The cost of having a tree branch removed can vary in price based on the size of the branch, the height of the branch, and a number of other factors.

The average cost of branch removal is $129. A low estimate for branch removal is $59 and a high estimate would be $750.

Let’s explore a few of the different factors that could make branch removal more or less expensive.

average tree branch removal cost infographic

Branch removal cost by size

National Average$180
Small Branches$120
Medium Branches$250
Large Large branches$750

Removing large tree branches

I do not recommend using just a handyman for large branch removal. You will need a tree doctor who has the training equipment and experience in scaling large trees and removing any branches in a safe and efficient manner.

Big tree branches can weigh wards of 1000lbs so if something were to go wrong, the branch could potentially do a lot of damage.

Using a tree branch removal service near you is the best way to go.

arborist removing a large tree branch

Removing broken tree branches

Tree branches tend to break during high winds or storms. In some cases, the branch is left hanging there and in other cases, it falls to the ground.

Important: You will need to get a tree doctor in to make a clean cut of the remaining stub on your tree. This will ensure the wound can heal properly and won’t get infected.

Depending on the tree, insects, borer, or fungal infections can set in and be deadly for the tree over time.

Hiring tree branch removal services

There are a few things to remember when hiring a service to cut your tree branch down in a safe manner.

Qualified – Make sure you hire a qualified and registered arborist. They have the skills and experience to remove branches without damaging your property.

Insured – Accidents do happen, so you better make sure your selected arborist has public liability insurance. This will cover you and your property in cases of an accident.

Experience – Make sure the branch cutting service near you has sufficient experience. Do a quick search online for your state’s business register. See how long the tree service you intend to hire has been in business. Anything less than 5 years is a risk.

tree branch being removed safely by local tree service

Factors to consider

The following are the top things to consider about your own branch removal job. The below factors can add to the cost of branch removal. Doing your best to mitigate any of these factors where possible will reduce the cost of removal.

Obstacles

Is the branch you want to remove extended out over power lines? Does it extend out over your home, a shed, or your fence? When the tree service views your branch removal job for quoting, the difficulty in removing the branch is the first thing they will take into consideration.

Having a branch directly over something of value, that is easily broken, will certainly add to the cost of the branch being removed.

This will mean a lot more care will need to be taken, rigging up lowering points on the tree with ropes and using the assistance of machinery or ground crew.

Size/Height of branch

Obviously, the size of the branch is going to play a big role in how much it will cost to remove. Not only the raw size of the branch but also how high up on the tree it is.

You could have a branch that is 5m long, but only 1m off the ground, or could have a 2m branch that is 10m up off the ground. A smaller branch higher up will cost more to remove.

Number of branches

It really goes without saying that if you increase the number of branches that you would like to have removed from your tree, you will be charged more. That doesn’t mean if you have two branches you’ll be charged double and three branches you’ll be charge triple. Tree services price this type of work on a job by job basis and if they’re removing 1 branch and just have to do one or two more, the cost will increase, but not dramatically.

Do branch cutting services charge by the hour?

The short answer is no. Tree trimming services charge by the job and not by the hour. It is possible that an individual tree service has its own unique way of working out how many hours a job is going to take and what they charge per hour, but this certainly is not an industry-standard hourly rate.

They will give you a set price for the job whether it’s for a single branch removal or complete tree removal.

This is because every tree business is different. They have a different number of employees, different overheads, different equipment, and the cost of running their businesses varies greatly. One tree business might do the same job in half the time but charge twice as much per hour. The job would cost the same amount of money, but again it just depends on the business.

Will I need a permit to remove a tree branch?

This very much depends on the city you are in and the particular tree ordinance that governs laws for tree trimming. Most cities do allow the routine maintenance of trees without having to go through the process of getting a permit.

Things like building clearance power, line clearances, and general tree reductions can usually be done without getting a permit. That being said it does depend on the city you are in and the tree preservation ordinance. I do suggest you visit your local council/city’s website and do a quick search for “tree removal laws” as they pertain to trees on your property.

If you did need a permit, it will either be free or less than $25 and should not take more than a week to get approved.

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Is it worth trimming more than one branch?

If you just have one branch that is causing an issue, maybe his rubbing on your roof, or just for ascetical appeal, but in my opinion, it is worth investigating getting at least an inspection of the other branches on your tree or having a few others trimmed where needed/ advised by local tree cutting services.

Trimming trees can be costly so it’s practical to get any other potentially problematic branches attended to at the same time. Things like removing deadwood, tree thinning, or a canopy lift can greatly improve the overall health of the tree and add to its value a safe useful life expectancy. As a bonus, it will look great and boost the overall appeal of your home and garden.

Reasons for branch removal

There are many reasons for having branches trimmed or removed completely.

Here are a few:

  • Building/power line clearance
  • Aesthetical appeal
  • Stop access to the roof for squirrels, possums, and other pests
  • Allow more light into a dark room
  • Allow more light onto your lawn so it grows better

The price for tree branch removal varies, but you can check our cost guide here.

Is it the same cost for removing a palm tree branch?

You will find trimming palm tree branches otherwise known as “fronds” is a lot cheaper than pruning regular trees. Obviously, this will depend on the size of the palm and the number of fronds been removed, but as a general rule of thumb, they are fairly quick easy, and cheap to work on.

Palm trees should be regularly maintained by removing the dead fronds that are folded down and also trimming a few of the lower green healthy fronds. Be careful not to trim any above the horizontal horizon of the tree branch structure. This is considered bad practice when it comes to palm trimming.

Should I have dead branches removed?

