Tree Pruning Cost

by | Sep 11, 2020 | Tree Services

Tree pruning is a risky procedure. Stepping on weak branches puts you at the risk of falling and suffering significant injuries. Dropping the branches you cut on buildings could result in significant home repair costs. To avoid all these risks, tree owners in Santa Cruz prefer to work with professional tree pruners. 

For professionals to prune your trees, you will need $75 to $2000 per tree. Average-sized trees have a tree pruning cost of between $350 and $650. Homeowners with non-risky, medium-sized trees pay an average of $450. 

Factors Affecting the Tree Pruning Cost in Santa Cruz, CA

1. Tree Height 

The height of a tree has a direct influence on the time needed to prune the tree. A 100 feet pine tree will have a bigger crown compared to a 40 feet California Juniper – if both trees are healthy, pruning the pine tree may take more time. To reach the pine’s crown, the tree pruners will need more time compared to climbing up the California Juniper. 

More risks are associated with taller trees. Branches dropping from a 150-foot white pine will do more damage than branches falling from a 20-foot crepe myrtle. To avoid these risks, more safety tools may be needed when pruning the bigger trees. 

Depending on how tall your tree is, you should expect the following tree pruning costs: 

  • Small trees – These have a height of under 30 feet. Pruning small trees costs $75 to $400. 
  • Medium-sized trees – These trees grow to heights of 30 – 60 feet. Pruning a single medium-sized tree can cost $150 – $800. 
  • Large trees – Large trees feature a height of between 60 and 80 feet. One of these trees will cost $800 – $1500 to prune. 
  • Very large trees – These trees are generally taller than 80 feet. The tree pruning cost for trees in this category ranges from $1,500 to $2000. 

2. Tree Species 

Tree height generally varies depending on tree species. While white pines can grow to heights of 150 feet, you will be hard-pressed to find a crepe myrtle whose height exceeds 30 feet. 

Also, wood hardness and the crown shape depend on tree species. Some tree species need more pruning time to give them their natural shape. Below, we have outlined the tree pruning costs for some of the tree species commonly found in Santa Cruz homes: 

Palm Tree Pruning Cost 

Santa Cruz property owners plant 2 types of palm tree – they have the medium-sized subspecies which grows to a height of 20 – 60 feet and the large subspecies which reaches heights of 80 feet. The medium palm tree cost $100 to $500 to prune. The bigger tree, however, can cost as much as $1,500. 

Crepe Myrtle Tree Pruning Cost 

Crepe Myrtle reaches heights of 3 to 30 feet. This makes it one of the most affordable trees to prune. With $75 to $400, you will prune any crepe myrtle on your property. 

Pine Tree Pruning Cost 

The most common types of pine trees have heights of 40 to 100 feet. White pines, however, can reach 150 feet. Depending on the height of your pine tree, you should expect a tree pruning cost of between $200 and $2000. 

Maple Tree Pruning Cost 

Maple trees fit in the medium-size and large categories – they generally mature at heights of 40 to 80 feet. Maple tree owners spend $400 to $1000 on professional pruning. 

Olive Tree Pruning Cost 

The productivity of olive trees is largely influenced by pruning. If the tree is not pruned correctly, the branches with flowers fail to get enough sunlight – this reduces the number of flowers that turn into fruits. To increase olive tree productivity, Santa Cruz residents generally spend $350 – $700 on tree pruning. 

Avocado Tree Pruning Cost 

In Santa Cruz, property owners have both the dwarf and the average-sized avocados. Depending on the size of the avocado tree, homeowners spend $350 to $700 on tree pruning. 

3. Accessibility 

Accessibility makes pruning more affordable by allowing the use of bucket trucks. The bucket trucks eliminate the need to climb up the tree manually – a professional gets in the bucket with the necessary tree pruning tools and gets raised to the tree crown. In addition to making the tree pruning process easier, bucket trucks increase safety. 

