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What does It Cost to have a Tree Pruned by a Professional?

Guide to Tree Pruning Pricing

If you have never owned trees before or never hired someone to prune or maintain the trees you do own, you may wonder, “What does it costs to have a tree pruned?

The answer is: it depends.

The price for pruning a single tree ranges from $80 to $1,500; with a minimum visit cost of around $300 to $500.

This wide variation in price is due to following factors.

  • Scope of Work and Objectives – Pruning encompasses a wide range of objectives that have the same common factor of the removal of any amount of wood material from a tree, short  of removing the entire tree. Within this broad definition of pruning, there are different objectives that will determine what, and how much, to remove from the tree. Determining your objectives is key to developing the pruning scope and therefore the price. Defining you scope and pruning objectives is the primary factor affecting the cost of the service.
    • The following are some typical objectives:
      • Removing deadwood and other defective (broken, dying, diseased, rubbing, and structurally unsound) limbs from the tree—Crown Cleaning. Even a healthy tree may have dead limbs as the it self-prunes unwanted branches; often because the limb is no longer gathering sufficient sunlight. Additionally, as a tree is advanced in age or in decline, it may start having a larger amount of limbs that are no longer viable and they begin to die-back. These dead limbs can pose a threat to persons and property located beneath them.
      • In addition to deadwood, a tree may have developed limbs that cross and rub. Removal of these limbs with other limbs with an undesirable structure helps promote the long term development and health of the tree.
      • Removal of excess and redundant limbs—Crown Thinning. On trees that have not been pruned for a long time—especially ones with vigorous growth, the center of the canopy can become congested with excessive and redundant limbs. These limbs can be pruned to thin the tree crown and promote light penetration, good airflow, and proper structure. This helps with the reduction of pest infestations and storm damage. Thinning is typically done in conjunction with crown cleaning.
      • Removing limbs or stems that are too long or heavy—Crown reduction/Weight reduction. As a tree grow in the urban environment, it may be necessary to reduce the height or spread of the tree due to the proximity to structures, other trees, utilities, etc. It may also be desirable to reduce the weight of limbs or entire trees to reduce the risk and consequences of failure.
      • Removing lower limbs or end of lower limbs to provide ground clearance—Crown Raising. Sometimes, it is necessary to prune lower limbs to provide clearance around the base of a tree for mowing, pedestrians, vistas, etc.
      • Removal of hazardous limbs. Frequently, tree owners are concerned with overly long limbs or leaning stems that pose a hazard to property or persons.
      • Removing limbs to improve sight lines of valued views—Vista Improvement. Sometimes, a tree owner has a valuable view obscured by limb growth and extension. Pruning of these limbs to re-establish the view may be an appropriate objective.
  • Size and Species of Tree – Larger trees with sprawling canopies require more time and effort to access the branches and limbs to be pruned. Additionally, it is more difficult to access the upper canopy of trees that do not have predominant central leaders. Small, young ornamentals can usually be pruned from the ground with hand shears rather quickly. Pruning of medium-sized, ornamentals and landscape trees can often be accomplished efficiently with pole pruners, hand shears, and minimal canopy access (either from ladders or climbing). Large mature trees typically require climbing or bucket truck/lift to access the canopy as well as using handsaws or chainsaws to make the pruning cuts.
  • Protection of Structures and Objects: The presence of objects underneath the limbs and branches to be pruned can increase the complexity of the pruning task necessitating the use of ropes to lower the pruned material rather than simply letting it drop to the ground. Compared to the speed at which materials can be dropped from a tree when there is no property to protect, rigging is a slow process.
  • Accessibility: The accessibility of the tree also affects the pricing. If the tree is easily accessible, with sufficient space for equipment like bucket trucks, lifts, etc. the pruning becomes more streamlined, reducing costs. However, difficult access situations may require specialized equipment or additional labor, increasing the overall expenses.
  • Tree Health and Condition – Trees that have been maintained and routinely pruned will have a more open canopy, making access and limb removal easier. While trees that have not been pruned routinely may require significant pruning to bring them to a healthy structure—this corrective pruning may need to span a couple of years to avoid removing too much material at one time and allowing the tree to recover between pruning.

We hope this explanation helps you understand the factors influencing tree pruning pricing.

To get an accurate estimate, please reach out to us to assess your project. Our team can assist you to clarify your objectives and develop an appropriate scope of work with a detailed quote. Our team will be glad to assist you.

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