The Cost of having a Tree Removed

All you need to know about having a tree cut down including required materials, labour and time frames.

Tree Felling

What the job entails

This article about tree felling forms part of our series about average landscape gardening prices. Tree work is one of the hardest jobs to price without visiting the property and making an assessment, not only is every tree different but every garden also has differing access requirements! The price for felling a tree will ultimately depend on the height of the tree, the overhang, access, the type of tree, proximity to public footpath or road, the disposal of the tree and whether or not you want the stump grinded down. The prices quoted will also vary depending on your location, with London and the Home Counties being considerably more expensive in terms of labour charges than elsewhere in the UK.

Height of tree is obviously a major factor because higher trees will require more equipment and time, plus of course there is also the higher risk of more severe damage and/or injury due to the fact it is further to fall! Extra care is needed at height, which means it takes more time and manpower. If the tree overhangs a building such as a shed or greenhouse, then once again more care if required so the costlier the process. Problems with access will increase the costs for obvious reasons as simply getting the people and equipment safely to the site will take more time. Some trees are easier to work with than others so this has some impact on price but is not normally a huge factor.

If the tree overhangs a public road or footpath, then permission is required to close off the area which is expensive so will impact the overall cost. Once a tree has been felled, if you can dispose of the waste yourself perhaps adding to the compost heap and/or using as fuel for a wood burning stove. Moving a felled tree to the front of a property and loading it onto a vehicle takes time and costs money, especially as trees can weigh several tonnes! You may want to consider hiring a skip as it may save you money, especially if it's a larger tree which requires numerous journeys to and from the tip. Stump grinding can stop the tree roots forming into a new tree so is worthwhile but again adds costs.

Tree felling is a dangerous business with many risk factors including working at height and working with chainsaws. Tree felling operations must only be performed by people with suitable training and expertise. All felling operations must be carefully planned beforehand with a full risk assessment which details emergency contingencies. In the last 10 years a total of 60 people have been killed in the UK as a result of tree work and many more have been badly injured or have suffered ill health.

Felling a small tree with a diameter of 18″or less can be done as a DIY project as long as there are no complications such as the tree is heavily leaning or overhanging a building or public path/road. There are no regulations in place to prevent amateurs felling trees on their own property providing there is no Tree Preservation Order in place. But even though it can be done DIY, it is not recommended that you do so, tree felling is a dangerous job best left to professionals, even the smaller trees.

If you do want to proceed without professional assistance, then do it safely by first clearing all obstacles from around the tree so that you can move easily. Then take away all the lower branches from the tree again for easier access. Plan an escape route not directly behind and if possible try to fell in the direction the tree is naturally leaning. The first cut in the front of tree controls the direction of the fall and should not be more than one quarter of the diameter. Then the felling cut is started on the back of tree ensuring that you are standing to the side when making this cut. When the tree starts to fall move quickly out of the way to your safe place.

When trees are felled their stumps should be removed to prevent suckering (a new tree plant growing out of the old stump). Although stumps are often large and heavy, they can sometimes be completely removed with the right equipment. Tree stumps can be removed any time, but paying tree surgeons to remove the stumps when they are felling the tree is the most convenient way as chemical stump killers need to be applied to the freshly cut wood immediately after felling. Otherwise, the stump will need to be recut before the chemical stump killer is applied. Physical stump removal is the best solution if the stump can be removed entirely by pulling it out with a winch. failing that, grubbing out using a mechanical mini-excavator will remove the majority of the root system. Stump grinders can also mechanically grind out the main root plate into fine sawdust.

It cannot be emphasised enough that tree felling is dangerous and should not be attempted without having the knowledge and experience of using chain saws safely plus of course wearing the correct personal protective equipment.

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Cost to Fell a Tree

The average cost to fell a tree can range in price massively depending upon numerous reasons including the height, diameter and type of tree, as well as its position in the garden. Naturally, the larger the tree the more expensive it will be to cut it down. Ease of access is important too as the more difficult it is to get to the tree the longer it will take and thus the cost will increase.

A tree surgeon will normally charge around £150-£200 per day in labour and will usually work with a general labourer or two. As such you should expect to pay around £350 per day in labour costs if there are three tradesmen.

Below are some estimated costs of hiring a tree surgeon to fell a tree. These prices include cutting down the tree to it's stump as well as removing any waste. If you want the stump removing as well expect to add another £100-£500.

Job Description Avg. Cost Duration
Small Trees (less than 25 ft) £150-£350 3-4 hours
Medium-sized Trees (25 to 50 ft) £200-£750 1 day
Large Trees (50 to 75 ft) £650-£1200 1-2 days
Extra Large Trees (over 75 ft) £1000-£2500 2-5 days


Cost Breakdown

Individual costs for hiring a tree surgeon to fell a 25 ft tree, assuming it takes around half a day - Total Cost: £250

10%

Materials
£25

80%

Tradesmen
£200

10%

Waste Removal
£25

FAQ's

Assuming a 30 ft tree in the rear garden but with easy access, expect to pay around £400. This price will include the stump being grounded down, and the contractor taking away all of the waste. The work should only take around half a day. For an 80-foot tree you will pay around £1000-£1500. The job is much more expensive as there are several extra tonnes of material to remove plus the height of the tree will require two tree surgeons and several labourers for a few days.
Typically, around £350-£400 to prune a tree back.
Only if the tree is covered by a Tree Preservation Order or is within a designated Conservation Area. In these cases, permission from the Council is required. A Tree Preservation Order is an order made by councils in respect of trees to prohibit the unjustified pruning or felling of amenity trees without the council's consent.