Tree Surgeons Costs in 2021

Depending on the type of tree service involved and the kind of tree service company you opt for, you will either be quoted tree surgeon costs for the full price including VAT or given a tree surgeon rate per day or hourly charge. The average arborist hourly rate across the UK is between £30 to £70 depending on the type of work.

Average UK-Wide Costs

Generally, the average tree surgeon prices for a typical UK household is between £350-£450. In addition, tree surgeon costs in bigger cities like London are much higher than in smaller towns in the Midlands for example. Before delving further into costs and hiring a tree surgeon, it might be helpful to outline the types of services that tree surgeons near you carry out.


What Do Tree Surgeons Do?

Tree surgeons, also referred to as arborists, are responsible for the care, upkeep and management of trees on your property or in public and private communal spaces. Certain aspects of tree service require aerial climbing and wielding of heavy duty equipment in sometimes adverse weather conditions. So it can be a very physically challenging and dangerous job.

General Tree Surgeon Tasks

The main tasks an arborist performs include tree removal, tree pruning, tree pollarding, stump removal and grinding, tree surveys, tree planting, hedge trimming and other garden works.

Subsidence Prevention

If trees in your garden are too close to your property and their roots are causing subsidence to the structure of your home, you might want to consider hiring professional and experienced local arborist like Top Tree Surgeons Bristol to remove the tree. Our team will be happy to help.

Stimulate Growth in Trees

Tree surgeons can also help stimulate growth in certain areas of a tree by cutting it back to an appropriate point without causing irreparable damage to it. Further, tree surgeons carry out risk assessments on the health condition and structural integrity of trees. Their resulting survey reports not only identify any diseases or decay affecting a tree but also recommendations for a cure so that the risk of a hazard can be mitigated.


Tree surgeons removing a tree

Choosing a Tree Surgeon

When choosing a tree service team ensure that they have NPTC or Lantra awards in Arboriculture at the very least. They should also provide you with additional certificates for specific skills (e.g. aerial work) and for the use of specialist machinery (e.g. chainsaws, stump grinders) should your job require it.

Finally, do check that they have adequate public liability insurance so that you’re protected should anything go wrong onsite. Compare a minimum of at least three professional arborist quotes before choosing a company that you trust and feel reassured by.

Factors that influence how much local tree surgeons charge?

The cost of tree surgery is highly dependent on a number of factors including the type of tree work required, ease of accessibility to the affected tree, the amount of time required onsite and whether you require the tree company to dispose of the rubbish after completion of works.

Tree Size and Tree Service Type

The costs of pruning small trees where the job is done on the ground will be considerably less than the tree felling costs for aerial work requiring climbing to safely remove and lower the large limbs of a large oak tree for example.

Generally, the taller the tree and the more complex the job, the more likely the job will require heavy equipment (e.g. tractors, cranes, wood chippers and platforms) and more personnel to carry out the work safely and professionally. This complexity will inevitably be reflected in the price. This is one of the main factors.

Access to the Trees

Removal of diseased trees that are in a confined space, on the property boundary, in a back garden without side entrance or near neighbouring structures adds an element of difficulty to accessing the tree. Further, heavy machinery might be required to fell and safely lower to the ground large tree limbs whilst avoiding important structures and powerlines.

Being able to wield such large specialist equipment around awkward obstacles such as steep slopes, fences, very large roots, rivers and walls takes up more time and will therefore add to the cost of the job.

Length of Time for Completion

Some jobs such as hedge pruning might require just a few hours of work by one experienced tree surgeon. Removing a diseased tree just above the roots is much more complex and cannot be straight felled as it needs to be carefully dismantled and it’s limbs safely helped to the ground. This could take a team of up to three arborists with specialist heavy machinery up to three days. 

The longer the job and the more arborists and equipment needed, the more expensive the cost.

Tree Debris Disposal

If you are planning on removing a tree, there will be a lot of debris such as dead branches, leaves, dead roots and dead trunks. You might even require the tree stump to be removed.

Tree surgery creates a lot of debris and is often messy, requiring a good clean up afterwards. Unless you would like to dispose of them yourself, tree surgery service contractors typically charge for shredding and taking away such wood waste in addition to the tree removal cost.

Before they do, you might want to hold onto any leftover wood chippings for your own use.

Average cost of tree surgeons in the UK?

Here is a short summary of a wide range of tree surgery and a tree surgeon price guide. These prices include VAT.

Tree Removal Cost

Tree removal, tree felling or lopping are all terms for tree cutting. Tree surgeons perform tree removal from around the base of the tree by hand with chainsaws to clear away large trees that have been struck down in storms or fallen due to old age and disease.

Entire tree removal is required as part of a development project such as new buildings, housing developments and road widening projects where the tree is deemed unsuitable for relocation elsewhere onsite (tree surgeon’s advice should always be sought before deciding whether it would be better option to relocate the tree).

Sometimes the reason to fell the tree is due to complaints of obstruction or potential damage to neighbouring properties. On site at height safety equipment will be required including harnesses, ropes and pulleys – this could add considerably more to the cost of removing a single tree compared to ground work prices. The tree removal cost for tree felling are typically calculated by the amount of time it takes, including travelling to and from the site.

So how much does it cost to cut down a 20 foot tree in your garden? For trees that are up to 50ft, the cost of tree removal could set you back around £300 to £400 per tree depending on its height.

For much larger trees that are over 50ft tall, the cost of tree removal can be from £750 to over £1000.

If you are felling a healthy tree that has not been weakened by illness but destroyed by a storm or lightning, your insurance company might compensate you for any damage and removal costs. So, it’s worth checking with them.

