How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Tree?
When determining how much it costs to remove a tree, consider the size of the tree, accessibility, condition, trunk diameter, and more. Tree removal costs an average of $750 and ranges between $200 and $2,000.
- Typical Range: $200 to $2,000
- National Average: $750
Trees are a wonderful part of nature, but roots or an overgrown tree can become problematic over time. Roots can break through sidewalks and driveways or damage underground pipes. Overgrown branches could damage a house. On rare, unfortunate occasions, trees may need to be removed after falling during a storm. When a homeowner considers removing a tree from the yard, a common question is: How much does it cost to remove a tree? On average, it costs $750 to remove a tree, but this can range from $200 to $2,000, depending on the size and condition of the tree. Factors that affect the cost to remove a tree include accessibility, tree height, trunk diameter, condition of the tree, stump removal, cleanup, and any extra equipment required.
Factors in Calculating the Cost to Remove a Tree
A tree service company can quickly identify any tricky situations that would make tree removal challenging or hazardous. In some cases, the tree is located too close to a home or fence, which means extra care is needed. Trees with smaller diameters or shorter trunks are often less costly to remove than large, old trees.
According to HomeAdvisor, a tree’s location and accessibility can affect the cost of tree removal by 25 to 50 percent. Large branches growing over the house should be lowered by rope when they’re cut, rather than dropped, to prevent damaging the home. If a large tree is growing in a small space between a fence and structure, it will likely cost more to remove.
Some trees grow with a complex branch system that makes removal complicated. Tall, thin trees like aspens can’t support the weight of a person, so extra equipment is needed to reach the top of the tree safely. Thick, dense trees like pine trees can take longer to remove due to their size.
The height of a tree is a primary factor in determining how much it will cost to remove a tree. You can search the internet for “tree service near me” to get an accurate quote for your location. In general, a tree that’s less than 30 feet tall is considered small and will cost less to remove.
The diameter of a tree is another primary factor in tree removal cost. The diameter is measured at chest height or approximately 4.5 feet from the ground. Trees with thicker trunks need to be cut into smaller pieces after they’ve been felled. Short, thick trees could take longer to cut down than tall, skinny trees.
Dead trees or trees in poor condition due to rot or disease may need special attention to prevent an accident during removal. Supports can prevent the tree from falling while being cut, and ladders or electric lifts could be required if the tree cannot be safely climbed. Multiple trunks, weak branches, and cavities indicate a need for extra precautions during tree removal.
A certified arborist will know if your tree is a protected species that will require permission to remove. In areas with a higher cost of living, the cost will be more than the national average, and homeowners in rural or remote locations may be charged extra for the travel distance.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Every property is different and presents its challenges for tree removal. Some of the other considerations that can affect tree removal costs include stump removal, cleanup, landscaping, and removal of fallen trees.
If homeowners prefer to remove the stump, there is an additional charge to grind the stump down and kill the roots. On average, this costs between $150 and $500. The age and size of the stump and the condition of the ground around it affect the cost.
Some homeowners prefer to keep the chopped tree for firewood, and some prefer to remove the debris on their own. Otherwise, the tree service company can clean up the debris for an additional fee.
During the tree removal process, some existing landscaping could be damaged from equipment or falling branches. If the trees are inaccessible due to other bushes or trees, those plants may be removed. This can cost approximately $100.
A dead tree that’s still standing will cost about the same to remove as a living tree of the same size. However, a dead tree that has fallen will cost much less—$75 to $150 on average.
Wood Chipping and Log Splitting
Most tree service estimates include the cost of chipping the tree after it’s been cut down, but it’s best to ask anyway. Depending on the size of the tree, chipping the debris can cost between $65 and $150. Splitting wood into firewood logs costs $25 to $75 per tree on average.
Costo to Remove a Tree: Types of Trees
When a tree needs to be removed, the type of tree affects the cost of removal. Tree varieties vary in size and quality of wood. It’s easier to estimate the cost of some standard trees.
Type of Tree
Here are a few common trees and the average costs to remove them.
- Pine tree: On average, a pine tree costs $250 to $1,500 to remove. This is mainly dependent on the size and health of the tree. Pine trees have thick trunks and dense branches and can grow to be over 100 feet tall, depending on the variety of pine.
