How Much Does It Cost to Prune a Tree?

Average Cost
(pruning a 25-foot apple tree)

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How Much Does It Cost to Prune a Tree?

Average Cost
(pruning a 25-foot apple tree)

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Pruning is an essential part of tree maintenance, helping keep any trees on your property healthy and strong. Often confused with trimming, which is mainly about changing the shape and look of a tree, pruning is more focused on maintaining tree health by chopping away dead or diseased branches. This also reduces the risks to your family and home from any branches that might fall.

The national average cost of tree pruning is between $350 to $650, with most homeowners paying about $450 to professionally prune a 25-foot apple tree.

Tree Pruning Cost

Cost to Prune a Tree
National average cost$450
Average range$350-$650
Minimum cost$100
Maximum cost$1,000

Tree Pruning Cost by Project Range

Pruning a 12-foot cherry tree
Average Cost
Pruning a 25-foot apple tree
Pruning an 80-foot maple tree

Tree Trimming vs Pruning

The terms ‘pruning’ and ‘trimming’ are often used interchangeably, but they actually have very different meanings. Trimming focuses on tidying up trees, hedges, and shrubs, removing excess branches, or improving their appearance. On the other hand, pruning focuses on the well-being of the tree by removing dead branches, preventing pests and diseases, and helping the tree live longer. This also eliminates safety hazards that might put you or your family at risk, such as weak branches that might fall.

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Tree Pruning Service Cost

Since tree pruning is focused on the tree’s health, rather than its appearance or design, you need to find a specialist to carry out this work. Any tree professional can handle trimming, but pruning is more complex and requires the skills of an arborist. Certified arborists are educated and experienced in tree biology, understanding what needs to be done to improve a tree’s health and longevity. Since arborists are more experienced and specialized workers, their prices are usually higher on average than tree trimmers. Exact prices depend on a range of factors like tree type, size, and health. For example, pruning a 12-foot cherry tree costs on average $100, whereas pruning an 80-foot maple tree averages $1,000.

Lush green lawn with trees​​

Tree Pruning Cost by Type

You may have various tree types in your yard, and the cost of pruning can vary from one tree to the next. Most pruning jobs occur on fruit trees, and many of the fruit trees grown across America are spurring types. A spur is a small branch that flowers and grows fruit, and proper pruning helps produce more spurs and, therefore, more fruit. The table below shows some common trees with average pruning costs.

Tree Pruning Cost

Tree Pruning Cost

Type of TreeAverage Pruning Costs
Cherry Tree$100 - $400
Lemon Tree$100 - $400
Palm Tree$200 - $500
Plum Tree$200 - $500
Pear Tree$250 - $550
Fig Tree$250 - $550
Apple Tree$300 - $600
Peach Tree$350 - $700
Olive Tree$350 - $700
Avocado Tree$350 - $700
Maple Tree$400 - $1,000

Cherry Tree Pruning Prices

Cherry trees tend to be among the smallest of the fruit trees, often measuring 12-15 feet in size. So, they are relatively affordable to prune, costing between $100 and $400 on average.

Lemon Tree Pruning Prices

Lemon trees fruit throughout the tree, including the shaded areas, so there is no need to cut back lemon trees to improve light availability. Despite this, lemon trees should still be pruned occasionally. Like cherry trees, lemon trees are also relatively small, making them easy and cheap to prune, at an average cost of $100 to $400 per tree.

Palm Tree Pruning Cost

Palm trees vary in size greatly, which impacts the overall pruning costs, but they tend to be manageable for experienced arborists. Costs range between $200 and $500 for pruning.

Plum Tree Pruning Cost

Plum trees do not need as precise pruning as apple or pear trees. That said, they still benefit from thinning the old wood to ensure they produce as much fruit as possible. Pruning a plum tree usually costs between $200 and $500, but exact prices vary, depending on the tree’s size and health.

Pear and Fig Tree Pruning Prices

Pear trees get pretty tall, often reaching heights of 30 feet. Therefore, they cost more to prune than smaller varieties, with average costs of around $250 to $550. Fig trees are often similar in height and width to pear trees, leading to similar pruning costs of $250 to $550 on average.

