How Much Does It Cost to Plant a Tree?
Trees add to a home’s curb appeal, offer soothing shade during summertime, and contribute to air quality. The cost to plant a tree depends on several factors but can range from $100 to $2,000.
- The typical cost to plant a tree is between $100 and $2,000.
- The most significant cost factors associated with tree planting include the tree size, tree type, number of trees, tree maturity, location, and labor costs.
- Planting a tree on a property can prevent land erosion, increase property value, improve energy efficiency, attract birds and other wildlife, and benefit the environment.
- Depending on the scope of the project, planting a tree can be a DIY project for home gardeners. Hiring a professional is a good idea for planting mature trees or multiple trees or for giving new trees the best possible chance of survival.
One of the most noticeable aesthetic differences between new residential developments and older established neighborhoods has to do with trees. While recent developments feature homes with the latest design trends, they often lack the character and charisma of homes nestled under a canopy of towering oaks and maples.
According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, the cost to plant a tree ranges from about $100 to $2,000. If this seems like a broad range, it is—but that’s because considerations vary widely from community to community and from company to company. Using this guide, homeowners can find out more about what goes into determining the cost of planting trees and why it’s in the best interest of most homeowners to include a few trees in a well-designed landscape.
Factors in Calculating the Cost to Plant a Tree
Several factors go into answering “How much does it cost to plant a tree?” According to Michael Black, director of operations at BrightView Tree Care Services, “There are many factors that affect the cost of planting a tree. Some of the main factors include the species of the tree, how large the root mass is, the space in which it is to be planted, how far the planting location is from the delivery location, whether large equipment can be used, and access.” A tree-planting company that uses a large tree spade mounted on the back of a heavy-duty truck has more overhead costs than a landscaper who plans to dig a hole with a shovel. Coming up with a ballpark estimate doesn’t require homeowners to use a planting calculator—they can just review the following factors to get an idea of their total costs.
A relatively small tree (under 3 feet tall)—the type that can be purchased from a gardening center in a 1- or 2-gallon container—will cost less to plant than a larger tree that must be moved via a large tree spade from a tree nursery and transplanted in the yard. In general, professional planting of small trees costs about $100 per tree, while a medium tree up to 10 feet tall costs $255. A larger tree (up to 20 feet tall) will run $2,420.
The type of tree chosen will also affect the cost. The most popular types of residential trees are evergreen, fruit, ornamental, and shade. The first rule of thumb is for a homeowner to select a tree that will grow in the area by first determining their hardiness zone. For example, fruit trees can grow in a variety of regions, but whether a homeowner plants an avocado tree or an apple tree will depend on the climate in which they plan to plant the tree. Not all types of trees will grow in all regions. For the best results, homeowners can consult the Plant Hardiness Zone Map on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website to ensure the chosen tree is well suited to the area.
In addition, some trees are more expensive than others to purchase—and that’s before any charges are factored in for planting services. Evergreen trees like pine and cedar cost between $20 and $200 per tree, whereas costs for a shade tree, like an oak or maple, can reach as high as $400 per tree. Cherry blossoms, magnolias, and crape myrtles are all considered ornamental trees and cost anywhere from $20 to $250 apiece. The table below shows the average cost for each type of tree.
|Tree Type||Cost (Tree Only)|
|Evergreen||$20 to $200|
|Fruit||$15 to $250|
|Ornamental||$20 to $250|
|Shade||$30 to $400|
Number of Trees
Having a single tree planted can cost more than having multiple trees planted. Having just one small tree planted costs around $100. However, if many trees will be incorporated in the landscape, it may be possible to save money by having them planted simultaneously. Depending on size and species, having more trees planted at the same time may cost only $40 to $70 for the tree plus labor.
The least expensive stage at which to plant a tree is when it’s a sapling; it will cost just $55 to $100. Young trees cost $70 to $1,500 to plant. As a tree matures, its roots spread out, and planting a larger tree will require the services of a large tree spade. If the tree is currently growing on a tree farm, a tree spade will be necessary for digging up the tree roots with the soil still intact. This type of specialized planting requires the services of a professional tree-moving company that has the large equipment necessary to do the job; this could cost up to $4,000, depending on the tree’s size.
|Sapling||$55 to $100|
|Young tree||$70 to $1,500|
|Mature tree||$1,550 to $4,000|
The location where the tree is planted can also impact the cost. Anytime an area of the yard is difficult to access, such as is common in yards with steep slopes, retaining walls, and narrow accesses that make it difficult for the tree-planting company to move their machinery, the cost is bound to go up. The longer it takes to do the job, the more labor costs will be charged. Additional fees may also apply if the soil is rocky and difficult to dig. Having non-native trees delivered from far away will also raise costs. Additionally, delivery fees in urban areas tend to be higher than in rural ones.
