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  • Cost of Tree Trimming and Pruning

    Want to know how much it costs to trim or prune trees? In this article we breakdown tree trimming and pruning prices so that anyone can get a ball park figure before they hire a gardener.

    Average Cost of Having a Tree Trimmed or Pruned:

    Depending on the complexity of the job, it usually takes: 1 day

    £550

    How Much Does Tree Trimming and Pruning Cost?

    To get a tree trimmed can be an expensive job. It requires special skills and equipment, and it can be a dangerous job. The prices will vary a great deal, depending on a few key factors. These are mainly how much work is involved and how big the tree is.

    So have a small amount of work done on a small tree, for example, having the crown lifted can cost £250 - £300. However, a big job like crown reduction on a big tree can cost as much as £4,000 - £5,000. These are the costs for tree trimming jobs which you will only get done on rare occasions.

    Pruning of fruit trees and common garden tress is a much smaller job. These are jobs you might get done once a year. These costs are much lower than for tree trimming and are usually £100 - £350.

    Tree Trimming Prices

    The type of trimming combined with the size of the tree is one of the biggest factors to consider when getting a tree trimmed. For ease of comparison, it is assumed that the trees are in a moderate condition of upkeep.

    Type of Job Tree Size Average Cost
    Crown Lifting Small £250 - £300
    Crown Lifting Large £400 - £700
    Crown Trimming Small £400 - £700
    Crown Trimming Large £650 - £1,400
    Crown Reduction Small £2,000 - £3,000
    Crown Reduction Large £4,000 - £5,000
    Dead Wooding Small £400 - £700
    Dead Wooding Large £650 - £1,400
    Directional Pruning Small £200 - £300
    Directional Pruning Large £400 - £700
    Pollarding Small £400 - £700
    Pollarding Large £650 - £1,000

    Pruning by Type of Tree

    To have seasonal pruning carried out usually depends on the type of tree. For comparison, this assumes all the trees are average-sized full-grown trees, that have been maintained to a reasonable standard.

    Type of Tree Average Cost
    Apple £150 - £200
    Plum £100 - £150
    Bay £300 - £350
    Magnolia £200 - £250
    Cherry £300 - £350
    Fig £150 – £200
    Olive £200 - £250
    Pear £150 - £200
    Lilac £100 - £150

    Labour Costs and Timescales

    When you are getting work done on your trees, there are a lot of factors that decide the final cost you will be paying. The easiest way to determine the cost is to consider how long it will take and what is the going rate for tree surgeons.

    Labour Costs

    Time Period Team size Average cost
    Per hour 1 £40 - £50
    Per hour 2 £80 - £100
    Per day 1 £250 - £300
    Per day 2 £400 - £700
    Per day 3 £650 - £1,000

    Timescales

    Type of Job Tree Size Duration
    Crown Lifting Small 1 day
    Crown Lifting Large 2 days
    Crown Trimming Small 1 day
    Crown Trimming Large 2 – 3 days
    Crown Reduction Small 1 day
    Crown Reduction Large 2 – 3 days
    Dead Wooding Small ½ day
    Dead Wooding Large 1 day
    Directional Pruning Small ½ day
    Directional Pruning Large 1 day
    Pollarding Small 1 day
    Pollarding Large 2 - 3days
    General Pruning Small ½ day
    General Pruning Large 1 day

    Additional Costs

    One way to reduce part of your tree trimming price is to combine the work with other jobs that also need doing. Of course, there also costs that might arise which will raise the tree pruning price. Here are some things to keep in mind

    Tree Survey

    If you have a large number of trees in your garden, it might be worth having a tree survey done. This will give you an idea of the condition of your trees and will identify any problem before they occur. This can include things like roots interfering with foundations. A typical tree survey costs £200 - £300.

    Garden Maintenance Costs

    Garden maintenance might be something to consider at the same time as you are looking to get your trees trimmed. Depending on the scale of the work, a maintenance gardener may be able to trim and prune your trees as part of tidying up your garden. The average cost for a maintenance gardener is £200.

    Garden Waste Removal Costs

    Garden waste removal is a job that you might want to combine with getting your trees trimmed. Rather than paying your tree surgeon to remove the waste, they generate you could bundle it in with getting other parts of your garden cleared. The average cost of garden waste removal is £200.

    trimmingtreecost1

    Fit Garden Fences Costs

    Garden fences need to be replaced over time. It might be helpful to remove a fence when working on your trees. This can be a good time to replace them as well. The average cost to install new garden fences is £1,000.

