How much does it cost to prune a tree?

National Average Range:
$350 - $650

Get free estimates from tree experts near you

Get local cost

Updated: August 19, 2022

Reviewed by Cristina Miguelez remodeling expert. Written by

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date cost figures, we gather information from a variety of pricing databases, licensed contractors, and industry experts.

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 to prune a tree is $350 to $650, with most homeowners paying about $450 to prune a 30-foot apple tree professionally. The cost for pruning a tree starts as low as $250 for a small 10-foot tree with a simple pruning service or as high as $2,500 for an 80-foot tree near power lines and requires an arborist to climb.

Tree Pruning Prices

Average Tree Pruning Cost
National average cost$450
Average range$350-$650

Tree Trimming vs Pruning

The terms “pruning” and “trimming” are often used interchangeably, but they 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 eliminates safety hazards that might put you or your family at risk, such as weak branches that might fall.

Expect to pay $350 to $650 for a pruning service. By comparison, a trimming project costs between $175 to $750 per hour. In both cases, prices are determined by the size, location, and difficulty to perform each service.

Comparison of the Cost to Trim and Prune a Tree (mobile)

ProjectAverage Cost
Trimming$175 - $750
Pruning$350 - $650

Talk to local pros to get quotes for your tree pruning project

Tree Pruning Prices by Size

When it comes to the cost to prune a tree, it is imperative to remember that more than simple labor costs are involved. The type of tree, the location, and the size of the tree are the driving factors in how much it costs to prune a tree. When you review the prices below, please remember these are for an average tree in an easy-to-access location. These do not include any additional hazard fees for trimming near power lines. Additionally, rates may be higher if the tree is close to fences, roofs, sheds, or other structures that require additional care when pruning large branches.

Cost to Prune a Small, Medium, Large, and Extra-Large Tree (mobile)

Size of the TreeAverage Cost to Prune (Labor Included)
Small (10 - 20 Feet)$250 - $525
Medium (20 - 30 Feet)$390 - $720
Large (30 - 50 Feet)$500 - $1,200
Extra-Large (50 - 100 Feet)$740 - $2,000

Prune a Small Tree

A small tree costs $250 to $525 to prune. Examples of small trees include Japanese maple, lollipop crabapple, Henry anise, and crape myrtle. Small trees are much easier to prune and can typically be pruned in a short time. Most companies only need a ladder to complete the service. The cost can reach the higher end of the average cost range if the tree is in a difficult location to reach. However, small trees are still the cheapest trees to prune.

Prune a Medium Tree

Expect to pay between $390 and $720 to prune. Since medium trees are slightly taller, they take more time to prune. Additionally, they may have more branches that need to be pruned. If the medium tree requires any additional care, the cost can increase. Most fruit trees and decorative trees fall in this category. Examples of these trees include pear trees, plum trees, magnolia trees, and hedge maple trees.

Prune a Large Tree

The cost to prune a large tree averages $500 to $1,200. The tree size impacts the amount it costs to prune it. Bigger trees require more pruning work, leading to more hours of labor. Other factors, like the location of the tree and how dangerous it is to prune, can also affect the final cost. You have to consider that pruning large trees leads to more branches and waste that must be disposed of, increasing costs further.

Prune an Extra-Large Tree

Due to their height, extra-large trees cost $740 to $2,000 to prune. Extra-large trees are those that extend over 50 feet high. These trees often require special equipment to give the arborist access to the different branches and move around safely. This cost reflects a tree pruning company using a bucket truck to reach the high tree branches. Expect to pay an additional fee if the arborist must physically climb the tree, which can exceed over $1,500.

Average Cost to Prune a Tree by Method

We described tree pruning as a method that maintains the overall well-being of the tree. Multiple avenues can be considered to achieve this goal. It is more than removing dead branches or pests. It involves cleaning, reducing, or raising the crown. It can also require thinning the branches to ensure lower layers receive the proper amount of sunlight.

