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Complete Tree Removal Cost Guide 2020
Last updated: 29 January 2020
How much does tree removal cost?
There are two ways to calculate the cost of tree removal, using a calculator tool or being given the variables to work it out yourself. But which one is better.
Prices start at $225 for small trees and go right up to $3,900 for larger trees. Other factors such as access, tree condition and time of year all contribute to cost.
The cost of tree removal can go a lot higher than this, but the above price range is within a band of averages. Below is our FREE online cost calculating tool for tree removal. Use it to quickly and easily work out an estimate your tree job.
Calculating the cost to remove a tree can be tricky as there are a lot of factors to take in, but understanding all the factors will be a huge advantage, as it will give you the upper hand on understanding where big savings can be made with your own tree removal job.
Shortcut: Why not getting 3 FREE estimates from local tree services. All have been voted best priced by previous users. It just takes 2 minutes to request a 3 FREE quotes.
Cost of tree removal by tree size?
Cost to removal a Small tree
The cost to remove a small tree ranges from $200 – $500. I would classify a small tree being 5 – 15ft. in height and a trunk diameter no larger than 6 inches.
Medium tree removal price
A medium tree will cost you between $500 and $900 for complete removal. Some factors such as location in your yard and access may vary price slightly. A medium tree can be defined as a tree 15 – 25ft. in height.
Large tree removal cost
Larger trees obviously cost more for removal due to the large amounts of foliage and timber that needs to be removed. You can expect to pay between $900 and $2500. A large tree is any tree that is 30 – 60 ft. in height.
X-Large tree removal estimate
Extra-large trees are a little less common in suburbia and can be defined as any tree that is taller than 60ft. Some of them range right up to 120 ft. You can expect to pay $2500 – $4500 for complete including the stump.
Tree removal cost examples (with pictures)
Below I have taken photographs of different tree species of various sizes and discussed the price you could expect to pay to remove this type of tree. Hopefully with an image of a tree that is similar to yours you can get a rough idea of price.
Estimated height: 10ft. tall
Botanical name: Acer pseudoplatanus
This is the smallest tree we will be quoting. It is about 10 ft. high and juvenile. A tree removal service would charge no more than $200 for complete removal of this Sycamore tree.
Pro tip: Any tree smaller than 15 ft. can be removed by a lawn and garden care company. They generally charge 50% less which brings the price down to $100.
Estimated height: 12ft. tall
Botanical name: Magnolia grandiflora
This is quite a small job and would not take a tree service more than 1 hour to complete from arrival to pulling away in their truck. It is in the front yard with easy access and not many obstacles. This tree will cost $340 – $550 to remove. I know it seems like a lot for 1 hours work, but it’s the heavy equipment and the work crew of 4 or more which will make it so fast. A 1 or 2 man band will take half the day. Plus you need to factor in travel time etc.
For cheaper prices you can opt to contact a lawn care garden maintenance type company who will surely quote you a cheaper price for something is small. I do not recommend getting in anyone other than an arborist for any tree taller than 15 ft.
Canary Island Date Palm
Estimated height: 12ft. tall
Botanical name: Phoenix canariensis
This Date palm is a mid-sized specimen and in someone’s front yard. Although access is easy, great care will need to be take not to damage the hedge below and the manicured lawn.
The trunks on these trees are also deceptively large in diameter. To remove this tree would cost $810 – $1,320 including stump removal.
Video of example
Estimated heights: 10 – 15ft. tall
Trees: Sycamore, Magnolia, Date Palm
In this video I talk you though the first three examples listed above. There is a bit more information on why they prices are as they are so you can get an idea of what it might cost to remove your small tree.
Estimated height: 20ft. tall
Botanical name: Populus
As you can see this tree is about medium sized, but is in a bit of a tricky spot. It’s hard up against the house and walled in. The only access is through a small gate out of the frame. If this tree was in an open front yard, it would cost $600 – $850 for complete removal. But it awkward position and extra time needed to remove, this tree will cost closer to $1000 – $1200 to remove.
Estimated height: 25ft. tall
Botanical name: Pinophyta
This conifer has a duel leading trunks, so it’s essentially two trees in one. Even though this tree is behind a ball, it is going to be east for an arborist to climb it and block it down throwing the pieces onto the street for the crew to clean up.
Even though it is a due leader, I can not imagine you paying more than $850 – $1,200 for complete removal. The price may vary depending on the city you live and the time you year you opt to get it removed.
Estimated height: 30ft. tall
Botanical Name: Pinus strobus
The below example is a Radiate pine along someone’s driveway leading to their house.