    Build a Garden Wall Costs

    Getting a brick garden wall built can be a good way to mark out your garden. Once you have trimmed back your trees, you might wish to change your boundary markings as well. A brick wall costs on average £1,000.

    Painting House Exterior Costs

    One of the jobs you might consider doing after you have your trees trimmed is painting the house exterior. If trimming back the trees makes the outside of your house more visible, then it might be a good time to consider getting it touched up. The average cost for this is £850.

    Cost Factors of Having a Tree Pruned

    There are a lot of factors that will go into working out tree pruning costs. This is why good tree surgeons won't give you a quote without seeing the tree on site. To give you some idea of what factors can affect the final cost, here are some of the main considerations.

    Accessibility

    The tree surgeon will need to be able to get to the tree with all of their equipment. They will also need to remove all the waste that is created in the course of the job. If the tree is located on a steep hill, or in a hard to access area, the job will likely take longer, which will add to the cost.

    Tree Size

    Tall trees are more dangerous to work with. If your tree surgeon needs to climb the tree with a harness, then you will likely be looking at a minimum cost of £200. Smaller trees take less time to work with and have less waste to clear up so it will cost less to work on.

    trimmingtreecost2

    Location

    The position of the tree will affect the ease with which the tree surgeon can work. If the tree is close to a building, lays under powerlines, then it will be harder to work on. The harder it is for the tree surgeon to control the branches that are trimmed, the more it will cost as there will be more safety considerations.

    Number of Trees

    If you have multiple trees in need of care, then the cost per tree will likely be lower.

    How Long it Takes

    Tree surgeons will often charge based on the time it will take to complete the job. This is a way to take into consideration many of the factors in one step.

    Waste Removal

    Most tree surgeons will expect to be responsible for removing all the waste from the site. The more that is created, the more this will cost. It takes time to break up and remove all the wood and leaves.

    State of Tree

    Basically, the more that needs doing to a tree, the more it will cost. If you regularly get your trees trimmed and pruned, then the costs will be lower each time. However, if your trees have been neglected and need a lot of work, then the costs will be higher.

    Trimming Type

    Different types of trimming are more labour intensive and more dangerous, so they will cost more. For example, crown lifting is fairly easy and not too dangerous. On the other hand, crown reduction is much harder and more dangerous. The costs reflect this.

    What's Involved in Trimming a Tree?

    The basic principles of trimming or pruning trees are quite easy. Branches, stem or bud are cut away from the main plant.

    Before any cutting is done, the whole plant should be assessed, and the main branches identified, as it is not a good idea to cut these. Then any diseased or damaged branches are identified and chosen for pruning.

    If the branch or bud is small secateurs may be used. For thicker branched a tree saw may be needed. For the largest trees, a chainsaw may be the only option.

    trimmingtreecost3

    When cutting a branch, the first cut is made about 50cm away from where the final cut will be. A cut is made on the bottom of the branch and only penetrates about halfway through. Then the rest is cut away from the top. Once the bulk of the branch has dropped away, the final piece is cut off with care.

    Depending on where the branches are that need cutting it may be necessary to climb the tree. Ladders can be used for smaller trees. For large trees, tree surgeons will use a harness to climb the tree so that they can work on it.

    What Are the Benefits of Trimming a Tree?

    There are several reasons to consider trimming your trees. It is not just about the way they look.

    Improve the Health of the Tree

    In some circumstances, trees that are not trimmed will grow to be unhealthy. This is especially true for trees that are standing on their own. Because trees are used to competing for light in forests, when standing on their won they often grow out of control. Keeping your trees trimmed will keep them healthier.

    Improve the Appearance of the Tree

    Healthy trees look a lot nicer than diseased and misshapen ones. Trimming your trees will keep them looking nice. It will also allow you to shape them the way you want.

    trimmingtreecost4

    Detects Any Disease or Problems

    If you regularly have someone pruning your trees, you will be able to detect signs of disease early. If there are problems that may occur down the line, it will be cheaper to deal with them early rather than wait until you have no choice but to act.

    Prevents Any Property Damage

    If your tree becomes too large, its roots can begin to encroach on your house's foundations. This can cause a lot of damage. Falling branches can also cause damage to property. Regular trimming and maintenance can prevent these problems from arising.

    Improves Views

    If trees grow too large, they can begin to obscure your views of your surroundings. In some cases, that might be a good thing. In others, you might wish to tame the trees so you can see more of the place you live in.

    Can I Prune My Own Tree?

    If your tree is small, and you can easily reach the branches in need of pruning with a ladder, then there is no reason not to DIY your tree pruning. Fruit trees, for example, are easy to maintain yourself.