Apple Tree Pruning Cost

Apple trees are among the most commonly pruned trees, due to their popularity across many states and regions. When left unpruned, they may not become fruitful, so it is important to prune them both for survival and strength. Their large size and wide branches lead to relatively high pruning costs of between $300 and $600 per tree.

Peach Tree Pruning Cost

If peach trees are left unpruned, they become susceptible to increased diseases and shorter lives. For a peach tree, expect to pay between $350 and $700 for pruning on average.

Olive Tree Pruning Cost

Olive fruit requires strong sunlight because olive flowers in constant shade are likely to not set in large numbers, meaning that they will not produce significant levels of oil. Therefore, pruning is essential to ensure that sunlight penetrates every part of the tree. Olive trees grow quite large and wide, leading to reasonably high pruning costs of between $350 and $700.

Avocado Tree Pruning Prices

The cost of avocado tree pruning varies enormously based on the tree because it is possible to find very small dwarf avocado trees, as well as others that are much larger. On average, expect to pay between $350 and $700 per tree.

Maple Tree Pruning Costs

Maples are some of the largest trees found in backyards and gardens, sometimes reaching heights of over 60 feet. Due to this wide range of heights, pruning costs for maples varies tremendously from $400 to $1,000.

Home Garden surrounded by trees

Types of Pruning Cuts

There are various types of pruning, and while they do not usually have a direct influence on the total project cost, it is worth knowing what each type involves:

  • Cleaning: Cleaning is focused on the crown of the tree, where dead, dying, or infected branches are removed.
  • Thinning: Thinning is when certain branches are cut away or removed to help light and air flow more evenly across the crown of the tree. It helps the tree keep its shape and reduces excess weight on certain branches so that they do not fall.
  • Raising: Raising is when lower branches of a tree are cut away to provide space for buildings, vehicles, or people to pass around the tree safely.
  • Reduction: Reduction is focused on reducing the tree’s size, often to make way for utility lines and prevent interference with overhead wires.

Cost to Prune a Large Tree

The tree size has a big impact on the amount it costs to prune it. Bigger trees require more pruning work, leading to more hours of labor. Extra-large trees, such as those over 60 feet, may also require special equipment to give the arborist access to the different branches and move around safely. You also have to take into account that pruning large trees leads to more branches and waste that must be disposed of, increasing costs further. Various factors affect the final cost, but expect to pay an extra $100 to $500 for a large tree compared to a small or average-sized tree.

Professional Pruning a Large Tree

Pruning Young Trees

One of the best ways to save on pruning costs in the long run is to start pruning when the tree is young. Early pruning by a skilled arborist establishes a good natural shape for the tree and a solid structure of primary or scaffold branches. These act as the framework or skeleton of the tree, and if the initial framework is solid, the tree will grow in a good shape as it gets older and will require less pruning later on. Since younger trees are smaller, it is also cheaper to prune a young tree than a mature one.

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Factors that Affect the Cost of Tree Pruning

Several factors affect the cost of tree pruning, including the tree size. Larger trees require more labor and equipment than smaller ones. They can also be more dangerous to work on because they have bigger, heavier branches, and they are usually more expensive to prune.

Tree location is another big factor to consider. Trees near power lines, buildings, or other structures may need to be pruned with more care and consideration than those standing freely in open patches of land. Your location can also impact the price because arborists may charge more if they need to travel a long distance to get to your property.

The general tree health is also something that can affect the pruning and price. Healthy trees need less pruning in general, unless the branches interfere with power lines or threaten to damage your home. Pest-infested or diseased trees need more work.