There is easy access for heavy machinery and lots of room to work. A tree like this would cost $1,750 – $2,285 to remove.
Video of example
Estimated heights: 20 – 30ft. tall
Trees: Conifer, White pine, Poplar
In this cost example for medium to large sized trees we look at three vastly different trees in three vastly different situations. We address the not so obvious factors that add to the cost of tree removal and what you might be able to d to mitigate those factors.
Estimated height: 40ft. tall
Botanical name: Pinus radiata
This photo done not do the tree justice as it is bigger than it looks when you are standing next to it. The removal of pine trees are a little awkward given it’s close proximity to the home and the lack of room to work. This job is perfectly suited for a crane to lift it onto the street and feed it through the waiting chipper.
Due to the location and size you can expect to pay $2,400 – $3,000 for the removal of this tree.
Estimated height: 70ft. tall
This is a very large specimen and everything appears a lot closer when you are right up next to the tree. This photo was taken from about 60 meters away. This is a very large specimen and would cost you $2,990 – $3,750 for complete removal.
What is the average cost of tree removal?
The average tree removal cost is $871 so far in 2019. This is a handy fact, but really has no bearing on the cost of your tree.
Trees come in all shapes and sizes, so only by studying a bit more information below will you get a more accurate indication of exactly how much you can expect to pay to have your tree cut down.
How is the cost of tree removal calculated?
There are a lot of variables to take into consideration when calculating the cost of tree removal. The way in arborist would normally calculate the cost of removing a tree is to come out for a site visit to visually see the tree, view the access to the tree and any obstacles around the tree. They can then determine how much time it will take to safely dismantle the tree and take everything away.
As tree services do not charge an hourly rate, but charge by the job, there is no magic formula they use for calculating the cost of tree removal.
Every local tree cutting service is different, so the use their own formula specific to their business.
All businesses have different overheads, staff members and a wide variety of equipment used to remove trees. All these cost factors specific to their individual business need to be taken into consideration when pricing your tree removal job, so they can guarantee their time is not wasted and they can make a profit.
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Cost calculator for tree removal
How does the tree removal cost calculator work?
The tree removal cost calculator which we have put together is one of the most accurate on the market. It takes into account four (4) of the main factors to determine exactly what a tree job will cost.
We use these 4 variables as they are the biggest factors that swing price the most.
That being said, there are a lot more factors than just four to consider, which will go into more detail below, but the biggest factors which sway the price estimate on tree removal are:
Job type: Trim | Removal
Tree size: 1 story | 2 stories | 3 stories
No. of trees: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4+
Access to trees: Easy (front) | Difficult (back)
Just by using these 4 variables, we are able to calculate with a certain degree of accuracy the price you would expect to pay for your particular tree removal or trimming job.
Some of the factors we considered adding to the calculator tool that also affect the cost were whether the tree is dead or alive, obstacles around the tree such as fences sheds power lines or your home and also if the tree is on a block of land with a steep gradient.
We have found that even though these factors do play a role in the cost of tree removal, the four main factors that we have included in the cost calculating tool still seem to be the most relevant and get a very accurate price within $75.
Does this cost also include stump removal?
The above cost calculator we have put together above does not take into account the separate cost of stump removal, but includes the cost of stump removal in the estimate when removing a tree.
We have been working on a separate tool to calculate just the cost of stump removal or the cost of tree removal and stump separately, but we have found that to include tree and stump removal as a package seems to work best and is one of the more popular search terms by users.
What factors add to the cost of tree removal?
Below we’re going to go in a little bit more detail discussing some more factors that will contribute to the cost of tree removal. Again in the calculator we have left these particular variables out as a selection criteria yet as an average they have been factored in to the cost.
This is where a small bit of variance does come in which can either work in your favour or against you.
Here they are in no particular order:
Time of year
These factors are in no particular order but it did make sense to stick this one at the top. Time of year is a very important factor when it comes to the cost of tree removal.
Getting your tree removed in spring and summer will have you paying a premium price for the service. It’s much like trying to book a hotel by the beach during summer holidays. There is a lot more demand during this period and you’ll simply pay more.
During the winter months most tree companies go into hibernation (pun intended) as they do not have enough work to sustain them. Some can thrive in winter if they have a side business such as selling firewood, but for most tree services they continue doing whatever tree work they can find. This is great news as you are on the right side of the supply and demand chain with tree services falling over each other trying to win your business. At the end of the day you will pay less.
