How much does Tree removal cost?
There is no single answer to the question: “how much does it cost to remove a tree?” Instead the answer is multifaceted and deeply dependent on the specific circumstances of the tree, the conditions and the location. Ultimately the price of removing a tree comes down to the amount of time it will take. This, however, is not a simple calculation. To determine how long it will take to remove a tree you need a qualified tree specialist to be onsite to assess the tree, the terrain, the hazards and even the weather.
In this article we are going to tackle the question of how much it costs to remove a tree by unpacking all the different variables that affect the amount of time it takes to cut down and clear away a tree. To do this, we have interviewed professional arborists all around the country to get their insight into the costs and complications involved in tree removal.
This guide will not provide you with an exact price for tree removal. Instead it will examine the main factors that can make it cheaper or more expensive. This will help you to understand the pricing structure of tree removals and allow you to find the best possible price.
Tree Removal Cost Breakdown
There are countless variables involved in assessing the cost of removing a tree. These can range from the condition of the tree to the weather conditions. In this section we will break down all of the most crucial factors that can influence the price.
We will unpack the cost of tree removal by exploring the following factors:
- Time of year
- Extra Expenses
- Stump removal
- Green waste disposal
- Council permits
The tree species is one of the most influential factors in determining the price of removal. The species will affect how difficult it is to cut, climb, woodchip and transport the tree. One arborist summed up the influence of tree species for removal jobs perfectly:
“Every tree is different, a conifer is going to have 15 branches every metre whereas a gumtree is going to have one branch every five metres.”
Arborists around the country agree that certain species of trees add a degree of difficulty and hazard that results in a more expensive job:
“Date palms, coralbean trees, anything with a spike, are very expensive,” says a tree surgeon, “you have to take extra precautions so that workers don’t get injured. It slows down the process of climbing as you don’t want the climber to get hurt or to damage your harness and ropes.”
The size of the tree is a clear determinant in how long the process of removal will take. When it comes to removing a large tree, it isn’t just a matter of more climbing, every step in the process is more laborious:
“Everything’s bigger, there’s more of everything: so there’s more timber to cut, more waste to remove, more stump to get rid of, more branches to cut, more of everything,” says a tree specialist.
To provide a rough estimate of the price range for removing trees of different sizes, we have provided some national averages. These prices depend on all of the factors covered in this article:
- Small trees (up to 10 metres): $300 – $3,000
- Medium trees (10 – 20 metres): $500 – $4,000
- Large trees (above 20 metres): $1,200 – $20,000 (depending if cranes, traffic management & electricity shutdowns are required)
Size is a massive factor beyond the difficulty of cutting it down. Large trees pose a unique challenge and risk for tree specialists:
“The bigger the tree the higher the risk. That’s both the Occupational Health & Safety risk and the financial risk. If you make a quoting mistake on a small tree it might take you an extra 30 minutes, but if you make a quoting mistake on a large tree you might lose a whole day,” says a tree surgeon.
The condition of the tree dictates whether it can be climbed, how dangerous it is to remove, which approach is required to bring it down and how difficult it is to do so.
“Every single tree is different, every single tree has issues,” says one of our tree specialists, “you look at a tree that might seem perfectly fine, then by the time you climb up and assess it you realise there are complications and you need to get down and get a cherry picker.”
The condition of the tree covers everything from structural integrity and storm damage, to rot, disease and infestations. Trees that have debilitated through factors like age or termites are less stable to climb. This may require a new approach or even hiring a cherry picker or crane to complete the job.
How the tree has been treated through its life can greatly affect the condition for climbing:
“When a tree is lopped or put under stress it produces epicormic growth. The problem with epicormic growth is that it’s very poorly attached to the tree and it grows up to 12 times quicker than normal growth. Therefore the structural integrity and strength of the tree is greatly reduced.”
An arborist needs to assess the condition of the tree before they can provide an accurate estimate of the time and cost to remove. This assessment helps to identify issues like epicormic growth, storm damage, disease or infestations. Any one of these factors can significantly increase the difficulty and cost of a removal job.
Safety is always the number one priority, which means it often influences how difficult and time consuming a job needs to be.
“If you’re climbing a species which is notoriously unsafe and dangerous then the price changes,” says one of our tree surgeons, “you’re pushing yourself harder to climb to further distances and you’re tying in on points that are not as safe and not as strong, so you’ve got to set up second life lines and all sorts of safety measures.”