Price of Crown Cleaning, Crown Rising, Tree Thinning, and Crown Reduction (mobile)

MethodAverage Cost (Labor Included)
Crown Cleaning$150 - $650
Crown Raising$250 - $800
Tree Thinning$250 - $1,000
Crown Reduction$350 - $2,200

Crown Cleaning Tree

Crown cleaning runs an average of $150 to $650. Smaller trees average $150, medium trees run $200, and larger trees are closer to $650. Cleaning focuses on the crown of the tree, where dead, dying, or infected branches are removed. This service only needs to be performed every few years and prevents any dead branches from falling onto cars, homes, or fences.

Tree Crown Raising

The cost for crown raising runs between $250 to $850. Smaller trees start at $250, medium trees at $500, and larger trees at $850. Raising is when lower tree branches are cut away to provide space for vehicles or people to pass around the tree safely. It keeps lower branches away from buildings and helps avoid roof damage. Since this raises the canopy off the ground, it allows more light to reach any grass under the tree.

Tree Thinning

Those who need tree thinning can expect to pay between $250 and $1,000. Small trees average $250. Medium trees cost around $550, and larger trees average $1,000. 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. This can prevent damage to cars or roofs in the future.

Tree Crown Reduction

Tree reduction boasts an average cost of $250 to $2,200. Smaller trees start at $250, medium trees at $700, and large trees reaching $2,200. Reduction focuses on reducing the tree’s size, often to make way for utility lines and prevent interference with overhead wires. This is one of the most expensive pruning services because the trees are often hard to reach or in hazardous areas. Additionally, more tree material must be hauled away after the job.

Cost to Prune a Fruit Tree by Type of Tree

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

Cost to Prune a Fruit Tree by Type of Tree: Cherry Tree, Lemon Tree, Palm Tree, Plum Tree, Pear Tree, Fig Tree, Oak Tree... (mobile)

Type of TreeAverage Pruning Costs (Labor Included)
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
Oak Tree$850 - $1,300

Prune a Cherry Tree

The cost to prune a cherry tree ranges from $100 to $400. Due to the tree's small height, they are among the most affordable to prune. They are also the smallest of the fruit trees, only measuring 12 to 15 feet in size.

Cherry trees are best pruned once a year for the first three to five years of their lives. After five years, the cherry tree stops producing branches that grow fruit. If the mature branches are pruned for any reason other than maintaining the tree’s health, the tree no longer produces as much fruit. Pruning should only take place 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.

Lemon Tree Pruning

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

Average Cost to Prune a Palm Tree

Costs range between $200 and $500 for pruning palms. Palm trees vary greatly in species and size, which impacts the overall pruning costs. Fortunately, the type of palm does not affect the cost of pruning it. Only the size and location drive the cost. While palms can reach incredible heights, they are manageable for experienced arborists. Pruning should not be performed on tall palms by a homeowner.

In general, the best time to prune a palm tree is in spring. It is not bad to leave dead fronds on the tree to protect it from cold winter temperatures. It’s important to remember that the myth about palms growing faster after pruning is not true. It is detrimental to a palm’s health to over prune the tree.

Plum Tree Pruning

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

Pear Tree Pruning

The average cost for pruning a pear tree is $250 to $550. Pear trees get pretty tall, often reaching heights of 30 feet. Therefore, they cost more to prune than smaller varieties. Pruning a pear tree is incredibly similar to pruning an apple tree.

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.

Prune a Fig Tree

Fig trees are often similar in height and width to pear trees, leading to similar pruning costs of $250 to $550. Fig trees bleed significantly, meaning that they leak sap when cut. This increases 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.

Apple Tree Pruning

An apple tree’s large size and wide branches lead to relatively high pruning costs of between $300 and $600 per tree. 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.

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

Prune a Peach Tree

For a peach tree, expect to pay between $350 and $700 for pruning. Peach trees provide beauty to look at all year. However, it is important to only prune peaches at the recommended time for your climate.

If peach trees are left unpruned, they become susceptible to increased diseases and shorter lives. Peach trees require annual pruning. The best time to prune a peach tree is in the early months of spring before the sap starts to run. This protects your tree from pests and makes the job easier. Peach trees should not be pruned in winter.

