Tree Pruning Cost

How much does tree pruning cost?

The cost of professional tree pruning is determined by a number of different factors. Most important are how long it takes to complete the job, the size of the tree, difficulty of the work and the level of access to the site. Each of these elements are influenced by the size and species of tree, the condition of the tree, the location, the time of year and any nearby potential hazards. When a Jim’s Trees arborist arrives on site to provide a quote, they are calculating the amount of time, crew and resources that will be required to perform the job.

In this article we will take you through all of the important factors that an arborist must consider when calculating the total cost for pruning tree services. To do so we will start from the basics, covering the definition of important tree maintenance terms like pruning, lopping, tree trimming and shaping. Then we will discuss the reasons for pruning your trees and highlight all of the incredible benefits, not least of which are improving safety, saving money and saving time.

Once we have laid the foundation of tree pruning basics, we will give you an insight into our process of tree pruning. We will explain a step by step guide to our professional approach which will highlight the care that is put into safety and professionalism. Finally we will address the topic of tree pruning prices by giving you the average cost of the service from around Australia and answering your most frequently asked questions. But first let’s tackle the question of what tree pruning actually is.

What is Tree Pruning?


Tree pruning is a broad tree maintenance strategy that encompasses multiple different techniques in order to selectively remove parts of the tree that are impeding its overall health, stability and capacity to grow. This generally involves the targeted cutting of leaves, dead branches and excess growth in order to rebalance, reshape and rejuvenate the life and structural integrity of the tree.


Lopping is a loaded term in the tree industry that often gets conflated with pruning. Tree lopping generally refers to the indiscriminate removal of large sections of a tree. This is often the top section of the canopy and can be harmful to the overall health of the tree. For this reason many arborists reject being referred to as “loppers” as it can indicate a lack of compliance with industry best practices. However, lopping can also refer to the simple act of removing a section of the tree. In this sense lopping can be done in line with sustainable practices if it is part of a broader pruning strategy that requires the removal of dead, overweight or obstructive branches.

Tree Trimming

Tree trimming refers to the careful cutting and removal of tree leaves and sticks in order to reduce the burden of weight, wind and growth imbalances. As foliage builds up on the its extremities, the weight can compromise the branches and lead to cracks or even complete snaps. The build up of leaves can also increase the impact and risk that wind puts on a tree. Excess foliage can act like a sail, capturing the wind and putting unnecessary stress on the branches and trunk. Tree trimming overcomes this problem by removing leaves, reducing the weight and allowing wind to move freely through the canopy.

Canopy Shaping

Canopy shaping refers to the strategy of maintaining the overall shape, weight and balance of a tree’s canopy. This can be achieved through a combination of pruning, lopping and trimming. The aim of shaping is to maintain the structural integrity of the tree, keep it balanced, allow wind to move through it and to ensure that it is looking great.

Benefits of Pruning

In order to understand the cost for tree pruning, it is useful to know what the advantages and desired outcomes of tree pruning are. The immediate benefits of pruning are clear: the tree looks better, is healthier and safer to be around. These alone are worth the pruning price. However, there are three long term benefits that should not be overlooked.

Save Lives

Pruning drastically reduces the chances of falling branches and falling trees. This saves lives and makes tree pruning an essential practice for all tree owners. Pruning is part of storm preparedness. Waiting until a storm has come to have your tree pruned is negligent of the risks associated with overgrown trees in high winds. For this reason it is important for the safety of your home and your community that you regularly have your trees pruned by a professional arborist and assessed for any risk from storms or power lines.

Save Money

Counter-intuitively, investing money in a regular professional tree pruning schedule can save you a lot of money in the long run. Tree pruning cost is far cheaper than you can expect to pay for tree removal. Pruning helps to avoid a whole host of potential problems with your tree that rack up a far bigger cost than either tree pruning or tree removal services. Neglected trees litter your house and property with leaves that can block drains, crack tiles, cover your garden and prevent light reaching your plants. The potential of falling branches poses a massive financial risk to your home through the potential to damage your roof, car, home or even risk bodily harm.

Dangerous trees are a threat to safety and finances, but can also be a homing beacon for many unwanted pests, diseases and infestations. As trees become overgrown, they develop ecosystems that are perfect for the spread of disease and for providing a home to many undesirable outcomes like rats, rodents and termites. Any one of these issues can build up and become a burden not only for your tree, but for your whole home and ultimately your bank account. The best way to avoid these problems and save yourself money is to employ the services of a qualified professional arborist.

Save Time

As mentioned, ignoring the condition of your tree can result in a laundry list of potentially harmful and expensive outcomes for your home. One of the harmful and expensive outcomes is the loss of your valuable time. Cleaning up leaves, snapped branches and general tree debris is time consuming. Worse still is the potential loss of time involved with repairing any damage done by a fallen branch or the headache of having to perform a tree removal and a new sapling planted. All of this time and stress can be avoided with the proactive measure of setting up a pruning schedule with one of our professional tree doctors.

Pruning Process

There is no single process for pruning all trees just as there is no single price for tree pruning services. The cost and the process will vary depending on what species the tree is, how mature it is, what condition it currently is, where its located, what hazards are around and what level of accessibility there is to the site. Then there are also external factors that can influence the tree pruning costs and strategy. These include what time of the year it is, what the weather is like and whether there is the impediment of nearby traffic. This is all to say that there is no one size that fits all. With that said, below we have provided the general process that our crews follow when carrying out a pruning service on a large mature tree. If the tree is small enough as not to require climbing, this process is simplified.