    Large trees should always be left to professionals. Removing branches from a tall tree is dangerous work. If done incorrectly, it can be dangerous for you, your property and can end up killing the tree.

    Does My Tree Need Trimming?

    Sometimes trees are trimmed just to change the way they look. However, some signs indicate your tree should be trimmed for safety reasons and for the health of the tree.

    Broken Branches

    Broken branches should be removed as soon as possible. Once a branch becomes broken, it will gradually weaken until it drops. When this happens, it can cause injury or damage to property.

    Misshapen Tree

    A misshapen tree can look unique and appealing, but they can be a sign of a diseased tree. If the weight of the tree is distributed unevenly, this can lead to broken branches

    Dead or Diseased Limbs

    Dead limbs should be removed before they fall as they are a safety risk. Diseased limbs can also fall and should be removed before the disease spreads.

    trimmingtreecost5

    Dangerous Branch Growth

    If branches are growing in dangerous locations, they should be removed. This should ideally happen before it becomes a problem. A prime example of this is branches growing above power lines or over your roof.

    Weak Branches

    Weak branches are risks for falling. Signs of this are that they are a different colour to the rest of the tree. They may also be snapped in places.

    Too Much Growth

    Trees that are planted with nothing else around them will often grow very quickly. Without the need to compete for sunlight, they will grow faster than is healthy. If your tree starts to grow a lot, it is better to trim it. This will prevent it from becoming too heavy for its root system to support.

    trimmingtreecost6

    Cracks in Bark

    Cracks in the bark are a sign of either disease or infestation. If left untreated, the whole tree will die. These branches should be pruned as soon as possible to save the tree.

    Dense Trees

    If you can't see the individual branches in your tree, then it is too dense. Trees like this are dangerous because the internal branches can begin to die from lack of sunlight. If a dense tree falls in a storm, it can cause a lot of damage.

    Crossing Branches

    If the branches on your tree are crossing, then it is time to get it trimmed. Crossing branches are unhealthy can will often die and decay if left. It is best to prune them early while it is easy.

    Types of Tree Trimming

    If you need a tree trimming service, then you should first know about the different types of tree trimming that are possible. The cost of trimming a tree will depend on what sort of trimming is required.

    Crown Lifting Costs

    Crown lifting is when the lower branches of a tree are removed. This is done for a variety of reasons. This includes removing hazardous low branches. Low branches can just be in the way. They can also become weak if they don't get enough sunlight, which can lead to them falling and causing injury.

    trimmingtreecost7

    Whenever you are considering tree trimming costs a lot depends on the exact circumstances of the tree. Usually, though crown lifting takes around a day to complete, so, you can expect to pay £400 - £700.

    Crown Thinning Costs

    Crown thinning is used to remove branches from trees that are becoming too heavy. This usually focuses on removing, crossing branches, as well as weak and diseased ones. The process should remove no more than 1/3 of the leaf-bearing branches from a tree.

    The cost of trimming a tree in this way will heavily depend on the type of tree. It will often require the tree surgeon to work with a harness at the top of the tree so the price will reflect this. You can expect to pay £400 – £1,400.

    Crown Reduction Costs

    Crown reduction is a dangerous type of tree trimming. It is usually a last resort. It is where the top of the tree is taken off. Usually, around 20%-30% of the crown is removed. This is done when the tree has outgrown the space it has. Or if its roots are becoming too large.

    trimmingtreecost8

    Crown reduction is a big job. It can be complicated by the surrounding of the tree; due to the nature of the job you can expect to pay a premium for this service. Crown reduction tree trimming prices usually start at around £2,000.

    Dead Wooding Costs

    Dead wooding is the removal of dead branches. This may be due to lack of light reaching these branches, disease or the result of a lightning strike. Dead wood should be removed asap as it can fall and cause injury or damage to property.

    The cost of dead wooding will depend on the tree type, location and number of dead branches. Costs will usually be between £400 - £1,400.

    Directional Pruning Costs

    Directional pruning is used to manage the growth of trees. It is often used to stop them from growing towards powerlines. It involves removing branches that are growing in an unwanted direction. They are cut in such a way as to prevent new growth.

    Directional pruning costs will depend on the type of tree and its location. Prices will usually be £200 - £700.

    Pollarding Costs

    Pollarding can be used to refer to a couple of different types of pruning. The end result is a tree that is smaller than it would naturally grow. It can refer to trimming the top from a young tree or removing most of the branches from an older tree.

    trimmingtreecost9

    The cost of this type of tree trimming is usually around £400 - £700. But will vary depending on the size and location of the tree.

