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Hiring Cheap Tree Pruning Services
Updated: 17 March 2020
When hiring tree pruning services it’s important to remember there is no standard price to remove branches from a tree.
The reason being, every tree is different and every job is different. That amount of ‘grey area’ is where you can get stung for more money.
Here are a few tips for keeping it on the cheap.
Get more than one quote
Three to four quotes from tree pruning services is the sweet spot. Any less and you risk not having enough selection.
Remember, don’t just get any old companies to quote your job. Take 5 minutes to read reviews, look up their ABN on ABN lookup and get a better idea of who you are going to be doing business with.
Avoid hiring in peak season
When is the peak season for tree pruning or removal? In general the warmer months.
When the weather is cool, there are fewer people out in their yard doing gardening, so there is less demand for tree pruning services. Less demand means there is an oversupply which equals cheaper tree pruning costs.
Check out the below chart. You can see demand halves in the colder months.
With low demand and the same supply, something has to give… and normally it the prices.
Make the job easy for the tree care professional
One of the biggest things that adds to the price of tree pruning is the location of the tree on your property and how well it can be accessed.
If you can imagine a tree in your front yard, with lots of room to work. Now imagine the same sized tree in the back yard of a home, tucked in the corner behind a shed, with no rear access.
These are two extreme scenarios, but you get the idea.
The easier you can make it for a tree surgeon to prune your tree, the cheaper it is going to be.
– Grant them better access (remove a fence if needed)
– Make the space around the tree easier and more spacious
– Don’t be too precious about your garden or lawn. They will grow back!
Time is money, so if you let them know you are going to help make it as quick and painless as possible for them, they are going to charge you less.
Hire a garden maintenance expert
If you need a hedge trimmed or the branches being pruning are fairly small and are less than 4 – 5m off the ground, you will save a lot of money getting in a local garden maintenance/ lawn mowing guy.
Because they have far fewer overheads and in general work alone. That being the case they will charge 50 – 75% less for the same work.
Bear in mind they are not trained arborists and most likely not insured, so make sure it is just a small job and nothing too significant. If in doubt, get an arborist.
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DIY tree pruning
There are 2 basic concepts that you need to learn before diving into tree trimming. Once you learn them, then we can look at the different styles of tree pruning and shaping.
They are the collar cut and the step cut.
The Collar Cut
This technique is one of the first things an arborist learns when they get formal training.
What it the collar? It refers to the branch tissue marked with a bark ridge that connects to the tree trunk.
Why is it important? When pruning a tree, if you cut through and remove the branch collar, you can hinder the structural integrity of the tree.
This is like taking a chunk out to a support beam of a home. It can heal itself, but it won’t quite be the same.
The biggest issue though is actually it opens up a large wound on the tree that needs to heal. Just like with humans, the bigger the cut, the greater the chance of infection. It will take longer to heal and expose the tree to unnecessary pathogens for longer.
Bear this in mind when reaching over to prune a neighbors tree overhanging your fence. If you want to keep the privacy screen and not kill the tree, make it a nice collar cut.
By making a cut along the collar seam, you are taking the shortest line between two points and reducing the wound size.
Identifying the collar
Below is an illustration of the right and wrong way to identify the collar and make the cut.
The Step Cut
Before you make a collar cut, do you need a step cut? It depends!
When pruning larger branches, which basically includes anything you need a saw to get through because your secateurs are not strong enough you will need to perform a step-cut first before cutting the tree along the collar ridge.
If you were to just go straight for the collar cut when halfway through the cut, you run the risk of the branches weight snapping the remainder of the branch.
Why is this bad?
Because it usually tare’s away a big ugly part of bark with it.
First step cut (A,B), then a collar cut (C)
The small cut A is there to stop the bark taring. It is made only 1/3 (or less) of the way into the branch. Any more than that and the weight of the branch can trap your saw in.
Below is an example of a cut made without a stop cut. Notice the huge wound opened up.
Different tree pruning styles
This is not simply the removal of a few random branches back to the trunk. It is actually the selective pruning of 3rd and 4th order branches to reduce the overall size of the tree. Think of it like giving the tree an even hair cut all over.
This is probably one of the more expensive tree pruning services you can have done as it requires the climber to go out to every extremity of the tree and remove branches.
It’s not as expensive as tree removal or stump removal, but it is not far off because it is a time-consuming service.
Just as the name suggests, crown thinning is the process of selectively pruning branches with the trees canopy to make it less dense.
The main reason for this is to let more sunlight through for grass to grow or for more natural light to enter a homes’ windows.
Deadwood trimming and removal
On larger trees, this can literally be a lifesaver. By removing dead and decaying branches you remove the risk of one of them breaking off and becoming a hazard to anyone under the tree at the time.
Even very small branches no thicker than 2cm can build up speed very quickly and will smash roof tiles and anything else in their path.
It will also make a huge difference to the look of the tree. The biggest changes can be seen on trees like the Eucalyptus nicholii and Silky oaks.
Crown lift pruning
This is a very common and inexpensive tree pruning service. It involves the removal of several of the tree’s lower branches so the main canopy of the tree is higher off the ground. The cost of a canopy lift varies from tree to tree, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 – $800
It is a very straightforward job but can make a huge difference to the look of your tree and garden.
For more information on the cost of various tree trimming services, please visit our tree trimming cost guide here.
Author: Ben McInerney is a qualified arborist with over 15 years of industry experience. He uses his in-depth knowledge of the tree service industry to give readers to most accurate information on tree service costs and helps to educate about the benefits of using a certified arborist for tree trimming and removal work.
Since 2012, Go Tree Quotes has helped over 74,516 homeowners find the best deal on tree pruning in their local area.