Why is Tree Trimming so Expensive?

A beautifully landscaped front yard significantly enhances the curb appeal of any residence, underscoring the reason homeowners take immense pride in maintaining well-trimmed trees and shrubs. However, the expenditure associated with professional tree trimming often raises eyebrows.

The cost of tree service Columbus Ohio, which falls within an average range of $315 to $700 paid by homeowners, carries a national mean of approximately $475. While the minimum expense a homeowner might incur for tree maintenance is estimated at $85, the upper limit can extend to a substantial $1,276, especially for the pruning of towering trees surpassing 60 feet in height.

But what prompts the relatively high cost of expert tree care, and what are the variables contributing to this expense? These inquiries and more, including ‘Why is Tree Trimming so Expensive,’ will be addressed in this enlightening article that delves into the reasons behind the notable investment required for proficient tree trimming.

Factors Influencing the Expense of Tree Trimming

The expenses mentioned earlier are just averages. The actual costs of pruning trees on your land rely on various elements. Let’s examine these factors in detail.

Tree Size

The size of the tree requiring trimming significantly determines your tree trimming expenses. Professional tree care companies typically categorize trees as small, medium, or large.

A general guideline is that larger trees result in higher trimming costs for several reasons:

Heavy Machinery: Bigger trees demand heavy-duty trimming machinery, which raises project costs.
Labor Intensity: Trimming large trees involves more labor, leading to increased crew expenses.
Heightened Risks: Larger trees pose more risks during trimming, elevating overall project costs.

Tree Location

If a tree is close to power lines, the associated risk can raise trimming expenses.

Proximity to power lines demands cautious trimming to avoid damage. Specialized equipment and labor-intensive efforts contribute to higher costs. An insider tip is that utility companies often offer free tree pruning near power lines, ensuring no cost for you.


Tree accessibility affects trimming expenses.

Tree care services utilize bucket trucks for high points. Inaccessible trees necessitate alternative methods like climbing, intensifying effort and risks, leading to increased costs.

Tree Health

Unhealthy trees elevate trimming expenses due to greater risks. Storm-damaged, lightning-struck, or diseased trees are less stable, resulting in higher costs for safety measures.

Number of Trees

Trimming costs accrue per tree. More trees equate to higher expenses for their maintenance.

Pest Presence

The presence of pests can destabilize trees and impact the overall expense of the project. For instance, pests like woodpeckers and ants indicate internal decay, while others like the emerald ash borer can weaken even healthy trees.

Dealing with these infested trees during trimming is riskier and can significantly raise the cost of tree maintenance. It’s wise to reach out to a certified tree specialist if you suspect a pest issue.

This is essential because sometimes treatment can solve the problem, but in more severe cases, you might have to completely remove the compromised tree.

Additional Service Costs

While tree trimming stands as the primary service of tree care companies, they offer supplementary tree-related services. These include stump grinding, tree removal, and stump removal. Let’s delve into the costs of these supplementary services.

Tree Removal

There are various reasons for considering tree removal from your yard. It might be infested with pests, and an arborist recommends complete removal. Perhaps its proximity to your home or power lines poses a threat, risking damage during storms.

Ordinary tree removal falls between $385 and $1,070, averaging around $630 nationally. Emergency tree removal due to lightning strikes or unstable trees before falling could incur extra charges, reaching up to $1,935 for large trees.

Stump Grinding

An unsightly tree stump in your front yard detracts from curb appeal and might endanger playing children. This prompts homeowners to seek professional stump grinding.

Stump grinding costs range from $158 to $450 for the initial stump, with subsequent stumps costing around $35 each after the first removal.

Stump Removal

Occasionally, mere grinding isn’t enough. Stumps could hinder additions like gazebos, fences, or toolsheds. Roots might continue growing, potentially damaging plumbing or foundations.

For such cases, stump removal is necessary. Unlike tree removal that leaves a stump, this process eradicates both stump and roots. Stump removal expenses can range from $77 to $1,036, with homeowners typically spending approximately $326.

Should you trim the tree yourself?

Deciding whether to trim a tree yourself depends on your level of expertise, the size of the tree, and the complexity of the trimming required. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Skill and Knowledge: Proper tree trimming requires understanding tree biology, growth patterns, and the correct techniques to ensure the health and safety of the tree. If you lack experience, you might inadvertently harm the tree or yourself.

  2. Tree Size: Smaller trees with branches at reachable heights might be manageable to trim on your own. Larger trees with branches high above the ground might require specialized equipment and training to safely reach and trim.

  3. Safety: Tree trimming can be hazardous, especially if it involves climbing or using equipment like chainsaws. If you’re not comfortable or experienced with such tasks, it’s best to hire a professional to avoid accidents.

  4. Equipment: Proper tree trimming often requires specific tools, such as pruning shears, loppers, and potentially even chainsaws for larger branches. Using the wrong tools can lead to inefficient cuts or injury.

  5. Tree Health: Improper trimming can damage a tree’s health and structure. Over-pruning or cutting in the wrong places might lead to disease, decay, or structural instability.

  6. Local Regulations: Some areas have regulations about tree trimming, especially if the tree is near power lines or other properties. It’s important to be aware of any legal considerations.

  7. Professional Assistance: For significant pruning or if the tree’s health is a concern, consulting a certified arborist or tree service is a good idea. They can provide expert advice and perform the trimming safely.


In conclusion, while maintaining a beautifully landscaped front yard adds to a home’s curb appeal, the cost of professional tree trimming can be significant. The expenses associated with expert tree care are influenced by various factors such as tree size, location, accessibility, health, pest presence, and the need for additional services like tree removal, stump grinding, and stump removal. While some homeowners may consider DIY tree trimming, it’s essential to weigh the risks, your own expertise, and the complexity of the task. For larger trees or complex trimming requirements, seeking the assistance of certified arborists or tree care professionals is recommended to ensure the health of the trees and your own safety.