The national average cost for tree trimming is $460, with a typical range of $200 to $760. For trees under 30 feet, costs can start as low as $75, topping out around $400. But the bigger the tree, the bigger the bill: Trees over 60 feet tall can run up to $1,500 for a trim.
Beautiful, healthy trees sometimes need a little maintenance. Because of the size of mature trees, it’s often advisable to pay a professional to do the job for you. Knowing what’s involved can prepare you for tree trimming cost sticker shock. Tree trimming costs can range widely from $75 to $1,500.The national average is $460, but the price depends on the tree’s size, overall health, type, and location. The time of year can also impact the price; scheduling during peak season sometimes means you’ll pay more. An emergency situation (such as storm damage) will always result in paying a premium for tree trimming.
Other factors that can affect tree trimming cost include accessibility: If the crew is unable to easily drive to the tree and use a platform lift or bucket, the price is likely to be higher, especially if the pro has to climb the tree. If other structures are present (whether a house, a fence, or something else), access to the tree may be difficult, which can drive up the cost. If the tree is unhealthy, it may require extra services, such as soil testing, root pruning, or spraying for pests. Extra services also add to the bill.
On the other hand, if you have multiple trees that require trimming, you may get a price break.
Many factors go into determining the cost of trimming a tree. While the national average is about $460, prices can vary. Tree size is probably the most significant aspect in determining price, although its type, health, and location also figure into the equation. Additional services, such as fertilization, cleanup, tree and/or tree stump removal, will add to the cost.
Additionally, access to the tree can impact the cost of trimming: If a crew can’t get its bucket truck or lift platform close to the tree, manually climbing the tree will be more expensive—as much as 25 to 50 percent more. Trimming roots, fertilizing, or treating an unhealthy tree also adds to the cost. An unhealthy tree can be unstable, requiring additional safety precautions to be taken during trimming. Working around obstacles, such as a fence, a building, or other plantings, can also complicate the process.
A thorough inspection by an arborist or other tree professional provides an assessment of your tree’s health and an opinion about whether it requires any additional treatments. Often, it includes an evaluation of the tree’s structure, bark, branches, and even the soil around it. An inspection can provide valuable information about whether the tree has any infections, infestations, or structural damage, and what its watering and soil requirements are. Typical costs for this service range from $30 to $150.
It’s easy to understand how size affects the price of tree trimming; reaching up 30 feet or 60 feet requires specialized equipment and poses greater risk. The complexity of the job reflects on the price. A tree 30 feet or under typically costs $100 to $400 to trim, and a tree between 30 and 60 feet can run $175 to $600. Trees taller than 60 feet can easily cost $1,800 or more.
Perhaps less obvious is the relationship between the type of tree and the cost of trimming. Multi-trunk trees like a crepe myrtle add to the complexity of trimming. Hardwoods like maple are tougher to trim.
Tree trimming cost can also fluctuate at different times of the year because professionals may charge less during off-season months when they aren’t as busy.
For the majority of trees, trimming is best done during late winter while they’re dormant, or not actively growing. It’s also an easier time to do the job because without leaves on their branches, it’s easier to see their structure. By trimming trees before they start to leaf out and produce buds, you are forcing them to divert more energy into new growth.
Spring-flowering trees like magnolias and redbuds shouldn’t be trimmed until after they’ve bloomed.
While most professionals charge by the tree, if you have multiple trees, many services will give you a price break since they’re already on the property, reducing the amount of travel time and “mobilization” per job. For some professionals, the more trees they trim, the bigger the discount.
If a tree is damaged, diseased, or otherwise unhealthy, it creates a potentially more dangerous situation for the professional trimming it. There is also likely to be more to remove; in some instances, the entire tree needs to come down. The more work that’s involved, the higher the price will be.
If it’s difficult to access a tree, the cost to trim it could increase by as much as 25 to 50 percent. If large limbs must be lowered to the ground by a rope in order not to damage a house, other structures, or other plantings, the additional time and effort required will be reflected in the bill. Similarly, if the professional’s bucket truck or platform lift can’t access the tree, additional labor—and risk—to climb the tree will be necessary, and thus, the cost goes up.
Regional variances may have more to do with the distance traveled to your property or whether you live in an urban or more rural area. Travel to remote areas typically comes with a higher price tag. It’s also common to pay more for tree trimming in upscale urban neighborhoods.
Trimming a tree is just the start of the work. At a bare minimum, you’ll need to clean up the area afterward. If some of the removed branches are of significant diameter or length, you’ll probably need to cut them up before hauling them off. If the professional does any of this work, it will be reflected in the bill.
If your tree isn’t healthy, you may opt for a variety of additional treatments, such as soil remediation, fertilization, or pest control. If the tree is so damaged or unhealthy that it needs to come down, you may want to have the stump removed as well.
Repairing landscaping damaged during the tree trimming process adds to the total cost as well.
Trimming is most often done for aesthetic reasons to shape a tree, for example, and make it more attractive. It is used on healthy trees free of pests and disease. Pruning, on the other hand, involves the calculated removal of select, unnecessary branches (sometimes unhealthy or dead branches) and even roots to promote growth and keep the tree in good health. Pruning eliminates unwanted growth and “opens up” a tree, allowing sunlight and air to reach interior branches. If a tree is encroaching on a structure or utility lines, it may need pruning to redirect it.