2021 Tree Removal Cost & Tree Surgeon Costs

Tree surgery can help transform the look of your garden in just a few hours or matter of days – and luckily tree surgeons costs are are not very high in the UK.

tree removal costs
If you want to tidy up your garden and give the place a little lift but are worried about the cost of tree surgery and how much needs doing, fear not – because hiring a tree surgeon is actually a lot less hassle and a lot cheaper than you might think!

Many tree surgeons offer a variety of different gardening services charged via a pay-as-you-go model. You only ever fork out for what you need rather than paying a standard one-off fee. Furthermore, tree arborists are fully qualified to tackle all those high-maintenance or daunting garden tasks. Sometimes it takes the confidence, training, and equipment to preserve or look after a damaged tree or hedgerow.

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Tree surgeon costs – how much does tree removal cost?

So how much does a tree surgeon cost? Well, we’ve collected the following tree surgeon prices to give you a basic idea of how much this kind of service might set you back. Each type of tree surgery service is listed along with the different price plan available, as follows:

Service Cost
Tree Felling £75 – £1,200 (dependent on height)
Tree debris disposal £50 – £150
Crown reduction and thinning £75 – £800£
Garden clearance £200 per person per day / £40 per hour
Hedge trimming £40-60 per hour per person, £90-£120 (for a team of two)
Wood chipper hire £50 – £300 per day
Tree survey from £200 (basic), from £300 (advanced)

*All prices do not include VAT

Tree felling: Tree felling is one of the most difficult jobs to estimate the cost without having a tree feller or tree surgeon inspect the tree first and the surrounding land. Factors that affect the cost are tree height, the proximity to any building, the existence of any garden fencing panels, and any public footpaths or roads. The prices are lower for trees under 15ft, so expect to pay from £75 to £250.

Tree debris disposal: After cutting down a tree, it will have to be disposed of. For this service, you will have to pay extra money to the company you hired. Alternatively, you can check with your local council here to reduce the costs.

Crown reduction and thinning: Crown reduction reduces either the height or the spread of the tree crown or both. Crown thinning involves the removal of a maximum of 30% of the overall tree structure. For trees under 15ft, the cost ranges from £75 to £250.

Garden clearance: Garden clearance usually involves full garden and site clearance, trimming and cutting back any messy or overgrown hedgerows, cutting down long grass, pruning overgrown trees, turning plant beds and borders, removing unwanted plants, and shrubs and cleaning any unwanted grass and leaves.

Hedge trimming: New hedges need formative pruning during the first years to keep them dense and compact. Established hedges require more frequent trimming than informal ones. Expect to pay around 20% more if there is a need for climbing equipment like a rope and harness to deal with the hedge. 

Wood chipper hire: A wood chipper helps eliminate all garden waste and recycle it back to the garden. Depending on the size of your garden waste, you need to hire either an electrical or a heavy-duty petrol engine model.

Tree survey: A tree survey allows property managers or homeowners to make informed decisions based on the information received from the survey.

Remember, these tree surgeon costs are based on the lowest possible starting points available and are just estimates; for more detailed and accurate information about tree surgery prices, you should get in touch with as many different contractors as possible.

Tree trimming cost factors

Size and Location
We all know that larger trees cost more to trim. They have more branches and may need extra equipment, based on their height. Trees near buildings or power lines need time and effort because crews can’t simply flip the branches down as they work. Instead, every trimmed piece must be “roped down.” In this procedure, a climber ties a rope around the branch that will cut. Thereafter, the section of wood is lowered slowly to the ground. This procedure takes much longer than flipping down branches, resulting in a higher overall fee.

Number of Trees
The number of trees you need trimmed will also affect the overall cost of your tree trimming project. Ensure you include the number of trees and their types in your quote so that you can decide based on a reasonable estimate. You don’t want to surprise the tree removal company when they come to your place by telling them that you have three trees that need trimming instead of one.

Trees that have endured trauma, like a lightning strike, are not as strong as healthy trees and can become unstable. Therefore, they may need more than a minor trim. For instance, an unstable tree might need to be supported by cables. While it may cost more for an arborist to trim and maintain a tree with problems, it becomes safer and healthier.