Average Cost to Prune an Olive Tree

Olive trees grow quite large and wide, leading to reasonably high pruning costs of between $350 and $700. 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.

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

Avocado Tree Pruning

On average, expect to pay between $350 and $700 per tree. The cost to prune an avocado tree varies based on the tree. Some avocado trees are considered dwarfs, while others can easily reach over 40 feet high. Avocados should only be trimmed in the early part of the year between January and April. If the trees are trimmed any other time, they may not produce fruit during the year. This is because avocado trees bloom from their stems rather than producing a traditional flower.

Maple Tree Pruning

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

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. While your maple trees are being pruned, only the dead branches will be removed. This ensures a beautiful bloom next season.

Prune an Oak Tree

Due to their massive height, oak trees run between $850 and $1,350 to prune. The average oak tree reaches heights exceeding 100 feet. This means an arborist needs to bring in a bucket truck or physically climb the tree to prune it appropriately. Additionally, the large, thick branches create more tree debris and waste that must be removed.

Oak trees should only be pruned in the winter and early spring. The best months are between November and April. Areas with shorter winters should adjust their pruning accordingly. Pruning during this time prevents the dreaded oak wilt disease, which is nearly impossible to stop once it begins.

Compare prices from tree pruning services near me

Pruning Conifers Cost by Type of Tree

Conifers describe the family of trees that the iconic Christmas tree falls within. These trees naturally grow in a cone shape. They can produce needles, cones, and/or fruit (like yews). Many conifers are evergreens, but that is not a characteristic of this family of trees. Some trees go bald in the winter, especially southern varieties.

The most common conifers are cypress trees, pine trees, sequoia trees, and spruce trees. For the most part, these trees do not need to be pruned often. The trees mostly care for themselves. However, these trees should be pruned once they reach maturity. Additionally, they should be pruned anytime there are unhealthy or unnatural branches.

Cost to Prune a Cypress, Spruce, Pine, and Sequoia (mobile)

Type of TreeAverage Pruning Cost (Labor Included)
Cypress$800 - $1,200
Spruce$1,000 - $2,000
Pine$1500 - $2,500
Sequoia$2,500 - $4,500

Pruning Cypress Trees

Cypress trees average $800 to $1,200 for pruning. Since these are the smallest of the conifer trees, they are the most affordable to prune. On average, cypress trees only reach up to 80 feet.

Cypress trees should be pruned before any new growth begins. For most types of cypress across a majority of climates, the new growth begins in springtime. Through proper pruning, young cypress trees grow into their cone shape with minimal maintenance during their lifetime.

Pruning Spruce Trees

Spruce trees cost around $1,000 to $2,000 to prune. Reaching heights from 60 to 200 feet, the cost for pruning a spruce tree varies greatly. Spruce trees grow laterally, so their pruning is a bit different than other conifers.

Spruce trees should only be pruned during the winter. This is when the trees are dormant. To prune the tree, the lateral buds are pruned just above the start of the branch.

Pruning Pine Trees

Pine trees run $1,500 to $2,500 to prune. Once mature, these trees average heights between 150 to 200 feet. As the name implies, pine trees produce pines. They also produce pinecones, which can make incredibly wonderful smelling fire starters.

Pine trees should be pruned in the summer during June and July. During this time, the buds are in their candle growth stage. By snapping off half of the length of the candle, the pine’s growth can be slowed down. For those who want a shorter pine tree, annual pruning is important.

Prune a Sequoia

Sequoia trees average $2,500 to $4,500 for the occasional pruning service. These trees are massive. With diameters of 30 feet and reaching heights of up to 250 feet, it can be difficult to find a company that is skilled enough to prune these trees. When you do, expect to pay a premium to have these trees pruned.

Sequoias can experience minor pruning throughout the year. Major pruning should be left to the winter months. This is because the sequoia is dormant and will not be susceptible to infection.

Pruning Cost per Hour

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. If done DIY, it can lead to an unhealthy tree that can no longer grow or produce its annual blooms. This is why it is best to stick to a professional.

Most tree companies have the knowledge and skills to perform tree pruning services. Some tree companies even have certified arborists on staff who can provide even more advanced services. Tree 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 than tree care companies. Exact prices depend on a range of factors like tree type, size, and health.

