Oak trees require trimming from time to time to maintain good form and health, as well as keeping them out of power lines and off buildings.

The average cost of oak tree trimming is $637, but it will depend on the size of your tree, its location on your property, plus how much needs to be pruned.

The range of price you can expect to pay would be $125 – $1700. This would incorporate small 6 – 10 ft. trees, right up to a 50ft. mature specimen.

Below I break down oak tree trimming by tree size.

oak tree trimming cost guide

As a part of tree maintenance and care, all Oak trees need to be pruned once or twice in the first 5 years after planting. This ensures that it is being training to a single main leader trunk and retains a good branch structure.

Known as formative pruning you can expect to pay $125 – $250. It would involve the removal of crossing branches, a canopy lift, and the removal of deformed or dead branches.

This would be a juvenile to mid-aged tree up to 20 feet tall. At this stage, you will need to consider another canopy lift (removal of lower branches), or building clearance depending on your property and the locations of the trees.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $250 – $950 for trimming an oak tree of this size.

Proper American standards of pruning need to be implemented, so you will need to hire a certified arborist to carry out the pruning work. I would not rely on a gardener to have to skills and expertise to carry out such a prune with any kind of competence.

An oak tree of this size would have done most of its growing, with the biggest ones maybe getting another 5 – 10 feet higher. At this stage, you can look to maintain its shape and form by just removing problem branches and deadwood.

You could also opt to carry out a tree reduction by pruning 3rd and 4th order branches to reduce the overall size of the tree or other formative pruning techniques such as a canopy lift or tinning.

Pruning a large oak tree will cost $950 – $1700 depending on exactly what is being done.

How often do oak trees need trimming?

The regularity in which an oak tree should be pruned will depend on how fast it grows and the surroundings. Dryer climates and less rainfall will mean a much slower growing tree, but normally you can expect to prune an oak tree every 3 – 6 years.

When pruning an oak tree having a clear goal to communicate to the arborist is key.

Things like:
I would like to let more light through to my home or grass.
I want to improve my view.
I want to remove dead branches.

This ensures an outcome you are happy with and a healthier tree and you minimize costs.

How much should I have pruned?

I recommend keeping the prune to less than 20% of the tree’s total canopy for each prune. This will minimize the shock to the tree’s system and ensure it bounces back stronger than ever with new growth year on year.

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Is pruning good for an oak trees health?

Yes, the pruning of any tree is fantastic for its health. The root system of a tree is in balance with what you see above ground. If it wants to grow bigger, it will need a larger root system first.

By pruning a tree, you reduce the number of resources needed to maintain the oak tree which allows the tree to use reserves for new growth, flowering, and fruit production.

You do need to make sure you are using the correct trimming techniques to give your tree the best chance at survival.

This is why fruit tree farmers prune trees every year in winter to ensure a better harvest come spring.

Best time of year to trim oaks

Like all trees, pruning an oak tree in later winter is key. Most trees are dormant in winter, as well as pests such as borers and other beetles.

By pruning in winter you are giving the tree a head start come spring to begin producing sap and healing itself to protect itself from infestation.

What will it cost to remove an oak tree?

Oaktree removal much like trimming will largely depend on the size of the tree being removed. Other factors such as tree location and time of year come into play also.

The cost of oak tree removal is always cheaper in the winter as there is a lot less work for tree services, and they bid lower prices to win work.

I recommend reading our oak tree removal cost guide for more information on removal costs by size.

Will I need a permit to trim an oak tree?

All cities have a tree removal and pruning ordinance which has rules and regulations regarding the pruning or removal of any tree.

You will need to refer to the tree Ordinance for your particular city to see whether you will need a permit.

You can find the tree ordinance for your city here.

FAQ's

In most cases, your trees should be trimmed in winter. The first reason is it’s better for your tree’s health. If you have fruit trees, this will ensure better fruit production and a bigger harvest. As an added bonus the second reason is it’s also cheaper. Tree services are generally scratching around for work in winter so will submit lower bids to win jobs in winter.

Trimming in early spring is fine, but you don’t want to leave it too long. The reason is with warm weather comes bugs, pests, and fungal infections that can kill your tree. The reason we trim in late winter is your tree has a chance to heal its wounds and is not left wide open to infection.

The law states that yes, your neighbor can trim any part of your tree hanging over their yard, BUT only if it is legal to do so. By legal I mean do they need a permit from the city to trim the tree? normally larger trees are protected and a permit might be required. Having an open dialog with your neighbor about your trees is the best way to handle these situations.

You can but I don’t advise. Most trees service will want to look at the job before they give a firm price. This is because no two trees are the same and the price will also vary. I suggest getting 3 – 4 estimates from tree services willing to come out and view the job first.

Tree trimming can be carried out without your presence. As long as the company has access to the tree and your property to remove the green waste it should not be an issue.

If you have a professional do the job then they will dispose of the waste. If you have just rimmed your neighbor’s tree overhanging your fence, you can just throw the waste over their yard, but in the interest of keeping things civil, I would dispose of the waste yourself. Legally you are not required to do so.

Yes, Trimming Oak trees in winter are cheaper than in Summer. You can normally save about 20% off the price. The reason being that tree services have little work on in winter and are willing to do the job much cheaper just to win the work.

If you over prune an oak tree at the wrong time of year and with a bad technique, you can kill it. It is extreme, but it does happen. I recommend you seek the advice of a professional arborist near you before trimming your oak.

It is advisable to seek the expertise of a professional arborist before trimming your Oak tree. Not only can trimming of large trees be dangerous without the proper training and equipment, but you could also do more damage to your tree than good.

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

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.