The national average cost to trim a tree is $490. However, the cost of tree trimming ranges from $75-$1,000.
Tree trimming costs:
|National average cost||$490|
Tree trimming prices will depend on the size of the tree and how much tree trimming costs in your area. Learn more about the costs involved, and get free estimates from tree trimming professionals near you.
What's in this cost guide?
- How much does it cost to trim a tree?
- Tree trimming cost per hour
- Tree trimming cost factors
- Extra tree trimming services (and how much they cost)
- How much does tree removal cost?
- What to do with leftover stumps
- Tree trimming vs. tree pruning
- Tree trimmer vs. arborist – what's the difference?
- Heritage tree rules
- How to save money on tree trimming services
- Can you trim trees yourself?
- Get tree trimming cost estimates near you
As with pretty much any project, the bigger the job (in this case, the tree), the higher the price:
Average tree trimming cost
Shorter than 30 feet
Between 30-60 feet
Taller than 60 feet
Keep in mind those are just ballpark costs. A variety of other factors impact the final estimate you get from your arborist. Things like whether the tree is healthy or needs treatment, nearby hazards to avoid such as buildings, power lines, etc.
Not to mention the logistics of hauling all that debris away — all of these variables affect a homeowner's bottom line. A 20-foot tall tree with a pest problem right next to your neighbor's garage requires more effort (and money) to prune than a healthy 20-foot tree in the middle of an open field.
Keep these factors in mind when estimating the cost of tree trimming:
Extra large trees like an older pine, oak or laurel should be evaluated by a professional arborist before you prune them. Certain species are protected (also known as “heritage trees”), and you could incur fines for cutting them down (or even trimming them).
The number of trees being trimmed on the property also affects the final estimate. Your tree trimmer may offer you a better deal to prune them all at once.
An unstable tree is at higher risk of falling during tree work and may require cabling as a safety precaution. Moisture, diseases, fungi and other pests also lead to unhealthy trees that require professional pruning.
A tree that's hard to reach or close to a structure presents maintenance challenges. Tree trimmers can't just let the branches fall to the ground, they have to use special equipment to lower them manually. Homeowners should expect to pay more for the extra labor and time.
Assuming you want the debris hauled away or turned into something useable when the job is done (mulch, firewood, etc), you'll pay more for services like log splitting, wood chipping or hauling it all away. See below for a more detailed price breakdown.
If one of your trees is damaged in a storm and you need immediate help, you'll probably have to pay an extra fee for emergency tree services; sometimes as high as $250 an hour.
The national average cost of tree removal is $985. Removing a tree and stump costs $1,072. This project is typically the more expensive tree service, ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the size of the tree and how you'll dispose of it.
Dead, damaged or diseased trees need to be "disassembled." This involves removing branches and limbs one by one, which drives up costs. Like tree trimming, tree removal services vary based on the size, location and health of the tree.
Log splitting: Many tree trimming companies have log splitting machines that can cut debris into usable firewood. This costs about $50-$100 per tree.
Wood chipping. Did you know that mulch suppresses weeds and keeps moisture in your garden? Don't let those trimmings go to waste. Pay an extra $50-$100 to have the tree trimmer bring a wood chipper and make your mulch.
Some companies offer stump grinding services for an extra cost. But if it's going to cost extra, couldn't you just leave the stump and save some money? Not exactly.
Eventual decay may bring pests and fungi to surrounding trees, costing you more money in the long run. Not to mention, a stump still absorbs water after it's been cut down — water that's meant for other trees.
Although the two terms are sometime used interchangeable, tree pruning and trimming aren't always the same thing.
Trimming typically involves tidying up your tree and cutting back the outermost branches into a more desirable shape when the tree is overgrown. Tree pruning is usually focused on a tree's future health. It prevents pests and disease and promotes strong growth.
Every year, you should trim and prune your trees. However, the best time to trim your trees depends on the species. A professional can help you determine when it's time to give your tree a little TLC.
There are many landscaping companies that specialize in basic tree trimming services. But a certified tree arborist is an expert at maintaining long-term tree health. Arborists have a degree and years of education in tree biology. They focus on conservation, selectively pruning trees to promote healthy growth.
Many towns and cities have a “heritage tree” preservation ordinance that dictates what you can and can't do with certain trees (even trees on private property). The rules are usually determined by the height, circumference and species of tree.
In some parts of California, for example, a heritage tree is defined as any tree with a trunk circumference of 55 inches or more, or is at least 35 feet tall. Other municipalities define a heritage tree as any cedar, bay, redwood, buckeye, or oak tree with a trunk diameter of 10 inches or more when measured at a point 4 feet above ground level.
This is all very technical information to say that removing or even trimming a heritage tree requires a permit. Cutting the tree without approval can incur a fine of $20,000- $60,000. And even if you do receive a permit, you may be required to replace the tree you remove.
Use these tips to lower your tree trimming costs:
- If you have a tree limb or branch hanging over a power-line, call your utility company. They should remove the branch at no cost to you.
- If you have several trees that need trimming, it's generally more cost-efficient to have all of them trimmed at once.
- Get on a maintenance schedule. Annual tree trimming can prevent diseases and overgrowth that requires more expensive tree services later on.
- Keep the base of your tree debris free. Decaying leaves and other organic material can cause the soil to be too damp, which translates to major issues for tree stability.
Hiring a professional is by far the safest way to go. But if you do decide to trim your own trees, the USDA provides the following size guide to help you determine if it's safe or not to cut the branches:
- Branches smaller than 2 inches (or 5 centimeters) in diameter: Proceed.
- Branches between 2 and 4 inches (or 5 and 10 centimeters) in diameter: Think it over.
- Branches larger than 4 inches (or 10 centimeters): Contact an arborist.
If you've determined that you need a professional to trim or remove you tree, start contacting professional tree trimming services near you today.