Labor costs will account for about 30 percent of the cost to plant a tree. Most landscaping companies charge a set rate per hour for their workers no matter what type of service they’re performing. For example, general planting of trees, shrubs, flowers, or grass comes with labor costs of $50 to $150 per hour. Other companies may charge a minimum fee of $50 for smaller jobs. The larger the crew, the higher the hourly rate, but large crews often get the job done in fewer hours.
Additional Costs and Considerations
A wide range of additional factors can impact the cost of having a tree planted. These may include fees for site preparation (which could involve clearing out existing shrubbery or trees), landscaping design, and special modifications like irrigation system installation. These related costs will increase the final tally.
Planting a tree of any size requires digging a hole, and anytime a hole is dug, there’s a chance of hitting buried utility lines. In most communities, a call to 811 (the national call-before-you-dig number) will result in utility workers coming out and marking the location of underground lines. This is a free service.
However, if a permit is required, the landscaping or tree-planting company will usually bundle the fee into the final costs. If planting the tree is a DIY project, the homeowner will need to contact their local building and zoning authority to determine whether a permit is necessary.
Diseased or overgrown trees may need to be removed from the landscape before new trees can be planted. The cost of removing a tree ranges from between $200 and $2,000, depending on the tree size. Tree stump removal costs $327 on average. The cost also hinges on any challenges the tree-removal company faces in accessing the property and special equipment that might be needed to keep the tree branches from falling on nearby structures during the removal. The best tree removal services are experienced in doing this job safely without damaging any property in the process.
Planting trees is often just one part of a larger landscaping project, including planting additional flowers or shrubs or even installing a new lawn. Tree removal costs about $750. To have an entire yard sodded, homeowners can expect to pay between $1,050 and $2,925, with $2,000 being about average for sod prices. A smaller job like tree trimming costs $600. For limited projects, landscaping pros typically charge between $50 and $100 per hour for their services.
|Landscaping Project||Average Cost|
|Installing artificial turf||$5,100|
|Installing a flower bed||$2,000|
Irrigation System Addition
Newly planted trees need regular watering for their roots to become established in their new location. It’s OK to drag a hose around and soak the trees every few days for the first couple of weeks and then once or twice a week after that, but not everyone has time to do that. The installation of an above-ground drip system will direct water right to the trees’ roots and can be connected to a timer to ensure the new tree never goes without adequate water. Homeowners can expect to pay about $1,675 to $3,550 to have an irrigation system installed.
Repairs or Modifications
When planting trees is part of a more extensive home repair or modification project, the entire project’s cost can be substantial. For example, during the tree-planting process, a large tree spade may tear up portions of the lawn or destroy shrubs and bushes. Repairing the lawn and plantings to their original state will add to the total cost. Some of the relative repairs might include the following.
|Installing sod||$1,050 to $2,925|
|Overseeding||$450 to $1,650|
|Planting flowers and shrubs||$50 to $150 per hour|
Cost to Plant a Tree by Type of Tree
How much do trees cost? Hundreds of tree species exist, but some are more popular than others, usually due to the tree’s hardiness, ease of growth, and design. Trees can be purchased in person at garden and landscaping centers or ordered online. Homeowners will want to be aware that shipping charges will usually be added to the cost of trees ordered online. The following species are commonly chosen in landscaping projects, but professional planting fees will be extra.
