Removing dead branches, shaping tree crowns, and cutting overgrown branches to size, tree trimming is a maintenance procedure often used to boost the appearance of a landscape. Since people are drawn to well-tended, and visually appealing trees, investing in professional tree trimming helps homeowners boost the value of their property.
In Columbus, Ohio, professional tree trimmers charge as low as $80 for small trees that feature minimal risks and as high as $1000+ for large trees. Since most properties in Columbus have medium-sized trees, the common tree trimming cost ranges from $350 to $650.
In addition to tree size, other factors – including the project’s risks and complexity – do affect the cost of trimming a tree. Below, we will look at all the factors affecting the tree trimming cost.
Tree Trimming Cost Factors in Columbus, OH
1. Size of the Tree
When it comes to size, tree trimming experts are more concerned with tree height. This is understandable considering tree height influences the crown size, with the crown spread increasing/decreasing with the height of the tree.
When using manual climbing to get to the tree crown, professionals will need more time to ascend a 100-foot tree, compared to a 40-foot. Taller trees also tend to have thicker branches and wider crowns – working around these crowns takes more time and may even require more advanced cutting tools. This results in a higher tree trimming cost for the tallest trees.
The tree trimming cost varies as shown below, depending on tree height:
- Large trees – For a tree to be considered large, it needs a height of above 60 feet. To trim a large tree, professionals charge $200 to $1000.
- Medium trees – These have a height of 30 – 60 feet. Trimming medium-sized trees cost $150 to $875.
- Small trees – Small trees have a maximum height of 30 feet. They have the smallest tree crowns and reaching their crown is extremely easy. This gives them the lowest tree trimming cost, with professionals charging $80 to $400.
2. Accessibility to a Bucket Truck
Nowadays, professional tree service providers use bucket trucks to make their work easier. Instead of carrying their tree trimming tools and climbing up the tree manually, the bucket truck just raises them to the crown together with their tools. Unlike traditional safety tools like harnesses, the bucket truck is generally safer – it reduces the probability of falling to almost zero.
However, bucket truck usability depends on the tree’s location. While the bucket truck can be used on almost every tree standing in the front yard with ample parking space, tree trimmers may not be able to access trees standing in the backyard.
Whenever the bucket truck cannot be used, professionals have to use traditional climbing and rely on the riskier traditional safety gear. Manual climbing increases the tree trimming cost by 30% to 40%.
If you had been charged $1000 to trim your 110-foot white pine with the bucket truck, you should expect the tree trimming cost to increase to $1,300 – $1,400 if it is impossible to use the bucket truck.
3. Proximity to Utilities
Trees are easier to trim when they are standing away from buildings and other important utilities. For such trees, there is no need to control the falling path for the cut branches – wherever the branches fall, they will not cause any damage.
When trees are standing close to your house or next to powerlines, the branches cannot be allowed to drop down freely. Instead, the tree service providers will have to use ropes – and, in the event of extremely heavy branches, cranes – to lower the branches down slowly. The extra time and effort needed when trimming such trees increase the tree trimming cost. The extra cost, however, is worth it as it helps you avoid spending money on expensive property repairs.
4. Tree Health
When diseases affect a tree, they compromise stability, making the tree riskier to work on. If manual climbing has to be used, the tree trimmers have to be extra cautious, double-checking each branch to ensure it is strong enough to support their weight. This increases the amount of time needed to complete the tree trimming procedure – this results in a higher tree trimming cost.
After trimming a tree, the tree service providers may invite one of their arborists to your home to help with diagnosing the tree and recommending the best treatment options. The cost of the arborist service plus the medications you will need to purchase for the tree can add an average of $50 to $500 to the quoted tree trimming cost.
5. Tree Stability
In addition to being affected by tree health, tree stability is also affected by the following factors:
- Weather damage – A recent storm, high winds, and lightning strikes have the potential of damaging the tree’s wood structure, which eventually leads to an unstable tree.
- Cracks – If the tree trunk has cracks on it, this is an indicator that the tree may be suffering from a major underlying condition. The tree could have suffered from significant trauma at some point. Unless taken care of quickly, a tree with significant cracks will be on its way to dying.
- Fungi – Fungi consume the tree’s nutrients, weakening the tree with time. If not taken care of, fungi have the potential to seriously compromise the tree’s stability.
Before trimming an unstable tree, tree trimmers often have to stabilize the tree. This reduces the chances of falling from the tree during trimming. Stabilization mechanisms like cabling often require additional time – this, in turn, causes the tree trimmers to increase the tree trimming cost.
6. Travel Fees
If you prefer working with tree trimmers who live a significant distance from your home, there is a high chance of being charged a travel fee. The good news, however, is that you can avoid the travel fee by hiring a tree trimming team closest to your home.
When tree trimmers have to cover hundreds of miles to get to your home, they will charge you $0.5 per mile. Some professionals, however, charge a fixed cost of between $50 and $200.
7. Number of Trees
Bulk trimming is one of the easiest ways to save some money on trimming. If you are being charged $200 to trim one 30-foot tree, you may spend $1,500 on ten trees of the same size. By using bulk trimming, you end up saving $50 on each tree.
The fixed costs that tree trimmers have to deal with lead to a higher trimming cost when working on a single tree. When trimming multiple trees, the tree trimmers get higher compensation, and the amount they have to pay for licenses, travel fuel, and permits do not change. This makes it possible for them to reduce the tree trimming cost.
Tree Trimming Cost Per Hour
Since tree trimming has a lot of factors that affect it, tree service providers prefer fixed costs over hourly costs. While a company with a large number of workers, years of combined experience, and modern tree trimming tools may take one hour on a tree, a company that is short-handed, has minimal tree service experience, and has ancient tools may take a whole day on the same tree. If both companies charge a similar hourly rate, the first company will operate at a loss while the second company will make you suffer losses.
However, even though you will receive a fixed cost in the quotation, most tree service providers do include an hourly cost of between $25 and $50 for each of the workers on site. The company will, however, convert this into a fixed cost by estimating the number of hours it will take to trim your tree(s).
Do It Yourself or Hire Pros?
Before deciding whether to take advantage of DIY trimming or hire a professional, you should compare the benefits, the risks, and the costs of both options. Below, we will look at the risks and costs of DIY trimming. ‘
Risks of DIY Trimming
- You may suffer injuries from falling
- Using sharp tools puts you at the risk of suffering from cuts
- If you do not have much trimming experience, you may damage your tree
- If your house or utility lines are nearby, you may suffer property damage
DIY Trimming Cost
Before trimming your trees, you will spend your money on the following tools:
- Heavy-duty gas trimmer: You will pay $50 to rent this for a day
- Gas pole pruner: $150 to $300
- Safety gear (safety goggles, helmet, safety harness, gloves, etc.): $50 to $200
- Ladder: $150 to $500
- Hand-held pruners: $50
Note: Once you finish trimming your tree, you will need an extra $25 to $100 to dump the waste.
If the risks associated with DIY trimming and the cost of the tree trimming tools are worth more than the amount you would spend on professional trimming, hire professionals. However, if the trees are non-risky and you already own the tree trimming tools, go ahead and use DIY trimming.