Tree size is an obvious one, so I won’t go into too much detail, but the bigger the tree the more you will pay. Now there is a difference between how tall a tree is and how “big” it is. When I say big, you need to factor in number of branches and spread of the tree.
Number of branches
Some trees have a single straight trunk with lots of small branches which are really easy to work on. Others will have like an oak tree will have large branches it extend out a long way. These are a lot more time-consuming to work on and will cost you a lot more money to remove.
The diameter of the tree trunk is generally directly tied to the size of the tree. The taller the tree, the larger of the diameter of the trunk needed to support that tree. That being said you do get some trees that are tall with a very slender trunks. These are a lot easier to handle a lot less time-consuming and less manual labour required. A good general rule of thumb to consider when calculating the cost of tree removal is, the more volume of timber the more it will cost you to have the tree removed.
Location on property
This is a really big factor and has been added as a selection criteria in the tree removal cost calculator. Imagine you had two identical trees one of them was in your front yard which was easily assessable by heavy machinery and the other tree of the exact size and shape is in your backyard with very poor rear access.
The tree in the front yard will most likely cost you half the price as tree in your backyard. The reason being there is a lot more manual labour involved in transporting the tree from the backyard to the front without the assistance of heavy machinery. This takes time and time is money.
Pro tip: You can negate this extra cost by granting the best access possible to the tree in your backyard. If you don’t have a driveway with a good rear access, maybe your neighbour does? Putting them on your Christmas card list and asking them if they would mind you removing a section of fence so the tree services can access your backyard through their driveway will save you hundreds of dollars.
This is a very big factor depending on the obstacle the tree services face. If a tree is overhanging your house obviously the house cannot be moved to make the removal of the tree easier. The arborist will just have to work around it.
But other things like pot plants, fences and even power lines to your house can all be removed or repositioned to make the removal or pruning job a lot easier for the tree service company.
Pro tip: The easier it is for the arborist to remove your tree, the less money it is going to cost you. Remove any obstacles around the tree before the tree comes down. It is important that you do this or indicate your intention to do this during the quoting process. The tree service needs to know exactly what they are working with when pricing your job.
The company quoting your job
This factor is probably one of the biggest ones people don’t take into account. There are many types of tree companies of various sizes who approach their business model differently. If you get three quotes from the first tree services that you find in an internet search, chances are you were going to be paying more for tree lopping.
It is not blind luck or coincidence that those companies were the first ones that you came across. These companies pay a lot of money to be in top positions.
Their large marketing budgets will net them a lot more leads and phone calls, but they will need to quote higher prices to recoup the large amounts of money they do spend on marketing. So don’t be afraid to check page 2 of Google results or Yelp.
What can I do to reduce the cost tree removal?
There are many things you can control in reducing the cost of removing a tree from your property.
In no particular order they are listed below with an explanation.
Do the work in winter
This one we have touched on a little above. Because there is so little work and so many companies trying to win the work, you will find in most cases they drop their prices 20 – 30% in the cooler months.
Grant better access to the tree
Giving the tree service better access is also a very big deal. If you are able to remove a section of fence to allow the tree service to enter via your neighbours yard, or maybe you back onto a Laneway or park, you will save them time and yourself a lot of money.
There are lots of obstacles that you might not even think of being a big deal, but can add to the time taken to remove the tree which will inadvertently cost you more money.
Tree pruning and removal is pretty rough and tumble. If you have anything delicate near the tree being trimmed or removed such as pot plant, outdoor furniture, kids play equipment etc. this will have the tree service company dancing around it all trying not to damage anything. Even a nicely manicured lawn or a beautiful garden bed under the tree can seriously slow things up.
If you make it clear during the quoting process that you will remove everything out of the way before they start the job, you’ll find this simple trick can save you quite a bit of money.
Dispose of waste yourself
Depending on the size location, and type of tree being removed it is debatable whether this can save you money.
In the case of palm trees on the other hand, disposing of the waste yourself is going to save you 30 – 50% off the price of removal.
Palm trees are not like regular trees, they are actually quite acidic and cannot be mulched and re-sold by the tree service companies as garden cover. The whole tree needs to be dumped at a waste disposal facility as general waste and not green waste. This is actually quite expensive with most places charging in the hundreds of dollars per tonne. Because palm trees are full of water and quite heavy, the costs add up quickly.
If you were to dispose of the green waste yourself either in your garbage bin over time, or if your local council has a clean-ups for free, you can place the palm logs on the sidewalk for free removal.
