Tree trimming is one of the most important tree maintenance practices. In addition to ensuring that your trees are aesthetically appealing, trimming allows you to improve the trees’ health. While homeowners do handle tree trimming involving smaller and easily accessible trees, tree trimming involving larger and/or damaged trees is usually left to professionals. With larger, diseased, or damaged trees, the risk of injury is generally high. Since professionals are better equipped, well-trained, and more experienced, handling the risky trees is usually not a big issue for them. Until you actually need to hire a team of professionals to help with tree trimming, you may be completely unaware of how much the service costs. The tree trimming cost is not constant – it varies depending on a wide range of factors. By exploring the different factors in this article, we hope to help you estimate your tree trimming cost more accurately.
How Much Does Tree Trimming Cost?
Hiring a professional to help with trimming a single tree can cost as low as $80 to as high as $1,000+. The national average ranges between $250 and $500.
|National Average Range||$250 to $500|
|National Average Cost;||$325|
If the trimming is straightforward, the tree trimming professionals may quote $80 for a tree whose height does not exceed 25 feet, $175 for a tree whose height ranges between 25 and 50 feet, and anywhere between $300 and $1,000 for a tree whose height exceeds 50 feet. Keep in mind that these prices cover one-time trimming for a single tree. If you have a number of trees that need trimming, the tree trimming cost will increase accordingly.
Average Tree Trimming Service Cost
On average, tree trimming service will require you to part with $80 to $350 for each tree. If you want the service providers to trim a medium-sized, healthy tree, you may be quoted $150. If the same medium-sized tree is diseased, full of pests, or hazardous, you may have to part with $250+. If you have bigger trees on your property, such as oak or pine, you need to set aside approximately $300 to $1,000 for each tree. If a tall tree has to be trimmed by a climber (say, when the bucket truck cannot be used), you should expect the quoted price to go up by approximately 30% to 40%. To make things much easier for you, we will give you a simpler breakdown below:
- Smaller trees (trees whose height does not exceed 25 feet) will cost approximately $80 to $350 to trim.
- Medium-sized trees (trees with a height ranging between 25 and 50 feet) will cost approximately $150 to $800+ to trim. Examples of trees with a height ranging between 25 and 50 feet include apple and crab trees.
- Big trees (trees featuring a height of 50+ feet) will cost you $300 to $1,000+ to trim. Examples of such trees include oak and pine.
Palm Tree Trimming Cost
We have already mentioned that the tree trimming cost increases as the height of the tree increases. This tells you that the taller the palm tree, the higher the trimming cost. If the height of your palm tree does not exceed 30 feet, you should expect to pay approximately $80 to $350 for the trimming service. If, however, the palm tree is 60+ feet tall, the tree trimming cost will range between $250 and $1,200.
Pine Tree Trimming Cost
Larger trees, such as oak and pine, will require you to part with $300 to $1,000 for the trimming to be handled by professionals. If the trees can’t be accessed easily, expect the price to go up by approximately 40%.
Tree Trimming Cost Factors
We had hinted earlier that the tree trimming cost varies depending on a multitude of factors. To make everything crystal clear, we will take you through all the factors that play into the total cost of trimming a tree.
The Tree Size
As any homeowner would expect, taller trees cost more compared to smaller trees. The tree size usually determines the number of branches that a tree will have – taller trees tend to have more branches compared to shorter trees. In addition to having more branches, taller trees require the tree service provider to have additional equipment.
This factor can affect the tree trimming cost in a number of ways. The top ways include:
The Tree Service Providers May Not Be Able to Use the Bucket TruckMost tree service providers do have a bucket truck that they use to reach branches present at the top of a tree. However, whether the tree trimmers use the truck or one of the professionals climbs up the tree is largely dependent on the tree’s location. If a professional has to climb up the tree physically without the truck, the cost can go up by approximately 30% to 40%.
Branches May Have to Be Roped DownIf a huge tree is close to your house or utility lines (say, power lines), the tree trimmers cannot just toss the branches down. Instead, the professionals will have to use ropes to lower the branches down. Lowering down branches with ropes will take more time – this will eventually drive the cost up.
It Can Increase the Travel TimeMany tree service providers will charge you for the travel time – the cost will increase as the travel time increases. Hiring local tree service providers can help you reduce the amount of money you spend on the travel fee.