    Type of Tree

    Different types of tree thrive under different types of care. Here’s some guidance for some of the most popular types of tree.

    Apple Tree

    Here are some of the key things you need to know about how to prune an apple tree. The pruning should be done between November and March.

    You should aim to remove around 10% - 30% of the canopy each year. This should be removed evenly from the whole tree, not just the top.

    trimmingtreecost10

    You should aim to remove some of the older wood each year, which encourages newer, better fruit-bearing wood to grow. You want an open structure that allows light to get to all the branches. Focus your pruning on areas that appear crowded.

    Try to choose midsized branches to prune. You want to minimise the number of cuts you make. But you don’t want to cut down thick branches.

    Plum Tree

    Plum trees should be pruned in early spring to mid-summer. This is to protect them from silver leaf disease.

    If your plum is trained to a specific shape, then it will require more careful pruning. Most plum trees are easy to maintain. Using secateurs, you should cut back the new growth to around half their length. Cuts should be made just above a leaf.

    Any side shoots can be cut back to two or three buds above the start of the season’s new growth.

    Bay Tree

    Here are some things to keep in mind when pruning a bay tree. Bay tree pruning isn't necessary, for the health of the tree. It is, however, useful for maintaining the shape you desire. Bay trees can tolerate both light and heavy pruning well, which is why they are often used for topiaries.

    Bay trees used for topiaries are best pruned in summer. You should prune in the direction you wish the plant to grow.

    trimmingtreecost11

    If the bay tree is growing as a shrub, then the best time to cut back is during spring and summer.

    If any of the leaves have become damaged during winter, you can lightly remove these at the start of spring.

    Magnolia Tree

    Magnolia trees don’t need to be regularly pruned. There are sometimes when pruning is needed, and these will depend on the type of magnolia you have.

    Deciduous

    When you first plant the tree, you should take the opportunity to remove any weak or badly placed shoots.

    Try to limit pruning to removing deadwood and watershoots. Any major pruning should be spread over a period of years as these trees can be slow to recover.

    Any pruning should be done from mid-summer to autumn; otherwise, the cuts can bleed sap.

    Evergreen Tree

    Young trees can be shaped by the removal of lower branches if wanted. Long young branches can also be trimmed back. Freestanding trees should be pruned in spring, and highly trained trees should be trimmed in summer.

    trimmingtreecost12

    Wall Trained

    New shoots should be tied at 45o in the first year. Then moved to a horizontal position in their second season. Any shoots that appear towards the wall should be removed, and outward growing shoots should be cut back to no more than two leaves. Pruning should be done immediately after flowering.

    Cherry Tree

    Cherry trees should be pruned in early spring to mid-summer. This is to protect them from silver leaf disease. Light pruning should be done in early spring. Any heavy formative pruning should be left until summer

    trimmingtreecost13

    For an established tree, pruning should be limited to removing any problem branches. These included crossing branches, weak, or diseased branches and limiting any vertical growth.

    Fig Tree

    Figs are hardy plants and will require annual pruning. Pruning should be done during winter; otherwise, they are prone to bleeding.

    Pruning should focus on creating an open structure. You should remove a few older branches. Try to reduce branches crossing over and aim for an even structure. The aim is to allow light to reach every branch.

    Olive Tree

    You shouldn’t prune olive trees until they are at least four years old. When it is time to prune the tree, you should do this work in late spring/early summer.

    trimmingtreecost14

    Pruning should be done to create an open structure that allows light to reach all the branches. You should aim to make as few cuts as possible so consider you cut with care.

    Pear Tree

    Pruning a Pear tree is very similar to pruning an apple tree. The pruning should be done between November and March.

    You should aim to remove around 10% - 30% of the canopy each year. This should be removed evenly from the whole tree, not just the top.

    You should aim to remove some of the older wood each year, which encourages newer, better fruit-bearing wood to grow. You want an open structure that allows light to get to all the branches. Focus your pruning on areas that appear crowded.

    Try to choose midsized branches to prune. You want to minimise the number of cuts you make. But you don’t want to cut down thick branches.

    Lilac Tree

    Lilacs require regular pruning from the time they are two years of age. This will keep them flowering and prevent them from becoming too tall.

    trimmingtreecost15

    When trimming a lilac, it is best to trim whole stems, rather than just thinning out the top. Around a third of the branches should be removed. Spent blooms should be removed at the stem. Cutting away shoots that are near the ground will allow for good air circulation to keep the plant healthy.

    When to Prune Trees

    The best time to prune most trees is late autumn and winter. This is because the trees are dormant at this time of year. Pruning at this time will promote the health of the tree. It won’t limit growth in the next season. It allows for easy removal of diseased limbs. Access is also easier as the ground is firm.