Fire sale on firewood
Why not sell your trees timber as firewood? This is only really worth it if you have a large tree, and doubly worth it if the tree is in your back yard and hard to get to. Rather than paying the tree service to remove the whole tree, just ask them to remove the branches. Also ask the trunk to be cut into firewood size logs.
Not only will you save money for removal as the tree company will not have to spend time manually loading and removing all the timber, but you can have an auction on eBay for the firewood. People will pay you for the timber and come pick it up for free.
Is tree trimming calculated the same way?
Tree trimming is calculated in a similar way to tree removal. All the above factors come into play when calculating pruning costs, but obviously in general the cost of tree trimming is a lot cheaper than full tree removal.
For more information on the cost of tree removal, please have a look at our tree trimming cost guide for more information.
How is palm removal cost calculated?
Calculating the cost of palm tree removal does vary quite a bit from regular tree removal. In essence, they are two totally different jobs and a palm tree is really just one long trunk with a few leave on top. They are going to be a lot easier for the tree service to work on, so the cost to calculate their removal is a bit different.
The average cost of palm tree removal is $429. At the low end you might only pay $150, but at the high end of the spectrum you can pay up to $3000.
This is a topic we will have to cover in more detail and is beyond the scope of this article.
Does tree removal cost vary from state to state?
The cost of tree removal can vary from state to state due to a few factors.
Population density, supply and demand as well as cost of living will all come into play.
In general it would come down to the running costs of a tree business in your state or city. Obviously the cost to remove a tree in San Francisco would be more than in Fresno even though they are both in California.
The cost of housing, office space, insurance and the average wages for the area will affect the price of local services. The cost of tree removal is no different.
How do you calculate the cost of emergency tree removal?
As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay double for emergency tree removal. It will all depend on the circumstances though.
If it’s a Sunday afternoon and a tree on your property has fallen through a fence, power lines or even a house, then you will need someone to come out in a hurry to help remove the tree. But as you can imagine, getting a tree service after hours or on weekends is going to cost you more.
The same is true when a storm has swept through your town or city and knocked over hundreds of trees. Due to the high demand, tree removal is going to cost you a lot more than it would on a regular day.
How to save on emergency tree removal
Firstly, if the tree has come down or is dangerous, you should call emergency services first to render the tree safe. This is a free service and will not cost you a thing.
Once the tree is safe, you are best taking your time to get quotes and wait for the right price. If it is due to a storm, you might have to wait for a few weeks before getting a tree service out. Once all the emergency work has died down, they will begin quoting normal prices again.
How much does land clearing cost?
Land clearing is a different service to just regular tree removal. A lot of the time you are clearing land because you want to build a home or commercial building.
Calling a tree removal company is the expensive option. In this case you are best going with a construction company with heavy machinery. In most cases you are going to want the land levelled as well as the tree removed. This is something a tree company cannot do, so you are best getting a medium to large construction company with the right equipment to do both services at the same time.
This will save you time and surly a lot of money in the process.
Cheap tree removal services near me
Finding cheap local tree removal services is not as hard as you think. Follow these steps to 50% or greater savings:
1. Don’t go with the companies at the top of search results. They pay a lot to be there and will pass those costs onto you.
2. If you are not in a rush, hire in winter. By hiring in the off-season you will save 20-30% off regular prices. This is due to an over-supply of tree services and very little demand.
3. Get a gardener to do the job. Tree services generally charge twice as much as gardeners. This is only valid for trees 15ft (I story house height) or smaller. Anything larger will need to be done by a certified arborist.
4. Use GoTreeQuotes FREE services to request 3 quotes from local tree services. All recommended have been voted “best priced” by previous users. These are obligation free quotes.
How much to remove a tree yourself?
Removing a tree yourself is only recommended if the tree is 15 feet in height or smaller. Trees that are larger than this will require the expertise of a certified arborist.
Trying to removing a tree whilst on a step ladder is extremely dangerous and is not recommended. If you can do the job while on the ground, then go for it. If not, please call a professional.
Cost of chainsaw hire
You will need to hire a chainsaw which normally costs about $60 for a half day hire or $90 for a full day. You will need to brush up on your chainsaw safety skills first, but this is generally something they can run through with you at the hire shop.
Green waste dumping fees
Green waste can be expensive to dump, so if possible it is recommended that you dispose of it over time in your green waste bin, or wait for a city clean-up and place the waste material from your tree removal on the side walk.
The average cost of tree removal is $890. Knowing this however does not bring you any closer to knowing the cost to remove YOUR tree. The reason is the above is an average price taken form all quotes given including trees from 15 ft. tall to over 80 ft. tall. To get a more accurate price on your tree removal job, please look at the cost by tree size here, or get 3 quotes from local tree services.
