How Much Does It Cost To Remove A Tree

While there are several factors that are considered for removing a tree, it’s always advisable to remove a dying or dead tree the moment you see it. The idea is that the longer you delay it, the more it will rot and the more dangerous this will make it for an arborist or a tree professional to do his work. However, you must be wondering how much does it cost to remove a tree. But first things first:

Why remove trees?

Here are some reasons why it becomes necessary to remove trees:

  • Failing health: If its branches or the tree is dying, you’ll see dead branches or perhaps you’ll see the main trunk rotting.
  • Damage in a storm: If a storm has ravaged your trees that are beyond repair, it’s time to have them cut.
  • Its location: If your tree is too close to your home or to other buildings or electricity lines, it needs to go.
  • If it is curved towards your home or children’s park: If your tree is leaning towards your home or to a children’s park or anywhere people generally visit, it could be dangerous for them. In such cases, it’s best to get rid of the tree.
  • It messes up the ground: If a tree is constantly dropping its leaves, branches, twigs or sap, and blocking the view and light for you, surely you want it to go.
  • Its roots grow awkwardly: If a tree has roots that are growing awkwardly to the extent that it poses a threat to your driveway, foundation or sidewalk, you should consider having it cut and removed.

Location of trees

Factors that determine the cost of tree removal

Now that you know why certain trees should be removed, let’s get into the practical considerations of actually removing them. What does it take to remove trees. Are there any known factors that determine this? Let’s check it out:

Trees are one of Nature’s best gifts to mankind, but there are times when they need to be cut down and removed. However, dealing with wood isn’t something everyone can do–it takes time, energy and skill.

Removing a tree, therefore, is a specialized job, and it can also be a complex one, depending on tree growth and condition, among other factors. So, it becomes difficult to estimate the cost of tree removal before starting the job. But to have a general idea, it pays to know that the average cost of tree removal in the United States is in the region of $650.

There are several factors that affect the cost of removing trees. They are:

  • Height of the tree: Usually, tree removal companies charge according to the per foot rate of height. Small trees are not more than 30′; while medium trees range between 30′ feet and 60′. On the other hand, large trees tower at 60′ to 80′ or more.
  • Condition: The cost of tree removal can depend on its condition. Upon inspection, an arborist can tell if a tree is healthy or in dangerous condition. If a tree is seen to be leaning on one side, it should be examined to check the direction in which it should be cut.
  • History: The stability of a tree can be affected by any construction taking place near its roots, or an landscaping activity or its level of general care.
  • Tree instability: It’s not common for all trees to grow upright. Some trees do grow with a slight tilt in any one direction. When this happens along with its roots being exposed and a crack in the earth, it means that the tree is unstable.
  • Several trunks: Often, trees develop several trunks. If they are linked loosely, they will easily crack and fall while being removed.
  • Tree with weak branches: If one of the branches of your tree forms a ‘V’ with the trunk, it could break at any time, making it dangerous to remain.
  • Weak spots: These include cavities that could seriously endanger the structural form of your tree, which could make tree removal more difficult and expensive.
  • Width of the tree: The denser the tree, the more time and energy it will take to remove it, making the entire process more expensive for you. If your tree is tall and thin, obviously it will be easier to cut, and consequently less expensive. Another factor that affects your tree removal is the fact that trees are usually cut in sections, contributing to the total time taken to complete the job. Hardness of the tree, as in oak, can also add to the time taken to remove your tree.
  • Location: Usually, the site of the tree affects its removal cost by about 25%-50%. If your tree is located far away from your home or other buildings, power lines, parks or any other structure, it will be easier for the woodworker to cut than if it is close to any of these structures. If, however, the tree is near any structure, its branches will have to be lowered using rope before they are cut. In another situation, if your tree is in the midst of other trees, it can be quite a tough job for the woodcutter and therefore cost more.
  • Access for tree removal service: Much also depends on how close your home is to the tree removal service or how easily accessible. Within your estate, access to the tree is also an issue. If the tree is in your front yard, access is rarely an issue. It is often easier to cut the crown of the tree and the higher branches by means of a bucket and crane.