As their name suggests, evergreen trees are desirable because they stay vibrant year-round. While evergreens may not be the best trees to plant for fall foliage, they can keep a yard looking inviting even in the middle of winter. A classic pine tree is one of the most obvious examples of an evergreen, but cypress, spruce, cedar, and others also fall into this category. Homeowners can expect to pay about $20 to $200 to have an evergreen tree planted, and more specific costs depending on the type of evergreen tree are listed below.
|Type of Evergreen Tree||Cost (Tree Only)|
|American holly||$20 to $110|
|Arborvitae||$20 to $200|
|Cedar||$35 to $200|
|Cypress||$20 to $160|
|Juniper||$35 to $140|
|Pine||$30 to $160|
|Spruce||$30 to $200|
Having a well-tended fruit tree in the yard can mean having fresh produce at a moment’s notice. While the type of fruit tree that can be planted will be dictated by the region and climate, there are plenty of options for homeowners across the country. Southern and southwestern yards may be able to nurture citrus trees, whereas those in the Midwest may be more suited to apple and pear trees. On the whole, fruit trees can cost $15 to $250 each. The following table shows the average cost ranges for the most common types of fruit trees.
|Type of Fruit Tree||Cost (Tree Only)|
|Apple||$25 to $130|
|Avocado||$35 to $130|
|Citrus||$25 to $170|
|Fig||$20 to $130|
|Olive||$30 to $120|
|Palm||$40 to $250|
|Peach||$15 to $120|
|Pear||$20 to $130|
|Plum||$15 to $140|
Planting ornamental trees is a way to instantly beautify a yard. Some ornamental trees like magnolias will flower when they are in season, and others may simply have a unique appearance. Ornamental trees cost $20 to $250 apiece; the costs for different types of ornamental trees are listed in the following table.
|Type of Ornamental Tree||Cost (Tree Only)|
|Cherry blossom||$40 to $140|
|Crabapple||$60 to $250|
|Crape myrtle||$20 to $130|
|Dogwood||$40 to $200|
|Magnolia||$20 to $150|
Shade trees’ large, wide shape makes them useful for blocking the sun from a yard. In some cases, they can even help homeowners save on energy costs, as a home shaded from the sun will require less air-conditioning. Some of the most popular trees for residential neighborhoods in the U.S. are shade trees, such as oak and maple. Shade trees cost between $30 and $400 apiece. Homeowners will want to remember that a shade tree that has not reached full maturity will not provide as much shade as a fully grown one. The table below shows the most popular types of shade trees and their average costs.
|Type of Shade Tree||Cost (Tree Only)|
|Birch||$30 to $140|
|Japanese maple||$60 to $400|
|Oak||$50 to $300|
|Poplar||$50 to $170|
Benefits of Planting Trees
There are so many reasons to plant trees on a property. According to Black, “The benefits are many, including improved property values, reduced energy costs (cooling in the summer), and general well-being—all these things in addition to sequestering carbon and helping to provide clean air.” For the best results, homeowners will want to consider these benefits when selecting a tree species and when coming up with the landscape design.
Decreased Land Erosion
A tree’s root system spreads out beneath the ground, acting as an anchor to help keep the soil from eroding. Having five small trees, such as fir or pine trees, professionally planted on a slope will help retain the earth as the trees grow. Homeowners might pay an average of $60 to $140 per tree for this type of tree.
Increased Home Value
Incorporating trees into the landscape may increase the home’s value by as much as 15 percent, but that doesn’t mean planting a few trees here and there is all that’s needed to get a better price when the home goes on the market. Trees are just one part of the overall landscape design, and the more enticing the entire yard appears, the more likely it will bring a premium price when sold.
Better Energy Efficiency
Saving money on heating and cooling bills tops almost every homeowner’s list, and trees can play a vital role in reducing a home’s carbon footprint. Locating trees where they will shade a home’s windows from the hot summer sun will minimize thermal transfer, so the AC unit doesn’t have to work as hard or as long in the summer.
Natural Bird Attractant
Adding trees to the landscape provides nesting places for songbirds, and fruit trees, such as cherry and mulberry, provide an additional food source for birds. Birds naturally prefer taller trees with protective boughs and branches for nesting. Still, if the approximately $2,420 it costs to plant a large tree (up to 20 feet tall) is too much, homeowners can opt for a smaller, fast-growing tree, such as a Thuja Green Giant, which costs under $20 for a 1- to 2-foot specimen that will grow quickly into a tall tree that birds will enjoy.
Their excellent air-cleaning benefits offset the cost of planting trees. As part of their photosynthesis process, trees absorb pollutants such as carbon dioxide and emit pure oxygen. A single large tree can emit enough oxygen for four people for a single day. Adding trees to the landscape is an environmentally friendly way for homeowners to help improve local air quality.