Before cutting any trees in your garden, check with your local Council that there aren’t any Tree Preservation Orders placed on it. Some trees are protected because they are considered as having high ‘amenity’ or contribute to the local biodiversity. Failing to obtain the necessary permission can result in a fine of up to £20,000. Additional equipment such as a cherry picker might be required to lower the branches to the drop zone below.

Tree Trimming Costs

Tree trimming techniques include crown reduction, crown shaping and crown thinning. Crown thinning or shaping can be used by an arborist to maintain the health of a tree in your garden and stimulate growth.

There might be overgrown trees not letting adequate light into a garden or woodland area so that it becomes difficult to stimulate the growth of new plant shoots from the ground.

Trees can become unstable or their branches snap if strong winds are unable to filter through the branches unobstructed. In such instances, an arborist can selectively prune or cut back a few of the branches to reduce the crown. Limbs which are diseased or have snapped should also be lopped off so that disease does not spread to the tree through the wound.

Pruning costs vary depending on tree size and height. Also, be aware that some tree species are more difficult to prune than others as they might have a dangerous ‘leadership’ structure which means branches start at the top of the tree with no secondary or tertiary ones. This can mean tree surgeons may need to use extra equipment such as an aerial platform ladder (cherry picker) to carry out the work. Tree trimming prices are typically calculated by tree size and height.

The average price for tree trimming is around £45 to £55 per metre of tree trunk depending on the location within your garden or woodland area. Alternatively, a skilled tree surgeon might charge around £70 per hour plus transportation fees.

For trees up to 25 feet, expect to pay between £70 to £250. The average is usually £150.

For one that stands between 26 feet and 50 feet, tree trimming costs are between £250 and £500. The average cost is typically £300.

For trees over 51 feet, the cost ranges from £500 to £900, with the average costing £600.

Stump Removal Cost

Professional stump removal at the same time as getting rid of the tree may result in some cost savings. The benefits of stump removal and grinding are that you create more garden space to make way for a building project, whilst eradicating a rotting trip hazard that might otherwise serve as home for various pests.

New growth is prevented on a stump by grounding down the rotting system to a set level or simply drilling a hole in it into which poison is applied. Failure to disengage the stump from the root system so it doesn’t absorb water and nutrients from the ground can result in regrowth of certain plant species.

A tree surgeon quote for stump grinding also includes backfilling the residual cavity with soil and grounded waste. Expect to pay at least £60 per hour for stumps up to 16 inches in diameter. An average all-inclusive price is between £50 and £300 per stump.

You can hire a professional stump grinder for around £80 per day and save on stump removal costs. However, we strongly advise against trying to operate such a dangerous tool on your own. Only a tree surgeon with the appropriate certification for operating a stump grinder should actually carry out such work. Working with trees is a dangerous and skilled profession and should not be attempted by amateurs.

Hedge Trimming Cost

Regular hedge trimming results in a healthy hedge that is dense and compact providing the best form of privacy, security and shelter from the wind for your garden. Instead of taking a hedge trimmer to it, it might be best to get your hedges trimmed by a professional tree surgeon depending on how professional a result you require.

The type of shape in way of an end result will determine how much you ultimately pay. Hedge trimming prices are charged at around £40 per hour. That said, you can buy or hire a hedge trimmer to save some money.

Tree Survey Cost

A tree survey is typically required for ecology and wildlife, risk assessment, or planning permission prior to development of a private or public outdoor space. They should be drafted in accordance with BS5837 regulations and to satisfy the local planning authority requirements.

The survey contains a huge amount of information on the trees on a piece of land, including details of the types of trees, species, diameter and height, life expectancy and state of their health. It helps inform which trees should be retained and which can be cut down. The price you pay is dependent on the site that is being surveyed.

For a site that has less than a hundred trees, expect to pay around £450 as a starting point.

Waste Removal Costs

Local arborists might include the cost of waste disposal as part of their overall quote. Priced separately, it will cost from £75 – £150 depending on the size of the initial work and consequent waste material produced. Alternatively, you can check with your local Council to see whether it is possible to reduce your outlay by getting them to dispose of it instead.

Wood Chipper Hire Costs

If you would like the limbs of a tree to be chipped in preparation for removal off site or for your own use, expect to pay a day rate of around £150 or £450 per week to hire this power tool. Find a tree surgeon and you might be able to get rid of any excess wood chips for some money.

Final Tree Surgery Advice

Get At Least 3 Tree Surgery Quotes
As you can see, there aren’t any typical tree surgeon costs. Tree surgeons costs vary between tree companies and across the country. Some charge an inclusive price, others per hour or a day rate depending on the job. Check whether the prices quoted are inclusive of VAT.

Before hiring a tree surgeon for tree work in your garden or in a public space, get and compare at least three real quotes from different tree service and garden maintenance companies near you.

Check Qualifications and References
Always check and compare your shortlisted tree services companies against the relevant qualifications and certifications required for the work that needs carrying out. They must have the practical knowledge and experience to apply good, up-to-date, safe and legally-compliant arboricultural practice to your projects. Request references and follow up on them.

Minimum Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance
Ensure they have the right public liability and professional indemnity insurance cover to carry out the job or you might find that you have no recourse should the job go wrong on your property. Top Tree Surgeons Bristol carries at least £5m in public liability insurance with an excess of £250 per incident. Our professional indemnity insurance is for at least £500,000.

Hopefully, with this pricing guide and useful tips, you can find a tree surgeon that is competent, suitably qualified, cost effective and friendly. Alternatively, our arborist team near your area is also available to provide you with a no-obligation quote and advice on specific areas of concern such as tree preservation orders.

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General Tree Surgeon Tasks