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How Much Does Tree Removal Cost? (2021 Guide)

Whether a tree is leaning, damaged, or just in the wrong place, a tree removal service can cut it down and often dispose of it for you. Essentially, tree removal jobs are priced based on the height of the tree, but we’ll go over some other factors that also impact tree removal costs.

Removing Tree Adobe

As much beauty as trees add to your landscape, sometimes they need to be removed. Diseased or decaying trees, dead trees, trees with compromised stability, and invasive root systems can all pose a risk to your house and your foundation. Keep reading to learn how much tree removal costs and the factors that can affect this price.

What Is the Average Cost to Remove a Tree?

You can expect to pay between $150 and $2,000 for tree removal services, though the average cost to remove a tree is in the $700–$750 range. Tree removal prices depend on the size of the tree in question, and big trees, in general, cost more to remove than small ones.

You may find tree removal services willing to do the job on the cheap, but always make sure you’re hiring a certified arborist who is insured for tree removal. Even jobs that appear simple can have unforeseen complications or long-term consequences, so don’t leave the safety of your property and the health of your landscaping to chance. Arborists must renew their licenses regularly, so they receive ongoing training in best practices for tree removal.

Factors That Determine the Cost of Tree Removal

Large trees cost more to remove because they require more heavy-duty equipment, the process of removing them is riskier, and there’s more material to dispose of. However, there are other factors that go into determining the price of tree removal services.

Size of the Tree

Trees under 30 feet in height are considered small, and removing a small tree typically costs between $150 and $500. Many fruit trees are small, as are hawthornes and silver birches.

A medium-sized tree, such as a maple or elm, is 30–60 feet tall and costs between $400 and $800 to remove. A large tree like a mature oak is 60–80 feet tall and costs about $700 to $1,300 to remove. Any tree taller than 80 feet will cost around $1,000–$2,000 to remove.

However, height isn’t the only dimension that matters. In general, trees that are taller also have thicker trunks. A tall tree with a narrow trunk may cost less to remove than a tree of the same height with a thick trunk. If a short tree has a thick trunk that’s particularly laborious to cut, a tree removal company may charge you extra. Similarly, if a tree has more than one trunk, it makes for a more complicated and pricier removal.

Type of Tree

Two trees of roughly the same height and trunk diameter will typically cost about the same to remove, even if they’re different species. Thus, size is a more reliable determinant of cost than tree type. Here’s a quick guide to some common types of trees.

  • A mature oak tree is 60–80 feet tall and will usually cost $700 to $1,300 to remove.
  • Palm trees vary greatly in height based on the species, but their trunks aren’t very thick. Because of this, they cost about $200 to $900 to remove.
  • The 100+ species of trees in the pine family can grow to as little as five feet tall to well over 90 feet, so the general price range for tree removal is between $150 and $2,000.
  • Cedar trees can vary in height so greatly that the cost for removal runs from $500 to $2,000.
  • Mature maple trees can grow to 60–100 feet and are typically quite expensive to remove, usually costing between $1,100 and $2,000.
  • A mature ash tree can reach 40–80 feet and usually costs between $500 and $1,000 to remove.
  • Poplar trees, at heights of 90–115 feet and with extensive root systems, are some of the most expensive trees to remove, costing about $1,500 to $2,000.

Health or Condition of the Tree

A diseased or otherwise unstable tree can be a health and safety hazard to other trees, your property, and anyone who comes into your front yard. Such a tree might be less expensive because it’s easier to cut down, but it might be more expensive if it’s in a dangerous position and could cause damage if it falls. Schedule an inspection with a tree removal service to get a quote in this situation.

On the other hand, a tree that has actually fallen, provided it hasn’t created an emergency, is actually much cheaper than a living tree to cut and haul away. A tree trunk simply laying on the ground is much safer for a tree removal team to deal with, so you’ll only have to pay between $100 and $300 on average to remove it from your property.

Emergency Tree Removal

When a tree suddenly falls on your home or car, or it leans precariously, you need to remove it before it can cause further damage. There will be quite a difference in price between a tree removal you schedule a few weeks or days out and a tree removal you need as soon as possible.

Like any rush job, you’ll have to pay more for urgent service. The job is also riskier because the technicians will have to be very careful not to cause additional damage. Tree removal prices will vary substantially by situation and by contractor, though they can easily go up to $5,000.

Moreover, while contractors should never engage in price gouging, you may find tree removal prices increasing after a natural disaster, as many people in your area will likely need emergency tree removal services. However, your homeowners insurance policy may cover part or all of the cost to remove a fallen tree on your property, so check with your insurance company before paying for this service out of pocket.

