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How Much Does Tree Trimming Cost?

Typical Range: $75 - $1,500

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Tree Trimming Cost

Tree trimming costs $460 on average with most paying between $200 and $760. For trees under 30 feet, you’ll generally only pay $75 to $400. For mid-sized shrubs of 30 to 60 feet, expect to double that. Large trees over 60 feet can push $1,500. Check with your professional to see if they include cleanup costs, otherwise you’ll need to add $25 to $100 for dumping.

Tree trimming focuses on aesthetic appearances, thinning out branches to shape the plant. Tree pruning instead focuses on the health of the plant. For trimming, any tree professional will do. For pruning, find a professional arborist. While you can prune anything, it’s a waste of time on some bushy foliage, like hedges. For these bushy, thick topiary creations, just trim for shape. Pruning usually gets left to trees and shrubs to cut away the dead branches to promote growth and the health and shape of the plant.

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Tree Trimming Cost Calculator

Average Cost$460
High Cost$1,500
Low Cost$75

Tree Trimming Prices

Tree trimming prices vary between $100 to $1,800 depending on the height of the tree, accessibility, your location and job complexity. You can usually gauge prices based on the height.

Tree HeightCost Range
1-30 feet$100-$400
30-60 feet$175-$600
60+ feet$200-$1,800+
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Queen Palm Trimming Cost

Palm tree trimming cost anywhere from $100 to $1,500, depending its height. The California fan palm grows up to 75 feet tall. However, Palm trees across the southern United States grow a max height of anywhere from 20 feet to 80 feet tall.

Pine Tree Trimming Cost

Pine tree trimming costs tend to vary between $200 to $1,500 with the average species ranging from 40 to 100 feet tall. However, some species rarely get over 30 feet while the white pine can reach 150 feet. Some species also present a more complex trimming problem for your professional, requiring a little more time.

Fruit Tree Trimming Cost

Fruit tree trimming costs $100 to $400 on average since few exceed 30 feet tall. However, if you’re growing a fruit tree for its fruit, and not simply as a topiary, you might want to call an arborist or gardening expert. Instead of trimming one for looks, consider careful pruning to encourage the plants health.

Cost to Trim Crepe Myrtle

You’ll pay anywhere from $75 to $400 to trim a crepe myrtle tree. Depending on the species, they’ll grow anywhere from 3 to 30 feet tall. You may pay on the upper end of that range for species with complex trunk structures.

Cost to Trim a Large Tree

Trimming large trees over 60 feet tall costs $800 to $1,800 or more. With more branches that come in larger diameters and with complex shapes, it’s often more work and requires more equipment to trim and prune. Extremely tall trees, typically over 100 feet, may cost more. You should get several quotes from arborists before proceeding.

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Tree Trimming Service Costs

As with tree pruning, maintenance costs average between $400 and $600, depending on tree type, maintenance needed and the expertise level of your professional. Always ask for a quote before proceeding with work.

Several services available to keep your trees healthy and your yard beautiful include:

  • Tree Inspection: $30-$150. A pro inspects the state of your trees and evaluates whether any kind of work needs to be done to improve its health.
  • Deep Root Fertilization: $50-$300. Certified arborists use specialized equipment to send fertilizer deep in the ground to reach the deepest roots. However, to save money, consider doing this yourself with DIY tree spikes.
  • Tree or Trunk Injection: $50-$100. The Tree injection (also called trunk injection) technique helps prevent and restore trees suffering from disease or insect issues.
  • Insect & Disease Control: $50-$250. Just like humans, trees can get sick or infected by parasites. Certified arborists identify diseases and suggest treatments.

Tree Topping Cost

Tree topping, also known as hat racking or rounding over, costs the same as any other pruning method or about $400 to $800. But removing the main trunk of a tree without enough mature supporting structure can lead to disease, decay and can outright kill the tree. The only time any qualified professional or arborist will advise topping a tree is if you plan to later remove it completely. Tree removal costs $400 to $1,200 on average, or just slightly more than pruning. Skip the topping step and costs and just remove the tree outright.

Cost to Cut Tree Branches

The cost to cut tree branches, another name for trimming or pruning, runs $200 to $800 on average. But it depends on the height of the tree. Short species, under 30 feet, don’t require heavy equipment or often even ladders and so cost far less than an 80-foot-tall oak.

Tree Trimming Cost Near Me

LocationTypical RangeAverage Cost
Dallas, TX$200-$850$500
Miami, FL$150-$600$350
Denver, CO$100-$300$200
Los Angeles, CA$200-$700$450
Phoenix, AZ$250-$1,000$600
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Tree Trimming Cost Per Hour

Tree trimming services don’t charge per hour. However, they do figure in in costs of $25 to $50 per hour per worker to their quote. Regardless, they usually charge flat rates to compensate for time spent traveling, overhead, licensing and insurance fees and equipment use.

