Tree removal is normally carried out by tree arborist services all year round, but there is a dramatic drop-off in demand for their services during the colder months.

It is cheaper to remove trees during the winter. The main reason is supply and demand. There is very little work going on for tree removal services, so they reduce their prices in a bid to win more work.

It actually has less to do with the best time of year for the tree and more about the best time of year to hire tree service companies.

tree trimming in the winter full color

Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter and are also much easier to work on.

When a tree is in full bloom, it is a little more difficult for the arborist to see what he/she is doing when removing your tree.

Plus the clean-up after the removal is a lot easier as there are no leaves to rake up. Less time-consuming means cheaper prices.

The fact the tree is dormant is an added bonus as tree contractors see it as an easier job and are more likely to quote you a cheaper price.

How much can I realistically save in winter?

Normally you can expect to save an average of about 20%. This will depend on the city you live in and how cold it gets.

Warmer states don’t see as much of a drop in prices, because they don’t get a dramatic drop in temperatures.

Why the drop in demand

Basically, people are not out in their gardens. They are rugged up indoors and don’t really think about their garden unless there is a problem.

Again this is not the case in warmer states as people are gardening all year round.

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Can I also save on tree trimming in winter?

Yes, anything tree-related is going to be cheaper in the colder months and this includes tree pruning, stump removal, tree inspections, etc.

Tree removal services in the colder regions spend a lot of their time in the colder months splitting and selling firewood they stockpiled during the year. This helps them make ends meet, but for most, it is not a great income.

If you call them during this lean time for tree removal or pruning, companies will be falling over each other to win your job. This means they can keep the money ticking over in their business and you get a better price.

Do I need a permit to cut down a tree?

Depending on the city you live in and the rules for tree removal. Every city has a tree ordinance that governs which trees are protected and which are not.

Normally the protection has to do with tree size. Once a tree becomes big enough, the city would prefer to retain it for the canopy cover and all the benefits it provides residents rather than allowing it to be removed freely.

An example would be: Any tree with a trunk diameter greater than 8” when measured at 3 feet above the ground level, is protected. Anything smaller can be freely removed.

You will need to check your local tree laws here to see if a permit is required for your tree.

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Can I remove the tree myself?

For little trees and shrubs, there is no problem with money by doing the job yourself, but once the tree gets above a certain size, trying to remove the tree yourself becomes dangerous to you, your property, and those around you.

In your city’s tree removal ordinance, they will normally recommend or in some cases insist that you use a certified arborist for all tree pruning and removal work.

Again you will need to refer to your local city’s tree ordinance for more details.

Hiring arborist for winter tree removal

You now know that hiring in winter is going to save you a tonne of money, but there are also a few things you need to bear in mind to make sure you are getting the service you are paying for.

There are a lot of fly-by-night companies in the tree industry, who use dirty tactics to fleece customers out of their money or simply do a horrible job pruning or removing a tree.

The main concern is they are not insured or qualified and if they were to damage your property or injure themselves on your property, you can be liable for a lot in damages.

You need to ask all tree services that come out to quote your job;

Arboriculture certificate
Public liability insurance

These two documents should be carried by all certified arborists worth their salt.

Remember to phone the insurance company and double-check they are up to date with their payments and are still covered to the time you wish to remove your tree.

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.