- Palm tree: A palm tree can cost on average $200 to $1,500 for removal. A 30-foot palm tree costs between $200 and $500, but 80-foot palm trees will cost between $1,000 and $1,500.
- Oak tree: It’s not uncommon for an old oak tree to grow up to 100 feet tall. The average cost to remove an oak tree ranges between $200 and $2,000. If it’s at least 60 feet tall, you’ll likely pay around $800 to remove it.
- Cedar tree: A cedar tree can grow to 160 feet on average, with some varieties reaching 230 feet. Depending on how accessible and healthy the tree is, the average cost to remove a cedar tree ranges from $250 to $1,500.
- Maple tree: Though maple trees are common in many areas, they are large, complex trees with many branches, which affects the overall removal cost. They can grow at least 100 feet. On average, removing a maple tree costs $250 to $2,000.
- Poplar tree: A poplar tree is a giant deciduous tree that can grow up to 115 feet high. These trees have complex root systems that will need extra attention during removal. The average cost to remove a poplar tree ranges between $1,100 to $1,800.
Small trees are the easiest to remove since they are usually less complex, require less equipment, and have less root structure. A tree that’s 30 feet or less is considered a small tree, and this includes fruit trees, mimosas, or dwarf varieties. On average, it costs $200 to $450 to remove a small tree.
Trees between 30 and 60 feet tall are considered medium-sized. This would include some oak varieties, weeping white spruce, and more. Stump removal and cleanup are bigger jobs for a medium tree than a small tree. The average cost to remove a medium-size tree ranges between $300 and $1,000.
Removing a large tree is complex. Large trees grow between 60 to 80 feet tall. Heavy equipment may be needed to remove them safely. Large trees may also have an infestation or disease, which requires extra care during removal and increases the cost. Large tree removal costs $800 to $1,500 on average.
Do I Need Tree Removal?
Trees in most neighborhoods or parks need to be checked by arborists to ensure they don’t pose a safety risk due to disease or damage. If a tree shows signs of the following conditions, it’s time to consider removing the tree.
The Tree Is Dead or Has Large Dead Branches
Trees should be removed if they are dead or if more than 25 percent of the branches have died, especially if they’re all on one side. Dead branches can fall on people or structures. A dead tree invites termites or rodents, speeding up the decaying process or spreading the infestation to other trees.
The Trunk Is Damaged or Hollow
A tree can survive for years with a hollow trunk, but a hollow tree becomes unstable without the usual support structure. An arborist can measure the interior health of a tree with a resistograph test to determine if the tree is solid, decayed, or hollow. Large vertical cracks or seams on the exterior can indicate a problem with the tree.
The Tree Is Diseased or Rotting
If a tree shows signs of disease like fungus or infestation, it can spread the problem to other trees. Diseased or rotted trees are structurally unstable and unsafe. Some common disease symptoms include fungi or mushrooms growing on the tree, soft bark that falls easily when touched, or soggy soil near the trunk, which indicates root rot. There are some conditions that an arborist may be able to treat or control, according to experts, so having a professional examine the tree in question is the best course of action.
The Tree Is Leaning
In windy regions, it’s not uncommon for some trees to lean slightly in the direction the wind pushes them. A serious lean of the main trunk of at least 15 degrees can indicate a problem in the root system. Without a robust root system, a tree is at risk of falling over in windy conditions and damaging the house or property. If a tree suddenly starts leaning, contact a tree service professional.
The Tree Is Under Power Lines
If you’re choosing to plant a tree directly under power lines, select a tree that will remain below the power line at its mature height. Trees that grow too close to a power line must be removed to prevent unsafe power outages. A qualified professional is the safest option to remove a tree in this precarious situation to avoid electrocution.
The Tree Is Growing Too Close to an Existing Structure
If a tree grows too close to a house or garage, the branches can damage the exterior, roof, or windows. Pine tree sap can ruin paint, and windows can be broken during storms. Trees should be 20 feet away from the house. Removing a tree that’s too close to the home keeps the structure safe.
How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Tree? DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Choosing to do your own tree removal can bring out the lumberjack in almost any homeowner. While it’s easy to trim a few branches off a growing fruit tree or dwarf tree, tackling a full-grown pine tree is a different story. In reality, it’s a dangerous job. In general, it’s recommended to leave tree removal to professionals if the tree is over 15 feet tall. There are risks from falling branches or debris, rotted or dead branches, and sharp tools. If your house or public utilities are damaged as you remove a tree, you would be responsible for any repair costs.