Tree Pruning Cost

Pruning trees costs the same as trimming, or $400 to $800 on average. If you hire a certified arborist, you may pay slightly more. Although used interchangeably in most cases, pruning really deals with keeping the plant healthy for optimal growth while trimming concerns itself mostly with aesthetics.

Cost Factors

The price range for tree pruning depends on many factors including:

  • Size of the tree
  • Location of the tree
  • Type of tree
  • Health of the tree

Time

Hiring during a trimmer’s busy season may mean paying a premium. But experts recommend pruning a tree while it is dormant, or when the tree is not actively growing. Different trees have different growth periods, and the only exception to this rule is when the tree causes a safety hazard.

The appropriate time to have your trees pruned depends on a few factors, like:

  • Aesthetics: Pruning helps keep your tree beautiful, if you don’t try to give it an unnatural shape or size.
  • Safety: Trees can grow dangerously close to utility lines or obstruct proper vision while driving. Dead or broken branches can fall off at any time, causing some risk to you or your family’s safety and property.
  • Health: Many tree health issues can be solved with a little pruning. You can cut away a disease before it spreads, for example, if you catch it early.

Size of the Tree

Up to 30 feetRussian olive, Dogwood$75-$450
30 to 60 feetCrab apple trees$150-$875
60 feet and tallerRed oak, Pine$200-$1,800
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Number of Trees

In most cases, you’ll pay slightly less per tree when you do many of them at once. For example, if you pay $200 for a single tree you might pay $1,000 for 10 trees ($100 per tree). Rates will vary from place to place and professional to professional. The higher price for a single tree reflects the overhead and other fixed expenses your professional incurs taking on the work, such as vehicle, gas, licensing, taxes, overhead and insurance.

Health

The health of your tree dictates how extensive the work required to save it. This might mean soil testing, root pruning, fertilizing and spraying for pests. All these extra services might add anywhere from $50 to $500 more to your bill.

Damage to its health might be caused by a variety of factors:

  • Abiotic Damage: Caused by strong winds, hail, frost or dry spells, obvious signs include dried leaves and cracked or broken limbs. Resolve this damage quickly to avoid parasitic disease and pest infestations.
  • Fungi/Mushrooms: Wood-destroying fungi diminish structural stability and deplete trees of vital nutrients.
  • Moist Crack: A moist crack in a tree trunk signals internal decay. Evaluate it to determine if the if you can save the tree.
  • Pests: Includes ants, termites and woodpeckers which we discuss further below.

Pests

Trees provide a home to a variety of harmless or even beneficial insects and other animals, but some pests damage and endanger your trees. This kind of infestation can lead to illnesses in the tree, such as rotting or fungal growth. Common pests include:

  • Emerald ash borer: This invasive, wood-boring beetle is killing ash trees across the United States at an alarming rate, making it a serious hazard to homes and landscapes. If you see emerald ash borers, you need to treat them with specific methods created by researchers and best applied by an arborist.
  • Ant extermination: If you see ants on your tree, watch them closely, as their presence may indicate rotting or foothold damage. Call in an expert if you notice a prevalence of ants at the base of the tree trunk along with sawdust coming out of the trunk, as this is indicative of damage.
  • Mites:  Although they’re tiny, mite infestations can weaken tree leaves and buds.
  • Shield-lice: You’ll notice shield-lice damage after they have formed a shield-like spot on the tree’s bark with their waxy secretions, causing moisture retention in the bark. They sometimes also attack tree leaves. Extreme cases will require expert attention.
  • Other wood-destroying insects: The larva of many other species of insects breed in wood, damaging the tree’s bark and wood core, allowing fungi to invade.
  • Woodpeckers: Woodpeckers do more than give you a headache. They seek out homes in rotting trees. If a woodpecker has recently taken residence in one of your trees, seek out an expert immediately.

You may need to call in a local pest control specialist to help deal with this problem before addressing the damage to your trees.

Accessibility

Companies typically have a bucket truck that allows them to easily reach the top of even the tallest tree. However, if there isn’t sufficient surrounding space for the truck, the trimmer climbs to the top to access limbs, resulting in a higher cost.

For example, clearing dead wood from an 80-foot oak costs about $1,000 with the use of a bucket truck, but the cost to clear the same tree is closer to $1,400 if it must be cut by a climber.

