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Alternative Guide to Save Money on Tree Removal

This is a HUGE when it comes to calculating the cost of removal. For the exact same tree in 2 different locations on your property can double the cost of removal.

SOLUTION: Good access (Read No. 2)




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by Ben McInerney - Qualified Arborist

Last updated          10 May, 2017

Besides the size of the tree itself, there are several other key factors which contribute to the cost of tree removal.

I'm going to lay them out for you and give you some tips and tricks on how to save BIG dollars.

1. Position of tree can double your costs - SOLVED   

Is your tree easily accessible like the tree above with the yellow arrow? Or is it in a hard to get to location like the red arrow...

Essential Resources

If the contractor can get his machinery nice and close to the tree, then there will be less manual labor getting the tree to the machine. This mean less time/ manpower for them, and less money for yourself.

2. Secure better access to tree

Location of the tree on your property may not be such a big deal if the contractor can get heavy equipment close to the base of the tree.

Reason: All trees need to be fed through this mulching machine aka "chipper"  and shot into the back of a truck. 

(see picture below)

SOLUTION: Do everything you can to allow the contractor to get his machinery as close to the tree as possible.

Pro Tip: If your tree is in your backyard and you don't have a rear driveway, does your neighbor? If they do, ask if they contractors can access through their yard by removing a panel of fencing.

Same goes if you back onto a park, rear lane, reserve etc.

I have quoted jobs where this simple trick has saved the owner $1000 + on their tree removal.

This example would be nightmare to work around! ( expensive nightmare)

This one is nearly as important as No.1 and No.2

We spoke about location of the tree and access to it, and the 3rd factor is how quickly the contractor can get the tree dismantled and on the ground safely.

In most cases there is not enough room to fell the tree at the base if it's a large tree in a suburban yard. If it can be, it's going to be a quick, easy and cheap(er) job then the below example.

Example: To the other extreme, if the tree is overhanging your house and the only room to work is this a tiny courtyard, then its going to take more time and manpower to get the tree on the ground and in the back of the truck.

3. Room around the tree to work

If your tree is in a confined space with a clothes line below, a tap to the right and surrounded by pot plants, it is going to take the contractor forever to tap dance around everything to get the tree on the ground safely.


To avoid an extra charge of “pain in the neck tax”, assure the tree expert (when he is quoting the job)  that you will be removing everything from around the base of the tree to make it easier/ faster for him to remove the tree.

This is an example of removing a tree in a confined space. Branches are lowered one at a time. This is time consuming and will cost you more.

Cost calculator for tree lopping

To secure a cheap price for palm removal, you must take the dumping fees out of the equation for the tree expert quoting your job.

4. Disposal of green waste/ timber yourself

Offering to dispose of the waste yourself could save you hundreds of dollars.

There are several ways of doing this:

- Hire a skip
- Put out for council waste collection day

- Dispose of over time in your green waste bin

- Sell the timber as firewood on ebay, gumtree, facebook etc.

Hire a skip

This may or may not be cost effective depending on a number of factors. 

- Size/ location of tree

- Tree species

If you have a large tree to be removed in your backyard, which has poor access, it's going expensive for a compete removal. i.e. If the contractor has to get laborers in the carry the timber manually from the backyard to the street.

Why not ask an arborist for a price to get the tree on the ground safely, and cut up. Then you can take your time moving it all out the front and putting it in skip bin.


Get the palm waste taken away free by council, but aligning the removal date to coincide with your local council cleanup.


...Dispose of the waste over time in your green waste bin (and the bins of your neighbors if possible)

Palms are not normal. They can not be put through mulching machines because of their acidic properties. The mulch generated is also useless due to the same reason.

They must be dumped, which is very expensive.

So half the cost of palm tree removal is dumping fees.

Palm Trees

Sell Timber on Ebay or Gumtree

This is a great way to recoup the money from your tree’s most valuable asset…it’s timber. 

With the cost of power ever increasing, the cost of fire wood for open fires has also risen (simple supply and demand). 


Get your friendly tree expert to cut the tree logs up into 30 cm fire-wood-size logs. 

Now take a photo and sell it online as fire wood. Split and dried firewood goes for $100 give or take per cubic meter. Yours being green and un-split, you will get between $50 & $70 per cube.

Does your tree job actually need a qualified arborist? ....or can it be carried out by a gardener? If it's a tree that is 5m high or less, chances are you can save money with a gardener.

So what’s the difference?


Basically if you have a prune or removal job that is 

1. 5m or smaller (one story house)

2. And, the tree's trunk diameter is < 15cm are best getting a gardener to do the work to save you a tonne of money.

5. Hire a gardener not an arborist


They are generally unskilled (no education in horticulture)

Employees: 0 - 5

Cost of tools: $500 - $2000

Insurance: None


Skilled and educated in Arboriculture (Horticulture)

Employees: 2 - 10

Cost of tools: $10,000 - $150,000

Insurance: Public liability insurance, Insurance or equipment, worker compensation insurance @ 9% on wages.

How Do I Choose?

A Gardner                                                                            An Arborist

6. Don't shoot from the hip... Get quotes from the best priced local experts

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