In general it is cheaper to cut down trees in winter. The main reason is not because the tree has less leaves and it’s easier to work on, it’s because the economy of supply and demand are in your favor.
Tree services along with landscapers and lawn care companies are in low demand in winter. If you have the same supply of companies in winter, but half the work to go around, companies become more competitive on price as they try to win what little work there is. You will save an average of 25% hiring in winter.
Pine trees come in different shapes and sizes. For the sake of this question we are going to look at a 50 ft. spruce type pine. A 50 foot pine will cost you between $890 and $1,780 depending on the access to the tree and its location on your property. Trees that can be felled from the base are a lot cheaper than trees that need a climber or a cherry picker to remove.
Trees that are 100 ft. or more in height will cost $2,400 on average to remove. There are 100’s of different species of trees and each will come with different price tags. Other factors that will add to the cost of removal is access to the tree and the tree service you hire to do it. Be sure to shop around to secure a good deal.
In most cases no. Tree services will come and cut down your tree for a fee, but the odds of you selling your tree are slim. If your tree is a desirable palm species such as a Date palm, you might be able to sell it to a local landscaping company who will then sell it on for a profit.
Other than palm trees, you would need to have a tree with very exotic timber for someone to offer you money to take it away.
This will depend on the type of tree and how close to your house it is. The roots of some trees can be quite invasive and begin to crack the foundations of your home if left grow. A good safe distance is 10 ft. or more from the outer edge of the trunk. At this distance a trees roots can still find their way into drains and under your home, but they are less likely to cause any real foundational damage. Anything closer than 10 ft. and you should consider removing it.
The cost to remove an Oak tree will depend on the size of the tree, the number of branches and how easy it is to access and remove. The average price for a medium-size Oak tree removal is $1,750, but the real range starts at $950 for smaller Oaks, and goes right up to $4,300 for very large ones.
There are a few things you need to look for when selecting a tree service to remove your tree. Firstly when doing an internet search you need to have a look at their reviews. If they have too many 1 and 2 star reviews, you need to keep looking. Next you need to do a background check on the company. Go to your state company registrar website and type in their company name or number. Have a look to see how long they have been in business and whether they have changed their trading name recently. When they are out quoting your job you need to ask for an arborist certificate and insurance details.
This will depend on the size of the tree being removed. The best way to gage whether you are getting a good price, is to get more than 1 quote. A good number of quotes is 3, but there is nothing wrong with getting 4 or 5 quotes for very large jobs.
Insurance companies will cover the cost of tree removal if the tree came down in a storm or any other act of nature. They will not cover the removal of a healthy just because you want to cut it down. They will also not cover the removal of a dead tree (died years ago) that finally fell after years of neglect.
In most cases no. If your tree came down in a storm, you may get your insurance company to foot the bill. If you are a tenant of a property you can ask your landlord if they would mind paying, but I’m sure it would depend on the circumstances. There are programs available such as small government grants for pensioners who need to remove a tree but do not have the funds. You will need to speak to your local council or state government pension office about the details.
Trees are very difficult to price from a picture or a description over the phone. The reason is the difficulty and time take to remove a tree can only be assessed when taking into account the access to the property, obstacles around the tree and the shape and size of the tree itself. All of which is difficult to describe over the phone. Tree services will need to book in a time to view the job to give you a firm quote.
If your tree is protected due to its size will need to apply for a permit to remove the tree. To know whether your tree is protected, please refer to your local Tree Removal Ordinance for more information.
If the council feels you do not have sufficient grounds to remove the tree they may decide that it should stay. You can then get an arborist report from an independent arborist. If the arborist inspection finds the tree is dangerous, you can then resubmit your application for review. If the tree is protected and healthy, the likelihood of getting approval for removal is slim.
If the tree is question is on city property, they will come out and prune any branches that are encroaching on your property. If the tree is on your property however, you will need to foot the bill. All trees on your property are the responsibility of the owner to maintain.
Most of the time, you will only need to give the tree company access to your yard to do the job. You will not need to be present while the tree is being removed. Arrangements can be made for payment after you have returned home and inspected the finished job.
Stump removal is normally priced separately. If you have a quote for a tree to be removed, make sure they have specify whether that price includes the removal of the stump. If it does not, they may try to get away with charging you an extra fee for removal. This is a dirty trick, but can be easily avoided if you have it written on the quote exactly what is included in the price.
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 dedicating to providing users with the most accurate up to date information on everything trees.
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