Overgrown trees are a common issue. Whether they need to be removed for extra space, they are unsightly and casting dark shadows on your garden or they’re affecting the house itself, there are a number of reasons why you may need to remove one.
Tree surgery is specialist work that requires a great deal of skill to undertake the work safely. But how much can you expect to pay to remove a tree?
This article will cover what you can expect to pay to hire a tree surgeon and to remove a tree as well as factors that can affect the cost.
Average Removal Cost
We contacted 52 different tree surgeons for quotes for removing a tree of different sizes. Prices exclude VAT.
|Size of Tree||Low Range||High Range||Labour Time|
|20 ft||£165||£330||4 hours|
|40 ft||£640||£1050||1 day|
|60+ ft||£1100||£5500||1-2 days|
Contractors can generally price small tree removal jobs based on an hourly or daily rate. A good rule of thumb for labour costs is between £40 – £50 for a 2 man team per hour. Therefore, a full day rate will be between £320 – £400.
Larger trees require full climbing apparatus for the job and far more factors that can affect the cost significantly. Therefore, the range of quotes is far wider.
Factors That Affect the Cost
Access to Tree
Because tree surgeons need to get heavy machinery to the tree, access issues can increase the costs. For example, if the tree is located in a back garden and there is no or limited side access, this can add extra labour costs.
Walls, steep slopes, fences and rivers can all make getting equipment to the tree tougher.
The tree may also need to be felled within a confined space. This could be because of a small garden or the tree is located beside pavements and roads and public protection is essential. This will require the tree to be cut into smaller sections and other debris lowered down with ropes.
If they can fell into a safe space without climbing, expect to pay about £5 per hour less for labour costs.
Objects Close to Tree
Where objects are close to the tree, again, the tree will need to be cut in small sections and extra care taken to ensure objects nearby aren’t damaged.
Tree dismantling takes longer than straight-felling. For the most part, the closer an object is to the tree, the more care that needs to be taken and therefore, extra labour costs.
Objects may also be close to where to tree needs to be cut and need to be protected such as cars, sheds, utility cables, glasshouses and fences.
Condition of Tree
Diseases or damaged trees are far more likely to break and fall. More care needs to be taken in this case which translates to operators being on-site longer.
A qualified tree surgeon should be able to determine any issues with the tree. However, common signs include:
- Cracks or holes within the tree bark texture.
- Dead branches that appear dry or break easily
- Discoloured leaves even when in season
- Strange shape different from what you’d expect from its species
- Fungi or mushrooms around the base of the tree
Does the Tree Stump Need Removing?
Tree surgeons will quote for the removal of the tree to stump level only and removing the stump is an additional cost. Expect to pay at least £100 extra to remove the stump.
In terms of breaking down tree stump removal costs, these come to about £100 for the stump grinder for the day, and £15-£20 per hour for the operator.
If you’re looking for a standalone tree stump removal service, we have a dedicated tree stump removal cost guide here.
A good rule of thumb is:
- Tree stump in a back garden: £5.00 per inch
- Tree stump in a front garden: £4.50 per inch
|Tree Stump Removal Type||Average Cost|
|10 inch / 254mm, back garden||£55|
|10 inch / 254mm, front garden||£50|
|15 inch / 381mm, back garden||£82|
|15 inch / 381mm, front garden||£75|
|20 inch / 508mm, back garden||£110|
|20 inch / 508mm, front garden||£100|
|25 inch / 635mm, back garden||£135|
|25 inch / 635mm, front garden||£125|
|30 inch / 762mm, back garden||£160|
|30 inch / 762mm, front garden||£145|
If you want to completely get rid of a tree stump in your garden without risking harm, it’s best to hire a professional.
Whether You Keep Timber
More time is needed to remove and clear cuttings. If you keep the timber then less labour time is needed.
However, timber does have value, so a tree surgeon may factor this into the quote and give you a reduced price. Wood from older trees can often have excellent resale value.
If the tree surgeon is disposing of wood, the disposal costs are roughly £50 per tipper load.
Type of Tree
Trees such as conifers have shallow root systems that don’t stretch far. This means that there is less risk in keeping the stump in, whereas others such as oak trees can have roots as deep as 3-4 metres.
Extensive root systems can cause lots of issues further down the line and may need removing, adding extra cost.
Tree Protected by a Tree Preservation Order
If a tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPA), extra paperwork and reports need to be filed so it can be cut down. This adds cost for a tree surgeon. If this isn’t filed, the authorities can give large fines.
Labour costs in London and the south of England are generally more expensive than elsewhere. Expect to pay around 20% or so extra.
If the contractor needs to travel beyond a certain radius, then they may add an extra fee on top. Unless you live in a very rural location or want to use a tree surgeon that operates further afield, you shouldn’t need to pay extra.
Things to Look Out For When Hiring a Tree Surgeon
A tree surgeon must be NPTC qualified – this is compulsory. A common association companies have is the Arboricultural Association. Other certifications and associations from other bodies do show a degree of commitment but don’t guarantee work standards.
Be sure to ask your tree surgeon to produce a certificate of liability insurance. The recommended minimum is £5 million.
Ensure you get a written quote. All work should be completed in accordance with BS3998: 2010 ‘Tree Work – Recommendations’.
Get Pricing on Tree Removals Near You
We’ve done our best to give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay to remove a tree.
However, our guides are not a substitute for a fixed quote specifically for you.
We work with all the best tree surgeons ready to price your job. Get free, no-obligation quotes in your local area and compare prices using the form below.
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