The Number of Trees You Want to Trim
The number of trees you would like to trim will naturally affect the amount of money you will spend on your tree trimming project. To avoid unpleasant surprises, it is crucial that you include both the number of trees and the types in the quote request. This will help you make your decision based on what can be considered a realistic estimate. If you mention just one tree in your quote request, the tree service providers may show up only prepared to trim that one tree. When they realize that you have more trees that need trimming, they may overcharge you.
The Tree Health
Numerous variables can cause any tree to weaken over time. To give you an example, if your tree has been struck by lightning, it may lose its stableness. In such a scenario, a simple trim won’t be an ideal solution. If there is a possibility of the weak tree falling on your home, you will have to invest in more significant measures, for example, cabling. Compared to simply trimming the tree, cabling will cost you more money. Being living things, trees can also catch illnesses that can impact their health negatively. In turn, this can affect the total cost of adequately maintaining and trimming the trees. Below, we have examples of the health issues which usually affect trees:
FungiFungi focus on depleting the tree’s vital nutrients. In addition to destroying the tree’s structural stability, fungi can quickly kill the whole tree.
Huge CracksIf you find a moist crack on your tree trunk, this is an indication that the tree has internal decay. If this is the case, the life of the tree could be in jeopardy. The most ideal way of dealing with a tree featuring a moist crack is to ask a professional arborist to evaluate it. If the internal damage can be repaired, the arborist should advise accordingly. If the damage is irreparable, the arborist may recommend tree removal.
Weather DamageThis type of damage results from weather variables, including strong winds, dry spells, frost, and hail. If you find cracked or dried limbs on a tree, it is essential that you take care of the damage as soon as you possibly can. Ignoring the damage will give parasites an ideal opportunity to attack the tree. This can kill your tree.
A wide variety of animals and insects do live in trees without causing any harm or damage. Those that cause damage, however, can quickly kill the whole tree if ignored. In addition to consuming the tree’s vital nutrients, pests usually transmit diseases. Below, we will look at the common pests which affect trees. Hopefully, this should help you communicate more effectively with your tree service provider:
AntsAnts are an indication that your tree might be rotting. If you notice ants at the base, along with some sawdust, it is essential that you call a tree expert as soon as possible. Ignoring the ants and the sawdust can be a recipe for disaster in the near future. The rotting tree could end up falling on your property.
MitesWhile they are small, mites should not be ignored; they are capable of causing significant damage, especially to the buds and leaves.
WoodpeckersWoodpeckers do not take residence on just any tree. They occupy rotting trees. If you notice woodpeckers on your tree, consult a tree expert – this will help you figure out whether the tree is having fungal decay.
Shield LiceBeing extremely tiny, shield-lice is not easy to notice. The pest becomes more noticeable when it forms a shield-like spot on your tree’s bark – the spot is formed by the pest’s waxy secretion. Shield-lice does attack tree leaves in some instances. Extreme cases will need the attention of a professional arborist.
Emerald Ash BorerThis wood-boring and invasive beetle is killing thousands of ash trees in the US – this is happening at an alarming rate. If you notice emerald ash borers on your trees, you will need to call an arborist immediately. The pest can only be driven out of your property via specific methods created by researchers – only arborists can apply these treatment methods.
Other Wood-Destroying InsectsIt is worth noting that the larva of other insect species can breed in the wood. This generally damages the wood core and the tree’s bark, giving fungi an ideal opportunity to invade the tree.
Hire a Pro or Do It Yourself?
In some instances, turning tree trimming into a DIY project can be both reasonable and safe. However, to avoid endangering yourself, your property, and the tree itself, you have to use the right tools, observe necessary precautions, and use the right tree trimming techniques. Important: When it comes to trimming incredibly tall trees (trees taller than 60 feet), it is crucial that you always work with professionals. In this section, we will discuss DIY tree trimming. We will explore the main things you need to consider when trying to figure out whether to hire a professional or to handle the trimming yourself:
Materials NeededIf you have never handled tree trimming before, you may not have the tools you need to get the job done. If you have to purchase all the tree trimming tools, you may find that turning tree trimming into a DIY project is actually more expensive than hiring tree trimming professionals. A simple tree trimming job will require hand-held loppers and pruners – these will cost you approximately $40 to $50 each. A gas pole pruner, which has the ability to make your work much easier, will cost you approximately $180. For extensive jobs, you may need the more expensive heavy-duty gas tree trimmer. For your own safety, you will have to invest in safety goggles and a good helmet to protect your eyes and head from the falling branches. You will also need gloves to protect your hands.
