How much does it cost to plant a tree?
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Tree Planting Cost Guide
Updated: Jan 01, 1970
One of the best ways to improve your home’s curb appeal is to plant a tree. Not only do trees add visual interest, but they can also provide shade and privacy. However, planting a tree is not as simple as digging a hole and dropping in a sapling. Trees require careful planning and placement to thrive. Improper planting leads to stunted growth or even death. For this reason, it is often best to hire a tree planting service.
Professional tree planting service providers help you choose the right tree for your yard and ensure it is planted correctly. The national average cost for planting a tree is between $200 and $550. Most homeowners spend $350 to plant a young, 5’ Crepe Myrtle tree. At the low end, however, you can plant a single tree sapling for $55. At the high end, you can pay up to $5,000 to plant a large 30-foot tree with a spade machine and plant grass around it.
Tree Planting Prices
|Tree Planting Cost|
|National average cost||$350|
Tree Planting Cost by Size
A small tree may cost as little as $70 to plant, while the tree cost for large trees can go up to $4,000 per tree. The cost of planting a tree depends on the tree’s species and size. Smaller and medium trees are easier to plant because fewer people are needed, and a smaller area needs to be prepared for the tree. On the other hand, installing large trees requires more preparation and organization to bring the tree to the planting area. Heavy machinery and landscaping are also needed, so the costs are higher. The tree’s type and size often go hand in hand. Some trees, such as oaks and maples, grow quite large. In contrast, birches and dogwoods stay relatively small. Here is how much you can expect to spend to plant trees of different planting sizes.
|Size at Time of Planting||Cost to Plant|
|Small (1 - 4 Feet)||$70 - $250|
|Medium (5 - 9 Feet)||$250 - $650|
|Large (10 - 19 Feet)||$650 - $2,000|
|Extra Large (20 - 30 Feet)||$2,050 - $4,000|
Tree Price by Type
The average cost of a tree ranges from $15 and $400, depending on the type of tree. When deciding what type of tree to plant in your yard, there are many factors to consider. You should first decide if you want a fruit tree, evergreen, or ornamental tree because they have different appearances and features. A fruit tree is aesthetically pleasing and has fresh produce. An evergreen tree remains green year-round and is large enough to provide privacy. An ornamental tree gives your yard a visual impact with its decorative features. The table below shows the most common tree types and their costs.
|Type||Cost per Unit (Tree Only)|
|Fruit||$15 - $250|
|Evergreen||$20 - $200|
|Ornamental||$20 - $250|
|Shade||$30 - $400|
A fruit tree costs $15 to $250. Fruit trees provide fresh, organic produce in your backyard and add aesthetic value to your landscaping. However, common trees are cheaper. The prices of plum, pear, apple, or peach trees will be lower. In contrast, the prices of palm, avocado, and olive trees will be higher. Most fruit trees are best planted in the spring. This allows them to flower and produce fruit more quickly.
|Fruit Tree Type||Hardiness Zone||Cost per Tree|
|Peach||4 - 9||$15 - $120|
|Plum||4 - 9||$15 - $140|
|Pear||4 - 10||$20 - $130|
|Fig||5 - 11||$20 - $130|
|Apple||3 - 11||$25 - $130|
|Citrus||8 - 11||$25 - $170|
|Olive||8 - 11||$30 - $120|
|Avocado||8 - 11||$35 - $130|
|Palm||6 - 7||$40 - $250|
Evergreen trees have different costs. A small tree may cost as little as $20. A large arborvitae or spruce costs around $200. Evergreen trees are a low-cost way to add beauty and privacy to your home. They are trees with foliage that remains green year-round. Some popular evergreen trees include pine, spruce, cedar, cypress, and juniper. With proper care, evergreen trees live for decades, providing enjoyment for generations.
|Evergreen Tree Type||Hardiness Zone||Cost per Tree|
|Cypress||4 - 10||$20 - $160|
|Arborvitae||3 - 7||$20 - $200|
|American Holly||6 - 9||$20 - $110|
|Pine||3 - 10||$30 - $160|
|Spruce||2 - 8||$30 - $200|
|Juniper||3 - 10||$35 - $140|
|Cedar||2 - 9||$35 - $200|
To have an ornamental tree in your yard costs $20 to $250. Ornamental trees are grown for their aesthetic appeal rather than their functional value. They come in various shapes and sizes. Many have brightly colored leaves or flowers. Their cost depends on the type of tree. The cost of a Crepe Myrtle, Cherry blossom, or Magnolia tree differs from rare types of dogwood or crabapple trees.
|Ornamental Tree Type||Hardiness Zone||Cost per Tree|
|Crape Myrtle||6 - 11||$20 - $130|
|Magnolia||4 - 10||$20 - $150|
|Cherry Blossom||4 - 8||$40 - $140|
|Dogwood||3 - 9||$40 - $200|
|Crabapple||3 - 8||$60 - $250|
Shade trees cost $30 to $400 for the tree only. As their name suggests, their primary purpose is providing shade to an area, which is why they are typically wider than other tree types. The cost of this type of tree varies depending on many factors, like the size and type. They provide several benefits to your home, including reducing your energy costs, improving the appearance of your property, and providing a habitat for wildlife.