A tree pruning service cost is based on the project rather than an hourly rate. The cost typically comes from the height, location, and difficulty to prune the tree. This tends to keep tree companies competitively priced. However, some professionals charge based on a pruning cost per hour system. While the hourly rate varies from region to region, the average cost per hour for a tree pruner runs between $85 and $120.

The amount of time it takes to prune a tree depends on many factors. The size of the tree is one of the most obvious time factors. A small tree can be pruned in as little as 15 minutes and typically only requires one person to complete the job. Medium, large, and extra-large trees usually require at least two people. However, three or four people may be required to complete the job. Medium trees may be pruned in an hour, while larger trees may take an entire day to prune. If the tree is in a difficult location, the amount of time needed to prune the tree increases regardless of size.

Average Price for Tree Pruning by Reason

Tree pruning is often for the tree’s health, but other reasons can make it necessary to hire a company to prune a tree on your property. Some of these reasons include safety, aesthetics, tree structure, and insurance. Each reason requires a different sense of urgency, which affects the cost of pruning a tree. As a general rule of thumb, anything that requires extra labor or may be considered an emergency adds between $100 and $250 to your pruning project.

Cost to Prune a Tree for Health, Aesthetics, Structure, Safety, and Insurance Reasons (mobile)

ReasonsAverage Additional Cost per Hour (Labor Included)
Aesthetics$100 - $200
Structure$150 - $200
Safety$200 - $250
Insurance$200 - $250

Average Price for Health Tree Pruning

Health tree pruning doesn’t typically incur an additional charge. Since the whole point of it is to maintain the health of the tree, the average quotes typically cover all scenarios. This service cares for trees that are ill or rotting and addresses any insect infestations. During health tree pruning, sections of the wood that are no longer viable are removed. This allows the tree to look better and grow.

Average Price for Aesthetic Tree Pruning

Aesthetic tree pruning runs an additional $100 to $200 an hour. Since the goal is to improve the aesthetic, tree pruners spend a bit longer looking at the tree before making any cuts. Typically performed on larger, older trees, this service removes unsightly branches that bring down curb appeal or ruin views of the surrounding landscape. However, the service can be performed on younger, smaller trees as well.

Average Price for Structural Tree Pruning

The average cost for structural tree pruning is an additional $150 to $200 per visit. It ensures that any of your young trees grow into large, healthy trees. This will be a regular service that must be performed, especially for trees that continue to produce low branches or are growing next to a structure that affects how the tree grows. Your pruning company ensures the branches are spaced properly. Additionally, they prune based on your tree's unique rate of growth. A brace may need to be added to the tree’s trunk, which could incur an additional charge on top of the pruning fee.

Average Price for Safety Tree Pruning

The additional average cost for safety tree pruning runs from $200 to $250 per hour. Trees that are at risk of causing unexpected damage will be cared for during this service. If this is an emergency, a tree company will need to make time to come out instead of scheduling an appointment. Limbs that can fall into the street, powerlines, neighboring homes, or other structures will be safely removed and disposed of by the pruning company.

Note: Trees that are not at immediate risk of causing an emergency will not incur an additional charge for safety tree pruning because an appointment can be scheduled.

Average Price for Insurance Tree Pruning

Expect to pay an additional $200 to $250 per hour if you need urgent tree pruning. Since trees have the potential to cause damage to your home’s roof, fence, or other structure, some insurance policies require trees to be maintained regularly. Insurance companies have the right to tell homeowners they must prune their trees within a certain timeline or else they will cancel the homeowner’s insurance policy. If you wait until the end of the timeline, this falls under an emergency tree trimming.

Find top-rated tree pruning services near you

Cost of Pruning Trees and Shrubs

Shrubs, like trees, must also be pruned periodically to ensure they grow healthy and in the shape you desire. The type of shrub, the height, and whether it requires specific hand pruning affect the price. Shrubs are typically pruned once to twice a year. Like trees, shrubs should be pruned when they are dormant and not blooming to protect the shrub’s health.

