The cost of tree pruning will largely depend on the size of the tree being pruned and the number of branches being removed.
The average cost of tree pruning is $430. The real range is from $225 for a palm prune right up to $1,200 for a very large tree.
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Small tree: 1 – 1.5 stories high.
Cost: $250 – $350
Anything smaller than 1 story or 5m high can be managed by a gardener. But if it is a little larger 1 – 1.5 stories high, you will need an arborist. It will be somewhere between $250 – $350
Medium tree: 2 stories high +.
Cost: $350 – $550
This size of trees will end up being a little more depending on the work being done. Cutting lower branches for a canopy list will be less expensive than canopy thinning for example, as there is less time spent climbing. The price range would be between $350 – $550.
Large tree: 3 Stories + high
Cost: $600 – $1,000
Like with the other size trees it is really going to depend on the particular species being pruned and the specific work being done. If the tree is an odd shape and has a very dense canopy, it will take longer to trim. Generally speaking, you are looking at $600 – $1000 for specimens 3 – 5 stories in height.
Extra Large tree: 6 Stories + high
Cost: $900 – $1,800
There won’t be too many of you in this category. If you are the owner of an extra-large tree that needs some branches removed, then it is obviously going to be fairly costly. It will depend on the size and number of the branches being removed. But I would budget between $900 – $1800.
Should I use an arborist?
There are 2 different routes you can take when choosing a potential tree pruning service to carry out work.
A certified arborist or a lawn care/ garden maintenance contractor.
If it’s a tree no bigger than 5m (a single-story house) and the branches that need removing are no thick than your wrist, then a gardener would be your best choice. The main reason you would go with a garden care contractor over an arborist is they are much much cheaper and in less demand.
Arborists are experts in trees. You really cannot go with anyone else for medium to large-size trees. They are highly skilled and have specialized in training and equipment to get your job done in a safe manner.
Yes, they are more expensive, but the extra prices carry the peace of mind as they are qualified and insured. If anything were to go wrong, you and they are completely covered.
Why Go Tree Quotes
In short, we are your best bet for finding the right qualified arborist close to you. We don’t actually do the work ourselves, we forward your details on to the closest 3 contractors in your area for quoting.
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This takes the guesswork out of finding a great tree contractor.
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Average pruning cost per hour
In general tree pruning services do not charge by the hour, rather they charge by the job.
The reason for this is professional tree services all have different numbers of staff and equipment to get the job done.
One company might take four hours to do the pruning job whereas another company might only take one hour, yet they charge the same amount.
You could say the company that only took 1 hour charged 4 x on average per hour for tree trimming, but at the end of the day, the cost is the same.
How often do you need to prune trees?
How regularly trees need pruning will depend on the age of the tree and how fast it grows.
It is important to have a tree pruning maintenance program in place to ensure the health and structural integrity of your tree. Younger trees from 1 to 5 years old will need pruning on a yearly basis, to ensure a desirable shape and structure of the tree is established early.
Generally, mature trees can be pruned every 1 to 5 years again depending on the type of tree, and how fast it grows in your desired outcome for the prune.
When pruning mature trees, you should never take off more than 15% per year as this is generally the rate at which the tree itself grows.
Will home owners insurance cover tree pruning?
In general homeowners’ insurance will not cover the cost of tree pruning. It will depend on the type of insurance cover you have.
If there was a storm and a branch has broken off your tree, they might cover you for the cost of getting a tree service out to make the tree safe and remove any broken or fallen branches.
Outside extreme circumstances such as storms and branch failures, homeowners’ insurance will not cover regular maintenance on your trees.
Is pruning good for trees?
If pruning is done correctly by a professional arborist, it can be very beneficial for the overall health and vitality of the tree.
Trees have vast root systems to support and nourish the tree above ground. When you remove 10 – 15% of branches, this gives the tree a new lease on life freeing up resources that would otherwise be used to maintain those branches. It can now put this excess energy towards healing old wounds and new growth.
Commercial farmers use tree pruning on an annual basis to increase the harvest of fruit the trees yield. From grapevines to orange trees, pruning your trees will increase the health, vigor, flowering and fruit and capabilities of your tree every time.
Professional tree trimming costs
A canopy lift is to prune the lower branches essentially raising the height of the canopy. This is normally only done once or twice as the tree is growing. When the lower branches are at a comfortable height from the ground, you will not need to continue lifting.