Multiple Trees

If you live in a wooded area and want to clear multiple trees, you may be able to pay by acreage. A lightly wooded area might cost you between $500 and $2,500 per acre, but a higher tree density could put the price between $3,000 and $6,000 per acre.

Other Cost Factors

Of course, the cost of tree removal doesn’t depend on just the tree itself. Other complicating factors may increase the price. For example, if you live in a remote location, you may be charged a travel surcharge, since the contractor will need to drive heavy machinery out to your property. Additionally, people who live in locations with a higher cost of living will likely see higher costs when hiring tree removal contractors.

Not to mention, anything that makes removing trees more difficult will cost more. This includes sloped yards, rocky or muddy soil, an angled trunk, or weak branches. If it’s risky to access or fell the tree—for example, if the tree is near power lines or close to your house or other buildings—you might get charged an extra 50% for tree removal.

In these cases, special machinery like cranes must be used to keep the falling tree from hitting surrounding structures. For jobs that require a crane, expect to add at least $500 to the tree removal price.

Finally, many areas require you to purchase a permit to remove a tree taller than 10 feet. While the cost of a permit is relatively low—approximately between $60 and $150—failing to get one before beginning work could net you a more substantial fine later in the process.

Additional Tree Services

With the exception of emergency tree removal, most homeowners are usually looking to remove trees as part of a larger landscaping project. In this case, you may want to look into some of the other services that tree removal companies provide. You may save money by hiring a company for a comprehensive project instead of breaking it up into multiple jobs.

Debris Removal

In general, the cost of tree removal includes removing and disposing of the trunk and large branches. However, you’ll typically be left with a lot of additional debris, and you might not want to dispose of it yourself. After all, hauling away debris can be expensive and time-consuming if it’s not something you’re equipped to do. Some professional tree removal services will offer different methods of debris disposal for an additional price.

  • A company may offer to haul away extra debris, usually for an additional $50 to $100.
  • A company may use a wood chipper and turn the debris into mulch for your next landscaping project. This usually costs between $75 and $125 per hour.
  • Alternatively, you could have the tree and larger branches split into fire logs, typically for about $75 to $100 per tree.

Stump Grinding or Removal

Unfortunately, the price of tree removal doesn’t always include removal of the tree’s stump. Some homeowners may like the look of the stump and want to include it in their landscaping, but most want it gone. Because of the stump’s remaining root system, which may not be obvious from above the ground, this is usually a job for a specialized professional.

Removing the stump and its roots will probably cost you between $150 and $500, depending on the time it takes and the complexity of the root system. Stump grinding, in which a hydraulic machine mulches the stump and some of the roots, is typically a little cheaper at $100 to $400. You can also rent a stump grinder from a hardware store and remove the stump yourself. However, these machines are typically intended for small-diameter stumps.

Less common methods of stump removal include burning, which is about $250 per stump, and a chemical treatment, which costs about $100.

Tree Transplanting

If you like a tree in your yard but want to move it to a different location on your property, consider tree transplanting. Small trees are the easiest to relocate and may only add $300 to $800 to the job. However, transplanting medium- and large-sized trees can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Note: Not every tree removal company is equipped to perform this service, since it requires different equipment than simple cutting.

When Is It Safe To Cut Down a Tree Myself?

Most of the time, tree removal is best left to the professionals, as they have the proper equipment and training for both felling the tree and getting rid of it. If a tree is taller than 30 feet or within 10 feet of power lines, it’s absolutely not a DIY project—you could end up with fines, injuries, or even lawsuits if you attempt to remove a tree in these situations.

However, if you’re comfortable with a chainsaw and the tree is in an open area, you can consider taking on the job yourself with the proper safety equipment.

Here are some factors to keep in mind when removing a tree on your own:

  • Even removing a relatively small, slender fruit tree can be risky. Make sure you have all the necessary safety equipment, such as goggles, gloves, sturdy work boots, a hard hat, and hearing protection, before removing a tree.
  • Check whether you need a permit to remove the tree.
  • If something goes wrong and you get hurt or your property gets damaged, you’ll be liable for it.
  • Unless you’ve consulted with an arborist first, you might not have all the information on the health of a tree. If the tree is decayed or rotted, the project might become more complicated very quickly.
  • When possible, remove your tree in the late winter or early spring when tree growth is dormant and there are fewer leaves on the tree.

In general, we don’t recommend trying to remove a tree larger than 10 feet unless you have professional training. In general, the larger the tree, the bigger the risk.

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