The price for shrub pruning depends on the size and number of shrubs. A small 5 foot by 5 foot shrub costs $40 to $50, while a larger 10 foot by 10 foot shrub costs $170 to $180.

The cost of pruning trees and shrubs depends entirely on what you have in your backyard. For example, if a homeowner has one small 15 foot tree, two medium 30 foot trees, and two 5 by 5 foot shrubs, they can expect to pay $1,110 to $2,065 to have all of the trees and shrubs pruned.

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. If the initial framework is solid, the tree grows in a good shape as it gets older and requires less pruning later on. Since younger trees are smaller, it is cheaper to prune a young tree than a mature one.

Factors that Affect the Cost of Tree Pruning

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

Additionally, the number of trees that need to be pruned affects the final costs. The average costs in this guide are for a single tree at a time. If you have more than one tree that needs care, the cost increases. Each company varies in whether or not they offer discounts for pruning more than one tree per visit.

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 impacts the price because arborists charge more if they need to travel a long distance to get to your property. Each situation is unique, so the additional travel or increased difficulty reaching the tree can add a cost of $1,000 to $1,200.

Furthermore, trees in more difficult locations may require the use of a bucket truck. When a tree is not in a location where this is possible, one of the tree pruners must physically climb the tree. Both the use of bucket trucks and physically scaling a tree increase the cost of tree pruning. Expect prices to average $1,500 to $2,000 when these methods are required.

The general tree health also affects the pruning and price. Healthy trees need less pruning 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?

Each type of tree has its own pruning cycle, with the average cycle falling between every three to five years. However, this depends entirely on the tree and its natural growth cycles. Some young trees may even need to be pruned annually to ensure they grow into large, healthy trees in the future.

It is crucial to have a tree pruned at the right time of year. If trees are pruned when they are already producing leaves, flowers, or fruit, their ability to produce for the rest of the season will be greatly diminished. Trees should only be trimmed when they are dormant to prevent the risk of infection. This is typically between late fall and early spring, but this varies based on your climate and region.

Additional benefits to pruning between late fall and early spring are that it is actually easier for your tree pruning company to complete the job. The ground is more compact, making it easier to access the tree. Furthermore, the leaves have fallen, and the branches are bare. This makes it easier to see which branches need to be pruned.

Home Garden Surrounded by Trees

Get free estimates from tree pruning services in your area

Root Pruning Cost

Root pruning is similar to tree pruning because roots are trimmed to benefit the tree’s long term health. Not every tree needs to undergo root pruning. Pruning a tree’s roots when it is not necessary can affect the tree’s ability to grow tall and healthy in the future.

The average cost of root pruning runs anywhere from $300 to $1,000. Just like with regular tree pruning, the cost varies greatly because of several factors. If the roots are difficult to access, it costs more to prune the roots. Additionally, if the roots are entangled in pipes, expect to pay more.

One of the most common reasons to prune a tree's roots is when the tree needs to be planted while dormant. Trees can typically only dig roots, grow taller, or produce blooms. They cannot complete all three at the same time. If the tree is already dormant and is ready to be planted, pruning the roots shocks the tree into digging new healthy roots in its new home.

Another reason to prune roots is if the tree is intended to move locations within a few years. For homeowners remodeling their backyard, this would be where they are worried about the rootball. By pruning the roots, the rootball is in clusters at the base of the tree. When it is time to move the tree to its permanent home, the smaller cluster of roots makes it easier to safely dig up and transport the tree to its new home.

Root pruning can be a preventative measure for a tree that is expected to grow too close to a home’s foundation or driveway. After pruning the roots, a root barrier needs to be installed to prevent the roots from regrowing in the same direction. However, for trees that have already caused structural damage, root pruning may not be the answer. Your tree pruning company will explain all available options at that time.

Emergency Tree Pruning

Unfortunately, emergencies happen. Whether Mother Nature causes damage to the tree or an ill tree finally has branches that are about to fall, emergency tree pruning is necessary. With emergency tree pruning, no appointment is required. However, this means the company will rush out to handle your tree pruning services. Rather than paying an average price based on the height and location of the tree, you incur charges of around $200 to $250 or more per hour for this emergency service.

