Guide to Tree Removal Costs

tree removal cost

There’s a long list of ways trees benefit humans and wildlife, but sometimes they present problems that make it necessary to remove them. This in-depth guide explains everything you need to know to help you understand the average tree removal cost.  

Why Tree Removal Cost Matters 

Getting rid of a tree in your yard costs more than you might think. It’s much more complicated than grabbing a saw and getting to work.

The size of the tree and physical obstacles like power lines and buildings can have serious implications if the job isn’t done right.

Safety and Property Considerations 

tree removal cost

Tree removal is dangerous work that requires specialized skills, knowledge, and equipment. Hiring someone who isn’t insured can have disastrous results. Always ensure that the tree removal services you hire are certified arborists with the proper certifications and credentials.

There’s a lot that can go wrong when trees are removed in dense neighborhoods and urban areas. Here are some of the safety and property considerations to take into account when you remove a tree on your property:

  • Dead or diseased trees have weakened branches and trunks that make them unstable. Using a crane might be the only way to remove them safely.
  • Removing trees and branches near power lines can result in fatal electrocutions. Even if you’re lucky and escape unscathed, you can be held responsible for damages to the power line. Also, removing trees near power lines is illegal in many areas. 
  • Trees fall in unpredictable ways, and once they start falling, they can land on buildings, vehicles, power lines, and other important landscaping features. Even experienced tree fellers are sometimes injured by trees that didn’t fall how they were “supposed” to.
  • The average person doesn’t have specific knowledge about the proper equipment and safety gear required to remove trees. Tree removal services have expensive equipment like wood chippers and stump grinders to dispose of the tree parts after it’s cut down.

Budget Planning for Tree Services 

Professional arborists can help you plan for the trees in your yard. All trees have a lifespan and may pose potential risks to your home and family under extreme circumstances, such as strong wind storms and heavy snowfalls. 

Arborists have enough knowledge about different types of trees that they can help you create a long-term plan for the trees in your yard. Therefore, taking a proactive approach to tree maintenance makes it easier to afford the necessary care and avoid unexpected liabilities.

Average Cost to Remove a Tree 


The size of trees is the most significant factor affecting tree removal cost. The average cost of tree removal is $1,265, with prices ranging from $250 to $8,000. However, a big difference exists between removing a small fruit tree and a large oak tree. 

Small Trees

Trees under 30 feet tall with a diameter at breast height of less than 24 inches

The average cost to remove a small tree is about $150 to $600. Small trees are typically easy to remove, even if they are close to a building or power line. Because their branches are smaller and the trunks don’t weigh as much, they are easier to cut down.

Examples of small trees: Fruit trees, silver birch, flowering dogwood, magnolia, and Japanese maple

Medium Trees

Trees 30 to 60 feet tall with a diameter at breast height of 24 to 48 inches

Medium trees like maples and elms cost about $600 to $1,000 to remove, including the tree stump removal cost. Removing trees safely requires more strategy and equipment as they start to get taller. It also takes longer to dispose of medium-sized trees because there is more waste. 

Examples of medium trees: Cypress, palm trees, and American holly

Large Trees

Trees 60 to 80 feet tall with a diameter at breast height of 48 to 72 inches 

The average cost of tree removal for a large tree, like a mature oak tree, is about $1,000 to $4,000. The larger trees get, the bigger their trunks and limbs; the extra weight can make removing them more dangerous.

Large tree removal costs include special equipment, but it is easier if the tree is accessible and there is a lot of room to work.

Examples of large trees: Cottonwood, oak, and various conifers

Extra-Large Trees

Trees over 80 feet tall with a diameter at breast height greater than 72 inches

The cost climbs with the height of trees, and with trees over 80 feet tall, the cost can reach as high as $8,000. However, most large trees are not well-suited for urban and city landscapes, so these rarely have to be removed. 

Examples of extra-large trees: Sequoia, spruce, and fir

Factors Determining Tree Removal Cost 

The cost of tree removal can be as low as a couple hundred dollars to as high as several thousand, depending on various factors. Learn about what tree removal professionals take into account when they are determining the cost to remove trees.

Tree Size and Type 

arborist removing tree

As discussed, tree size is the main determiner of costs associated with tree removal. However, different types of trees are naturally larger, and their growth habits can make tree removal more difficult.

For instance, oak trees with many large branches and thick trunks are more difficult to remove than palm trees with no branches and smaller trunks.

Here are some approximate removal costs for different types of trees based on height, trunk diameters at breast height, and total weight:

Type of treeHeightTrunk diameterTotal WeightCost to remove
Conifer50 feet10”1 ton$550
Cottonwood40 feet50”3.2 tons$1,150
Date palm60 feet50”4 tons$1,500
Eucalyptus80 feet50”3.8 tons$2,050
Maple45 feet30”1.5 tons$550
Oak60 feet30”4.6 tons$2,300
Palm80 feet12”2 tons$700
Pine70 feet20”2 tons$1,800
Spruce65 feet11”2.5 tons$950
Sycamore85 feetMultiple 15” trunks4.2 tons$1,800

Height and Diameter

Tall trees are more challenging to remove, especially in tight spaces or with nearby obstructions. Tree height also affects the amount of waste removal, but a tall, slender tree will still cost less than a shorter one with many thick branches.

