How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Tree?
The exact cost to remove a tree will depend on the size of the tree, accessibility, condition, trunk diameter, and more. However, homeowners can expect to pay an average of $750, or between $200 and $2,000, to remove a tree.
- The national average cost of tree removal is $750, but costs can range from $200 to $2,000.
- Tree size, species, and health can affect the cost to remove a tree. Accessibility, labor, and geographic location are also factors.
- Trees may need to be removed if they have large dead branches, a damaged or hollow trunk, disease or rot, are leaning, or are growing too close to power lines or other structures.
- Removing a small tree may be a DIY project for some homeowners. For larger trees, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a tree service that has the equipment and experience to do this job safely.
Trees are a wonderful part of nature, but roots or an overgrown tree can become problematic over time. In some cases, tree removal is the only option. According to Michael Black, director of operations at BrightView Tree Care Services, this can happen “when trees become unsafe or are in major conflict with infrastructure like plumbing, foundations, roofs, roads, etc.” Roots can break through sidewalks and driveways or damage underground pipes. Overgrown branches could damage a house. On rare, unfortunate occasions, homeowners may need tree removal after a tree falls on their house 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? According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, 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
While the average cost to remove a tree is $750, there are a number of factors that can affect what a homeowner will pay. 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.
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 $420 and $1,200.
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. Removing a tree over 80 feet can cost between $1,000 and $2,000.
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.
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 cost to remove different tree species is explored in more detail in a section below.
Dead trees or trees in poor condition due to rot or disease may need special attention to prevent an accident during removal. Sometimes dead trees are less costly to remove because they are hollow and not as heavy, and this can cost between $400 to $900. On the other hand, sometimes supports are needed to 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. These more complex projects may be more costly.
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.
Labor costs for tree removal may be charged per hour, per tree, or as a flat rate. A range of $350 to $400 is a common tree-removal flat rate. If any additional services like tree surgery or stump grinding are needed, this will raise the cost. Homeowners can expect to pay about $50 per hour for a tree surgeon’s services.
A certified arborist will know if a 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. Homeowners can search for “tree service near me” to get quotes from local companies, but the average costs per state are as follows.
|State||Tree Removal Cost|
|California||$650 to $1,300|
|Illinois||$535 to $730|
|Florida||$750 to $1,500|
|Maine||$515 to $700|
|New York||$750 to $1,100|
|Texas||$300 to $850|
|Washington||$550 to $800|
Additional Costs and Considerations
Every property is different and presents its challenges for tree removal. Some of the other considerations that may not appear in a tree removal cost calculator include stump removal, cleanup, landscaping, and removal of fallen trees.
Emergency Tree Removal
Trees that have fallen or started leaning as a result of a storm may need to be removed immediately. Emergency service is typically more expensive, and costs may be as high as $5,000 in some cases. If the entire neighborhood was hit by a large storm, high demand can also drive up costs. Homeowners insurance may cover the cost of tree removal in this kind of scenario, so it’s worth checking the policy before paying, although it’s important to keep in mind that a deductible will apply.
Trimming and Pruning
In some cases, it may make more sense to have a tree trimmed or pruned instead of removing the entire tree. For example, if branch growth is interfering with nearby power lines, a pro can trim back limbs where necessary while preserving the rest of the tree. Tree trimming costs and tree branch removal costs are less than tree removal at $200 to $760, but this service may need to be done annually. Pruning is the process of removing dead or unhealthy branches and can cost $75 to $1,500. One of the best landscaping companies or a tree service company can provide these services.
After a tree is removed, homeowners may also want to have the stump removed. So how much does it cost to remove a tree stump? Often, removing a single stump costs $100 to $150. If there are multiple stumps to remove, each one will cost about $50. There is an additional charge to grind the stump down and kill the tree roots. On average, this costs between $100 and $400. The age and size of the stump and the condition of the ground around it affect the cost.
Homeowners who want to preserve a tree that is in a problematic location may opt to have it transplanted. This can be an expensive endeavor if the tree is very large, costing anywhere from $400 to $5,000. Unless the tree has special significance, it may make more sense to remove the old tree and plant a new one. The cost to plant a tree starts at about $100.
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. Many services charge around $70 to dispose of the tree or chop it for firewood. Tree debris removal costs about $50 to $100.
Fallen Tree Removal
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—$300 to $500 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 $75 and $125 per hour. Splitting wood into firewood logs costs $75 to $100 per tree on average.
Cost to Remove a Tree by Type
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. Below are the average costs to remove different types of trees.
|Tree Type||Removal Cost|
|Arborvitae||$450 to $1,300|
|Ash||$250 to $1,800|
|Aspen||$1,000 to $1,800|
|Cedar||$250 to $1,500|
|Conifer||$200 to $2,100|
|Cypress||$800 to $1,200|
|Eucalyptus||$700 to $2,200|
|Japanese knotweed||$2,000 to $10,000|
|Magnolia||$325 to $1,200|
|Maple||$250 to $2,000|
|Oak||$200 to $2,000|
|Palm||$650 to $1,500|
|Pine||$250 to $1,500|
|Poplar||$1,100 to $1,800|
|Sweet gum||$700 to $1,500|
|Sycamore||$700 to $2,500|
Arborvitae can grow to be as tall as 70 feet, so the removal of full-grown arborvitae can cost up to $1,300. Smaller arborvitae removal may only cost $450. If an arborvitae sapling needs to be removed, it’s a good idea to have this taken care of sooner rather than later as these trees can grow up to 4 feet per year.
