Note: This cost estimate deals with the trimming of large tree branches that hang over a home or have tree disease that needs to be remedied, not complete tree removal.
Cost Range for Tree Trimming and Tree Pruning
The average cost to trim branches from a 25-30 foot tall tree is around $475 when you call a local tree service company to handle the tree pruning job. If you choose to do it yourself, you’ll pay for tools and your time, which can cost around $60 for basic pruning tools, but also save money next time they need to be pruned.
When you hire a tree service to complete the job, expect them to show up with several workers, skilled in both climbing trees and trimming them to the proper needs for the location. After deciding which limbs and branches need to be pruned from the tree, they’ll climb or use a bucket truck to lift them to the needed area. Once started, they’ll cut away the limbs with a chainsaw and allow them to drop to the ground for cleanup. On the ground, the crew will gather the dropped limbs and branches, often putting them into a wood chipping machine to shred them into tree mulch. Once completed the crew will cleanup with a blower, collect their money and leave your property.
Average Cost Range
Overview of Tree Trimming and Pruning
Keeping trees properly trimmed maintains not only their own attractive appearance and health, but can greatly help the surrounding trees with proper room for growth. It also protects your home and property (and health) from the danger and costly damage of falling limbs. Many times, the cost of pruning branches on your trees is higher than many homeowners expect until the scope of the work is understood, and the amount of detail needed to assure safety of the home, landscape and tree service workers.
This Costimate details the cost of tree trimming and the factors affecting price. Your trees can be evaluated using these factors to produce a fairly accurate estimate of your tree pruning service costs. Near the bottom of the page you can review costs and details about the project by other leading resources as well as the most common questions and answers tree service companies have told us hear all the time.
Tree Trimming Cost Factors
How much does it cost? The quick answer is that cost varies greatly from $40 to $1,100 per tree based on factors like size, whether you do it yourself or hire a pro, time of year and many other factors, which are listed below.
- Time of Year: For obvious reasons, when trees are dormant in the winter months and have lost all their leaves, it’s a much easier task of climbing, cutting and disposing of the fallen branches. When there is less to clean up, the job is going to move quicker for the tree service company.
- DIY or Pro Trimming: Most homeowners hire professionals to trim their trees because they don’t have the equipment needed, and they understand that the risks involved simply aren’t worth taking. Also, hiring a trained arborist ensures the work done enhances tree health and beauty. If you do the work, your tree pruning costs are limited to the equipment listed below, but only if you do the work safely without causing injury to yourself or damage to property or electrical lines.
- Size of the Tree: Size increments used by many pro services are trees up to 30 feet, trees 31-60 feet and trees taller than 60 feet. The taller the tree, the more difficulty and costly it is to trim.
- Number of Trees: The more trees to trim, the less the cost is per tree. This is because the cost of getting the crew and equipment to the site is spread over a greater number of trees.
- Hazards: When power lines run through the tree or when a limb overhangs a building, extra care – and extra cost – is factored into the estimate.
- Ease in Accessing the Trees: Trees along a road or driveway are easier and less costly to trim than those set back on the property or in soft and/or wet ground.
- Distance to the Property: The farther the crew must travel, the higher the fuel and labor expense, and the greater your final cost will be.
- Branch Cleanup: You can save money by cleaning up the debris. Including cutting, chipping and hauling away the wood in the estimate raises the cost of tree trimming.
- Storm Cleanup / Demand: When a major storm causes widespread tree damage, tree services are in high demand. Costs typically rise due to overtime and weekend work.
Note: Utility companies usually trim trees that threaten power lines to protect their investment. If the trees that need trimming are near electrical lines, make your first call to your utility company. They’ll inspect the situation and might do the work at no cost to you.
Cost of Tree Pruning Service, Equipment and Supplies
The cost to hire an insured tree service in your area is going to depend largely on the cost factors mentioned above. That said, you can expect the cost to be based on the overall project versus an hourly rate of the time they’ll be there doing the work.
Here are the cost ranges for occasional-use quality at the low end to professional-grade tools and equipment.