When to Prune a Tree by Type

Many tree types need to be pruned yearly, but the best time for pruning varies from one type of tree to the next, depending on when it flowers and goes dormant. You must be careful about the times of the year you choose to prune trees because certain diseases are more likely to spread at certain times of the year. It is never wise to prune a tree when it is flowering because this may weaken the harvest and do more harm than good. The table below shows common tree types and the best times to prune them:

When to Prune a Tree by Type

When to Prune a Tree by Type

Type of TreeTime for Pruning
Apple TreeLate Winter/Early Spring
Plum TreeSpring/Early Summer
Cherry TreeLate Winter/Early Spring
Peach TreeEarly Spring
Pear TreeLate Winter
Fig TreeWinter
Olive TreeLate Winter
Lemon TreeLate Winter/Early Spring
Maple TreeLate Winter/Early Spring
Palm TreeSpring

When to Prune Apple Trees

Apple trees should be pruned once a year, ideally in the late winter or early spring, before it starts to grow ahead of the next season. Summer pruning for apple trees is best avoided because it can lead to a weak harvest.

When to Prune Plum Trees

Plum trees should be pruned once a year, ideally in the spring or early summer. These trees should be pruned while young to help them grow in the correct shape. Flowering plum trees should not be pruned.

When to Prune Cherry Trees

Cherry trees are best pruned once a year, in late winter or early spring, just as the buds are about to break. Pruning at this time is best because it helps the tree heal more quickly.

When to Prune Peach Trees

Peach trees require annual pruning, and the best time to prune a peach tree is in the early months of spring before the sap starts to run. This helps protect your tree from pests, as well as making the job easier. Peach trees should not be pruned in winter.

When to Prune Pear Trees

Pear trees should be pruned in the late months of winter before the buds start swelling. If you prune too early, winter injury may occur, and pruning too late might lead to less fruit and weaker branches.

When to Prune Fig Trees

Fig trees bleed significantly, meaning that they leak sap when cut. This can increase the likelihood of introducing diseases into the wound when cutting them. Therefore, they should not be pruned when bleeding is more likely. The ideal time to prune a fig tree is during the winter season when the tree is dormant.

When to Prune Olive Trees

The best time to prune olive trees is during the late stages of winter, just before the tree flowers. Spring and summer are viable pruning seasons for olive trees too, once the buds open. Do not prune olive trees in fall or early winter.

When to Prune Lemon Trees

The prime time to prune lemon trees and other citrus trees is in late winter or early spring before the buds start to break.

When to Prune Maple Trees

Experts recommend pruning maple trees in late winter or early spring. Avoid pruning maples in the fall because you may put them at risk of fungal infections.

When to Prune Palm Trees

In general, the best time to prune a palm tree is in spring, and it is actually not bad to leave dead fronds on the tree to protect it from cold winter temperatures.

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Tree Topping

Topping is when branches are cut down to stubs, which might seem like an option when you want to minimize a tree’s size if it starts to get too big. However, many experts do not recommend tree topping because it can lead to decay and various other risks like sunburn, bark splitting, limb failure, and irregular growth patterns. Trees that have undergone topping are usually much weaker, putting them at an increased risk of insect infestations and diseases.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • If you have very tall trees or shrubs in your yard growing close to power lines or hazards, it is wise to call in a professional to handle the job safely.
  • Pruning needs to be done with great care, which is why it is always wise to hire a trained, certified arborist for the job. Improper pruning can shorten the tree’s lifespan and do severe damage.
  • In some cases, trees may need to be removed entirely and replaced with smaller and more manageable trees that are better suited for the location. On average, expect to pay around $650 for tree removal, but prices vary depending on the tree size and location.
  • Pruning encourages additional growth in plants and trees, but too much growth can be a problem. Like suckers and whorls, certain branch types will not bear fruit and simply take up space and energy. This is why arborists spend time examining a tree before pruning it to find the right branches to cut.


  • Can a tree die from pruning?

Pruning too much or pruning at the wrong time or in the wrong areas can cause long-lasting and sometimes irreversible damage to a tree. It will not kill it directly, but pruning a tree can make it too weak to survive in the long term.

  • Should I seal a tree after pruning?

No, pruning sealers are generally not recommended. They can prevent trees from healing properly after pruning and trap excess moisture, leading to decay and fungal infestations.

  • How much does it cost to have large trees trimmed?

Costs vary depending on the tree size, type, and location, but prices tend to range from $500 to $1,000 on average for large trees.

  • How often do trees need to be trimmed?

Most experts recommend pruning trees every year and trimming every 3-5 years.

Cost varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
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Cost varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources