How Much Does Tree Removal Cost?

Updated: May 19, 2024

What you need to know about tree removal cost, from the experts

The cost of tree removal is a key consideration when deciding whether to remove a tree from your yard. In addition to beautifying your landscape, filtering the air, lowering energy bills and making us happier, healthy yard trees can add up to 20 percent to your home’s resale value, according to a 2021 study conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Bureau of Business Research.

Healthy plants have a higher value, so you want to keep them healthy as long as you can. But sometimes, the worst happens and a tree is fatally injured in an ice storm or pests, or one grows perilously close to the house or power lines. In these cases, the trees usually have to go.

Ahead you’ll learn what factors go into tree removal costs to help you decide how to take care of your trees.

Factors That Determine the Cost of Tree Removal

“Just like every fingerprint, every single tree is different and unique,” says Jason Hayes of Davey Tree Care Service. “That goes for every tree removal, too. To give an accurate tree removal cost, an arborist needs to see it in person.”

Tree removal can cost from hundreds of dollars to thousands, depending on the size and location of the tree, the difficulty of access, and the scope of the job.

Location

Each region and city has unique factors that influence local market costs, including demand, accessibility of services, market and supply costs, and population density.

Size of Tree

Mature, multilimbed trees are more difficult to handle safely and take longer to remove.

Client Specifications

Sometimes, Hayes says, the client asks that equipment not be used on the lawn, for instance, which may necessitate more time and labor.

Equipment, Time and Crew Required

The more people, heavy equipment, and time needed to complete and clean up the job, the higher the cost.

When to Call a Pro

Even if you are athletic and know how to handle a chainsaw, tree removal is serious, often dangerous work – especially if it involves ladders or climbing.

“A great rule of thumb for DIY tree care is that if you would have to use a ladder to reach and remove tree limbs, that tree is too big for you to work on safely without the help of a pro,” says Hayes. “The same rule should be applied to tree removal. If you are wondering if you should call in a professional or not, then you probably should.”

Questions to Ask Tree Removal Contractors

“Before hiring someone to remove a tree, the two most important questions to ask are if they are International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)-certified and if they have their own company insurance – you should also see proof of both of these things before signing on the dotted line,” says Hayes. “ISA Certification will ensure that you are hiring someone who is safe, reliable, educated, and efficient. For insurance, if you hire someone who does not have insurance, any property damage or injuries that may occur could be your fiscal responsibility.”

After that, check their reviews online or ask for referrals. Hayes suggests asking them to “specify how they plan on removing the tree, what equipment they will be using, the path they will be taking to get to the tree, and if they are going to be removing the limbs and tree from the property when the job is finished.”

FAQ

What time of year is the best for tree removal?

“The dormant season is the best time of year for tree pruning because bare branches make it easier for arborists to inspect trees,” notes Hayes. “Dormant tree pruning also decreases the likelihood of attack from insect pests and pathogens.”

Regardless of the season, if the tree is a hazard, threatening to fall on property or utility lines or harboring contagious diseases or pests, it should be removed as soon as possible.

Do you need permission to remove trees from your property?

Many municipalities are adding tree protection laws to help preserve as much mature tree canopy as possible because of its environmental benefits. Regulations and fees vary by location, with each city or neighborhood setting specific rules, so always check those first. You can usually find these on your municipality’s website; try searching “trees.”

Does removing trees negatively affect house value?

It depends. It can lower property value if you remove trees that are healthy.

“Trees add a lot of value to properties because of their many benefits, such as cutting heating and cooling costs, stormwater reduction and more. Just having a nice, healthy tree in the front lawn can increase property values by 10% or higher,” says Hayes. In other words, you’ll want to consider carefully whether it makes sense to remove a healthy tree, even if it’s blocking a desired view.

Christina Pfeiffer, a horticultural educator, recommends keeping your trees as healthy as possible and pausing before removing them. “Trees are the ones that contribute the most to our home environments with the potential to do so for the longest time. Also, if we lose trees it takes a long time to replace the benefits they provide,” says Pfeiffer.

“It makes good sense if your tree has issues that need attention or you are concerned that your tree might not be safe, you want to hire someone with the expertise to sort that out who can give you a good plan. Sometimes there are things they can do to address all those concerns and keep the tree on the site.”

However, Hayes adds, “But if a tree is in extreme decline and is a potential hazard, it can decrease property value and curb appeal. In this case, it’s important to contact a certified arborist to discuss next steps for the tree.”

About the Experts

Jason Hayes is an ISA-Certified Arborist® and Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ) who holds an associate degree in agriculture from Purdue University, where he also studied forestry. He is a Davey Tree Care Service district manager in the Southeast Seattle, Washington office.

Christina Pfeiffer is a horticultural educator with over 30 years of experience in landscape management and arboriculture. She holds horticulture degrees from the University of Washington and Michigan State University. She is the co-author of “Pacific Northwest Gardening: Month-by-Month.”

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