Price: As this requires the least amount of work you can expect to pay between $200 – $700
This involves the trimming of 10 – 30% of the canopy’s internal branches to reduce the overall volume of branches. This is done usually to let some more light into your yard or home, without complete removal.
5m – 8m = $300 – 600
8m – 15m = $600 – 1200
15m – 25m = $1200 – 2000
This is a fairly major prune. it involves the arborist to go to every extremity of the tree and take a percentage of the foliage off resulting in a clean and even reduction of the tree’s overall size.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $350 – $1500 depending on the size of the trees.
This type of tree trimming can only be performed on certain types of trees as it really does go against general tree trimming practices (i.e. the collar cut). But it is normally performed on small trees that have multiple vertical second-order branches. These branches are cut to about a 3rd of the size in the winter and left to rejuvenate through the spring. This is repeated every year or second year at worst.
less than 5m $150 – $350
5m – 10m $250 – $850
As the name suggests, it involves the removal of dead branches in trees. This is something that should be done on a regular basis to stop them from snapping off and injuring pedestrians or damaging property.
5 – 10m = $150 – $600
10 – 20m = $400 – $1200
20m + = $500 – $1500
This is a growth defect that needs to be addressed as early as possible as it can cause problems with the branches’ structural integrity in the future. When the branches begin rubbing up against each other when windy, the bark is stripped off the branch exposing it to bugs, fungi and rot. They should be removed when noticed.
Price range: $100 – $800
Duel leading trunks
Most large trees should be trained to a single main leader trunk. The reason being they are stronger alone. When the union between two vertical trucks fills up with leaves, water and dirt, it begins to rot from the inside out. Eventually, one side will give way in a strong wind and can cause injury and death.
As you can imagine it would depend on the tree. It could be a 5m tree and only cost $150, but it could also be a 35m tree and amount to thousands.
Hedge trimming or shaping
The shaping or resizing of a hedge.
You can generally price hedges by the meter. A normal hedge 1 – 2m high and 5m long would set you back $100 – $200. You can then just multiply that out depending on the length of the hedge.
Shaping & Formative pruning
Different from hedging, this is the shaping of larger trees. Normally it involves the reduction of the overall spread of the tree. If you can imagine taking 10-20% off the outside of all the branches.
This is actually quite expensive as it needs to be done by a climber or with an EWP and each extremity of the tree needs to be cut. Trees 5-10m would cost $200 – $800. The 10-20m tree would set you back more like $600 – 1200. Again it would all depend on the number of branches that need to be pruned.
Similar to pollarding where you take the whole top out of a tree to reduce its overall height. This is not advisable for most trees and is actually illegal in some states and cities as the regrowth can become dangerous as it is not connected to the tree itself, but just to the bark.
Price range: $200 – $1200
Fruit tree pruning cost
As the name suggests it is the removal of branches from a fruit-bearing tree in the hope of increasing the yield of the tree. The idea is you take away some of the limbs the tree has to support with its current root system, which frees up extra energy to produce more fruit.
Range: $150 – $350
Seasonal factors to consider
When getting any tree trimming work done by a professional arborist, it is worth remembering that the high season is spring and summer. If you contract a tree surgeon in these months you are bound to be paying up to double what you would in the offseason. Tradesmen quote jobs depending on how much work they have on. If they are going through a lean period, they are likely to give you a cheaper price to win the work and get them through the winter.
Most tradesmen charge travel time or at the very least have a minimum amount they charge for even the smallest work. That amount would not be any less than $100 for an arborist. If you only have a very small job, you are best getting a garden maintenance type contractor as you will find they will charge a lot less for the same job.
This is because they have less expensive equipment, insurance etc.
Benefits of tree pruning
All trees and plants respond well to pruning. It allows them to stop wasting so much energy on maintaining branches and spend more energy on new growth or producing fruit. Your tree will be much better off for it.
Removing deadwood or decaying branches allows the tree to get on with the healing process which will close wounds around the tree increasing its vitality.
Pruning a tree improves its overall appearance which can in turn add value to your home.
Improved lawn growth
Your lawn would appreciate the extra light by thinning a tree or giving it a canopy lift, plus your power bill in winter is bound to be much less if more light is able to make it through or under the canopy to heat your home naturally.
