Tree Trimming Cost

by | Feb 25, 2019 | Tree Services

The cost of trimming a tree here is Fresno will differ from situation to situation. There are many different factors that will play a role in the total cost of the project. After understanding what the trimming will require, it is then important to weigh the costs and benefits of doing it yourself or hiring a professional. With a proper understanding of tree trimming and pruning, you can definitely save yourself a lot of money in the long run through proper maintenance early on.

Tree Trimming Cost Factors

There is an array of factors that have to be considered to determine the cost of your tree trimming project. A good estimate, based on size, to keep in mind is that tree that is smaller to mid-size will usually be no more than $200 so long as they’re healthy and not a hazard. Larger trees with other factors involved can bring the cost upwards to $1000.

Size and Position

Naturally, trees that are smaller will require less work to trim and therefore cost much less than larger trees. The reason larger trees can become so expensive from only their size is that larger trees will need more trimming, sometimes more equipment, and will usually be more dangerous of a job. Here is a rough breakdown of what the costs of different sizes of trees will be:

  • 0 to 30 feet: Trees in this size bracket will cost between $50 and $500to trim. Naturally, the larger the tree, the closer to the $500 range is what you will be in.
  • 30 to 60 feet: The mid-tier for trees can cost on average between$200 and $900 to trim.
  • 60+ feet: Trees that are 60 feet and above will cost considerably more than the small and mid-sized trees. The average cost in this size range will be between $300 and $1000.

Where the tree is located also plays a large role in the final cost of tree trimming. Trees that are located close to a powerline, buildings, or any other precarious places, will cost more than trees that are clear of any obstacles. This is because there is a different method to trimming trees that are near things that can be damaged. In a normal situation, the cut branches and limbs can simply be tossed down. However, when tossing large branches around is a hazard to the area, the cut limbs have to be secured by a rope and carefully lowered down. This extra step both drastically increases the time required and amount of work needed to trim the tree causing the cost to go up for the trimming.

Amount of Trees to Trim

The number of trees that need to be trimmed will obviously increase the price because more trees mean more work and more time to complete the trimming. It is imperative that you accurately describe the number and types of trees that you need to be trimmed when getting a quote. Otherwise, your estimate will be off, and you will be surprised by a very unexpected bill when the project is completed.

Health of the Tree

Trees that have endured stress and are damaged may cost more to trim. This will only be the case if the tree is unstable and requires extra care when trimming and may need specialized cables to stabilize it. This is usually the case for trees that have taken damage from the outside. Such as a lightning strike or pests, or any other natural disaster. The cost of trimming these trees may be higher than a healthy tree, but the end result may help you avoid a much costlier tree removal later down the line.

Diseased Trees

Diseases and illnesses that your tree may be infected with can definitely bring up the cost of trimming. It is important to be aware of the condition of your trees will calling for a quote. So, to help you assess your landscape beforehand, here are some common diseases that can increase the overall cost of trimming the tree:

  • Abiotic Damage: Abiotic damage refers to damage sustained from environmental causes, such as fire, storms, lightning strikes, and other natural occurrences. Signs that a tree has abiotic damage include dried leaves and cracked limbs. Abiotic damages can lead to further, costlier, issues like pests and parasites.
  • Biotic Damage: Biotic damage is caused by external biological factors. This kind of damage will usually be caused by things like bacteria, animals, bugs, fungi, and any other external pest. Biotic damage will have similar signs as Abiotic damage: wilting, drying, and an overall poor outer appearance.
  • Moist Cracks: Moist cracks can be caused by a number of factors. The important thing to note that these can be an indication that the tree is rotting away from the inside and will need immediate attention if it is to be saved.


Trees are normally home to many kinds of insects and creatures that are mostly either harmless or helpful to the tree. However, sometimes trees can become home to pests that will slowly kill the tree and even infect the surrounding landscape. Pests that harm trees can cause them to become infected with diseases very easily. Common pests that cause damage to trees here in Fresno include the following:

  • Mites: Tiny Mites may not look like much, but they have suction abilities that can when in abundance, greatly weaken trees.
  • Ants: While Ants are very common everywhere if you see them on a tree going to holes that are surrounded by sawdust, it most likely means there is damage on the inside of the tree.
  • Shield Lice: These small insects are especially dangerous because they are usually only caught after they have created a shield-like covering on parts of the tree. Usually, by the time this is noticeable, the damage is already far spread. So severe cases of Shield Lice will require a professional to get rid of them.
  • Woodpeckers: These birds can do more than be noisy. Woodpeckers usually seek to make homes in trees that are rotted and decaying; making them a great way to tell if a tree is damaged and needs attention.


The further we have to go from the Fresno/Madera area, the more will cost for us to get to the site with our equipment. Be sure to specify where you are located when calling in for a quote so we can provide a more accurate estimate.