Removing an ash tree can cost anywhere from $250 to $1,800. Ash trees can reach a width of 25 feet and a height of 80 feet, so the more mature the tree, the higher the cost is likely to be.
A variety of poplar, aspens can grow to a height of up to 115 feet. Due to their height, aspens also have intricate systems of tangled roots that can be complicated to remove. Expect to pay between $1,000 to $1,800 to remove an aspen.
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.
Evergreen trees such as pines, junipers, and firs are all examples of conifers. This kind of tree is relatively simple to remove and often costs around $200 to $2,100 to do so. Homeowners may opt to have these kinds of trees removed because they require lots of water and nutrients, killing off surrounding plants and grass.
Cypress trees are another fast-growing variety that is able to reach up to 100 feet tall. Unfortunately, cypress trees are highly prone to disease. Removing a fully mature cypress costs $800 to $1,200.
Eucalyptus is not native to North America. Although they are attractive, eucalyptus trees are often undesirable since they are invasive and may be harmful to other plants. It costs about $700 to $2,200 to remove a eucalyptus tree.
Japanese knotweed is an invasive shrub that can reach a height of 10 feet. This plant is highly aggressive and grows rapidly both underground and aboveground. It’s recommended to remove Japanese knotweed as soon as it appears, as it can cause significant damage and may cost as much as $2,000 to $10,000 to remove, depending on the extent of the growth.
Magnolias are relatively small trees that are simple to remove. For this reason, it can cost as little as $325 or up to $1,200 to have a magnolia tree removed. Most professionals can complete this job in a couple of hours.
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.
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, expect to pay around $800 to remove it.
Palm tree removal costs $650 to $1,500. A 30-foot palm tree will fall on the lower end of this spectrum, but 80-foot palm trees will cost between $1,100 and $1,500.
On average, pine tree removal costs $250 to $1,500. 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.
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.
Sweet gums are beautiful, medium-size trees that reach a maximum of 70 feet in height. It can cost between $700 and $1,500 to have a sweet gum tree removed, largely depending on the size of the root system.
Removing sycamore trees is an extensive process that involves girdling to cut off nutrients and making cuts (called frilling) where herbicide can be applied. Once the tree is dead and is cut down, the stump will also need to be killed to prevent regrowth. This entire process can cost anywhere from $700 to $2,500.
Do I need tree removal?
It isn’t always clear whether a tree needs to be removed. 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. According to Black, “Many professional arborists are specially trained in assessing tree risk. If a homeowner has concerns about the safety of a tree, they should contact a TRAQ-qualified [Tree Risk Assessment Qualification] arborist, and they can determine what mitigation actions can be taken, up to and including removal.” If a tree shows signs of the following conditions, it’s time to have it professionally inspected to determine if it needs to be removed.
Large, Dead Branches
According to the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, trees need to 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.
Damaged or Hollow Trunk
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.
Disease or Rot
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.
In windy regions, it’s not uncommon for some trees to lean slightly in the direction the wind pushes them. The University of Maryland explains that 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.
Proximity to Power Lines
When planning to plant a tree directly under power lines, it’s a good idea to select a tree that will remain below the power line at its mature height (the best tree planting services can recommend a variety that meets this criterion). 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.
Proximity to 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.
Tree Removal: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Choosing DIY 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. “Tree removal can be dangerous work given the size and weight of a tree or the limbs attached to it,” says Black. “Arborists use specialized skill sets […] and other equipment that allow them to remove trees safely.” 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 any houses or public utilities are damaged as the tree is removed, a DIYer would be responsible for any repair costs.
The best tree removal companies can 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. Searching for “tree services near me” can provide a good starting-off point for homeowners to gather quotes and information.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Remove a Tree
Tree removal service costs are not trivial, but homeowners have options to save money in the process. Below are several ways to reduce the cost of removing a tree.
- Try DIY. Cut down small trees under 15 feet on your own.
- Shop around. Ask for quotes from at least three reputable companies.
- Get a second opinion. Have an arborist inspect the tree to see if the whole tree needs to be removed or only some branches.
- Remove the stumps yourself. If you have several trees that need to be removed, tree stump removal costs can add up. If you want to take on the task of how to kill tree stumps, renting a grinder costs between $100 and $150 per day.
- Don’t pay for cleanup. Remove the debris on your own.
- Keep the wood for firewood. Not only will you save on buying firewood, you also won’t have to pay to have the tree removed.
- Do your own log splitting. Professionals charge about $70 for this service.
- Book services all at once. Some companies offer discounts for removing multiple trees at one time.
- Ask the power company to pay for removal. If an unwanted tree grows into a power line, the power company may remove it for free.
- Consider seasonality. In some regions, tree service companies may offer off-season discounts.
- Offer the tree to a logging company. 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.
- Keep up with tree maintenance. Have a certified arborist check the health of your trees each year. With proper maintenance, most trees will not need to be removed until the end of their long lifespan.
Questions to Ask About Tree Removal
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 homeowners prevent miscommunication, manage expectations, and achieve the desired results. Below are some helpful questions for homeowners 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 a 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 between 60 and 80 feet tall is $800 to $1,500. An extremely tall tree over 80 feet may require a crane, which increases the price range to $1,000 to $2,000.
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.