My Tree Needs to Go: What’s the Cost to Cut It Down?

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When a cherished tree must go, it can feel like losing a family member. To pour salt in the wound of your tree loss, you can expect to receive a pretty steep bill for the luxury of removing a sick, dying, or otherwise dangerous tree from your property.

According to estimates from leading home improvement brands across the web, the average cost to remove a tree lands between $700 and $1,000, with extra charges tacked on for stump removal ($150 to $500) and the use of special equipment such as a crane ($500), HomeAdvisor reports. Other cost considerations include the height of the tree, the number of branches, and the density of the wood.

However, it’s risky to ignore a struggling tree. One homeowner in the northern Boston suburbs was recently horrified to witness a tree crash down on his home, damaging the roof, porch, and front yard, while he stood helplessly with two others from the inside during a storm. (The neighborhood reportedly has a lot of dead trees.) In addition, if you plan to sell this home anytime soon, you may be required to disclose the ailing tree to buyers, resulting in a price discount.

So let’s get to planning for that tree removal, shall we? Our budgeting guide combines multiple cost aggregations from the internet with the expertise of an experienced arborist and a top real estate agent who’s helped many clients navigate the tree removal process.

Several tree stumps in a backyard which makes one wonder how much does it cost to cut down a tree.
Source: (Artur Luczka / Unsplash)

Cost overview

While the price tag for removing a tree varies widely, these ballpark estimates from trusted home improvement companies give you an idea of what to expect:

Source: HomeAdvisor

Average cost to remove a tree: $750 (does not include stump removal)
Average cost with stump removal: Additional $150–$500
Low and high end: $200–$2,000
Methodology: The company gathers data based on actual project costs reported by 117,223 HomeAdvisor members around the country.

Source: Thumbtack

Average cost to remove a tree: $985
Average cost with stump removal: $1,072 (total)
Low to high end: $155–$2,000+
Methodology: Thumbtack analyzes millions of bids from tree-removal pros across the nation.  

Source: HomeGuide

Average cost to remove a tree: $700
Average cost with stump removal: Additional $50–$800
Low to high end: $100–$1,800
Methodology: HomeGuide tracks millions of user-submitted project estimates and correlates them with local professional estimates to provide accurate average costs.

Calculating your tree removal expenses

Your arborist will consider a number of factors to come up with an accurate estimate for your tree removal project. Here are a few to keep in mind:


Size is a good place to start. But some arborists, like Bob Emerich, owner of Bob’s Tree Service in Mill Valley, California, warn against relying too heavily on size to quantify costs. Even though two trees may be the same height, the price to remove each one will differ depending on the species.

“A large tree can be a 100-foot redwood or a 100-foot pine,” explains Emerich. “The pine has much larger branches and is thus more expensive to remove. A 125-foot cypress has even more branches than a pine. And a 200-foot eucalyptus would usually cost more than any of them because the wood is so dense and heavy. Medium trees vary all over the place as well.”

Tree Type

For more insight into how the type of tree affects pricing, check out these numbers from HomeAdvisor:

  • Pine:    $200–$1,500
  • Palm:   $200–$1,500
  • Oak:     $200–$2,000
  • Maple: $250–$2,000
  • Ash:     $250–$1,800
  • Cedar: $250–$1,500

Crane rental

If you’re dealing with a tree that’s 80 feet or taller, you may need a crane. According to HomeAdvisor, daily crane rentals range from $200 to $500, depending on the size and type of the crane. Tack on another $50 to $100 for someone to operate the machine.


Country living is dandy for relaxation and tranquility. But being far from a large town or city can cost you when you need to remove a tree. Most tree service companies serve a set area. If your home is beyond their boundaries, many will charge a mileage fee of roughly $0.50 per mile. Others charge flat rates from about $50 to $200.


The ease or difficulty of getting to a tree plays a big role in removal costs. If a tree is hanging over wires, delicate plants, a roof, or other parts of a home, removing it will require more finesse and time, which translates into more money.

Emerich adds that the distance between a felled tree and the chipper truck, or having to haul pieces up a steep hill, can also bump up prices. “If the canopy and trunks need to be carried a long way to the truck, or if the path to a truck involves a lot of careful maneuvering, steps, and/or slippery slopes, this can add a lot of time to the job,” he says.