RisksSafety hazards are quite pronounced in tree trimming, especially when you are trimming large trees. If you have to climb up a tree, you will be risking falling and breaking your bones. Being sharp, pruners may end up cutting you. It is almost impossible to have complete control over where the branches fall. This means that you could end up damaging your property, utilities, or hurting those around you. If a tree is close to power lines, you will be risking electrocution if you attempt to trim the tree on your own.
Tree Trimming Tips
If you have decided to make tree trimming a DIY project, you may want to consider the following tips before you start trimming your trees:
Cut Branches Featuring V-Shaped AnglesIf a branch has a strong U-shaped angle, this means that it is strong and hence should be left on the tree. On the other hand, any branch featuring a V-shaped angle is weak and hence can be removed.
Consider the Branch SizeIt is safe to remove any branch whose diameter does not exceed 5 cm. Branches featuring a 5+ cm diameter should be considered more carefully. Unless there is a good reason to remove any branch whose diameter exceeds 10 cm, leave the branch on the tree. By “good reason” we mean, the branch being diseased or being a potential safety hazard.
Trim the Tree in Its Dormant PhaseIn the dormant phase, trees don’t grow actively. This makes trimming them a good idea. An exception to this tip does exist – if you want to slow down a tree that is growing too quickly, consider trimming it when it is growing actively.
Consider How Much You TrimAvoid cutting the branches too long or too short. Once you are done with the trimming, the ratio of the living crown to the height of the tree should be approximately two-thirds.
Step by Step Guide on How to Trim Trees CorrectlyStep 1: Before you initiate cutting, identify the branch collar. The collar grows from the stem tissue located at the bottom base of the branch. Next, locate the branch ridge – this should be available on the upper surface. Step 2: Initiate your cut outside the branch’s bark ridge. Stay away from the main stem and keep the cut angled downwards. Note: Do everything in your power to avoid destroying the collar of the branch. Step 3: When dealing with long stems, you will need to make an initial notch on the side that is facing away from the branch you would like to keep on the tree. Next, make a second cut inside the branch crotch (above the ridge of the branch), followed by a final, third cut. The third cut should remove the stub while you cut parallel to the bark ridge of the branch.
Pruning Vs. Trimming
Although the terms trimming and pruning are usually used interchangeably, they are actually 2 varying methods of keeping the trees healthy:
Tree PruningPruning is the term used to describe the process of selectively removing specific parts of the tree, including buds, branches, and roots. The end goal is to ensure that the tree stays healthy by removing damaged, dead, or diseased plant tissue. Pruning is handled by a professional who can tell which parts of the tree need to be removed.
Tree TrimmingTrimming is done to improve the tree’s aesthetic appeal. When there are no issues in regards to hazards, pests, or diseases, you can trim a tree to obtain a more attractive shape. It is worth noting that if you trim the tree without enough knowledge, you may end up destroying it.
Saving Money on TrimmingIf you opt to hire a team of professionals to help with tree trimming, you will have to part with some of your money. Compared to trimming the trees yourself, hiring professionals is a good idea since it makes the whole tree maintenance practice safe for both you and your property. One thing you may not know is that you can reduce the tree trimming cost by making use of some extremely simple tips:
- Power Lines – Utility companies are always willing to trim trees close to power lines for free. This is done to improve safety. Instead of paying professionals to trim trees close to power lines, just allow the utility companies to handle the trimming.
- Routine Maintenance – With routine maintenance practices, you should be able to avoid expensive repairs down the road. For example, regular annual trimming will keep the tree healthy and in shape – this will help you avoid paying for more expensive practices which are often needed if the tree is ignored for an extended period of time.
- Quick Action – If you notice a problem on your tree, get someone to fix it as soon as possible. If you wait, the problem may end up becoming more pronounced – this will cost you more money.
- Water Your Trees – While this may appear basic, it will help keep the tree healthy and strong. Compared to weak and unhealthy trees, strong trees will have a much lower tree trimming cost.