|Shade Tree Type||Hardiness Zone||Cost per Tree|
|Birch||2 - 7||$30 - $140|
|Poplar||3 - 9||$50 - $170|
|Oak||7 - 10||$50 - $300|
|Japanese Maple||4 - 9||$60 - $400|
Average Cost to Plant a Tree by Tree Maturity
The average price to plant a tree varies depending on the tree's maturity, with prices varying between $55 and $4,000. When it comes to planting trees, there are pros and cons to both young and mature trees. Planting a sapling is the cheapest option because it only requires planting the seed in the ground and maintaining it as it grows. A young tree is also less expensive to plant than a mature tree because it requires less care and has a higher survival rate. Transporting a young tree to the planting area is easier and requires fewer people to plant. Young trees tend to be more adaptable to different types of soil and climates, making their care easier. However, they take years to reach their full height and may be more susceptible to disease and pests.
The cost of mature trees is higher because they are already fully grown and require more attention. However, they provide instant shade and privacy and tend to be more drought-tolerant with deeper roots that help to anchor the soil. However, mature trees can be difficult to transplant. Depending on its size, the tree may require special equipment to bring to the area and plant and more people to support its weight. Here is how much you can expect to spend on planting each type of tree:
|Tree Maturity||Cost to Plant|
|Sapling||$55 - $100|
|Young Tree||$70 - $1,500|
|Mature Tree||$1,550 - $4,000|
Labor Cost to Plant a Tree
In most cases, professionals have a fee per planted tree. Prices range from $50 for a small tree to $2,000 for a large, machine-planted tree. Professionals usually charge a minimum fee of $50, even if you plant a sapling. Extra large trees require several professionals and advanced machinery to transport and plant the tree, so their labor cost will be higher. Large mature trees are planted using a machine called a tree spade with four upwards claws with a drill pointing downwards in the middle. It simultaneously drills a hole and lowers the tree in it.
While several types of workers can plant the tree, arborists and tree care professionals have the most knowledge and experience to choose the best type of tree and method to ensure the tree decorates your yard for years to come. When you hire a professional tree planting service, the workers first choose a location for the tree. It is important to consider the tree's mature size when selecting a spot because it needs enough room to grow. Once you have chosen a location, the professional digs a hole twice as wide as the tree's root ball. Next, they remove the tree from its container and loosen any tangled roots before placing it in the hole and backfilling it with soil. Finally, they gently tamp down the soil, so there are no air pockets around the roots. Many nurseries offer discounts for large orders, so you can save money if you plan on planting several trees at once.
Tree Transplanting Cost
Tree transplanting costs between $300 and $1,200, depending on the size, type, and condition of the tree you want to transplant. If a tree is dying or has already died, it may need to be replaced. Transplanting may also be necessary if a tree is growing too close to a building or other structures. In these cases, the tree may need to be moved to a new location to prevent damage. Additionally, transplanting can be done as part of a landscaping project to create a more pleasing appearance. Whatever the reason, tree transplanting is a delicate process that should only be undertaken by experienced professionals. Otherwise, the tree may not take root in its new location or may even die. Make sure to consult with an arborist before deciding to transplant a tree.
What to Do After Planting a Tree?
When planting a tree, it is important to give it the best possible start by properly caring for it. This includes watering, fertilizing, and pruning it regularly. Watering is essential for trees, especially when they are first planted. They must be watered deeply and slowly once a week to establish a strong root system. As the tree begins to establish itself, you can reduce the frequency of watering. Once the tree is established, it should be able to withstand periods of drought. If you are unsure whether your tree needs water, you can check the soil around the base of the trunk. If the soil is dry, it is time to water the tree. It is generally best to put less water rather than too much. Over-watering damages the tree’s roots and encourages disease.
Fertilizing helps trees grow strong and healthy. Using the right type of fertilizer for your specific tree species is important. Finally, pruning encourages tree growth and helps to shape the tree. When pruning a newly planted tree, remove dead or diseased branches only so the healthy ones can grow. With proper care, your newly planted tree will thrive. If you are unsure what type of maintenance and care your tree requires, you can consult an arborist, gardening centers, or the professionals that planted the tree.
What Tree Should I Plant in my Yard?
Many factors should be considered when choosing a tree for your home. These include the size of the tree, the shape of the leaves, and the color of the bark. However, one of the most important considerations is the tree's hardiness zone. Hardiness zones are geographical areas that are assigned a number from 1 to 13 based on the average minimum temperature in the region. Different trees can succeed in different hardiness zones.
For instance, the most common hardiness zones fruit and ornamental trees succeed in are 4 to 11. These areas provide enough sunshine and rain and have mild winters that allow trees to establish properly, blossom, and grow produce. It also allows them to maintain their green color without being burnt from heat or frozen during the winter. Some fruit and ornamental tree types like apples or dogwood trees can also grow in hardiness zone 3. Evergreen and shade trees can take colder temperatures, so their hardiness zone starts at 2 but usually goes up to 10. Hardiness zones above this one have warmer temperatures that may burn the trees and cause the tree leaves to dry out. Hardiness zone 1 is characterized by extremely low temperatures, so the trees must be acclimated to harsh conditions. In contrast, hardiness zones 12 and 13 have extremely high temperatures, so they usually have tropical trees like palms or desert trees that can withstand the heat.