As well as adding to the difficulty and time of a job, safety measures for dangerous jobs often require additional equipment, strategies and expenses. These include:
- Extra safety lines
- Extra crew members
- Elevated work platforms
- Traffic management
- Cherry pickers
- Electricity shutdowns (can cost up to $5,000-$7,000)
The location of the site affects what sort of access and obstructions are around the tree. The level of access and the type of obstructions has a profound impact on the difficulty and duration of a tree removal job. The closer we can bring the truck and woodchipper to the tree, the faster and cheaper the job will be completed.
“Not all driveways allow you to park a truck and a woodchipper, sometimes you need to park on the road. That might just add 10-20 metres of distance to transport the tree, but if you’re cutting that down to smaller branches due to limited access then that’s a lot more trips to the woodchipper which can affect the overall time and cost to remove the tree.”
As a general rule, the more open area there is around the tree, the cheaper the job will be. This is due to the amount of access and obstructions. Less obstructions around the tree allow for better access for the equipment and machinery. If there is minimal access to a tree, it may require pieces to be cut smaller for easier transportation. This adds time to cutting, carrying and transportation of the green waste.
Important elements to consider with the location are:
- Front yard vs backyard
- Vehicle access to the site
- Nearby power lines
- Nearby buildings
- Structures below the tree (swimming pools, glass houses, sheds etc)
Following on from location, terrain plays a very important role in the difficulty of a job. Uneven or sloped ground can increase the challenge of transporting waste, reduce the accessibility of a site and require a crew to take more breaks.
“If the driveway is flat and level as opposed to steep, that can make a big impact on the productivity of the crew that are transporting the tree across that terrain to the truck,” says a tree expert.
You can generally assume that the easier the terrain is to navigate, the cheaper the cost of the tree removal. While terrain is generally not one of the biggest factors in cost, it plays a crucial role within the access, safety and challenge of a job.
Weather does not usually play too big a role in the cost of a tree removal, however it has the ability to greatly increase the challenge of a tree removal or even prevent a job going forward altogether.
“Wind is an issue. Certain days when it’s windy it can take longer to remove a tree, the climber may need to wait for breaks in the wind to remove certain branches. Sometimes we can’t actually do it and have to cancel the job due to weather,” says a tree surgeon.
Wind, rain, lightning and storms can all make a job dangerous or untenable. However, even beautiful summer days can influence the cost of removals. If it is a hot day, the crew will need to take more water breaks which can increase the overall time to complete the job.
Time of year
The time of year will dictate not only the conditions for removing a tree, but even how busy the tree service is. Summer and spring are often very busy times for tree services, however it is during autumn when you’ll find the chance to save on tree removals.
“If you’re doing a deciduous tree in autumn when the leaves are off it then it’s a whole lot easier job to do than if it’s full of leaves in spring.”
Our experts report that it can cost as much as 25% more to remove a large tree full of leaves than one without leaves, due to the extra weight and difficulty of the foliage.
Extra Expenses to Consider
Stump removal is an important part of removing a tree that many services will neglect due to the difficulty of extracting a stump and its root system. Our crews are supplied with industry-leading stump grinders which can make short work of stumps. However you should know up front whether you want the stump removed too as there can be extra costs associated with this service.
Disposing of green waste
Once the tree has been removed there is an enormous amount of green waste that is left behind. Clearing away and transporting this waste can be a massive burden. While some customers like to keep the leftover lumber for firewood, many prefer to have the green waste disposed of. We offer green waste solutions, but you should know whether you want this done when you get your quote so there aren’t surprise costs.
Tree Removal Permit
Rules and regulations around removing private trees are made and enforced by local councils. Each council has its own version of tree protection laws. However many of these will require residents to apply for a permit before they can remove a tree on their land. These permits often have costs associated that can be expensive depending on the type of tree, size, condition and location. Be aware of these costs before you begin so that you can more accurately calculate the total costs.
The Jim’s Difference
We are the industry leaders in providing high quality tree removals at affordable prices. Our jobs are all covered by an industry-leading $10 million insurance policy.
We offer free quotes and a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.
If you need a tree removed, give us a call today on 131546 or fill out our online quote form today.