As a homeowner, yard maintenance isn’t just a matter of aesthetics. Pruning branches, assessing tree health, and removing rotten trees can actually save you a great deal in potential damages that might occur if a tree or tree limb were to fall on your home or car. Signs of poor tree health include insect infestation, fungus growth around the roots, dry branches, and cavities or cracks in the trunk. If you spot any of these signs (or better yet, hire an arborist to identify them), removing the tree before it falls is always better than waiting for it to crash down on its own.
That said, fallen trees aren’t always the result of poor maintenance. Most often, a tree falls due to both external and internal events. Trees can weaken and topple due to strong winds, heavy snow and ice storms, flooding, earthquakes, and other intense weather events. They can also incur direct damage from a collision with vehicles or construction machinery.
This guide will walk you through the costs involved, and cost-influencing factors you must consider when soliciting tree removal quotes.
FALLEN TREE REMOVAL COST
On average, you can expect to pay between $150 and $2,100 for fallen tree removal, although, in some cases, the cost of hauling the tree may drive this up.
The wider range for fallen tree removal averages out to around $622, and generally, unless your tree is particularly difficult to access or particularly large, you are likely to pay somewhere in the range of $500 to $1,000.
Factors That Influence Cost
One of the biggest factors in the cost of removing a tree is its size. Size usually refers to the diameter of the trunk, rather than height. In addition, the ease of access plays a huge role in determining the price. These two are the biggest determinants of what you’ll end up paying for your fallen tree removal.
The table below will give a guide on rough ballpark figures. Again, if you live in a part of the country with a high cost of living, prices will be higher than outlined below. Similarly, if you live in a low cost of living area, prices will be lower. The table below is intended as a rough guide.
TREE REMOVAL COST CHART
This shows that access can lead to a 50% markup in price with all other things being equal.
It also shows that there is a great deal of variance depending on the height of the tree (reflecting the difficulty of chopping it up into pieces small enough to transport). A 50-foot tree weighs many thousands of pounds, meaning that it can be extremely difficult to remove. This reflects the relatively high price for the work.
Stump removal is built into the overall cost of removing a tree. If you are looking for stump-only removal, you can expect to pay between $75 and $150, with some of the variables being the stump’s diameter as well as the method of removal, as well as how easy it is to access the property to get to the stump. Hourly rates also vary a great deal based on where you are in the country.
Cutting Down a Tree
If your tree has not yet fallen down, but you wish to pre-emptively remove it, you will usually pay more than removing a fallen tree (for more information see ‘Standing Tree’ in the ‘Additional Costs’ section, below. However, cutting down and removing a tree is likely to cost between $400 and $1,200, with most people paying around $750. Again, there is a great deal of variance in this. You can learn more about a tree cutting service near you here.
In most cases, an arborist or tree removal service company will be able to give you an overall quote. However, you can use the figures below as a rough ballpark guide. For more information, see our guide, Tree Cutting Service Near Me. Additionally, if the tree has fallen down in an emergency, see our guide Emergency Tree Removal Cost.
Trees that are particularly large require a lot of work to cut down into parts that are possible to transport. If there are a number of large limbs that make this process difficult, the tree removal company may charge an additional flat rate of $50 to $100 for the work required. This will be bundled into the overall cost for the project.
It demonstrates the importance of a tree removal company viewing a site before giving a final quote. You don’t want to have nasty surprise fees, so always organize a site visit before agreeing on a price.
Accessibility is something that is fairly hard to control when it comes to a fallen tree. If the tree is still standing, it’s possible to cut it down in such a way that makes it more accessible – however, this isn’t the case with a tree that’s already horizontal.
Generally, a tree removal company will charge an hourly rate of somewhere between $50 and $300 for inaccessible trees. They will then calculate this on top of the costs listed above. In particular, if the tree is in a position where truck access is difficult, this will cause problems, as it will mean that many of the pieces require moving manually, making the process harder and slower.
If the tree is still standing (technically not part of this topic, but of interest if you’re thinking about removing a tree before or after it falls, or cutting it down yourself), you will pay roughly twice the price of a comparable tree that has fallen. So, for a 35-foot tall tree with an 18-inch diameter trunk, with good accessibility, you can expect to pay $1,800 to have it cut down and removed (vs. $900 for just removal).
However, waiting for a tree to fall down is very much a false economy because of the potential damage it can cause (and the danger that a falling tree represents).
As with the above, a standing dead tree represents a major danger. Because it no longer has the same structural integrity as a live tree it can be a major risk to property and life if it is not dealt with.
A dead tree that is still standing will cost the same as a live tree to cut down and remove (see example prices above). A dead tree that has fallen over, however, is relatively easy for a tree removal company to remove. This will usually cost somewhere between $75 and $150.
you should check to see if the companies are licensed and registered with the Tree Care Industry Association. This will ensure that you are working with a reputable firm. You should also ask to see any company’s insurance certificates (although the chances of a company having insurance are greatly strengthened by membership of the TCIA).
Make sure that you get quotes from a couple companies – including a site visit – before choosing whom to work with. This will ensure you get a good price and avoid any nasty surprises. Unfortunately, when it comes to tree removal the key price factors are the size of the tree and the ease of access – neither of which it’s really possible to change, so the best you can do is be a savvy consumer.