However, the difficulty arises when the tree is in your backyard, which means sending tree removing personnel to go over and climb the tree before cutting it. If your tree needs a bit of chipping, this could increase your costs as it means dragging the branches some distance away to where the chipper is placed.

  • If your tree is dead: Yet again, the size of the tree plays a great role in pricing its removal when it is dead. If you have a small dead tree, your woodcutter may find it easier to cut and remove as such trees are brittle and weak, making them easier to cut. Though large trees, when dead, are much weaker and more brittle than their small counterparts, yet these factors make them very dangerous to cut as if the branches fall on someone, hurting them, this could add charges to the owner for neglect of his woodcutter. The charges of these, as you might know, are unimaginable and difficult to estimate.
  • Danger: When a woodcutter goes up a tree to cut it, he puts at risk his life and limb, two solid reasons for charging as much as he does. The fact that the danger of death or disability lurks around him till he finishes the job is something he has to work with while he lops off the branches of the toughest trees. It is this feeling of danger or safety that slows down his speed, particularly if he is conscious of the need for safety. This danger that comes with his job makes him seek higher disability claims which only increases the cost of wood removal for companies.

Tree removal is dangerous for woodcutters when they have to negotiate through power lines or when they have to cut dead wood. Dead wood is less stable than its live counterpart, so removing it means using a crane, jacking up the prices. Normally, dead trunks are hollow, which are more dangerous to remove because it is difficult to determine just how much rot has set in.

Other factors that increase the danger perspective include the great heights workers must go to cut trees, working by night or in bad weather, working near busy streets, or trying to cut large and heavy trees.

  • Time: To determine the price of tree removal, time is a great factor. You should be able to tell how many hours a particular job will take. Other factors related to time taken to finish the job include the inability of using equipment to fell trees and instead going manually. This naturally tires out workers. If equipment were to be used, the time taken would be much less. Also, sometimes access to the tree is limited by fences, septic tanks, landscaping, etc.
  • Nearness to homes and buildings: When the tree in question is near to a home, building or any other structure, it becomes more difficult to cut it, thereby increasing the time taken to complete the job safely.

Extra services

These are services not included in a typical estimate given by a tree removal company:

  • Stump removal: This service is never included in an estimate. You need to pay extra for this or the professional cutters will leave behind a stump. This is done because removing a stump requires additional and different equipment and is sub-contracted to a professional. The cost or removing the stump is determined by its diameter. Usually, anything between $60 and $350 per stump is charged.
  • Limb chipping: You can have your tree trunks chipped instead of paying to have them taken away. Often, tree removal specialists like tree surgeons come with a chipper. If they do, they don’t charge extra for it, else you may have to pay about $75 for limb chipping.
  • Removal of the tree trunk: Usually, professional tree removal companies cut the tree into small parts so that you can move them where you want to with ease. But if you want the company to do this for you, naturally they will do it for a fee, usually priced between $50 and $100.
  • Log splitting: If you have a fireplace, you can avail of this extra service. If your tree removal service offers this service, they will have a log splitting machine. There isn’t a fixed price for this service, but you can expect to pay about $75 over the total bill.
  • Dangerous locations: If your tree is near a building, your home or public utility service, a worker will have to climb up and cut it into sections. Naturally, this will be an additional cost.
  • Travel Expenses: If you live far away from the tree removal company, travel costs will be added on to your tree removal costs. This will be a definite charge if you want your tree stump to be ground since grinders cannot be transported easily.
  • Trimming: Usually, homeowners are keen to have their trees trimmed for two reasons: so that they look neat and pretty and so that the tree remains healthy. Trimming also allows in more sunlight or water through the branches. If you have your trees trimmed by professional services, they could cost you $75-$1000 depending on their sizes and thickness.

Average prices of tree removal

Considering the complexity of the job of tree removal, here are the prices you should expect to pay:

Up to 25 feet high: $150 to $500

25 feet high-75 feet high: $200 to $1,000

75 feet high or more: $1,500 (minimum)

What does the price of tree removal includes?

Normally, tree cutting and removal should include reducing the tree to a mere stump, apart from chipping and taking away the branches and cutting the trunk into small parts.

Here’s what you should expect to pay when you have your trees removed:

Removing a small tree

It could cost you between $125 and $437 to have a small tree removed, not more than 30′ high. Though removing it isn’t all that difficult, yet transplanting it could cost more. To save time and money, you can dig the hole where you want it–facing the sun or away from it. You can also speak to the utility company to check for electricity lines getting in the way before you have the tree cut and removed.

Removing a medium-sized tree

Tree removal companies charge $175-$900 to remove a medium-sized tree, between 30′ and 60′. For additional services like removing the stump, leaves, branches and debris and cleanup, you’ll be charged extra. Remember to ask if they charge per tree or per hour.

Removing a large tree

Removing a large tree can cost anywhere between a whopping$400 to $1000, if trees are 60′ to 80′ high and require a lot of work. Perhaps you want to get rid of this tree because it is full of pests or disease, it has been damaged in a storm or it is near a power line or plumbing pipes.

Removing a very large tree

To remove a very large tree, get ready to pay between $962 and $1400. These trees are generally between 80′ and 100′ or taller. Certain factors like power lines, having to use rope and climbing equipment, plumbing pipes and excessive time and labor to cut a tree make cutting these trees very complex.

Different types of trees that need removal

There are different kinds of trees that require removal, such as:

Some tree species like American ash, oak, maple and bur grow as high as 100′ or more which makes it difficult to remove them, and also expensive. Let’s check out a few types of trees:

Removing a palm tree: Removing a palm tree ranges between $150 and $450 if it stands at 30′. However, if it is over 80′ tall, the cost goes up to anywhere between $1,100 and $1,500. This is not only because of the height of these trees, but also because of the teeth that they have. Due to this, the tree has to be brought down by rope instead of cutting it with a chainsaw. Besides, the taller palm trees are also heavier because their roots are under great stress and can break and fall into one’s home or yard.

Removing a pine tree: Removing a 40′ tall pine tree could set you back by $200, but a pine tree at double the height could cost you $1,500 due to the amount of work and the danger it poses. Removing the cones and branches could pose a lot of extra work depending on the breed of pine tree yours is. Dealing with pine trees means that professionals will have to wear safety gear so that they don’t get shavings of pine in their eyes or get scratched by them as they work.

Removing an oak tree: Oak trees grow to be 60′, so the average cost of its removal generally ranges between $200 and $1,000. Since this is very tough wood, taking it down becomes all the more difficult, thereby jacking up the prices. Taking its hardness and girth into account, professionals use sophisticated equipment to cut it.

Removing a fallen tree: Depending on the size and species of a fallen tree, its average price is determined, usually pegged somewhere between $75 and $150. If you want the pieces taken away, you will have to pay additionally for that. If the tree requires pruning, that’s one more cost to you. And if you want the stump removed, that’s one more on you.

Clearing land: If you have a vast area with a lot of stumps that need removing, it’s best to call in a tree removal service that charges hourly, about $150 per hour. If the stumps have a large diameter, the rate can jack up.

Pruning: Pruning and trimming are similar to the extent that both are done to keep trees healthy, but they differ in that pruning is all about removing larger tree branches and weak ones that rub against other. Often, by pruning a tree in time, one could avoid having to remove it entirely. Charges for pruning are about the same as for trimming.

Best fit for the role

The best professional suited to the job of cutting dead and diseased trees is a tree surgeon or arborist. This horticultural maintenance engineer fells trees, prunes branches and shrubs and relocates them. Her climbs trees to prune, repair or remove them. Since he is qualified and experienced in this profession, one can entrust him with the felling of one’s trees.

Author: John Clax

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