How Much Does Tree Removal Cost? (2021 Pricing)

By Tree Expert Codey Stout
Updated On

Are you wondering how much tree removal costs?

You’ve come to the right place!

In this Tree Triage guide, you’ll learn:

  • What’s the average cost of tree removal?
  • How do different tree removal services affect price?
  • What should you look for in a tree removal company?
Tree removal cost guide

So, if you’re looking for information on tree removal costs and what to expect, keep reading to get answers to all of your questions!

What Is The Average Cost Of Tree Removal?

While tree removal services will vary based on multiple factors, there are some approximate ranges you can expect to see when getting quotes from professionals.

Here are the national averages:

  • For a tree that is less than 12 inches in diameter, you can expect to pay around $155
  • With a medium-sized tree, ranging from 19-24 inches in diameter you could expect to pay $435 and that would include grinding out the stump
  • Finally, for a tree with a trunk diameter of 36 inches or larger you could expect to pay $2,020 and the removal of the stump would be include

If you want to save a little bit of money, you might consider leaving the stump to rot, or safely burn it out yourself at a later date.

There are a number of things to consider when gathering bids from tree service professionals. This is why it’s best to have them on-site, rather than asking for ballpark numbers over the phone. 

This is important: The location of the tree must be taken into consideration. 

Is the tree located in a backyard, where a section of fence will need to be removed?

As was the case in this excellent video: 

YouTube video

Additionally, is the tree in question very close to your home, or other property that could suffer from an accidental misstep in the process?

The same goes for the front yard. Understand that even the best trained and most experienced tree service experts have situations where things go ‘sideways.’ It certainly is an imperfect, and often times quite dangerous process.

When you need to remove trees, for whatever reason, it is always best to work with a licensed (if applicable to your state or county), insured, and well-experienced professional. These people will maintain their equipment and a great reputation.

*Please note: Many local cities, municipalities, and HOAs/POAs will issue permits regarding the removal of trees. Please be sure to check with your local ordinances and if necessary, bylaws regarding possible regulations. For example, tree removal in Austin, TX requires permitting for trees greater than 19 inches in diameter, whereas removing trees in Atlanta, GA requires a permit if they are greater than six inches in diameter. So, it can differ vastly by city and circumstance.

What Do You Need To Know About Tree Removal Services?

First of all, that they are not all created equal!

If you live in an area where it’s common for people to gather their own firewood for the winter, then you most likely know people that don’t think twice about felling a dead tree. Then, of course, they will cut it up and cart it back to their home.

However, your home and property are a different situation entirely. 

Should an accident happen on YOUR property with people that you’ve hired to do a job and they are not insured (or licensed), guess who’s liable? You.

Which is why it is absolutely imperative that you have all of your questions answered and all of their documents in order (maybe even copied, or photographed) before you let them on your property to begin work.

Even if it’s a small job that is a relatively simple take-down — one that your favorite handyperson could perform – it is quite possible that even they need to be licensed and insured in your municipality to operate at any level. 

What Are The Different Types Of Tree Removal And How Do They Affect Prices?

Did you know that proper tree care in your neighborhood adds more than just health, vitality, and beauty to your surrounding greenery?

It actually adds value to your property and to those of the homeowners around you as well.

When tree work has been correctly administered to your property, you’ll be glad you worked with those you’ve chosen carefully to get the job done right.

Emergency Tree Removal

Different times of the year bring unique challenges to our environment and in turn, to our personal property. We see this time and time again with devastating results, and this can cause situations where you need to hire a professional to come in and deal with the situation.

Whether it was that severe cold-snap during the winter of 2020, or tornados, or even hurricanes! Under these extreme circumstances, even healthy trees can snap like toothpicks and create a myriad of problems for us. 

Large tree snapped in half by straightline winds

Should you face anything of this order on your property, it’s best to stay put if possible. Unless of course, an evacuation order has been mandated. 

When trees come in contact with power lines and bring them down you have an especially dangerous situation. 

If these downed power lines come in contact with stormwater or run-off, the situation could be deadly. Additionally, you might not even know you, or your family is at severe risk of electrocution. 