Stump removal

Tree stumps aren’t just eyesores. They can be dangerous, too. Stumps can decay and become infested with pests like termites. So it’s probably worth paying a bit extra to get rid of yours. The average price to remove a stump runs from $160 to $355. Removal options include grinding or burning your stump with a chemical mixture. It’s also essential to remove all roots to prevent them from spreading. Your tree service professional will help you figure out the best plan of attack. 

A chainsaw by a recently cut down tree for people asking how much does it cost to cut down a tree.
Source: (Markus Spiske / Unsplash)

True tales of tree removal

From basic to complex, these snapshots of real-life tree removals illustrate the range of circumstances that impact cost (all featured sources spoke directly to HomeLight and asked to use their first name only):

Keeping it simple

In Colorado, Betsy’s experience was quick and easy. She paid a mere $150 to remove an unruly apple tree. This was a one-man job as the tree was small and the stump didn’t have to go.

Tackling multiple diseased trees

Anne, a homeowner in the San Francisco Bay Area, spent about $8,000 to remove six diseased Monterey pines from her property. The price covered a crew of eight who chopped down the trees, ground up the pieces and removed them. Although the project was expensive, Anne appreciated the speed and efficiency of the team who completed the job in less than two days.

Dealing with a heritage tree

When Mindy, a Marin County resident, and her family were on the hunt for a place to build their forever home, they chose the property where they now live for one reason: the giant Valley Oak that graced the backyard.

Sadly, the beautiful tree eventually toppled due to root problems caused by an underground stream. The oak was also a heritage tree. These trees are protected in many cities — and some states — for unique characteristics such as size, species, age and historical value. You need special permits to chop down or remove a heritage tree.

Cutting the trunk and branches cost $5,860; grinding the remains added another $1,240 to the project. In addition, because the tree crushed a shared fence, Mindy’s family had to split the cost of building a new one with their neighbors. Since the heritage tree was valued at $70,000, the county knocked a small percentage off their homeowner taxes to compensate for the loss. “The heartbreak was the hardest part,” says Mindy. “No matter how much money we got back, we’d still rather have the tree.”

Common reasons for removing a tree

From extreme weather to region-specific diseases, trees face a number of threats that can turn them from pretty to troublesome. Take the unusual ice storms that swept through Texas last winter, leaving a sea of zombie trees in their wake. The spooky looking dead trees can topple without warning. If you suspect you have one, contact an arborist promptly.

Here are some other issues that can make it necessary to say good-bye to a tree:

Pests and disease

Since the mid-’90s, Sudden Oak Death has killed millions of oak trees in coastal California. The disease spreads easily to other plants and trees and can cause dangerous internal decay that may not be visible. Hiring a knowledgeable arborist to properly remove an afflicted oak is essential.

The emerald ash borer is a beetle responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America, many of them in the Midwest. Down south, another bug, the black twig borer feasts on a variety of trees. They’re a problem in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and other southern states, as well as Hawaii.

Wayward roots

Over time, roots from that tree in your front yard can clog pipes that transport wastewater from your home to the local sewer system “As communities have grown and matured, trees are one of the top causes of damage to sewage lines,” says Rick Fuller, a top real estate agent in Antioch, California. Roots can also cause concrete surfaces — like sidewalks and driveways — to crack and buckle. It’s not a good look, and treacherous to boot. People can trip on the uneven pavement.

Fire hazards

During the past few years, California and other parts of the West have experienced a dramatic increase in catastrophic wildfires. If you live here, removing dead trees — especially those located close to your home or power lines — is critical.

“Sometimes a homeowner will have a tree that stretches over the house, and that tree becomes the access point for fire to travel from it to the gutters, which are often filled with dry leaves,” says Fuller. “Then it catches the roof on fire, and eventually the whole house is on fire.”

Curb appeal

Fuller has worked with clients who have cut down dangerous or unsightly trees, including a massive oak. In addition to blocking the entire front of the house, the oak’s heavy limbs were at risk of breaking off and inflicting serious damage or injuries.

“Once the tree was removed, the curb appeal of the house completely changed,” says Fuller. “Before, you couldn’t even see the entry to the home or the walkway. With a new, reasonably sized mulberry in the front yard, the seller now had a home that presented great curb appeal.”

Header Image Source: (Rudi Strydom / Unsplash)