Planting a Tree: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Every spring, lawn and garden centers are awash in plants and trees that homeowners can purchase, haul home, and plant themselves. This is a significant savings over hiring a professional tree-planting company, but it requires knowing how to plant a tree to achieve the best (and healthiest) results. Many small trees can be purchased for under $100 at a garden center, but the price isn’t a deal if the tree doesn’t survive.
The best tree-planting services can provide advice on factors such as the best time to plant a tree. “A professional arborist will be able to advise a homeowner as to the proper type of tree to plant based on the growing conditions (such as soil and climate) and space, as well as any other characteristics a homeowner may be targeting,” says Black. “In addition to that, a professional arborist will be able to ensure the tree is properly planted as well as provide a homeowner with aftercare instructions and tips to ensure the tree establishes well.” Finally, while a professionally planted tree ranges from $100 to $3,000, the company may offer a warranty or replacement if the tree doesn’t survive.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Plant a Tree
Having trees planted can be an expensive prospect—ranging as high as $3,000 to have a large tree planted by a tree-planting company. Many homeowners look for ways to cut tree-planting costs while still reaping the many benefits of having trees.
- Choose smaller trees. While it’s nice to have the instant landscaped effect of large trees, a single smaller tree will have much lower planting costs.
- DIY the project. Many homeowners purchase potted trees online or at garden centers and do the planting themselves. Just know that the tree may not live as long as a professionally planted one.
- Plant multiple trees. If the trees are professionally planted, a landscaping company may offer a break when purchasing numerous trees. Having five small trees planted costs $300 to $700, which reduces the cost per tree to about $60 to $140.
How to Care for a New Tree
Planting trees is an investment in the landscape and a home’s value, but newly planted trees require special care to survive and thrive. The following tips can help new trees get off to a healthy start.
- Install a drip system. Immediately after planting a new tree, the landscaper will soak the roots thoroughly with water. This is an essential step in encouraging strong root growth during the first few weeks of planting. Homeowners can install a drip system that can be programmed to irrigate at the base of the new trees to ensure they receive enough water.
- Add mulch around the base of the tree. A professional landscaper will usually create a ring of mulch around the base of a newly planted tree to direct water to the tree roots and shade the ground to reduce evaporation.
- Keep the tree trimmed. Many young trees require staking and occasional trimming to develop an attractive shape. A brand-new tree may not need this, but it pays to have young trees inspected and trimmed annually to help them develop to their best potential.
Questions to Ask About Planting a Tree
While many homeowners opt to purchase and plant their own trees to save money, others prefer having a landscape company or tree-planting company plant the trees for them. Before hiring a landscaping or tree-planting company, it pays to ask a few questions.
- Will you provide a free quote?
- Can you walk me through your pricing structure?
- Where do you source your trees?
- What sort of warranty comes with the tree?
- Do you offer a discount for planting multiple trees?
- Will I need to be home while the trees are planted?
- What kind of prep work will need to be done in the yard ahead of time?
- Will you contact the utility company to locate power lines?
- Will you confirm the tree placement with me before digging?
- What kind of maintenance do you recommend after the trees are planted?
- Do you offer maintenance services like fertilizing and pruning?
- Will you clean up after planting the tree, and if so, is that an extra cost?
- What trees do you recommend for my yard and climate?
- Do you have a rain or weather contingency policy?
- How long will this project take?
- Can I save money by purchasing my own trees?
The benefits of planting trees are innumerable and include improved curb appeal, increased home value, and a healthier environment. Still, the cost to plant trees adds up quickly, so most homeowners are likely to have a few questions about how much it costs to have trees planted and how to keep them healthy.
Q. How much should it cost to plant a tree?
Expect to pay between $150 and $3,000 to have a tree professionally planted. The final tally will depend on the size and type of the tree, the need for any special equipment, and the accessibility of the planting site.
Q. How much does a full-grown tree cost?
Not all full-grown trees can be transplanted if their root systems exceed the size of a tree spade. In general, however, transplanting a mature or large tree runs from $1,550 to $4,000.
Q. How do I maintain my landscape?
Regular landscape maintenance is necessary for keeping the yard looking good and includes fertilizing, pruning, soil testing, and aerating. These essential maintenance services will cost an average of $4 to $6 per square foot, while more advanced services, such as constructing raised gardens or installing a whole new sod lawn, can run $10 to $40 per square foot.
Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor (1 and 2), Fixr, HomeGuide, LawnLove