‘The bigger they are, the harder they fall.’ This age-old adage could certainly be applied to the height of the tree. Also consider, most trees are ‘top heavy,’ especially trees that are still alive, full of leaves, and wider than they are tall. 

This is exactly why you should contact a professional crew to evaluate the emergency before you attempt to do anything yourself.

Unfortunately, emergency tree removal can cost more than typical tree removals, especially if the nature of the situation means that it’s a rush order and tree removal companies have a lot of work to deal with at once.

Fallen Tree Removal

Dead trees are usually the first to come down when stressed by the elements. Knowing this, it’s best to get the professionals out on your property to get them taken care of once you’ve realized the tree is dead and you have a standing hazard.

Tall trees and medium trees usually come with plenty of clean-up once they’ve come down. That clean-up will be no small feat!

Once you’ve decided on which company you want to work with and they give you an estimate and clear the mess — you’re well on your way to solving the problem.

Here’s a look at the typical process a company will take you through to resolve the situation:

Step 1: Limbing

Limbing a tree

First, the specialist will ‘limb’ the fallen tree to break it up into manageable pieces and clear those out of the way. Let the company know if you want them to buck up the limbs for your fireplace, or stacked so that they can season if they’re still wet.

Then they will break down the larger pieces of limbs, working their way towards the center trunk, or larger branches.

Step 2: Bringing In Machinery

Bringing in the machinery to clean up the limbs

Once that’s cleared, depending on the size and weight of the wood, they may use heavy to mid-sized machinery (like a front-loader, or a bobcat) to move the larger pieces of the trunk that even a team of 10 men couldn’t move.

Step 3: Addressing The Stump

Using a stump grinder

After all of the branches and wood have been cleared, the stump will be dealt with. Usually, this is done with a stump-grinder, but it’s the property owner’s choice and should be clearly outlined in the ‘scope of work’ contract.

Step 4: Cleanup

Cleaning up after limbing

If a chipper hasn’t already been used to mulch the smaller branches, the rest of the remaining foliage will be raked up and cleared.

It is possible at this point that any damage to the lawn will then be patched in an effort to remove any evidence of the tree ever being there.

Small trees are far easier to deal with as you might imagine. If they’ve been pulled from their roots, by storm or accident, it’s possible to try and replant them.

Remember it’s best to make sure there’s no air when planting young trees in the ground. 

If there is any air around a root ball, or root system this can cause rotting over time. Eventually, this will most likely kill the young tree. So be sure to do your research and consult a professional if necessary when planting or replanting trees.

DIY Cost Factors and Stump Removal

Depending on where you live and how familiar your community is with tools like chainsaws, chippers, and stump grinders, it’s entirely possible that you could take care of the fallen tree with hands and equipment close to you.

Tree stump removal and stump removal costs are often unforeseen costs for homeowners. Once the tree is bucked up and cleared they face stump grinding and a root system that will rot over time. This can create a trip hazard for humans and animals.

Make sure you figure out just how you’re going to go about facing that unsightly stump once the rest of the tree has been cleared and you’ll be ahead of the game.

The clean-up of a fallen tree by chipping and/or a stump grinder will produce debris in the form of wood chips and mulch. This is actually an asset. 

If you are interested in debris removal, know that many people would be, not only willing to accept your mulch but might even pay you for it. Chipped mulch is full of nutrients and can be applied in many ways. Both in landscape design and to support new growth. 

man on tree climbing

You should ALWAYS hire a professional company to remove ANY large tree on your property. Additionally, the wider the tree is, the greater the risk of it hitting something you didn’t plan on. 

When Should You Hire A Professional For Large Tree Removal?

Also, even trees like large pines that seem simple and straightforward, as far as ‘felling’ is concerned, can be very tricky. There are too many ways to list that this could go wrong for you, even if you are well-experienced. 

How Much Does Tree Trimming Cost? 

Tree trimming prices vary between $100 to $1,800 depending on the height of the tree, accessibility, the location of the worksite, and how complex the job is. Usually, an estimate will be based on the height of the tree, but that’s just a start.

