Tree removal may give you sticker shock, but it’s one of those jobs that may be safest when left to the experts. A tree removal gone wrong can be very dangerous and isn’t worth endangering lives. The Tree Care Industry Association says many homeowners are severely injured or killed each year while trying to cut down a tree or large tree limbs.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
The fallen tree removal cost varies considerably depending on the size and species of tree, the location, tree disposal and other extra costs.
Tree Height Makes a Difference
Many tree companies charge per foot based on the tree height. The per foot price will likely be less for trees that are 20 feet high or less than for a tree that’s 60 to 80 feet. The fallen tree removal cost also varies considerably depending on the species of tree and the location. Then, there’s the matter of disposal of the tree.
Tree Removal Estimate
The average price to remove a small tree – one that is 30 feet or less – is about $125 to $450. A dogwood, a redbud, a crabapple, a crape myrtle or a Japanese maple tree are good examples of small trees. Many fruit trees also fall into this category. Typically with tree removal service, the higher price involves chipping the wood into sawdust. Also, if you're dealing with a small tree, you may be able to transplant it, rather than cut it down, so the cost may include transplanting it to a more appropriate location. If you decide to transplant the tree, digging the hole ahead of time can save you some money.
The average tree removal estimate to remove a medium tree, usually 30 to 60 feet tall, is anywhere from $175 to $900. A good example of a medium tree is a river birch or certain varieties of maple. The higher price will include the cost to have the branches removed, the wood removed or ground into chips and the stump removed.
The average price to remove a larger tree, considered to be 60 to 100 feet or more, is $400 to $1,400, with the average price of a large tree around $1,200. Sugar maple, sycamore, walnut, ash and mature pine trees are usually in this size range.
Usually, these ranges involve cutting the tree down to a stump, hauling or chipping the branches and cutting up the stump.
Extra Costs You May Incur
If you want to keep the wood to burn, you may be able to get a log splitting service added on to the job. A 22-foot tree will provide one cord of wood. This extra cost may be less than the price of a cord of wood, so it will be worth it if the company provides this kind of service.
You may want to get your branches chipped into mulch, which you can then use in your gardens. Again, this will probably cost you less than if you had a truckload of mulch delivered.
Stump removal may cost as little as $50 or as much as $250 depending on the size and species of tree. But it may be worthwhile aesthetically.
Other Things to Consider
If your tree has become unwieldy because of its long branches, which are a danger to your home or another building, you may not need to remove the tree. It might be that you just need the tree trimmed, which can cost between $75 and $500.
Also, some municipalities and neighborhoods have restrictions on tree removal. Make sure you check with your local government or homeowners association before starting your project.
If you live in a very rural area and the tree removal company must travel to reach your home, expect to pay at least $50 to $200 more.
It’s also good to make sure that your tree service is insured in case the company causes any property damage or injuries while doing the work.
You may want to leave the stump in place if it’s not too close to your house. You can decorate the stump, plant native vines and shrubs around it and watch it create food for wildlife. The stump will also add an interesting look to your yard.
Hazards and Emergencies
Sometimes, hazards can increase the cost of tree removal or trimming. A tree that’s close to power lines will probably cost more to remove. Also, a dead tree may be considered hazardous and may actually cost more to remove than a live tree.
You may pay more if your tree fell during a storm and you’re in a hurry to get it removed. Tree removal companies are often extra busy after storms.
Unique Tree Issues
A palm tree has teeth, so cutting it is different. Instead of felling it with a chainsaw, it must be roped down. Tall palm trees are also very heavy, which stresses their roots and could cause the tree to break on its own. A tall palm tree might run as much as $1,500, while smaller ones will cost about $150 to $450. Pine trees may cause additional work to remove branches and cones, and tree professionals will need to wear skin and eye protection to protect from needle scratches and pine sap getting into their eyes. A smaller pine tree might run $200, but a large pine tree could cost up to $1,500 because of the extra work.
An oak tree reaches an average height of 60 feet. It will cost $200 to $1,000 to remove because of the durability of oak. Oakwood is strong, tough and thick, which makes it harder to take down than other kinds of trees.
Usually, fallen tree removal cost is less than that of a live tree, as long as you’re not trying to get it removed after a major storm. It still requires a lot of equipment and can be a dangerous job for an amateur, so it is still good to call a professional. The price will probably range between $75 and $150 depending on whether you want it cut, chipped or hauled away.
Tree debris removal cost and tree branch removal cost will also be less. If you just need some cleanup or a few branches removed, you're looking at less than $100 for debris removal and around $200 to $300 for branch trimming.
Why Remove a Tree
Trees provide us with shade, with greenery in the summer and reds and oranges in the fall. Trees have many uses around our homes. They provide cover for birds and wildlife.
Unfortunately, however, some trees outlive their usefulness. A tree may be dead. It may be encroaching upon your house or its roots may be causing problems for utility lines. Its roots may be causing your patio to buckle. Its branches may be dropping thick layers of leaves into your gutters. But there are also less obvious reasons to have a tree removed. It may be rotting from the center of the trunk. It may have large cracks in the main trunk. It may be too large for its location. Or you may have too many trees growing too close together. When planting trees, it’s hard to imagine how large they will grow. But in 10 years, landscapes can change considerably.
Replant the Right Tree
Once your tree is down, consider replanting a tree that will not have to be taken down. Look for the right location far enough from the house, but not under power lines or next to outbuildings. Also, consider the type of tree you're planting. Chinese elm, silver maple, boxelder and certain types of poplars have brittle wood that is easily broken. Plant these trees far from any obstacle. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, a proper landscape plan considers height, canopy spread, deciduous or evergreen, form or shape, growth rate, soil, sun and moisture, fruit and hardiness zone.
Karen Gardner is a former feature editor and writer and is now a freelance writer. She looks forward to doing her family's taxes each year, and likes to write about home finances and money subjects for the rest of us.