Wood Density and Hardiness

Hardwood tree species have dense wood that is more difficult to cut, like oak trees. Not only does it take longer to cut through dense wood, but it will dull blades faster, which adds to the cost of tree removal.

The wood density will also affect the cost of tree stump removal. 

Tree Location 

trees near house

The location of a tree in your yard also plays a significant role in the cost of removal. Trees growing near buildings or over power lines can present challenges that make removing them dangerous.


If there is limited access for vehicles to get in and remove the tree, it will make the job harder, which adds to the cost. Trees on hillsides present special challenges and can be more dangerous to remove. Soil conditions, like rocky or muddy soil, can make access difficult, and other trees nearby can also affect the cost of tree removal.

When you’re getting an estimate, talk to your tree removal service about ways you can help make the area more accessible to lower the costs of tree removal. For example, you may be able to take down fences or move vehicles and play structures.

Proximity to Structures or Utilities 

When trees grow close to structures or utilities, they cost more to remove. Oak trees are notorious for having large, sprawling branches that grow above and below power lines–removing a single branch can require several cuts. 

tree removal crane

Cranes may be needed to remove trees that are near obstructions. Heavy equipment rentals can cost $200 to $600 per day, which adds to the cost of tree removal. Also, some obstructions can require traffic control, and adding a two-person flagging crew to the job means an extra $200 to $300 per day.

Health and Structural Stability

Dead and damaged trees are more dangerous to remove. The structural stability of trees can be affected by things like lightning, windstorms, heavy snowfall, old age, diseases, and insect infestations.

Decaying, damaged, and diseased wood is unpredictable, and it can be hard for arborists to tell how extensive the damage is without cutting into the tree. 

Infestations and Diseases 

Some species of trees are prone to diseases and insect infestations, especially in certain regions. An arborist can help you identify diseases like oak tree wilt and Dutch elm disease, which are common irreversible conditions that kill trees.

Insects like bark beetles and termites can infest and kill a tree, and the damage they cause will make the weakened tree more difficult to remove. Root rot is another disease that can lead to a weakened tree that needs to be removed carefully.

Emergency Tree Removal

It’s common in many industries to charge more for urgent calls. Therefore, if your tree removal is an emergency, you may need to be put at the top of the list.

Expect to pay two to three times more for emergencies than scheduled tree removals.

Additional Tree Services and Their Costs 

Tree service companies provide a variety of additional services. So, after examining your tree, they can tell you if it can be saved by trimming or cabling, saving you money and allowing you to keep it.

Stump Removal or Grinding 

Some tree removal service companies include stump removal in their price, but it may be an add-on, and you should inquire to be certain. You can choose between stump grinding or complete removal by digging.

Tree stump removal costs may be lower if you have it done while the tree service is already at your house. 

Tree Trimming 

Tree removal companies also offer services like tree trimming and pruning. In fact, unless there are other problems, the tree that you think needs to be completely removed may be fine once it’s trimmed.

tree cabling

Licensed arborists can help with common tree problems, such as cracked or damaged trunks, hollowness, dead branches, and leaning trees, and they may be able to save your tree using cabling or bracing.

Just because a tree has problems doesn’t mean it’s the end.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tree Removal Cost

How much does it cost to remove a tree? 

The average cost to remove a tree is $750, but many factors affect the actual cost of tree removal. To get an accurate quote, you need to contact a licensed arborist and have them provide an estimate based on the size and type of tree, how accessible it is, and how close it is to structures.

Can I remove a tree myself to save money? 

In some cases, you can remove a tree yourself. However, there are many situations where it is unsafe to remove a tree in your yard on your own. Moreover, if a tree is near a power line, it can be illegal to attempt DIY tree removal.

Will my homeowner’s insurance cover tree removal cost?

cost to remove tree

Whether or not your homeowner’s insurance covers tree removal costs depends on the situation and your policy. For example, homeowner’s insurance typically doesn’t cover preventative tree removal. If the tree falls on your home because it is diseased, your insurance probably won’t cover that.

However, homeowner’s insurance usually covers the costs of damages and removal if a tree lands on your home or outbuildings due to an act of nature that’s covered under your policy.

How can I get an accurate estimate for tree removal costs?

To get an accurate estimate for tree removal, you need to contact a reputable and certified tree removal service. They will visit your property to assess the situation and offer you options.

Sometimes, they can help you save money by repairing damaged trees. Since every situation is different, contacting them is the only way to know.

Do I need a permit to remove a tree on my property?

Permit requirements for tree removal vary from state to state. Contact your local municipality or a licensed tree removal service in your area for more information.

Read up on tree root damage to sidewalks, driveways, and foundations!

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