A well landscaped front yard does wonders for the curb appeal of any home, so it is little wonder that homeowners take pride in getting their trees and shrubs trimmed regularly. However, tree trimming can be quite an expensive affair.

The average cost typically paid by homeowners for tree trimming is between $315 and $700, with the national average hovering around the $475 mark. The least a homeowner pays for tree service is pegged at $85, while the most can reach as much as $1,276 to trim a large tree that’s over 60 feet tall. 

But why does professional tree care cost so much, and what are the factors that affect that cost? We’re going to answer those questions and more in this informative read about why tree trimming is so expensive.

Factors that affect the cost of tree trimming

The costs that we’ve mentioned above are all just averages. The actual costs of trimming trees on your property will depend on a number of factors. Let’s take a detailed look at what these factors are.

The size of the tree

trimming a small tree

The size of the tree that needs to be trimmed is one of the most important factors that decide how much your tree trimming will cost you. A professional tree trimming company usually segregates trees into three sizes: small, medium, and large.

The general rule of thumb is that the larger the tree is, the more trimming it will cost you. There are plenty of reasons why this rule is followed.

  • Large trees will mean the tree trimming company will need to bring heavy-duty trimming machinery to the site. This is sure to drive up the cost of the project.
  • Trimming large trees is also more labor intensive than trimming smaller trees. This means you will need to pay more for the tree crew involved.
  • The larger the tree is, the more risks are involved in trimming it. Higher risks always equate to higher project costs.

The location of the tree

If the tree is located close to a power line, the additional risk involved is likely to drive up the tree trimming costs.

Close proximity to a power line will mean the tree trimmer will need to be extra careful to ensure falling branches do not damage any power lines or surrounding structures.

Since taking these precautions means using specialized equipment, more effort, and is likely to be more labor intensive, you will need to pay more for the service.

However, here’s a pro tip that not many people know about. If the tree in question is in close proximity to power lines, call your utility company instead of a tree trimmer. Since the branches of trees pose a danger to the power lines, utility companies often prune trees free of cost.  That way, trimming the tree costs you nothing.

How accessible the tree is

trimming a big tree

Accessibility also affects how much you end up paying for trimming the tree, and for good reason.

Normally, tree trimming companies use bucket trucks to help their trimmers access the highest point of the tree. However, if the tree is located in a place that isn’t accessible by the bucket truck, then the tree trimmer will need to find other means of doing the job, such as climbing the tree.

The extra effort and risks involved in doing so definitely warrant an increase in the cost of trimming the tree.

The health of the tree

An unhealthy tree poses a greater risk for the tree trimmer. For example, a storm-damaged tree, or one that has been struck by lightning or is afflicted with tree disease is less likely to be physically stable, and therefore, tree work is likely to cost more.

The number of trees

Tree trimmers charge a per tree cost to trim trees, which means the more trees you have in your yard, the more trimming them will cost you. 

The presence of pests

Pests tend to make trees unstable, and can, therefore, affect the overall cost of the project. For example, pests like woodpeckers and ants are a sign that the tree is rooting from the inside, while others, such as the emerald ash borer, can make healthy trees weak.

While trimming these trees is riskier than normal and can cause a steep increase in the cost of tree trimming, it is always advisable to contact a certified arborist if you suspect you have a pest problem. 

This is because while sometimes, treatment can remediate the issue, in other cases, you may need to remove the damaged tree entirely. 

The cost of extra services

tree stump removal

While tree trimming is the primary service offered by tree trimming companies, there are a few other tree-related services that they offer. These services include stump grinding, tree removal, and stump removal. Let’s take a look at what these extra services cost on average.

Removing a tree

There are multiple reasons why you might need to get a tree removed from your garden. For example, the tree could be pest infested, and an arborist might have said the eBay course of action is to remove it entirely. You may also need to have the tree removed if it is extremely close to your home or to powerlines, and poses the risk of damaging either or both if damaged during a storm.

While regular tree removal services cost between $385 and $1,070, with the national average being $630, expect to pay extra for emergency tree removal in case it has been struck by lightning or seems to be teetering before it falls over. Removing a large tree could cost as much as $1,935.

Stump grinding

An untidy-looking tree stump in your front yard can look untidy and affect your home’s curb appeal negatively. It can also pose a hazard to children playing in the yard. These are some of the most common reasons people choose to call professionals to grind tree stumps.

Stump grinding averages between $158 and $450 for the first stump, and around $35 for subsequent stumps after the first removal.

Stump removal

Sometimes, simply grinding a stump into shape is just not enough. It is possible that the stump could be getting in the way of adding a gazebo, a fence, or a tool shed. Or the stump’s roots could be continuing to grow underground and damage your home’s plumbing system or may even damage the foundation.

In these cases, what you need is stump removal. While tree removal reduces the tree to a stump, it does not address the root system. The stump removal process removes the stump and the roots from under the ground permanently. 

Stump removal could cost as little as $77, or as much as $1,036, with the average homeowners dishing out approximately $326. 

Should you trim the tree yourself?

Sure, you’d save money if you trimmed trees yourself. Buying some of the safety gear and tools needed for the job, while renting out others such as a pole saw and a chainsaw will still cost you around $600. And then, there is the fact that if you’re a greenhorn and not very careful about how you go about it, you might end up causing yourself some serious injuries and damaging the tree.

However, here are some precautionary tips if you want to trim the tree yourself.

  1. Never seal the cuts on the tree, irrespective of what you may have read or seen on TV. It is damaging to the tree.
  2. Using ladders to trim trees is a foolhardy and life-threatening way to go about it. If you aren’t confident about using a safety harness and ropes to do the job, call the professionals.
  3. Always wear safety gear, such as gloves, a hard hat, protection glasses, and ear protection.
  4. Remember that it is highly dangerous to use a chainsaw. If you do not know how to use one, call upon professional tree companies.
  5. Cutting down large branches can be dangerous because if you get it wrong, you could hurt yourself, hurt others or damage property. Once again, if in doubt, call upon the services of a professional.
  6. Be sure you always have someone keeping an eye while you work, so they can warn you if things are going south before you realize it.
Why is tree trimming so expensive? was last modified: August 17th, 2022 by Narayan Shrouthy
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