Bucket trucks are, however, only used on trees with maximum accessibility. If the tree that needs pruning does not have enough parking space for the bucket truck, the professionals climb the tree manually, which takes more time and has increased risks – this increases the tree pruning cost by 30% to 40%. 

If you had been charged $800 to prune your 70-foot maple tree with the bucket truck, this cost may increase to between $1040 and $1,120 if manual climbing is required. 

4. Property Damage Risk 

If a tree crown is over a building, a swimming pool, or powerlines, the risk of property damage will be incredibly high. To reduce the chances of property damage, professionals lower the cut branches with ropes. 

The process of tying the cut branches with ropes and then lowering them slowly takes more time. This often forces professionals to increase the tree pruning cost. Trees that are far away from important utilities have a lower tree pruning cost. 

5. Tree Health 

Diseases do affect trees in Santa Cruz. Pest infestations are also a common problem in the region. When the pests and diseases go undetected, they turn the tree crown into a weak point. The branches become more susceptible to falling – to reduce the chances of injuries, professionals are forced to use more safety gear. 

When pruning a tree harboring a disease or pests, more time is needed to go remove all the affected branches. This leads to a higher tree pruning cost. 

For unhealthy trees, an arborist is generally needed to help homeowners identify the disease affecting their trees and the best treatment options. The cost of working with an arborist and purchasing the recommended medications can amount to $50 to $500 – this cost is generally not included in the quoted tree pruning cost and is often paid separately. 

6. Additional Services 

Almost all tree care procedures do result in additional services – tree pruning is no exception. The extra services that often result from tree pruning include: 

Cleanup and Dumping

After tree pruning, you will have branches lying all over your compound. To give your landscape an attractive look and to eliminate hazards, you should get rid of the branches. Tree pruners can use their trucks to take the waste to the dumping site. However, you may need to spend an additional $50 to $100 on clean up and dumping. 

Travel Fees 

While this is not a service per se, it is still an extra cost that homeowners often deal with. The travel fee is quite common among homeowners who prefer to work with tree pruners living a significant distance from their homes. If you work with professionals that have your property in their service zone, you may not have to set aside money for the travel fee.

In Santa Cruz, the common travel cost is $0.5 per mile. Some professionals, however, charge a fixed cost of $50 to $200. 

Factors Affecting the Timing for Tree Pruning 

For tree pruning to offer maximum benefits, it needs to be conducted at the right time. In Santa Cruz, the following factors may affect the timing: 

1. Safety 

Sometimes trees do develop unsafe branches. These could be broken branches or those weakened by health problems. To keep these branches from falling in their homes unexpectedly, homeowners prefer to work with professional tree pruners as soon as possible. The professionals will remove the branches, improving safety. 

2. Tree Health

Tree pruning helps boost tree health by removing branches carrying health complications. This keeps the disease from spreading to other parts of the tree. 

3. Property Value 

Homes and commercial properties change hands regularly in Santa Cruz. Before putting property in the market, the owners prefer to invest in all the services that will boost the value. Tree pruning is one of the most important value-boosting procedures – it improves the tree appearance, making your home look more valuable. 

4. The Dormant Stage 

The best time to handle tree pruning is when the trees enter the dormant stage. This is a period when the trees stop growing actively. Pruning trees in the dormant stage reduces the chances of tree damage. 

5. Post-Production Period 

When dealing with fruit trees, tree pruning is best done after production. This eliminates the need to put some of the product to waste. 

How to Save on Tree Pruning 

  • Take advantage of DIY pruning if you have small non-risky trees 
  • Avoid the travel fees by working with professionals closest to your home 
  • Avoid treatment costs by maintaining healthy trees 
  • Let the power company handle pruning for all the trees near powerlines 
  • Invest in regular pruning to reduce the time spent on each tree 
  • Plant small to medium-sized trees to benefit from a lower tree pruning cost.
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