The cost of tree felling varies depending on the size, girth and location of the tree. A tree in an open yard is charged differently from the same-sized tree next to a house with wires running through it.

The average price of tree felling is $1,252 with the lower end of the spectrum being around $345 and the high end closer to $3,950.

Tree felling, also referred to as “dropping a tree“, is not to be confused with tree removal when the complete removal and disposal of the tree after felling has been completed.

Small tree

A small tree 5 – 15 ft high would cost $150 to fell and up to $550 for complete removal depending on the amount of foliage and the location in your yard.

Medium tree

A medium tree 15 – 30ft high will cost you $500 to fell and leave it where it lay. The cost of complete removal will be closer to $1,500. This can be high for trees in tricky locations,

Large tree

This would be a tree 30 – 60ft high and would cost $900 to fell it safely to the ground. To cut and dispose of the entire tree you would pay anywhere from $1,850 to $4,250.

Extra large tree

This would be a monster tree up to 100 ft high. The average cost to fell would be $1,850 and leave it where it lays. To remove it, you could be looking at as much as $9,000. Remember it is not all about height. Palm trees get tall, but a 100 ft oak tree or redwood is a totally different kettle of fish.

Felling vs removal cost

SizeFelling onlyComplete removal
5 - 15ft$150$550
15- 30ft$500$1,500
30 - 60ft$900$4,250
Up to 100 ft$1,850$9,000

As mentioned previously there is a very large difference in workload when just felling a tree, or when removing it completely.

Tree felling refers to the act of cutting the tree down to the ground. Traditionally that would be done by cutting it from the base and watching it fall over. In suburbia it’s a little different and may require an arborist to climb it and remove it bit by bit.

Tree removal is hauling the whole tree away, normally feeding it all through a wood chipper first so hauling away the mulch.

Can I DIY fell a tree?

If the tree is larger than 15 feet, I strongly recommend you use a qualified and insured tree service to do the job. Tree felling and removal is a lot more dangerous than you might think and when you start working from heights, that danger factor goes up a notch or two.

You may be able to save some money with DIY tree felling if you are able to borrow a chainsaw and a trailer, but if you need to hire them both from Home Depot, you will end up paying about the same as it might cost you to get a pro to do the job.

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Is it felling or falling a tree?

It’s felling. A tree can be falling over (present continuous), but normally a tree has fallen and you see it lying on the ground. “Felling a tree” is the act of cutting a tree so it falls over onto the ground. “He felled 8 trees on his farm yesterday”. It’s a tree used in forestry and by arborists.

What is the process of felling a tree?

For this we are going to assume that the tree is in an empty lot and there are not obstructions like cables running through the tree, nor is the tree close to any structure that might get damaged.

Step 1: Assess the trees natural lean

We need to work with gravity. In a perfect world the tree would be straight as an arrow, but in reality there is most likely a slight lean or more weight from branches on one side. We need to work with that and fell it in that direction.

Step 2: The V or scarf cut

The scarf cut is a wedge-shaped notch that is made to remove support in the direction you want the tree to fall. By removing this we are directing the tree to fall a certain way. This is actually very similar to the way a beaver fell a tree.

Step 3: Connect a rope

If you know what you are doing you may not even need a rope, but it is always a good idea when you are close to structures that could be damaged if the tree were to fall the wrong way.

Step 4: The back cut & hinge

This is the cut that will send the tree toppling over. It is placed on the opposite side of the V-shaped scarf cut and about an inch higher. You do not cut all the way through rather leave a little bit of the tree’s trunk to act as a hinge so the tree falls in the desired direction.

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.