A tree removal company will assess the health of the tree properly, the tools needed, and how to handle any special circumstances like tight spaces or rotted, unstable trees. They have the proper safety equipment to protect themselves while sawing, chopping, or climbing. If a tree is being removed near a power line, a qualified lineman must be brought in to help prevent a power arc from an active power line. Additionally, tree service companies should carry liability insurance to cover any accidents that may occur.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Remove a Tree
Tree removal can be costly in some cases, but homeowners have options to save money in the process. Here are several ways to reduce the cost of removing a tree.
- Cut down small trees under 15 feet on your own.
- Ask for quotes from at least three reputable companies.
- Have an arborist inspect the tree to see if the whole tree needs to be removed or only some branches.
- If you have several trees being removed, opt to remove the stumps yourself. Renting a grinder costs between $100 and $150 per day.
- Clean up and remove the debris on your own.
- Keep the wood for firewood instead of paying to have it removed.
- Do your own log splitting.
- Some companies offer discounts for removing multiple trees at one time.
- If an unwanted tree grows into a power line, the power company may remove it for free.
- In some regions, tree service companies may offer off-season discounts.
- See if a logging company will cut down your tree for free. If it’s a popular wood, they might even pay for the tree.
- Have a certified arborist check the health of your trees each year. With proper maintenance, most trees will not need removal until the end of their long lifespan.
Questions to Ask About the Cost to Remove a Tree
Cutting down a tree may seem like a straightforward process, but every tree and property is different. Asking a tree service company the right questions can help prevent miscommunication, manage expectations, and achieve the desired results. Here are some helpful questions to ask about how much it costs to remove a tree.
- Are you certified and insured?
- How long have you been cutting down trees?
- Will you come to my property to assess the scope of the project?
- Are any of your employees certified arborists?
- Does insurance cover tree removal?
- Do I need a permit to remove my tree?
- Do you charge per hour or per tree?
- Do you include debris removal, chipping, or log splitting in your estimate?
- Is travel time included?
- Will the location of my tree make it more costly to remove?
- Do you charge extra to remove a fallen tree on top of my car or house?
- Can you remove a tree under a power line?
- What do you charge for stump grinding?
- Do you offer a discount to remove multiple trees at once?
- How long will it take to remove my tree?
- Will my landscaping be damaged?
- How can I prepare my property for tree removal?
- Will you need to use extra equipment to remove my tree?
- What will happen to the tree roots after the tree is cut?
Removing trees from your property can be a big decision that changes the ecosystem and landscape. When the health of the tree has significantly declined, it’s best to have the tree removed. To better understand how much it costs to remove a tree, here are some frequently asked questions.
Q. How much does it cost to remove a large tree?
A tree that has grown at least 60 feet is considered a large tree. These trees often have complex branch systems and thick trunks that make them more challenging to cut down. On average, the cost to remove a large tree is $800 to $1,500. An extremely tall tree over 80 feet may require a crane, which increases the price by about $500.
Q. Does anyone remove trees for free?
Under certain circumstances, yes. A tree that fell in a storm and is covered by homeowners insurance may not cost anything to remove. If a standing tree needs to be removed, check local and state programs for qualifying free tree-removal services. A local arborist may be happy to remove a tree for free if they can keep the wood. Trees could be removed for free by a lumber company, or they might pay for the tree if it’s in excellent condition. Finally, power companies might offer to remove a tree for free if it poses a safety hazard to power lines.
Q. How long does it take to remove a tree?
It could take only a few hours to cut down small trees and remove the debris. Large trees could take more than 8 hours, depending on the complexity of the tree or power line encroachment. If extra brush or trees need to be removed, additional time will be required.
Q. Does my tree need to be trimmed or removed?
In some cases, a tree only needs to be trimmed and pruned rather than removed. A certified arborist is qualified to inspect the health of the tree and the ground around it. If the trunk is healthy and no disease is apparent, the tree may only need trimming.
Another consideration would be the proximity to the house. If the tree branches overhang the roof or push against the house, it’s likely the tree will need to be cut down. Removing too many branches to protect the house can damage the tree’s health, causing it to die.
Sources: HomeAdvisor, HomeGuide, Fixr