When trees grow tall, you may want to prune them. Tree topping is a controversial method of shortening tall trees.

How much you pay for tree topping depends on the tree’s height. You will pay $100-$2000 for tree topping. The taller the tree, the riskier it is to top. Thus, the more you pay.

Besides height, there are other factors you need to consider when topping a tree.

How Much Does It Cost To Top A Tree

Height of the tree

You will pay more to top a tall tree than a short tree.

Tree heightAverage cost
30ft in height$100 - $300
30 - 60ft in height$175 - $400
Over 60ft in height$2000


The more obstacles there are near a tree, the more difficult tree topping is. Consequently, you will pay more if there are more obstacles.

Obstacles for trees you need topping include your home. You need more care when topping a tree near a house. Without proper care, the top trunk or branches may fall on the house and damage it.

Tree species

The cost of work on different trees varies. Different tree species grow to varying heights. The taller the tree, the more you will pay for tree topping. You will pay a lot of money to top a palm tree.

Additionally, some tree species have a softer bark than others. The softer the bark, the easier it is to work on the tree and the lower the cost. The easier it will be to top and the less you will pay.

Factors to consider when topping a tree

Height of the tree

The taller the tree, the riskier the tree-topping task is. When topping tall trees, ensure that no one is near the tree. The top branches may fall on onlookers and others who may be too close to the tree.

When topping a tree that is taller than other trees around it, make sure it does not damage the shorter trees.

Health of the tree

Tree topping affects the overall health of a tree. Arborists do not recommend it as a pruning method.

Tree topping on healthy trees kills them. Cutting off the top of the tree leaves the tree without sufficient nutrients. It also gives it wounds that leave it open to infections and risks its death.

If you decide to top a tree, pick a tree that is already dead or one you are about to cut down. Sometimes, tree removal is difficult for a tall tree. Therefore, tree-topping is a method to shorten the tree before cutting it.


When topping a tree, consider its surroundings. Is the tree growing near electricity wires? Or, is it growing close to other trees?

A tree whose top is near electricity wires should not be topped. Call the electricity company to remove it. Topping a tree near electricity wires may be dangerous. You may touch the electrical wires which could cause you injuries or a power blackout in the neighborhood.

Also, tree topping a tree growing too close to other trees may cause damage to the shorter nearby ones.

Effects of tree topping

  • Loses its shape
  • Loses its crown.
  • Scars the tree.
  • Kills the tree
  • Leaves the tree open to disease and infection.
  • Trees lose their leaves and mode of nutrition.
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What is tree topping?

Tree topping is the removal of the trunk of a tree from the top. It is also known as hat-racking, rounding over, or tipping.

Tree topping involves removing the large branches from the top of the tree and leaving stumps and lateral branches.

Professional arborists only advise or use tree topping on a tree about to be removed. It is not an appropriate tree pruning method as it results in the death of a healthy tree.

Is there a healthier alternative to tree topping?

Yes. A healthier alternative to tree topping is crown reduction.

Crown reduction involves trimming the top branches of the tree, to maintain the shape of the tree crown. It also involves pruning the entire tree to reduce the size of the branches and the number of leaves on the tree.

Crown reduction improves both the overall health of the tree and its aesthetics. Arborists recommend a crown reduction to tree topping.

Better health for your trees results in improved fruit production, better air circulation, and sun exposure.

What Is Crown Reduction

Hire a pro to top your trees

Gotreequotes.com is a free tool for hiring professional tree removal service providers.

It connects homeowners to professionals in the following easy steps.

  1. Enter your zip code at the top of the tool.
  2. Fill in the form to provide more details about the tree removal service you need.
  3. You will receive three or four quotes and advice from professional and licensed tree removal service providers.
  4. Contact and hire a tree removal service that falls within your budget.
Try free service

Do you need a permit to top your tree?

Depending on where you live, you may or may not need a permit to top your trees.

Consult a professional arborist to find out if you need a permit to work on your trees.

There may be protected trees in your region. Getting a permit ensures that you do not destroy protected trees.

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Can you DIY tree topping?

If you have tree-topping skills, you can DIY. However, all tree services are best left to professionals.

Professional tree service providers have the training and the tools to make working on trees safe and easy.

They also carry insurance that ensures they can pay for any damage or accidents that happen at work.

Working on trees can cause injuries. Professionals can work with little to no injuries at all times.

Can You DIY Tree Topping

If a tree is cut down, it should not be topped. Rather than spend the money on tree topping, use it to remove the tree.

Tree removal is expensive. Therefore, save the topping money and invest in professional tree removal for the best results.

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.