Tree trimming is occasionally necessary not just to make trees and gardens look great, but it’s also essential for the health of the trees. Tree trimmers remove dead limbs and branches that affect the overall health of the tree or that could pose a safety hazard if not addressed. While homeowners can trim small trees themselves, professionals have the experience and equipment make sure any size tree is trimmed safely and in a way that benefits the tree. For larger trees, most experts recommend always working with a pro.
Few trimming companies are likely to have a standard price list. Most tree trimmers will want to come out and see the tree before they provide an estimate. It is very difficult to submit a fair and reasonable quote without first seeing the work that needs to be done.
Size of the tree
Not surprisingly, the larger the tree is, the more it will cost to trim—not just because of its height, but also because it likely has more, and stronger, branches and limbs.
Condition of the tree
Has the tree been pruned recently? If so, trimming will cost less than for a tree that hasn’t been pruned in a while or that has never been pruned. Prices can also increase if a tree is diseased, damaged or ridden with pests.
Timing and travel
If the trimming isn’t urgent, expect to pay a standard price. Tree trimmers can help with emergencies but often charge more—either a higher hourly rate or by adding a surcharge for a quick turnaround. Some companies also charge a travel fee if a job location is far from their home base.
Location of the tree
If the tree is close to a house, power lines or another structure, it makes the job more difficult. Tree trimmers can’t just let the branches fall to the ground. Instead, they need to manually lower all of the branches. Expect to pay more to accommodate this extra labor and time.
Broken or dead limbs
Some tree trimmers charge extra to remove broken or dead tree limbs.
The most expensive tree service is tree removal. Tree companies will need to "disassemble" the tree, removing its branches and limbs carefully, one by one, and then haul it all away. Some companies offer stump grinding or removal services and will charge extra for that task.
If a tree is near power lines, the utility company might come out and trim the tree for free. Contact the company to inquire.