Horticulture Magazine

How Much Do Tree Pruning & Trimming Services Cost?

gardener cutting branch of an apple tree with a pruning saw

Trees are glorious things: they stand proud for decades, even centuries, cycling through the seasons and providing a different colour backdrop for each one.

Whether rich green, fading orange or wintry brown, walking amongst trees in woodland or along tree-lined streets is a great way to connect with nature in our seemingly ever-busy day to day lives.

In your garden or on your land, though, trees can sometimes start to get a little unruly. As they grow year on year, so does the circumference of their foliage, and so does the amount of effort required to remove their annual leaf drop.

forrest green pine trees on a mountainside
Trees are the unsung heroes of our world

For people with limited time on their hands, getting help with pruning trees – or even trimming them down so they grow fewer leaves – can make all the difference.

But how much does it cost to hire a tree pruning or trimming expert?

In this article, we’ll give you the answer and explain a little more about the nature of each job.

What is tree pruning?

Tree pruning is the act of removing unnecessary branches on a tree. As trees become bigger, their number of branches increases, along with the resulting number of leaves.

This expansion increases the weight of the tree as well, and can make the tree more dangerous over time.

Pruning trees throughout their life helps to keep them more manageable, and is a reliable way to remove dead or diseased tissue that may be hindering the tree’s ability to flourish.

Pruning frequently as the tree grows makes this job easier, but it’s not always easy to find time (or expertise) to do this. And while reputable sources like the RHS give detailed information on how and when to prune trees, many gardeners look to professional tree pruning services to help them with this job.

tree surgeon sawing from the crown of a tree
Depending on the age and size of a tree, pruning can be quite a complex job

What is tree trimming?

While the terms pruning and trimming are often used interchangeably, there are differences. Whereas pruning is about removing unnecessary branches, trimming is used to promote healthy growth.

The goal of tree trimming is to improve the appearance of a tree, and to encourage the healthiest growth by curating which sections are left to grow.

By removing some new growth, you allow the tree to focus its resources on priority areas, giving you more control on the eventual appearance and dimensions of the tree.

growth on a tree being cut back with hand secateurs
Trimming is all about managing growth

Tree pruning and removal: your options

When you’ve decided it’s time to prune or trim your tree, you need to decide whether to attempt the job yourself, or whether to hire a professional.

Each has its advantages (doing it yourself is probably cheaper, for example), but we recommend considering a professional – their expertise will usually translate to a better outcome.

In the next section we’ll outline what you might expect to pay for professional pruning or trimming.

What goes into a tree pruning or trimming quote?

When it comes to seeking a quote for your tree pruning or trimming job, the final number will be based on a variety of factors. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How big is the job? Do you want one tree pruned, or several? How big is each one? The larger the area of tree you’re wanting pruned, the more you’ll pay.
  • What type of tree is it? Different trees take different amounts of work to get into shape, so the type will affect the quote.
  • How high will the worker need to climb? If your trees are quite tall, they’ll involve more climbing and potentially more equipment to access, increasing the cost.
  • How long has it been since the last prune or trim? If it’s been a long time since the last work was done, the job will be more complex and will cost more as a result.
  • Do you want the waste removed, or will you take care of that? If the former, you’ll pay an additional premium for the workers to gather and remove the waste from the site.
  • Where do you live? Costs vary depending on region, with quotes usually being higher in London and the south east.
  • Is there a minimum callout fee? Some companies will charge a minimum fee, and trimming a small tree might not meet that number. This means you’ll either have to look elsewhere or pay slightly over the odds for the job.

How much does tree pruning and trimming cost?

This is obviously dependent on the size of the job, but a top-level estimate of £120 to £150 (including VAT) seems sensible for a very simple prune or a trim. A crown lifting of a small tree should cost around £300-£450 – with a full crown reduction of a large tree costing anywhere up to £4,000.

It’s hard to arrive at an exact number because of the numerous factors involved, but understanding the ballpark that tree pruning and trimming quotes might fall within will help you to feel more confident that you’re not being ripped off.

Obviously your exact quote will be unique depending on the scale of the job, and we would always advise on getting at least two, preferably more quotes before committing to any work.

This lets you gauge whether each quote is fair: one that is far higher than the others may suggest the company is taking you for a ride.

Just a little off the top

Tree pruning and trimming are both important aspects of tree management, and will each improve the general health of your tree. While it’s possible to do both jobs yourself, there are many benefits to hiring experts: primarily, they have all the gear and experience required to do a good, safe job.

Getting the best price for tree pruning and trimming involves building an understanding of what’s expected, and being able to ask the right questions during the quoting process.

Rather than call one company and agree blindly to whatever number they tell you, spend time learning about ballpark costs and criteria that determine the job complexity, then get a couple of quotes and compare them with each other until you’re happy.

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