Tree Maintenance

Several steps must be taken throughout the year to maintain trees outside of tree pruning. Annual inspections are the best way to identify what your tree needs. Tree companies often provide inspections for free and provide a quote for the recommended services. Like plants, fertilizer is also important for a tree’s health. Professional fertilizer runs from $100 to $350, depending on the size of the tree.

For those who regularly experience cold winters, winterizing trees is a must. PVC pipe and insulation can be purchased for $5 to $14 to provide the warmth a tree needs at its base during a cold winter. Winterization protects the tree from any insects or infections. Even pests do not like cold winters, so they attempt to burrow into the tree’s trunk. Winterizing the tree prevents disease carrying insects from finding their way into the tree.

Tree Topping vs Crown Reduction

While some may think tree topping and crown reduction are the same, they couldn’t be more different. While both are technically pruning methods, tree topping is harmful to the tree and can lead to long term damage. Rather than examining the tree in detail, tree topping removes all of the main branches of the tree. The branches are removed to nearly a stub, causing the tree to grow weakly and in the wrong shape over time. Additionally, this creates excessive sun exposure and can cause pest infestations. Since the tree company doesn’t spend as much time on the tree, the cost is only between $100 and $1,800. However, this method is not recommended.

On the other hand, crown reduction is a strategic method to prune a tree. No more than 25% of the branches are removed. This ensures the tree remains healthy and grows properly next season. The average cost ranges from $250 to $2,200, depending on the size of the tree.

Comparison of the Cost of Crown Reduction and Tree Topping (mobile)

ProjectAverage Cost (Labor Included)
Tree Topping$100 - $1,800
Crown Reduction$250 - $2,200

Compare quotes from tree pruning specialists near you

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Log Splitting Service

Log splitting saves you or another member of your family from having to split your own logs. If you already have a wood burning fireplace, you can utilize the branches and other tree debris produced from tree pruning. Your tree waste can be split on site by the company.

Unlike how you likely manually split your logs, the tree company has a tree splitting machine. They can quickly put your tree debris into the machine and create logs for your fireplace. The average cost runs from $35 to $100.

Wood Chipping Service

Wood chipping services reduce the amount of wood waste that typically comes from pruning large branches. Just like it sounds, branches are put into a wood chipper and turned into small chips of wood. These small chips create eco-friendly mulch. This is a wonderful way to get the most of your tree pruning. Rather than paying for expensive mulch, you can have natural mulch that protects your garden beds.

Wood chipping is an added cost, but it is small compared to the average cost of tree pruning. Some companies have a wood chipper on them. They may offer a discounted rate. Otherwise, you may need to call another company to come out. You can also rent one yourself. Regardless of how the wood chipper arrives at your property, the average cost is around $50 to $100.

Tree Removal

In some cases, trees may need to be removed entirely and replaced with smaller and more manageable trees better suited for the location. Expect to pay around $400 to $900 for tree removal, but prices vary depending on the tree size and location.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Safety in hazardous areas. 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.
  • DIY. 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 shortens the tree’s lifespan and does severe damage.
  • Future blossoms and growth. 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.
  • Heritage tree rules. Heritage trees are trees that are protected by local ordinances. Every state and local jurisdiction is permitted to have its own heritage tree rules. Typically, a heritage tree is larger than a certain diameter, is deemed historic and worth preserving, or has been planted as a replacement for a tree that was illegally removed. Most jurisdictions require special permits to prune, trim, or remove heritage trees. Local companies can determine if you have a heritage tree on your property.


  • 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.

  • Do you need to seal pruned tree limbs?

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

  • How often should you prune trees?

Most experts recommend pruning trees every year and trimming every three to five years.

  • Do tree branches grow back?

If your tree is properly pruned, you should not expect the branches to ever grow back in those areas. Trees heal on their own, so they create a callous (commonly called a knot) where the branch once was.

  • What does pruning a tree mean?

Pruning a tree refers to removing any parts of the tree that negatively impact the tree’s health. This includes dead branches, insect infested areas, or any part of the tree showing signs of illness.