Diseases and Illnesses
Some myriad diseases and illnesses can affect the health of your tree. Here are examples of those diseases that can also increase the cost of trimming and maintenance:

  • Abiotic Damage: The main cause is usually strong winds, hail, cold or dry spells, manifesting in various ways. Dehydrated leaves and damaged limbs are the signs of abiotic damage.
  • Fungi/Mushrooms: Fungi destroy trees by weakening the structural firmness and draining trees of vital nutrients.
  • Moist Crack: A moist crack in a tree trunk signifies that the tree is in bad health and needs to be examined to verify if the tree is decaying internally.

Some beneficial insects and animals reside in trees. However, several pests can damage and endanger your trees. Such infestations can make a tree ill, which can make it rot or develop fungus. Here are some common pests that can affect the health of your tree:

  • Emerald ash borer: This insidious, wood-boring beetle is killing ash trees across the UK at a high rate, making it a severe danger.
  • Ants: If you notice ants on your tree, observe them, as this way, you may find decaying or foothold damage.
  • Mites: Most mites are extremely difficult to see as they are very tiny. Mites have unbelievable suction abilities and can cause mostly discoloration of leaves and eventually leaf drop.
  • Shield-lice: It only becomes noticeable after it has formed a shield-like sport on the tree’s bark, which causes moisture. Shield-ice also attacks tree leaves. In extreme cases, you might have to call an expert.
  • Woodpeckers: Woodpeckers can also cause damage to the tree trunk as usually, they seek out homes in trees are that are already rotting. If you find out that a woodpecker has made his home in one of your trees, you should contact a tree surgeon or arborist right away.

Travelling Distance
When you hire a tree company, keep in mind that the further away they are from you, the more they tend to charge for drive time.

Companies familiar with trimming and removing large trees have a bucket truck that enables them to reach the top of any tree. However, if the tree lacks sufficient space for the truck, the trimmer will need to climb to the top, resulting in a higher cost.

Tree surgeons’ daily rates

A team of 3 three surgeons on the site will charge approximately £450-£1,000 a day, including VAT. On average, expect to pay £500 to £650 for local tree surgeons for a day’s work.  However, there are smaller companies that only take on easier projects. A team of 1 or 2 workers will cost anywhere from £400 to £550 a day, depending on where you are located.

How much do tree surgeons charge per hour?

Tree surgeons in the United Kingdom charge on average £40 per hour.

Cost To Cut Down A Tree

General tree work

If you need only general tree work, you can expect to pay around £120 per hour for a team of three workers, including removing all debris. If the minimum hourly rate applies, estimate to pay approximately £400, including VAT.

Cutting down a large tree

There is a large tree in your garden the must be cut down and remove the waste. This is normally performed by three workers and will take between 2 to 3 days to finish. Time will depend on other factors, including how closely the workers’ vehicles can get to the tree. You can expect to pay three surgeons around £3,000 + VAT. This amount does not include if you will need to hire other equipment outside the equipment owned and used by the workers. Other added costs could include cranes and/or cherry pickers.

Removing 2 multi-stem trees

You need to remove two 30-foot multi-stem trees from your garden and haul off all debris. As long as easy access to the tree, you can expect to pay £780, including VAT.

Stump grinding cost

The average cost of stump grinding in the UK is between £50-100, with an average price per diameter of £3. However, prices may vary depending on the size of the stump. If you grind the stump yourself, it may cost you as little as £75 to rent a stump grinder for a day.

Any stump with a diameter larger than 5 inches should be handled only by a professional. Even though hiring a stump grinder seems like the best choice, it could still work out, costing higher than expected, so it is advised to hire a tree surgeon.

Cost to remove a multi-stemmed birch tree

These trees are the easiest to work with and will only take half a day for two workers.  If you live in London, the cost will come to around £750. On the other hand, if you live in the South, South West, and Midlands, expect to pay £425 to £500.

Cost to cut down a large oak tree

You have a large oak tree, around 100 feet tall, that must be cut down, and access to the tree is not good. Cutting down a tree of this size will take 5 workers, including 2 professional tree surgeons. There will be a great deal of debris to remove, and the average cost in London will be around £3,100 to £4,250. If you are outside of London, it will range between £2,500 to £3,500.

