Typical Tree Surgeon Costs

What is the going rate for a tree surgeon? That is a good question but not one that can be answered with a single figure.

Tree surgery is a well regulated and skilled profession, the equipment needed is expensive and the work is usually done by a team of three people.

Also, how much you pay will depend on these factors:

  • How tall the tree is
  • The type of tree
  • Where it’s located on the property
  • Safety considerations (ie blocking road or footpath)
  • Should it be felled or reduced
  • What about waste removal?
  • Leave or remove the stump?
  • Is the business VAT registered?

Here is a “First Person” View of Tree Felling:

Example Cost 1

Completely fell a large oak tree in a rear garden. Dispose of all waste. This work is usually completed by a team of three workers and the work will probably take somewhere between 2-3 days, depending on several factors such as access and how close to the tree they can park their work vehicles.

We assume that they don’t need to hire any equipment beyond items they already own and use on a regular basis.

Cherry pickers, cranes or similar will obviously add to the cost.

Expect to pay a tree surgeon around £3000.00 including VAT

Example Cost 2

Remove two 30ft multi-stem trees and dispose of all waste. We assume that there is very good access, perhaps the trees are in a front garden.

Expect to pay in the region of £750.00 including the VAT

Example Cost 3

General tree work such reduction or pollarding.

Expect to pay around £120.00 per hour for a team of three including waste removal. A minimum charge will probably apply, so don’t expect much change out of £400.00 inc VAT for even a small job.

Example Cost 4

Stump grinding is cheaper if it’s done by the same tree surgeons that took down the tree. Expect to pay £95 – £200 on top of the tree felling cost, depending on stump width and type of tree.

If you have an old stump that needs grinding then expect to pay more, especially if it’s in a rear garden with poor access.

Day Rates For Tree Surgeons

Tree surgeons don’t generally quote for work with a day rate but we know roughly how much they charge.

A team of three tree surgeons on site and including the removal of the waste, will set you back around £950.00 per day including VAT.

Smaller firms, such as those that only undertake easier projects, working in a team of one or two people will charge anything from £250-400 per day depending on location.

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Tree Surgeon’s Prices are Subjective

The prices you see above are based on our experience with tree surgeons in the south of the UK.

How much you pay will depend not just on where you live and the type of tree involved but also the size of the business you employ.

A larger firm will have considerably more overheads, vans cost upwards £20k and equipment can run into tens of thousands of pounds.

Smaller firms will have fewer overheads, perhaps hiring equipment as needed.

Therefore, for smaller jobs at least, you could make a saving by going with a smaller firm.

Tree surgeon at work

Also, if the business is operating below the VAT threshold they won’t charge VAT so you could make quite a substantial saving.

What About Waste Removal Costs?

Most of the prices we have investigated here on job-prices.co.uk have involved some form of waste removal charge (think builders and roofers etc).

Tree felling is somewhat different in that much of the waste material has some value and can be sold on.

The waste material can be broken down into two groups:

The first is chippings, this is the remains of all the timber after the branches have been put through a chipping machine.

You have probably seen these before, tree surgeons usually tow these behind their vehicles.

This type of waste can be used as mulch in gardens.

Material that isn’t sold as mulch is usually mixed with the second type of waste that is generated. That is low-value waste such as hedge trimmings and the mixture is then sold to the biomass industry for use in power stations.

Large logs are kept and put on sale.

Checklist – Read This Before Getting Quotes

For larger and dangerous projects, we suggest you follow our tips here to keep costs down while still employing a safe tree surgeon:

  • Make sure your chosen contractors are registered with Arboricultural Association.
  • Get written quotes which include an assessment of the tree/work.
  • Ask lots of questions. A knowledgeable and experienced contractor will able to answer any queries you have.
  • Contact the local planning office beforehand. Your contractor will know if permission is required but doing this is a good way to confirm their knowledge.
  • Double check insurance policies that they have.
  • More tip from the AA can be found here – it’s worth reading.

When Should You Contact a Tree Surgeon?

Homeowners are responsible for the condition of any trees on their land. You may even find that insurance companies refuse to pay out if you fail to have certain trees periodically inspected, so do check the small print of any policies you have.

The list below is very general but if you notice any of the following, then now would be a good time to have your tree checked:

  • Cavities or decaying wood on the trunk
  • Mushrooms near the base
  • Cracks or splits in the trunk
  • Adjacent or nearby trees have already fallen over, are dying or dead
  • Roots have broken off or are obviously diseased
  • The tree has started leaning to one side

Get a Price Online

We have based the prices on this page on our experience of hiring tree surgeons.

How much you are quoted will obviously depend on your location the type of tree you have.

Hit the link below to start comparing tree surgeon quotes:

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You may be able to recover the cost of any work including tree removal fees if the incident wasn't foreseeable such as a storm or lightening. However, lack of maintenance or the tree being weakened through disease may invalidate any insurance claim. There's no harm in asking your insurer and checking through the small print in your policy documents.
This depends on the type of tree as many are different. But generally, the best time to carry out work on trees is after leaf fall but before the first bud growth. The winter months are often the busiest periods for tree surgeons.
Tree surgeons use wood chippers to break up tree branches. Customers can use the leftover wood chippings in their garden to keep down disposal costs. They're also perfect as a cover to keep weeds at bay in the garden.

The work tree surgeons do often overlaps with general gardening work and it's not unusual for them to spend most of their time trimming hedges, planting trees or doing similar work.

The average wage for a tree surgeon is around £21000 and is well below the UK average.

Experience can increase the wage up to around £28000. Being self-employed also brings many benefits, as the tree surgeon can work directly for customers.

Below you can find a link to our recently updated trade day rates page:

Day Rates For Tradespeople

We work in the property renovation business and have spent the last few years buying properties, renovating them and then selling them on.

Part of our work involves estimating how much work will cost on our houses. That is where the idea for this site came from.

This guide was written by and was last updated in August 2019.

Don’t forget; we have price guides for hundreds of home improvement projects.

Explore our full list of detailed price guides here.

Author - Danny Woodley