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DIY vs. Hire a Trimming Service

Without taking the proper precautions and having the right equipment, trimming a tree can quickly turn from a quick DIY project to a hazardous or even deadly venture. In the case of exceptionally large trees (over 60 feet), there’s no question about it; go with a pro. Even if you don’t end up hurting yourself, the equipment can cost hundreds to rent per day. Plus, improperly pruning and trimming can hurt your trees.

Equipment Costs & Fees

A tree trimming company already owns all the equipment and materials necessary to get the job done. Unless you have trimmed trees in the past, there’s a good chance you’ll need to make an expensive trip to your local hardware store before you can begin your project.

  • Hand-held pruners and loppers: $30-$50.
  • Gas pole pruner: $150-$300.
  • Heavy-duty gas tree trimmer rental: $50+ per day.
  • Safety equipment: $50-$150.
  • Dumping fees: $25-$100.
  • Ladder: $150-$500.

Risks

Significant safety hazards exist, especially when working with larger growth.

  • If you need to climb, you risk falling and hurting yourself without a proper safety harness.
  • Use sharp pruners with caution, both for your own safety and that of those around you.
  • You can’t always control where tree branches and limbs fall. In fact, a 2009 study performed by The B.L.S. Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries found that the primary cause of injury related to tree trimming was branches and limbs falling in unexpected directions.
  • Finally, if located near a power line, don’t trim it on your own.

FAQs

How often should trees be trimmed?

For optimal health, trim your trees every 3 to 5 years. For aesthetic reasons, you’ll probably want to trim them every year.

When is the best time to trim or prune a tree?

The best time to trim or prune a tree is the fall or early spring before the tree comes out of its dormant state.

Although different trees enter their dormant season at different stages, there’s a basic seasonal pattern you can follow for general tree care.

  • Spring: During spring, fertilize and water your trees.
  • Summer: Leave your trees alone.
  • Fall: Do major pruning and trimming to prepare the tree for next year after they go dormant.
  • Winter:You can leave your trees alone during the winter.

How do you prune fruit trees?

The best way to prune a fruit tree is under the care of a professional arborist or horticulturist. Apple, lemon, plum, cherry, fig and peach trees, for example, need regular pruning to grow delicious fruit every year. Leaving dead or diseased branches on these trees could jeopardize the quality and quantity of fruit.

  • Apple trees: Late spring or early winter. Prune the lower branches to raise its base, then remove any stems that aren’t growing upwards.
  • Lemon trees: Right after they're finished bearing fruit for the season. Start by cutting off dead or diseased branches. Then, remove stems that are thinner than a pencil, those that touch the ground and branches that cross other branches.
  • Plum trees: During the summer, between June and August, to prevent fungal infections that may come with wet weather. As with any fruit tree, remove lower branches and make sure sunlight can make it to every fruit-bearing stem.
  • Cherry trees: Early fall, as this is when they enter their dormant season. Remove the water sprouts, or “suckers”, which are the new growths at ground level. Avoid cutting branches that meet the trunk of the tree.
  • Fig trees: Prune several times over the first winter. As time progresses, prune your fig tree so that it grows low, horizontal branches. Choose 4-6 main branches to hold the fruit. Removing suckers at the base of the trunk.

Do I need to hire a certified arborist?

You don’t need to hire a certified arborist, but if it’s an heirloom, fruit or tree of historical value, you’ll want to consult one for proper care.

Does trimming palm trees make them grow faster?

Trimming a palm tree doesn’t make it grow faster and can hurt its growth if done improperly.

What's the difference between pruning and trimming?

While the terms “trimming” and “pruning” are often used interchangeably, they have different meanings:

  • Trimming is typically done for aesthetics and convenience and is performed when there are no concerns of overgrowth, disease, pests or other hazards to the tree.
  • Pruning involves the selective removal of parts of a tree or plant, such as buds, roots and branches to keep the tree healthy or promote growth.

How do you trim a tree?

Tree trimming takes some skill, special equipment and experience to avoid harming your yard. While it’s usually best left to the professionals, you might find out how to go about the process to decide which tasks you feel comfortable taking on and which you should leave to the pros.

How can you save money on trimming?

Hiring a professional team to come out and trim your trees costs more than doing it yourself, but it is the safest option. There are some ways to save money on your tree trimming service:

  • Power Lines: Utility companies will generally come out and trim trees that are near power lines for free since it is a safety issue.
  • Routine Maintenance: Annual tree trimming, for instance, can prevent diseases, growth and pests that can require more intensive and expensive repairs later if left untreated.
  • Quick Action: Don’t wait for a problem to get worse before you get it resolved.
  • Water Trees: It seems basic but making sure your trees are getting enough water is essential for their overall health and longevity.
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