Though they add to the beauty and value of your property, sometimes you need to remove a standing tree. Perhaps age or decay has turned your once-beautiful tree into a hazard, or landscape design and overhead utility lines didn’t mesh. You may just want to build an addition to your home or change your landscaping.
Before removing a standing tree, call your utility companies. You don’t want to disrupt the power, plumbing, or telecom services of your neighbors. If you have an HOA, you also want to talk to them before making such a drastic change to your property.
Factors that Influence the Cost to Remove a Standing Tree
The three main factors dictating the cost to remove your tree are its height, diameter, location, and condition.
Most tree removal services charge by height when it comes to removing a standing tree.
- Small trees are shorter than 30’
- Medium trees stand between 30′ and 60’
- Large trees stand between 60′ and 80’
- Very tall trees measure 80′ or higher
Closely related is the diameter of the tree, as the broader the tree, the more difficult it is to remove. Cutting the trunk into sections adds significantly to the total time needed for the job, especially if it’s a hardwood tree, such as oak, and may even lead to a higher per-hour rate.
The tree’s location also plays a fairly large role in determining the cost to remove it. Simply put, the further the tree is from any obstacles, structures, or power lines, the less it costs to remove. For example, many areas require trees located near utility lines to be remove by a certified lineman, increasing the cost. You’ll also pay more if the tree is surrounded by other trees that you don’t want damaged. Finally, the tree’s location on the property itself plays a role in cost, particularly if that area is difficult to access. Trees in the front yard are generally easy to reach; from there, it gets more difficult.
The tree’s condition also influences the cost to remove it, especially if it requires inspection by an arborist (a tree specialist). When considering the tree’s condition, the removal service considers the following:
- Is there any decay? Rot and decay compromise the entire structure, making the removal more hazardous.
- Does the tree lean? Slight leaning is expected, but significant leaning may indicate a stability issue, particularly if there are also exposed roots or if the ground is cracked on one side.
- Are there multiple trunks? If the tree split into two or more trunks, it might have weakened it, which may cause it to fall during the removal process.
- Are there weak branches? Branches that connect to the trunk in a tight V are more prone to cracking or breaking
- What’s the tree’s history? This includes whether any recent actions may have affected its stability, such as new landscaping or construction
Another condition is whether the tree is alive or dead. Dead and dying trees are both easier to remove and more difficult, depending on their height, diameter, and location. The brittle nature of the wood makes them easier to break apart, but it also makes them more dangerous, particularly if the tree is located close to another person’s property or is especially tall. This unpredictability typically results in higher costs to remove a dead standing tree.
How Much Does Removing a Standing Tree Cost?
As stated, the base price for removal typically depends on height, with variances according to the other factors listed.
- Small tree: Straight removal starts at around $125 for a small tree, with cost going up to around $450 for trees with a wider diameter or other issues.
- Medium tree: The costs to remove a medium sized tree vary even more, starting at around $175 on average and going up to $900 or more depending on total height, diameter, and conditions.
- Large tree: Basic removal starts at around $400 and goes up to around $1,000 depending on height, diameter, and conditions.
- Very large tree: Removal here starts fairly high, since you’re looking at a minimum of 80′. Expect to pay at least $950, since power lines frequently complicate removal, with prices topping $1,400 for wide diameters and poor conditions.
Before hiring anyone, make sure they have the proper license and insurance. You may also want to talk to your insurer to see what your homeowner’s policy covers, as well as whether it covers damaged sustained during the removal.