When selecting a tree, choosing one well-suited to your area's hardiness zone is important. Otherwise, the tree may not be able to withstand the extreme temperatures and may die. Most trees succeed in hardiness zones 2 to 11, but to determine which tree is right for your hardiness zone, consult a trusted nursery or gardening center. They can help you select a tree that will likely thrive in your area.
|Hardiness Zone||Most Suitable Type of Tree|
|Zone 1||Shrubs and hardy plants|
|Zone 2||Evergreens, shade trees|
|Zones 3 - 10||Fruit trees, evergreens, shade trees, ornamental trees|
|Zone 11||Fruit trees, ornamental trees|
|Zones 12 - 13||Tropical trees|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Tree Trimming and Pruning
Tree trimming and pruning can be important for the health of your trees. These tasks can also be expensive, with costs ranging between $175 and $750. The cost of tree trimming and pruning depends on the size of the tree, the type of tree, and the extent of the work required. For example, large trees will generally require more work than smaller trees, and evergreen trees will require more work than deciduous trees. In addition, if you need to have dead or dying branches removed or thin out the canopy of your tree, the cost will be higher.
Hiring landscaping services costs $8,000 to $15,000, depending on what you need to be done. After planting the tree, your yard may need landscaping to make the scenery even more appealing. Landscaping services can include various activities, from lawn care and tree trimming to more elaborate projects like installing gardens or water features. The cost of landscaping services varies depending on the scope of the project and the location.
Flower Bed Installation
Installing a flower bed costs $1,000 to $3,000. It is a great way to add appeal to your yard and garden after planting a tree. Flower beds can be any size, from a small plot to a large section of your yard. To install a flower bed, the professional prepares the soil by removing weeds or other vegetation. Next, they add mulch or compost to the bed to help retain moisture and prevent weed growth. Finally, they plant your chosen flowers and share the type of maintenance you should do to upkeep them.
The average cost to seed a lawn is $700 and $2,000, depending on the type of grass you choose, the size of your yard, and the climate in your area. The area around the newly planted tree may need improving. Planting grass in your yard can be a relatively inexpensive way to improve your home’s curb appeal. Depending on your desires, the professionals working on your yard may plant grass seeds or sod. Seeding involves planting grass seeds and waiting for them to germinate, while sodding is the process of adding new grass by layering strips of sod over existing soil.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Permits. While most areas do not require a permit to plant a tree, if the tree is higher than a specific height, some municipalities require you to obtain a permit to plant it. In addition, planting a tree in public spaces often requires special permits and equipment, so the cost is higher. Check your local regulations before planting to ensure you are allowed to plant the type and size of tree you want in the specific area.
- DIY. If the tree you want to plant is small and simple to grow, you can plant it yourself. However, for trees that require specific types of soil, amount of sun, or conditions to grow, it is best to hire a professional to plant them.
- Home-value/curb appeal. While there is no guarantee that planting a tree will increase the value of your home, the curb appeal it adds to a home can be a significant factor that increases the home’s value. Thus, if you are looking to add value to your home, planting a tree may be a wise investment.
- Weather. For most trees, the ideal time to plant is in late fall or early spring. It is best to avoid periods of drought because this stresses the tree and makes it more susceptible to disease.
- AC costs. Smart landscaping reduces your heating and cooling costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, strategically placed trees save up to 25% of the energy a typical household uses.
- Transport fees. Hiring a tree planting company to bring the tree to your home or the planting area incurs extra costs. They range from $120 for up to 5 miles for distance and go up to $200 if the tree needs to be transported 25 miles away.
- Soil quality. It is important to choose a planting site with well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. The roots of a tree need access to essential nutrients and moisture to thrive. Poor quality soil makes it difficult for roots to establish themselves.
- How many minutes should you water a new tree?
While there are no rules about how long homeowners should water a new tree, it is important to water the tree well and mulch around the base to help retain moisture. This helps the roots grow deep into the soil in search of moisture and strengthens the stability of the tree as it grows.
- What to know before planting fruit trees?
Before planting a fruit tree, it is important to choose the right variety for your climate and soil type. For example, citrus trees require sunny conditions and well-drained soil, while apricots do best in cooler weather and can tolerate a wider range of soil types.
- When should you plant a tree?
The best time to plant a tree is during the fall when the weather is cool and the ground is moist enough to provide the necessary conditions for the tree to grow. This gives the roots a chance to grow and strengthen before the hot summer sun dries the soil. However, trees can also be successfully planted during the spring, as long as you pay careful attention to watering.
- Is it better to plant small or large trees?
Both. Small trees are typically easier to plant and care for and can reach full maturity relatively quickly. However, large trees have a longer lifespan and provide greater environmental benefits. They also provide more shade and privacy than smaller trees. Ultimately, the best choice depends on the needs of the individual gardener. Those who want immediate results may prefer small trees, while those looking for long-term benefits may prefer large trees.
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.