Tree removal costs --why is it expensive?
An arborist must factor in numerous challenges which will be reflected in the tree removal costs that you'll see on a proposal.
First consider the tree itself
Size of tree: Obviously if it is a tiny tree, it
will not cost much, however you can expect to pay a minimum charge for
the tree company to come to your property. The bigger the tree is, the
more expensive the price. If removal requires any equipment in addition
to the standard chipper and trucks, such as a crane, this cost will be
passed on to the customer as well.
Large tree with decay creates ALOT of debris to remove
Stability of the tree is the main determinant of
safety, which will also affect the cost. As a tree declines, becomes
weaker and weaker, and therefor less stable, any added pressure or
weight during the removal process could unexpectedly endanger life and
A tree professional will factor this risk into the
price. Have your trees evaluated as soon as you notice there is
die-back, deadwood in the tree, many limbs on the ground, or decay on
If you are looking to buy a property, have just moved in, or even
if you’ve lived under your trees for years now, having a certified
arborist visit and give you a professional opinion on the health of
individual trees will give you a strategy for future tree care and
costs. Doing so will help eliminate surprises. You may have trees that
need to be removed right away, those that require monitoring, and some
that would benefit from pruning.
Bottom line: Get it done sooner rather than later! If
it is evident to an arborist that a tree in decline needs to be removed,
the cost will likely increase over time as the tree becomes more
unstable. Subsequent weather events will continue to degrade the tree
and it's natural decay will progress. For this reason the estimate you
receive will have an expiration date.
Tree between two close houses
Location of the tree--all these factors and more contribute to tree removal costs
• It is close to other trees
• Close to the house or other structures
• Close to power lines, or even have utility lines running through the tree
• It is up a hill, or down a hill from access points
• It is in-between houses or buildings
• Has a road underneath, with potential traffic issues
The degree of clean-up
should be reflected in tree removal costs:
There are generally four kinds of clean up:
1. Leave all debris—a big mess, and I don’t recommend it.
2. Rough clean up—remove all wood and debris, but no final rake up (forest & field situations)
3. Leave all big wood—great option if you burn wood or have friends who can use it and you are willing to split it.
4. Remove all debris—Your best option for no hassle. The only thing
left will be the stump. Tree professionals are also great at cleaning up
since they do it every day.
This job required a Crane to lift the tree over the building
Tree Removal costs will vary with the expertise and level of professionalism
Experience of the tree professional will translate
into a higher estimate. An arborist who has been in the business for
many years has amassed a huge variety of tree removal experiences—every
tree take-down is different and requires a different approach. You will
pay for a more experienced arborist, but you will also have more
assurance that the job will be done well.
Overhead—Tree companies use expensive machinery, and of course well qualified tree companies carry liability insurance to protect themselves, you, and your property from the financial disaster of a unexpected event.
—Just as with the insurance industry, the
tree professional assesses the risks involved and will price the job
accordingly. A healthy tree with little or no defects situated away from
buildings or permanent landscaping will cost less than an older
decaying tree poised above your roof.
Dead Pine Tree--less safe than when alive
Tips for saving on tree removal costs
• Akin to a home inspection, prospective home buyers are advised to
get their trees inspected to get a sense of the dangers that may be
hovering above the home in consideration. Tree care costs could come
into play when negotiating the price of the property.
• If you or a friend are very handy with chain saw, wood
splitter, or splitting maul, you can ask for the wood to be left for you
to clean up. It may save you a few hundred dollars and you'll be saving
money on the purchase of wood in the winter.
• Don't wait until the tree is less stable, it will usually cost more!
• Get several tree removal estimates especially for large trees. Use your best judgement regarding
choosing a tree service.
You don't want to be left with a messy work area or damaged property
that costs you extra time and money. Usually we find that our company is
very competitive with other qualified tree services (those with
certified arborists and many years of experience). This can help you
decipher if your the tree care costs in your estimate are reasonable.
• Plan ahead to have trees pruned as a preventative measure to guard against failure of branches or the entire tree.
• Budget money for tree work just like for roofing, painting, and upgrades.
Recently I listened to NPR and heard they were collecting stories regarding the hidden side of jobs--what
nobody knows regarding, I believe, food production. I immediately felt
solidarity with this thought regarding my own work. Tree removal is
challenging mentally & physically and very few people have the
skills and knowledge to do it. Tree removal costs are high for larger
trees because it's a huge amount of physical work for workers, a great
deal of debris to handle, and dangerous work.
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