Small trees are a joy to prune, train and see grow, year over year. Especially if they’re a fruiting, healthy tree. If you are fostering young trees, it should be more than a few years before you would even need to call a professional.

Learning how to train, prune and manage the trees you’ve planted is a very rewarding hobby to undertake, and the fruit will taste all the sweeter for your effort.

Landscaping companies are often able to help you manage and keep your trees healthy by planned pruning. This is especially true if the trees themselves were part of the overall landscaping scheme for your property.

If your property has large trees, but you have a landscaper already, speak to them to see if there’s someone that can safely handle that larger scope of work. Any reputable landscaping company will know its limits and when to call in other professionals.

What Are The Pricing Differences Between An Oak Tree Removal And A Pine Tree Removal?

Just a cursory look at an oak tree and a pine tree of equal height will easily reveal that the oak is going to take much more work than the pine.

The type and the size of the tree DO matter greatly, and this is where the vertical price model goes out the window.

A similar, comparative situation could be drawn from a maple tree and a palm tree.

There are two major differences here to consider:

  1. Maples and Oaks grow wide, out from their center. Whereas, pines and palms (often) grow straight and vertical. 
  2. Then there is the density of the wood. Oak and Maple are considered ‘hardwoods,’ making them heavy and more difficult to cut (but valuable to work with or as firewood). Palmwood is also very heavy wood which plays a role in cost.

Of all four, pines would be the softest and lightest to take down but have the capability of growing the widest at the trunk (depending on the species) making them quite unwieldy.

Cutting Down Pines

Also, even though pines are generally the straightest of all, they’re still not easy to cut down when needed. They can get hung up in other trees and ‘stuck’ creating a serious hazard.

Generally, the same method would be used to cut down a palm and since they tend to have an obvious and predictable lean to them, would probably be the easiest to fell. Though, it’s still a job for a professional company.

Additionally, palms tend to ‘bounce’ the most once they’ve hit the ground which can be dangerous if not handled properly.

Remember, once that trunk snaps from the cut you’ve made, it can rebound back up and quite easily injure or kill you. Please do not underestimate the inherent dangers of this work. 

Cutting Down Oaks & Maples

Oaks and maples are usually cut from the limbs down. This process requires rigging and controlled drops of very heavy foliage. This is ONLY a job for professionals, and shouldn’t ever be considered a job fit for anyone else. 

Understand, being roped-in to a harness, at 60 feet in the air with a chainsaw running, while cutting a 600-pound limb that’s tied off to a block-and-tackle pulley system — is a very serious position to be in. 

So you see, there are many factors that professionals must take into consideration before performing a contract for the trees on your home or property. Let them do the work that they’re trained, insured, and in some cases, licensed to do. 

man on tree trimming branches

What Should You Look For In An Arborist Or Specialist?

It’s important to find someone who truly knows how to work with trees and can assess a situation properly.

A Certified Arborist is exactly that and sometimes they are required on a job for legal reasons (depending on your local laws). Usually, a tree service company will have one on staff that they can call when the situation on a client’s property warrants their specialized attention.

However, even without a certified arborist, a tree service company should know exactly what is going on with your trees and how to address the issues you’re facing. For example, if you have signs of bark beetles, they will know right away exactly what they’re looking at. 

That said, it is wise to then call in a second opinion before felling any trees that the company suggests must go. It is possible that they’re mistaken. 

If that mistake was made and you proceeded to cut it down, not only would you lose a healthy tree, but incur unnecessary costs as well.

This is where calling a Certified Arborist can be advantageous because they can give you key information about your tree that clarify the scope of work necessary when you finally enter the hiring process with a team of tree specialists.

Meet Your Tree Expert

Codey Stout

Codey Stout is the operations manager for Tree Triage and has years of experience removing trees. His expertise has been featured in publications like Yahoo, The Family Handyman, Homes & Gardens, and many more. The only thing Codey likes doing more than removing intrusive trees, is removing unsightly stumps.
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