Power and heating bill
By letting more in you allow the sun to naturally heat your house during the colder months with will drastically reduce your reliance on artificial heating.
When to prune your tree
When pruning in winter you are catching the tree when it is dormant. This is a great idea when doing drastic pruning that involves the removal of greater than 20% of the canopy. Pruning in winter (after the coldest months) allows the tree to adapt to the changes as it slowly reanimates after its hibernation.
Pruning a tree by 10 – 20% in summer is actually a really positive thing for the tree. It frees up more of the stored energy to be spent on new growth and there is less stress on the tree to feed so many limbs during really hot days.
It is extremely difficult to price a tree pruning job over the phone or by pictures. The arborist will need to come out to your property and inspect the job. The price of tree pruning is not just dependent on the tree itself, but the location, access, obstacles and a myriad of other factors.
No, a tree pruning service is able to work without you there just as long as they have access to the tree. They will not need power cables or anything to work. You can have the job done and arrange to pay them after you have come home and inspected the job.
In most cases yes. Most self-respecting arborists will include the waste removal in with the price. There are done dodgy operators out there like in any trade so I would get them to specify on the quote that the waste removal will be included in the pruning cost.
Yes. You can save an average of 20% off the price of tree trimming just by having the job done in winter. Because there is a slump in work for arborists over the winter, they need to lower their prices to be more competitive. In winter you find yourself on the right side of the supply and demand paradigm.
Technically yes, but if you have a qualified arborist doing the work this outcome is very unlikely. If you are attempting to do the work yourself and you cut too much off the tree, at the wrong time of year using the wrong tools and techniques, the tree can go into a state of shock and die. You really do need to know what you are doing.
Yes you need to use an arborist for any tree that is larger than 5m (single-story house). Tree pruning and removal are highly dangerous and need to be carried out by a professional arborist with the expertise and tools to do the job in a safe and efficient manner. There are plenty of “gardeners” who will claim to be able to do the job, but few will have the tools experience or insurance to cover them in case of an accident.
As a general rule of thumb, trees should be trimmed in winter. The reason for this is mainly to do with the tree’s health. Trees are dormant in winter so removing limbs will be less of a shock to their system. Pests like bora beetles or fungal infections like Oak wilt are also less prevalent in winter which gives your tree time to heal before summer hits.
If the tree is on our property you will need to pay for it to be trimmed. If it is a rental property, you might be able to get the owner to pay for it, but you would need to ask them before going ahead. If the tree is growing into the roof or fences, they will not have a problem with paying for the trim.
Normally tree trimming is best done in winter, but if it’s only a small prune (less than 10% of foliage) then pruning in spring should be fine. Obviously emergency trimming jobs such as building clearance.
If your tree is hanging over your neighbour’s yard they are well within their rights to trim your tree, just as long as they are not breaking any tree audience laws in the process. It’s the norm for them to ask your permission first before pruning, but it is not against the law as it is encroaching on their property.
Home insurance will cover tree trimming in emergency situations. If a branch come down in a storm, insurance companies will come the party to pay for the branch(s) to be removed and other branches to be trimmed. It might not be worthwhile depending on how much your excess is though. Insurance companies will not cover tree trimming for trees that are healthy.
Not really. You can go to court, but you are just best doing it yourself. You have the right to trim anything overhanging your yard. If you are not on good terms with your neighbor, then you will not be able to enter their yard to do the job. Everything will need to be done from your side of the fence.
Technically they are. If you trim THEIR tree overhanging YOUR yard, you have the right to throw the waste into their yard for disposal. I personally would not recommend it if you want any kind of relationship with your neighbor.
This will depend on the Tree Preservation Order for your local Council. Please go here for details. Because all TPOs are different you will need to check but in most cases, as long as the tree is not protected and you are trimming 10% or less of the foliage you should be ok to proceed.
This will depend on the local laws governing tree pruning in your area. Every local council has its own set of tree-trimming laws. In most cases you will be able to trim less than 10% of a tree per year without much issue. Just as long as the work is done by a certified arborist. You will need to refer to the Tree Preservation Order (TPO) for your local council.
This is a common question, but your chances are better at getting a plumber to install a toilet free of charge. Tree services are like any other business and charge for their services. The quote and call-out will be free, but if you contract them to remove the tree you will need to pay the quoted amount.