Do-it-yourself tree removal

If you plan to deal with tree removal, trim your shrubs, and remove all debris, make sure you have the proper safety equipment available to you. If you are cutting branches or other areas of a tree, make sure you have a chainsaw and/or ax and ensure the blades are sharp! Also, make sure you have a durable, long-reach hedge trimmer for cutting and reaching even the highest spaces on your hedge.

Be careful with the chainsaw and ax as they can easily slip and seriously injure you. Other items you must have include gloves, safety glasses, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. It would be best if you protect yourself from flying debris when cutting fully. Also, make sure you are wearing safety glasses to protect your eyes from debris.

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Fines – and how to avoid them

If you don’t know the regulations, you could end up being fined.  Here are some of the main things to look for:

Tree Preservation Orders – TPOs are designed to protect trees that add to an area’s overall look and feel.  It also covers species that are in danger of becoming extinct.

Conservation Area status – if you live in a conservation area and have an issue with one of the trees on your property, you will need to get the permission of your local council.  This involves telling the Local Planning Authority at least 6 weeks before you intend to modify or fell the tree. You will need to provide a written notice that includes detailed plans.  A tree surgeon could provide these and ensure you comply with the rules.

Planning Rules – the Local Planning Authority (LPA) may protect trees near building sites or attached to recently completed properties.  Make sure you obtain all the relevant permissions before touching the tree.

Felling Licenses – trees are grown in a garden do not need a felling license, but you may need to apply for this license from the Forestry Commission if they are outside the garden space.

Can I do this myself, or do I need a tree surgeon?

Whilst tackling a job like an overgrown tree alone may seem like an easy task, it might be worth considering the following questions before you pick up your chainsaw:

What is the size of the job?

The bigger the tree, the harder it will be.  It is also more dangerous the taller the tree is.  If you tried to prune it or cut it down, will this be a danger to you or the people around you?

Where is the tree?

If the tree grows near a building or any property like cars or other vehicles, is it safe to cut it down?  There is a risk that you could end up causing damage to property or injury to a person.

Can you actually do the job?

Tree surgery is an extremely skilled profession involving using dangerous tools and often a lot of climbing.  If you don’t have the right training or the correct equipment dealing with trees and power tools can be dangerous, if not fatal, to yourself or the people around you.  Injuries can and do happen, not just from falling branches but are also caused by falls or by dropping power tools from a height.

Unless the tree is tiny, it is much quicker, easier, safer, and cost-effective to hire a professional person to do the job.  The is especially the case for ‘shortening’ rather than completely removing a tree.

When to contact a professional tree surgeon.

If you own your own home, you are responsible for maintaining the trees on your land in good condition.  This is often a condition of house insurance, so you may find that you need to inspect any trees falling within your boundary.  You should always check the insurance policy for these details and make sure you arrange for inspections to be carried out.

As a general guideline, keep a lookout for these issues, and if you see any of them, contact a tree surgeon to check the tree:

  • Any mushrooms or other fungi living around the base of the tree;
  • Long branches, especially if they are brushing against each other;
  • Any detached roots – this can be a sign of disease in the tree;
  • If there are local regulations regarding tree cutting or felling in your area and you think you need to discuss this with a professional person;
  • You notice any cavities or decay in the trunk, look for things like the absence of bark or the appearance of cracks in the body of the tree;
  • Branches showing signs of disease death:  A lack of leaves or leaves unseasonably brown can be a sign of problems.

How to find a good tree surgeon

Ask friends and relatives for recommendations or the contact details of people they’ve used in the past. Don’t be afraid to conduct preliminary interviews with prospective employees – to be sure you know what you’re getting and what you will be paying for.
Your final written quote should include:

  • Clear and comprehensive information about the work to be completed, with all the relevant details about how long it might take and what is included in the service.
  • What tree equipment will the professional providers and any preparation you need to carry tree removal cost guideout yourself.
  • Whether or not the final projected cost includes VAT.
  • Whether or not waste disposal will be provided (and included in the cost)
  • A full and functional risk assessment plan to ensure everyone’s safety during the tree surgery taking place.

Honest and reliable references

No matter how much a tree surgeon costs will set you back, many homeowners will testify to the lasting results of tree surgery and the benefits of hiring a tree surgeon to spruce up your garden for you.

After all, these tree experts have the skills, training, and experience to look after plants and trees without causing any damage to surrounding plant life – allowing you to continue growing everything you want and look after your existing garden with just a bit of extra help!


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