How Much Does It Cost to Cut Down a Tree?

When you have a tree that you want trimmed or removed, your first question is “How much will it cost me?” The most accurate way to determine this is to obtain quotes from several reputable tree care companies in your area. However, if you’re in the budgetary phase of your planning, you may not be ready to start having people come to your home, so we’ll try to cover typical tree removal pricing for you. 

You can expect a typical tree to cost between $250 and $2,000 to remove, with the average cost around $800. Generally, tree removal jobs are priced based on the height of the tree, but there are some other factors that can impact the cost. Diseased or decaying trees, dead trees, trees with compromised stability, nearby obstacles, and distance to the road can all affect the final cost of removal.

You may find tree removal services willing to do the job on the cheap, but always make sure you’re hiring a tree care company that is insured for tree removal. Even jobs that appear simple can have unforeseen complications or long-term consequences, so don’t leave the safety of your property to chance.

Factors That Determine the Cost of Tree Removal

Size of the Tree

Larger trees require more heavy-duty equipment and therefore are more expensive to remove. There is more risk involved and there’s more material to dispose of. Trees under 30 feet are considered small and typically cost $150-$500 to remove. Removal of medium trees (30-60 feet) costs $400-$1,000, and large trees (60-80 feet) cost $800-$1,500. 

However, height isn’t the only dimension that affects cost. In general, taller trees also have thicker trunks. A tall tree with a narrow trunk may cost less to remove than a tree of the same height with a thick trunk. If a short tree has a thick trunk that’s difficult to cut, you may be charged extra. Similarly, if a tree has more than one trunk, it makes for a more complicated and pricier removal.

Type of Tree

Two trees of roughly the same height and trunk diameter will typically cost around the same to remove, regardless of their species. Therefore, size is a more reliable determinant of cost than tree type.

Health or Condition of the Tree

A diseased tree can be a hazard to other trees, your property, and anyone who comes into your yard. Such a tree might be less expensive because it’s easier to cut down, but it might be more expensive if it’s in a dangerous location and could cause damage if it falls. Schedule an inspection with a tree removal service to get a quote in this situation.

On the other hand, a tree that has actually fallen, provided it hasn’t created an emergency, is typically much less expensive than a living tree to cut and haul away. A tree trunk simply laying on the ground is safer for a tree removal team to deal with, so the removal cost will be lower. 

Emergency Tree Removal

When a tree falls on your home or car, or is leaning precariously, you need to remove it quickly before it can cause more damage. There will be a significant difference in price between a tree removal you schedule in advance and a tree removal you need as soon as possible.

Like any rush job, you’ll have to pay more for urgent service. The job is also riskier because the technicians will have to be very careful not to cause further damage. Tree removal prices will vary substantially by situation, though they can easily go up to $5,000.

Additionally, while contractors should never engage in price gouging, you may find tree removal prices increasing after a natural disaster, as many people in your area will likely need emergency tree removal services. However, your homeowners insurance policy may cover all or part of the cost to remove a fallen tree on your property, so check with your insurance company before paying for this service out of pocket.

Other Cost Factors

The cost of tree removal depends on more than just the tree. Other complicating factors may increase the price. For example, if you live in a remote location, you may be charged a travel surcharge. Also, anything that makes removing trees more difficult will cost more. This includes sloped yards, rocky or muddy soil, an angled tree trunk, or weak branches. If it’s risky to access or fell the tree—such as nearby power lines or structures—you could be charged an extra 50% for tree removal. In these cases, special care must be taken to ensure safe removal, and additional machinery may be required.

Debris Removal

In general, the cost of tree removal includes removing and disposing of the trunk and branches. A company may use a wood chipper and turn the debris into mulch for your next landscaping project, or you could have the tree and larger branches split into fire logs. 

Stump Grinding

The price of tree removal doesn’t typically include removal of the tree’s stump unless the quote specifically says so. Some homeowners may like the look of the stump and want to include it in their landscaping, but most want it gone. Stump grinding involves using a hydraulic machine to mulch the stump and some of the roots. You can also rent a stump grinder from a hardware store and remove the stump yourself, though these machines are typically intended for small-diameter stumps.

When Is It Safe To Cut Down a Tree Myself?

Most of the time, tree removal is best left to the professionals, as they have the proper equipment and training for both felling the tree and getting rid of it. If a tree is taller than 30 feet or within 10 feet of power lines, it’s absolutely not a DIY project—you could end up with fines, injuries, or even lawsuits if you attempt to remove a tree in these situations.

However, if you’re comfortable with a chainsaw and the tree is in an open area, you can consider taking on the job yourself with the proper safety equipment.

Here are some factors to keep in mind when removing a tree on your own:

In general, we don’t recommend trying to remove a tree taller than 10 feet unless you have professional training. Remember: the larger the tree, the bigger the risk.