Tree Trimming Cost

by | Sep 11, 2020 | Tree Services

Maintaining an aesthetically appealing home takes some work, and tree trimming is one of the maintenance procedures that have a significant impact on your home’s appearance. Snipping the right branches restores the tree’s natural shape, removes dead branches that can mess with the crown’s attractive green color, and even improves safety by removing hazardous limbs. 

Working with professional tree trimmers helps you avoid property damage, tree damage, and injuries. Professionals, however, have to be paid. In this detailed guide, we will take a look at the tree trimming cost you should expect. 

The Average Tree Trimming Cost in Santa Cruz, CA

Depending on how complicated the tree trimming procedure is, you may pay as low as $80 or as high as $1000. If you have small and average-sized trees, you may need to spend $80 – $350 on each tree. Homeowners with large trees spend $300 to $1000 on tree trimming. 

Factors Affecting the Tree Trimming Cost in Santa Cruz, CA 

1. Tree Size 

Tree height is one of the biggest considerations when creating a cost estimate. The height of a tree affects the tree trimming time, the risks associated with the procedure, and the machines needed to avoid injuries and property damage. Compared to a 30-foot tree, A 150 feet tree will require more time to climb and trim. 

If your tree has a height of above 100 feet, it will have a bigger risk – the injuries and damages that might result from the tree will be more significant compared to those resulting from a 20-foot tree. To avoid property damage, tree trimmers generally bring bigger machines and more safety gear. All of this increases the cost of trimming large trees. 

In Santa Cruz, tree trimming professionals divide trees into 3 major categories: 

  • Small trees – Any tree with a height of below 30 feet is considered small. Trimming such a tree costs $80 – $400. 
  • Medium-sized trees – Medium trees form the largest part of the tree population in Santa Cruz. The trees grow to a height of between 30 and 80 feet. The tree trimming cost for these plants varies between $150 and $875. 
  • Large trees – For a tree to be considered large, it will need a height of above 80 feet. In Santa Cruz, trees can grow to heights of up to 150 feet. Trimming a large tree costs between $200 and $1000. 

2. Accessibility 

For a tree to have maximum accessibility, it needs to be standing on open ground – that is, it shouldn’t have fences, buildings, powerlines, or any other important structures nearby. In Santa Cruz, it is very rare to find trees standing on open grounds – most of the trees are planted next to houses and other structures that may suffer damage if the cut branches get dropped from the tree crown. 

To avoid damaging the neighboring utilities, professionals use ropes, bucket trucks, and cranes to lower down the cut branches. This allows them to redirect the limbs, ensuring that they fall in the right places – this requires more time and may increase the tree trimming cost. 

Bucket trucks have been making the tree trimming procedures much simpler. They eliminate the need to climb up the tree and the need to bring harnesses and other safety gear. The bucket on the trucks holds the tree trimmers safely on the tree crown until the procedure is complete. 

However, bucket trucks are not always usable. If a tree is surrounded by structures that deny the bucket truck parking space, professionals will have to climb up the tree manually – this can increase the tree trimming cost by 30% to 40%. If you were being charged $500 to trim your 60-foot tree with the bucket truck, the tree trimming cost may increase to between $650 and $700 if the bucket truck can’t be used. 

3. Tree Stability 

Tree stability is a major concern in procedures that involve using significant force on the tree crown. When cutting branches on a stable tree, concerns of falling will be minimal. 

An unstable tree, on the other hand, can fall, leading to both property damage and injuries. To avoid paying hospital bills or spending money on home repairs, professionals invest some time in tree stabilization before handling the trimming – this increases the overall tree trimming cost. 

Some of the conditions that affect tree stability include: 

  • High winds – The extreme force created by high winds could bend and break the tree’s roots, leaving at the verge of toppling over. 
  • Cracks on the tree trunk – These are an indicator that the tree needs extreme repair procedures to restore a healthy stability level. Otherwise, winds and other weather factors could bring the tree down. 
  • Flooding – The floods make the soil too wet, making it impossible for the tree roots to have a proper attachment. Also, the force of the flood could push the tree towards its breaking point. 
  • Heavy activities – During construction activities, heavy machinery often spend their time near the tree’s roots. These machines can easily damage the roots, reducing the tree’s stability. 

4. Tree Health 

Most health conditions are often discovered during tree maintenance procedures like tree trimming. In some cases, the diseases may just be at their starting point – this means that the tree trimming procedure will be fairly normal. 

In other cases, pests and diseases could have done a lot of damage to the tree. If the disease gets discovered late, a higher tree trimming cost may be needed since the procedure will be riskier – more branches will be weak and hence the risk of falling will be higher. 

Diseased trees do need a team of arborists to inspect them. The arborist will recommend the best medications and pesticides. In Santa Cruz, tree owners generally pay an additional $50 to $500 for the arborist services and the recommended treatment options. 

5. Travel Fees

Tree trimmers generally have predefined zones where they normally operate. However, it is not uncommon for professionals to receive calls from clients living outside these service zones – when this happens, the professionals often have to cover a significant distance. 

This generally attracts a travel fee of $0.5 per mile. If the travel distance is quite big, the travel cost could add up to $50 – $200. 

6. Bulk Tree Trimming 

If you invite tree trimmers to trim a single tree, the amount you end up paying will be higher compared to the price of trimming a group of trees. You may be charged $500 to trim one 70-foot tree. However, when trimming ten 70-foot trees, the total cost may be $4500 – this means that you pay $50 less for each tree. 

The higher cost when trimming one tree generally results from various fixed costs. These include the cost of insurance, overhead, fuel, machine use, etc. 

Do Tree Trimming Professionals Charge Hourly? 

You will be hard-pressed to find a tree service provider that quotes an hourly price. Tree trimmers avoid the hourly cost because of the numerous factors that affect the tree trimming procedure. 

If a company has the latest tree trimming tools and a team with decades of tree service experience, trimming will take lesser time compared to a company with an inexperienced team and older tools. While the first company may help you save money with the hourly cost, the company will end up operating at a loss. The second company will charge you more money for similar work. 

For this reason, tree trimmers prefer to quote a fixed cost that covers the overhead, insurance, machine use, etc. It is in this fixed cost that they may factor in an average of $25 to $50 per hour for each of their workers. 

Should I Hire a Professional Team or Just Turn Trimming into a DIY? 

Before turning tree trimming into a DIY, you need to understand the costs and risks you may have to deal with. 

DIY Tree Trimming Risks 

  • If you fall from the tree, you could lose your life or end up with significant injuries. 
  • Your tools could cut you. 
  • If you haven’t trimmed trees before, you may damage your tree irreparably. 
  • If the branches you cut fall on your house, the resulting damage could cost too much money to repair. 

DIY Tree Trimming Costs 

To trim your trees, you will have to visit the nearest hardware to pay for the following tools: 

  • Hand-held pruner: $30 to $50
  • Heavy-duty gas trimmer: You can rent this for $50 per day 
  • Safety gear: $50 to $150
  • Ladder: $150 – $500 

In addition to the cost of the tools mentioned above, you may need an extra $25 to $100 to dump the waste generated by the tree trimming procedure. 

If you determine that the DIY risks and the DIY costs are much less than the cost of hiring professional tree trimmers, then turning trimming into a DIY might be a good idea. In the event DIY trimming is very risky – for example, if your trees are taller than 50 feet – or too costly, professional tree trimming will be the best option.

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