By Sam Wasson
Updated Nov 21, 2022
If you have a tree that is leaning too much, is decayed, or is infested with pests, you may need the assistance of a tree removal company. These professionals can assess the damage and safely remove the tree without harming surrounding plants or structures. While helpful, tree removal services can be expensive, and the pricing models used by the companies are not always clear.
Numerous factors can go into the cost of tree removal, and you can quickly find yourself staring down a hefty price tag after everything is said and done. To help avoid this, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to tree removal costs. Below, we detail the average cost of tree removal services, what factors play a role in the price you pay, and shed light on the costs of any additional services you may require.
The cost of tree removal can vary depending on numerous factors, like tree height, trunk width, tree type, and much more. The national price range for tree removal is around $150 to $1,900 per tree, with the average being $700 to $800. There are some situations where this price can reach much higher, such as for exceptionally large trees, emergency removal services, or particularly dangerous removals.
When removing trees, one of two pricing models is used depending on the number of trees you need to remove. If you only need a few trees taken away, the cost will be determined by the tree’s height, along with other minor factors that affect the difficulty and danger of the job. Alternatively, if you need large amounts of trees cleared away, the cost will be determined by the acre and the density of trees within those acres.
Of these two pricing models, the cost by acreage is more difficult to pin down exact numbers for, as each job is determined individually. On average, you can expect to pay between $500 and $3,000 per acre for low-density plots of land and $3,000 to $5,000+ for heavily forested areas.
When calculating the cost of individual tree removal, the size of the tree is the primary factor. Smaller trees are easier to cut down, less dangerous to handle, and take less time to remove, reducing the cost of the job. Large tree removal, however, is more dangerous, carrying a higher risk and requiring special equipment and more workers. Other factors like tree type, trunk size, and ease of access all play a part in determining the price of your tree removal.
The next sections will discuss the most common factors impacting your tree removal cost.
Each arborist and tree removal company has its own metric for determining the cost value associated with tree height, but most follow the same general structure. Companies break down trees into one of four size categories used to determine the removal cost. These categories are small-sized trees (30 feet or less), medium-sized trees (between 30 and 60 feet), tall-sized trees (between 60 and 80 feet), and colossal-sized trees (anything above 80 feet). Here is a cost breakdown table for each size of tree:
|Tree Size||National Average Cost|
|Small tree, 30 feet or less.||$150 to $450|
|Medium tree, between 30 and 60 feet.||$500 to $900|
|Tall tree, between 60 and 80 feet.||$750 to $1,500|
|Colossal tree, 80 feet or more.||$1,500 to $2,800+|
After height, the next most important determiner is tree trunk size. These two factors go hand in hand because trees develop larger trunks as they increase in height. However, a tree with a smaller trunk will be less difficult to remove than a thicker-trunked tree of the same height, resulting in a quicker job and lower cost.
If you have two different types of trees of the same height and trunk width, they’ll cost the same amount to remove. However, some specific trees break this rule, as they’re more difficult or easier to remove, increasing or decreasing the price respectively. Trees with extensive root systems, exceptionally hard wood, or special requirements (like taproot removal) can increase removal costs. Some common trees that see price hikes due to their difficulty of removal include:
Trees that are badly damaged, rotten, or pest-infested are hazards to your other plants and home. Damaged and dead trees are more likely to fall, potentially bringing other trees down and damaging anything in their path as they crash. Infested or rotten trees can spread disease to your other plants and, if left unattended long enough, become so structurally unstable that they may fall.
Rotten or damaged trees can be more or less expensive to remove depending on the kind of damage, position of the tree, and danger associated with removing it. Sometimes damaged trees are easier to remove, costing much less, while other trees may be unstable and unpredictable, resulting in a higher price tag. If you need a fallen tree removed, as long as it’s not at risk of further damaging property, it’s relatively inexpensive to remove, costing around $100 to $300.
While not always more expensive to remove, pest-infested trees cost homeowners more as they have additional expenses alongside removal. For example, a tree infested with termites will likely warrant a termite inspection, and trees infested with virulent pests like bagworms might damage other plants, requiring extermination or culling.
Unfortunately, any emergency service or rush job typically comes at an additional cost, and tree removal is no different. Since the arborists and contractors will have to adjust their schedules, potentially losing other customers, you’ll pay a premium. Furthermore, emergency tree removal is also much more difficult, as it deals with trees that have already fallen or are at risk of falling. These situations require more care, specialized tools, and larger teams of workers, all while on a ticking clock.