    Pruning in spring or summer can limit the growth of the tree for that year. It can also lead to sap leaking from the tree. Light pruning is usually okay in spring and summer, but it is better for the health of the tree to leave it until autumn/winter.

    There are a few exceptions to this general rule.

    • Magnolia and walnut trees are best pruned in late summer
    • Trees prone to silver leaf disease, such as Plum trees, should be pruned from April to July
    • Evergreens should be pruned in late summer

    Removing Tree Costs

    Removing a tree is a big decision. They take years or even decades to grow, so can't be replaced easily.

    Why Remove a Tree

    If the tree is dead or diseased, then you should remove it. This is for safety reasons. These types of tree can fall and cause injury when they do so. You may also want to remove a tree because it is interfering with other trees, buildings or utilities.

    How to Remove a Tree

    Large trees should always be removed by a professional. Removing any tree is a big job and will take at least a day to complete even for a mid-sized tree. Tree felling costs will depend on the size of the tree and its location. The average cost to cut down a tree is £400 - £700. However, for very old, very large trees, the cost of tree removal could be as much as £1,000 – £5,000.

    The first step in removing a tree is to fell it. To do this, you will need to decide which way you want the tree to fall. This can be determined by the way the tree already leans as well as the surroundings.

    You then need to create an undercut. This is a 45o – 90o notch taken out of the trunk on the side you wish the tree to fall. This can be done with a chainsaw, or a hand saw, for small trees.

    trimmingtreecost16

    The next step is to make a backcut. This cut is on the opposite side to the undercut. It is around two inches higher than the hinge of the undercut. Never make the backcut lower than the undercut and never cut through to the undercut. Either of these actions can lead to a loss of control of the tree.

    Once the backcut is made, move away from the tree, to a safe distance. Move in the opposite direction to the way the tree will fall. It is important to get a good distance away as the tree can bounce when it lands and may travel back over the stump.

    The next step is limbing. This means you remove all the branches from the tree until you are left with a single long log and a pile of branches.

    Once the tree is down, you need to decide what to do with the stump. You can remove it in several different ways, or you can leave it and incorporate it into your landscaping.

    Disposing of the Waste

    If you have a fireplace, you can cut the tree down into firewood sized pieces for your own use. If you don't have a fireplace, you may be able to sell the wood or leave it out for others to take.

    The branches can be disposed of in a green bin or at the local tip.

    Hiring a Tree Surgeon Checklist

    Tree surgeons carry out highly skilled and specialised work. It is not a job that anyone can do. There are several things to check before you choose a tree surgeon.

    • Qualifications. A tree surgeon should be trained. They should hold qualifications for working at height, using a chainsaw from a rope and harness, and how to use and maintain a chainsaw. At least one member of the team should be trained to perform an aerial rescue. These are not legal requirements, but any tree surgeon who does not have these sorts of qualifications does not have enough training.
    • Get a Full Quote. Any tree surgeon should be able to give you a full quote in writing that outlines the scope of the work they will carry out. Make sure you are clear on what state they will leave your garden. A good tree surgeon will clean up after themselves. They will also need to see the tree in person before they can give you a quote. A quote over the phone is not a good sign.
    • Ask about Insurance. Tree surgeons should have specialist insurance to carry out their work. Check they have this in place before you go any further.

    FAQs

    Who is responsible for trimming tree limbs?
    When it comes to trimming tree limbs, the responsibility lies with the property over which the branch is hanging. It does not matter whose property the tree is on. The cost of tree pruning is also paid by the owner of the land over which the branch hangs.
    What is tree pruning?
    Tree pruning is the practice of cutting of stems, branches and buds from a tree. It is often done to promote a healthier tree or to encourage the growth of more flowers and fruit.
    What are average tree surgeon prices?
    Tree surgeons will often charge per hour or per day. Hourly rates are usually around £40 - £50 per person. The daily rates will depend on the number of people working in the team. You should expect to pay £400 - £700 per day.
    What is an arborist?
    Arborists are specialist in the care and management of trees, shrubs and woody perennial plants.
    What is the difference between tree trimming and tree pruning?
    Tree trimming is done to remove overgrown branches or to alter the shape of a tree. Pruning is done to help the plant grow better. Usually, the two terms can be used interchangeably.

    Sources

    https://www.treehelp.com/felling-the-tree/
    https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=233
    https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/bay/cutting-back-bay-trees.htm
    https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/how-to-prune-a-plum-tree/

    Last updated by MyJobQuote on 22nd October 2020.

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