Removing dead branches also known as “deadwood” from trees, especially large ones, is something that should be done annually as part of routine tree maintenance. Because dead branches and no longer correctly secured to the tree, they do become very hazardous to persons and property when they eventually dislodge and fall from the tree. Even a very small dead branch can accelerate very quickly towards the ground and be fatal to adults or children who happened to be under the tree at the time.

Removing dead branches is generally not a very expensive job, and you can expect to pay anywhere from $150-$350 depending on the tree type, size, and obviously the number of dead branches that need to be removed.

Tree shaping styles to consider

Canopy lift

This branch trimming style requires the removal of the lower branches of your tree essentially elevating the whole canopy. It is great for improving your view, increasing light penetration to your home or lawn and also makes the tree a lot more aesthetically appealing.

Tree Thinning

This is the removal of branches within the canopy essentially reducing the thickness of the tree. This is not only a great look for a tree that is too dense but is also healthy for the tree. Having too many crossing branches can cause mechanical damage to branches as they rub against each other in the wind.

Tree/ Canopy reduction

This is a different technique to thinning as it involves the removal of the outer extremities of branches to reduce the overall size and spread of the tree. This technique retains or improves the shape and aesthetical appeal of the tree while reducing its overall size.

Topping/ Pollard

This is the removal of the top half of the tree by just straight cutting through first and second-order vertical branches. This is a technique that is very controversial and in reality, is not all that good for the tree’s health or its overall structural stability.

Trees such as conifers are fine to do this one on, as they will not re-sprout after being cut, but other trees such as Eucalyptus do re-shoot branches that are not correctly attached or actually apart of the tree’s structure. They will blow over in the wind after a few years and can cause further damage to the tree and certainly to anyone or anything directly under the falling branches.

Cost to trim a tree – Notes and General Information

These estimates are for BASIC work performed in regular conditions by a qualified arborist priced at mid-range in the market. Requesting tree trimming work as an emergency service, during peak times or usings certain companies will result in HIGHER COSTS.

These estimates are NOT substitutes for written quotes from qualified arborists or tree service professionals. GoTreeQuotes strongly recommends that you contact reputable and certified professionals for accurate assessments of work required and costs for your project before making a decision or committing.

 

The cost estimate includes:

  • Costs for a qualified local arborist to climb using a single Rope Technique or elevated work platform and trim your tree.
  • Costs to remove all waste material from the site and leave the site as they found it.
  • Setup time and minimum hourly charges are usually included for tree trimming jobs.

 

The cost estimate does NOT include:

  • Costs for tree risk and hazard assessments. This is a separate service and will incur additional costs.
  • Costs for a written arborist report to gain permission from your city, county, or state to trim your tree.
  • Sales tax for service rendered.
  • Permit or inspection fees (or portion thereof) required by your local tree ordinance.

 

Cost to trim a tree – Unit Price References
Standard estimating practices – American society of professional estimators, Website, 2019
Finding and hiring a consulting arborist – American society of arboriculture, website, 2020
How to hire a tree service – University of Florida, pdf, 2019.
Research foundation to tree pruning – Research Gate, website, 2018
How to hire tree care professionals – University of Minnesota, website 2020

FAQ's

It is possible for a tree to die from trimming, but if done correctly, tree trimming is very beneficial for the tree’s overall health. If the trimming is done by a trained arborist at the right time of year, then your tree will respond will beautiful luscious foliage, more flowers, fruit and a much healthier look. If done incorrectly you can put a lot of strain on the tree and slowly deteriorate its health.

If your tree is hanging over your neighbour’s yard they are well within their rights to trim your tree, just as long as they are not breaking any tree audience laws in the process. It’s the norm for them to ask your permission first before pruning, but it is not against the law as it is encroaching on their property.

Applying a herbicide such as glyphosate is the quickest and easiest way to ensure that the pine tree roots will not regrow. Alternatively, you can dig up the roots and remove them but you have to be thorough and make sure you remove the whole system.

Not really. You can go to court, but you are just best doing it yourself. You have the right to trim anything overhanging your yard. If you are not on good terms with your neighbor, then you will not be able to enter their yard to do the job. Everything will need to be done from your side of the fence.

Technically they are. If you trim THEIR tree overhanging YOUR yard, you have the right to throw the waste into their yard for disposal. I personally would not recommend it if you want any kind of relationship with your neighbor.

The average cost of complete tree removal will vary depending on the size of the tree, the number of branches, and the reach of the canopy. Basically volume and difficulty of removal will play the biggest part in the cost of removal. The average cost is $871, but it can go right up to $4,560 for much larger trees.

There are 3 main things to look for when trying to choose the right company for the job. Firstly you want a company with experience. Make sure they have been in business for longer than 5 years. A certified arborist is also a must. There are lots of grounds maintenance or landscaping companies who advertise for tree work but are not skilled in this area.

Make sure your tree service is a licensed arborist. Reviews are something you can not go past these days. Make sure you check more than 1 source (e.g. Yellow pages and Home advisor) and make sure they have an average score of 4.5 stars or higher.

If you are just doing some tree trimming for aesthetic reasons there is no insurance company or city that will foot the bill. If their branch were to come down or break in a storm, then your home insurance should cover the costs. Some companies will remove an entire tree for free to keep the lumber, but not a single branch.

Most cities allow up to 30% of a trees’ foliage to be trimmed each year by a professional arborist. It will depend on your city though, so be sure to refer to the Tree Ordinance for your county or city.

If the tree is on city property and over-hanging your property then the city will come to trim it free of charge. You will need to get in contact with the city arborist who will first meet with you to inspect the job, then arrange for the city tree department to come out and do the job.

Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.