Emergency removal services that happen after a severe weather event, like large storms, tornados, or floods, can be even more expensive. Since tree damage is common during disasters, removal services often see an influx of calls. In these situations, price gouging is not uncommon, even though it’s unethical and, in some cases, illegal. Thankfully, insurance companies, specifically homeowners insurance, usually cover fallen trees and can cover these expenses.
Many other, less common factors and incidents can increase your tree removal cost. As a general rule of thumb, anything that makes the job harder, more dangerous, take longer, or requires additional equipment will increase the cost. For example, special precautions and tools like cranes may be needed to safely down a tree adjacent to power lines, costing up to 50% more. Some situations which can lead to price hikes include the following:
Removal companies offer various other services you can purchase besides felling, hauling, and disposing of trees. Most of the time, these services can be bought independently or purchased alongside a removal. Some companies may even offer these additional services as incentives or at a discounted rate when ordering a tree removal.
One of the most commonly purchased add-on services is stump removal. While some homeowners like the look of stumps, removing them is important as they can attract pests, and their root systems can be problems for other plants. Removing a stump is difficult and time-consuming, so many homeowners opt to have professionals take care of the problem. Stump removal is not included with tree removal and is charged as a separate service. On average, stump removal costs between $150 to $400, with most companies charging around $300. Some companies offer stump grinding services, which chip down most of the stump, costing $200.
Tree service companies often include hauling away the tree, large branches, and the stump but don’t include removing debris from the felling process. Once the tree is taken care of, your yard or property can be filled with branches, chips, and other debris. Thankfully, tree removal companies offer removal services for this debris, including wood chipping, hauling, or log splitting. Debris hauling costs between $50 and $150. Wood chipper services will run you $75 to $125 an hour but provide mulch for your garden. Log splitting costs around $100 per tree and provides firewood.
To move a healthy tree from one location to another, you must purchase a tree transplanting service. These will cost different amounts depending on the size of the tree, with smaller trees costing an additional $200 to $800 on top of the standard rate. Depending on the size, larger trees can be extremely expensive, costing at least $1,000 and going as high as tens of thousands.
Occasionally, the tree being felled, or the surrounding trees must be trimmed to avoid additional damage. When this happens, you’ll need additional trimming and pruning services. Tree trimming costs anywhere from $400 to $800, depending on the tree’s height.
We don’t recommend DIY tree removal. Even small trees can be difficult and dangerous to chop down. Removing a tree without the proper training, equipment, and permits can lead to damaged structures, injury, fines, lawsuits, and even death.
However, if you have the correct tools and appropriate skills to remove a tree safely, you can do so as long as no permits are required. Remember, even if you have the legal all clear, you’re responsible and liable for all damages to property and people resulting from cutting down and removing the tree.
If you’re dead set on DIY tree removal, you can expect to pay for the following equipment:
|Chainsaw||$75 to over $200|
|Steel toed boots||$100 or more|
|Durable work gloves||$20 to $50|
|Safety glasses||$10 to $20|
|Felling wedges (six-pack)||$25|
|Hearing protection earmuffs||$25 to $50|
|Chainsaw chaps||$90 to over $120|
|Tree ax||$90 to $120|
|First aid kit||$25|
Even with proper training and equipment, removing a tree is still dangerous. When tackling any tree removal, always adhere to the following safety guidelines:
See the appropriate OSHA guidelines and safety manuals for a more detailed safety overview of tree removal.
Removing a tree can be expensive, but due to the inherent risks (both bodily and financial), it’s well worth the cost. When you have a tree that needs to be removed, contacting a certified arborist, tree care, or landscaping company should always be your first step. Even if you decide to remove it yourself, there can be important factors, like rot or pest damage, that only a trained eye can spot.
Yes, it’s industry standard for tree removal companies to provide free quotes after an initial walkthrough.
Generally, we recommend removing stumps, dead trees, and root systems from your yard or lawn. Dead trees can attract nasty pests like termites or grow harmful molds which can damage other plants.
If your tree is at immediate risk of falling or damaging other trees or property, you should remove it immediately. Otherwise, late winter or early spring are the best times. These seasons are ideal because trees are the lightest, lacking leaves. Furthermore, any pests inside the trees will be dormant.
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