Our Process

1) Safety analysis

The lead arborist and their crew will perform an onsite safety analysis to identify any potential hazards and to accordingly strategise the safest method of pruning the tree.

2) Climb the tree

The lead climber will prepare their ropes, equip their tools and methodically begin to ascend the tree. This is done without climbing spikes so that the healthy tree does not suffer unnecessary damage during the climbing process. As they do this they will perform continuous assessments of the condition of the tree so as to identify any dead, dying or damaged material that should be removed.

3) Connect to ground crew

Once the climber has secured themselves in a sturdy position in the tree they will send down their safety lines and prepare the rope that will be used to securely lower down any large off cuts that are removed during the pruning.

4) Pruning

Now that the climber is safely in position and has connected lines down to the ground crew, they can begin the pruning process. This can be done in unison by the climber and the ground crew who will methodically trim excess foliage and remove cumbersome parts of the tree that are detrimental to the overall health, balance and potential for growth. Any large parts that are removed in the process are carefully lowered to the crew.

5) Wood chipping

The green waste material created during the pruning process is put through a wood chipper by the ground crew. This machine breaks down large parts of the tree into fresh, local wood chip mulch that can be used in your garden to preserve the moisture and nutrients in the soil.

6) Descending the tree

Once the climber has completed the pruning from inside the tree, they will untie the ropes and climb back down. As they climb they continue to assess the tree for any further trimming that may be required.

7) Green waste disposal

Any remaining green waste that was created is then filtered through the wood chipper to ensure it is small enough to be transported off site and disposed of by the crew. Before leaving they provide a final cleanup and assessment to ensure that the property and the tree are in a better condition than they started.

Tree Pruning Strategies

Crown Reduction

Reducing the crown refers to the reduction of the overall size of the tree and its canopy. This strategy involves the tree trimming the excess weight from branches while retaining the shape and structure of the crown. This is an important technique for storm preparation and power line clearance as it can reduce the effects of wind while preserving the integrity and structure of the tree.

Crown Thinning

Crown thinning differed from crown reduction in a few important ways. Rather than removing entire sections or reducing the length of branches, crown thinning is focused on tree trimming parts of the tree that prevent light and wind to move through. The aim of this strategy is to reduce stress on the branches that comes from wind and weight. Thinning also allows more light to penetrate the canopy and reach the rest of your garden. Finally, crown thinning reduces the chances of infestations by making the tree far less inviting to unwanted pests.

Crown Raising

Crown raising is an approach that focuses on the bottom section of the canopy. By tree trimming any low hanging sections of canopy, crown raising provides more room and less obstructions for the free movement of pedestrians and traffic as well as opening up the line of site. As crown raising does not require climbing, it is generally the simplest and least time consuming of the pruning strategies.

Tree Pruning Cost

While we have made clear that there are many factors that each play a role in determining the cost of tree pruning, you still want some answers. That’s fair, so for your benefit we have calculated the average cost of tree pruning services from all around Australia. The result is an average price range you can expect to pay for trees categorised as small, medium and large.

At the risk of becoming repetitive, you should be aware that within these categories are many factors that can affect the price. Most importantly are the tree species, condition and location. These factors will heavily determine the difficulty, amount of time and resources that are required to perform the job. Palm trees for example can be a lot costlier because the type of bark can be difficult to break down and transport. Equally, trees with thorns or other hazards will require a slower, more careful approach than a tree without any such challenges.

  • Small trees (up to 10 metres): $200 – $500
  • Medium trees (10 – 20 metres): $300 – $800
  • Large trees (above 20 metres): $500 – $3,000

Tree Pruning Cost FAQs

How long do tree pruning services take?

As with the question of cost, the question of how long pruning takes has no single answer. Small trees without any hazards could be pruned in as little as 15 minutes. Large mature trees near traffic with restricted access could take a whole day. If you would like to know how long your trees might take to prune, we highly recommend contacting our friendly customer service via the website or phone and speaking with a specialist.

When is the best time to prune trees?

Summer is a great time for tree trimming as it is after the spring flowering. However some trees won’t bloom until late summer and others are less seasonal. The best answer to the question of when you should get your trees pruned is, when they need it. As far as when they need it, the best person to answer that question is an arborist armed with all of the information about your tree.

How often do you need to prune trees?

Different species of trees will require different frequencies of pruning to keep them safe and healthy. At least once a year is a good rule of thumb, but it is best to speak with a professional arborist who can give you tailored advice based on your situation.

The Jim’s Trees difference

Jim’s is a different type of tree care service because we make professional quality tree care accessible to everyone. By combining national networks with local experts, we ensure that a quality professional arborist is never far away. We also believe in providing the best possible customer service. That’s why we offer free quotes for every job and an industry-leading $10 million insurance policy to protect you from any unforeseen events. Find out why our list of returning customer is growing so fast by getting in contact with us today. It’s never been so easy to get in touch. Just fill out the online quote form on our website or give us a call on 131546.

If you need a tree pruned, give us a call today on 131546 or fill out our online quote form today. 

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