself, but it is generally very difficult to do so. While technically it is a project that you can complete yourself, it's usually not recommended. Anything larger than 15 feet should be left to professionals, as it's too dangerous. Not only is it dangerous, but you will also spend a ton of time (not to mention money renting the necessary equipment) attempting to remove the tree.
Thousands of homeowners severely injure themselves each year attempting to do home improvement projects, and tree removals are one of the most dangerous projects that you can do.
Is it cheaper to remove trees by myself?
Once you factor in all the costs associated with DIY tree removal it usually doesn't make sense to go this route. If you already own the equipment and the tree is less than 10-15 or so feet tall then it might make financial sense for you to do it on your own.
One thing that many people don't consider when contemplating doing a job themselves is the value of their time. Your time can usually be spent much better than learning a highly specialized job that should be left to a professional arborist.
Do I need a permit to remove a tree?
In most cases, you will need a permit to remove a tree from your property. It's the law! Depending on the type of tree you want to remove and where you live permits may be cheap or they might cost several hundred dollars.
Is tree removal covered by insurance?
If you have a homeowner's insurance policy, there's a chance that it will cover the cost of tree removal. Most homeowners policies will not cover the cost of removing trees, but if a tree is damaged or diseased then it may qualify for coverage.
Does the tree removal cost include stump removal?
The costs for tree removal may or may not include the removal of the stump. It depends on the company and the type of service you are asking for. Each individual company will have their own pricing structure for each type of service they are offering. When getting estimates be sure that the company specifies exactly what you will be getting for those prices
Can I save money by working with an unlicensed tree company?
It's not wise to hire an unlicensed company. These companies are usually very aggressive and will offer you a discount and either not even perform the the work, or do a poor job. If a company gives you a price estimate or quote that is way less than their competitors, then they may be unlicensed or uninsured.
Can I negotiate tree removal prices?
Yes it's very possible to negotiate tree removal prices. The size of the company you are working with makes a big difference. Larger companies usually have fixed pricing structures that are set by the owner, but smaller local companies may be more willing to work with you on pricing.
Can I get a my tree removed for free?
This usually depends on the type of tree you are dealing with. In some cases, especially if the tree is in good health and the tree has unique features that you might find appealing, the company may be able to remove the tree for free. Palm trees can sometimes be removed for free as they can be very expensive (to purchase) and can be transplanted to another location.
Can I get an estimate via email or over the phone?
Yes. Many companies will send you an estimate either via email or over the phone. These estimates are typically non-binding and will be much closer to the real cost if you provide them with detailed information about your job. Once they check out the tree in person they will know exactly what needs to be done and this is when they will give you a final price quote.
Do you remove tree roots when cutting down a tree?
No, tree roots do not get removed when cutting down a tree. It will be an additional fee if you'd like to remove the root system, and you would also have to pay to remove the stump as well.
How much does it cost to take down a tree?
As we have explained above, it can vary depending on a number of other factors. The average cost to remove a tree is around $850.