- $8-$50 | Hand saw or pruning shears
- $24-$325 | Pole saw (non-powered)
- $125-$385 | Pole saw (powered)
- $35-$125 | Electric chainsaw
- $175-$950 | Gas chainsaw
- $135-$385 | Fiberglass extension ladder (used because fiberglass doesn’t conduct electricity like aluminum)
- $175-$450 | Tree-climbing boots
- $50-$135 | Tree-climbing harnesses
Additional costs include eye protection (up to $70), protective gloves (up to $45), hard hats (up to $185), ear protection (up to $35) and wireless communication systems between those high in the tree and those on the ground directing their efforts (up to $400).
For every 6-10 hours in the field, a tree service crew spends an hour cleaning and maintaining its equipment.
For very tall trees that need branches or limbs removed high up, many companies use a cherry picker lift versus climbing the tree. While cost prohibitive to most DIY’ers, consider getting a tree service company if you have the need for very high trimming.
Permits, Inspection, and Labor Costs
Many cities and counties require a permit to ensure safe, proper tree trimming and to contain the spread of Dutch elm disease, the Emerald ash borer and other tree-killing pests. Your local municipal office or website will have details about obtaining a permit and what it will cost.
Permits and Inspection Cost
- $35-$200 | Tree trimming permit, where required.
- $75-$150 | Property line survey – If there is a question about whose property a tree is on, paying for a line survey is a protection against cutting trees you don’t own.
Two cost-related notes: First, make sure that the tree trimming service you hire is licensed and insured for your protection against liability for injury, death or damage to property caused by the work. Secondly, if your property is part of a homeowners’ association (HOA), check the bylaws to make sure the tree trimming you plan to do complies, or risk being fined or sued over the work.
Estimated Labor Cost and Time
Experienced arborists and crews are paid well for their expertise, risk and overhead costs for equipment and liability insurance. We’ve organized the price by tree size, as most tree services do. Where your tree trimming cost will fall in the range depends on the other factors listed above such as number of trees and access to them.
- $290 – $660 per tree | Trees up to 30 feet tall
- $360 – $950 per tree | Trees 31-60 feet tall
- $445 – $1,430 per tree | Trees more than 60 feet tall
How long does it take a crew of 2-4 arborists to trim trees? Here are common time-frames, so you can estimate how long the noise and mess will persist. These estimates including cutting or chipping the downed branches and hauling them away, since that is standard procedure on most jobs.
- One day: One or two large trees, 5-8 medium trees or 10+ small trees
- Two days: 3-5 large trees, 8-15 medium trees or 20+ small trees
Here are several other common projects related to having trees trimmed, shaped or pruned at your home.
Are You a Pro Arborist or Tree Service?
If so, head over to our Costimates Pro’s page, and help us make this page better and more accurate for both our visitors and your future customers.
DIY or Hire a Pro to Trim Your Trees
While I am no tree expert, I have chainsaws, both powered and manual pole saws, and a hand saw that can cut through an 8″ thick branch or so if needed. I’ve done this type of trimming project myself, many times with the help of friends and family. If you’re a homeowner, you probably have to. I limit my own tree trimming activities based on the height of the tree and the fall zone for the branches. If the tree is taller than my house, I’m calling in a tree service every time.
- You need to be comfortable working from a ladder or climbing a tree.
- You need to have the right tools for the job, which includes a chainsaw for larger trim jobs, pole saw, hand saws and possibly a rope to lower the branch after its cut.
Note: In 2012, we had a large (+60 feet tall) oak tree in our backyard that hung over one corner of our home. One of the branches fell during a storm and ruined the rain gutter. When the insurance adjuster arrived, they agreed to remove the tree to prevent further damage to the roof. At the time, they paid $600 for the tree removal.
Compare Costs from Leading Resources
- LawnStarter: $315 - $700, Per Tree
- HomeGuide: $250 - $500, Per Tree Trimmed
- HomeAdvisor: $200 - $760, Per Tree
- Fixr: $175 - $700, Trim up to a 25' Tree
- BobVilla: $460, Per Tree Being Pruned