As we touched on earlier, the more things we required for us to complete the trimming, the more the cost will go up. We often use large trucks and machinery to access parts of large trees and to haul off the removed limbs. If we can’t access the site easily with our equipment, the job will become much more tedious and require more time and effort to complete. However, if you think your tree will be difficult to access, still give us a call. We are professionals and can work with you to find the best to let us get to your tree.

Is it Worth Hiring a Professional?

It is easy to think that tree trimming is a do-it-yourself project, and sometimes it can be. However, the job may require much more than you think—especially when dealing with large or damaged trees. Keep in mind that a tree limb can easily weigh a few hundred pounds. If you’re not careful, a limb could cause very costly damages. A tree trimming project most often requires specialized equipment; not just a chainsaw. But again, it will depend on the size and condition of the tree. Here are some things to consider before deciding if your tree is manageable without professionals:


Tree trimming usually requires very specialized equipment such as pole saws, loppers, and pruning saws. These tools can be very expensive to buy or rent and may not be worth it for your one-time tree trimming project. As professionals in the tree care industry, we have all of the latest tools and equipment to do the job with the best quality. Also, a lot of the equipment can be very dangerous to handle. Especially if you aren’t trained our accustomed to them.

A basic trimming or pruning job will need, for the very least, a pair of loppers and pruners. These can be bought for around $50 and will only really be practical for smaller trees. For larger trees, you will need pole saws, loppers, and pruners. Each of these can easily exceed $150 at your local hardware store; if they even sell them at all. Beyond the tools to do the job, you also need safety gear. That means goggles, glasses, and gloves. We also recommend a sturdy pair of boots; one log to the foot can easily break a few toes.


A tree trimming project will require you to climb the tree to do it properly. Climbing a tree alone is a hazard by itself and if you don’t have access to proper tree climbing gear than your risk is very high; especially if you will be holding very shard trimming tools. These tools are designed to easily cut large tree limbs and need to be handled with care.

Another risk is falling tree limbs. After cutting the desired branches and limbs, you then have to get them down. And that is by no means easy. Branches will rarely fall as you expect them too and if you are working near valuable things like cars or buildings, a lot of damage can be caused by falling limbs. Lastly, if there are powerlines anywhere near the tree, it will legally have to be handled by certified professionals.

Tree Trimming Tips and Tricks

If you decide that you can trim your tree on your own, then here are some tips and techniques that we’ve acquired in our 25 years of working with trees to help you get the job done:

  • Trim your tree during its dormant season. The reason you generally want to trim a tree only in its dormant season is that, for one, seeing what you are doing will be much easier and two, removing buds during this time will revitalize the rest of the tree. The only time you may want to trim in a tree’s active season is if you want to stunt the growth of the tree.
  • Observe the size of the branch. The size of the branch will greatly determine if the branch can or should be removed without harming the tree. Branches that are 5cm in diameter or less will be safe to remove. Anything over 10cm should only be removed if absolutely necessary.
  • Angles are important. The angle of the branch will tell you if the branch is strong or if it is weak and should be removed. Strong branched will exhibit curved U-shaped angles. Weak branches will have sharp V-shaped angles—these are the ones you should be looking to remove.
  • Crown Ratio. At the end of your trimming, you want the ratio in size between the tree’s crown and its height to be about two-thirds.
  • Trim when they are young. The younger a branch is when it is removed, the less damage and scarring it will leave on the tree. Once the branch reaches a certain size, it will leave considerable damage if removed. Younger branches will also be much easier to handle.
  • Trim just the right amount. Two things to look out for when trimming is, one, to avoid leaving large stubs, and two, avoid removing the branch collar.

Key steps

  • First, analyze the branch. Before cutting, identify the branch collar and the branch ridge. The branch collar will be at the base of the branch growing from the stem tissue. The branch ridge will be on the upper part of the branch and be parallel to the branch angle at the stem.
  • Making the cut. When making the cut, position it outside the bark branch ridge and angle it downwards; away from the stem. The goal here is to avoid damaging the branch collar. This how both dead and living branches can be safely cut.
  • When dealing with longer stems.When the stem is excessively long, we have what’s called a three-cut technique. This involves first making a notch on the side of the stem, facing away from the part that will be left. Then, make your second cut inside of the crotch of the branch, right about the branch ridge. Lastly, make your final cut to the stub by cutting through the stem parallel to the branch ridge.

Pruning vs Trimming

Pruning and Trimming, while similar, are two different techniques to maintain a tree.

  • Pruning: Pruning is used to maintain the overall health of the tree. This involves removing dead and decaying parts that may cause health and growth issues later on for the tree.
  • Trimming: Trimming is mainly used to maintain the aesthetics of a tree. This involves removing parts that are growing strangely or are becoming a hazard to its surroundings.

Both of these techniques involve an in-depth understanding of the biology of trees as well as experience. To be done correctly, professionals like the Arborists at Quality Tree Care should be contracted to correctly perform these procedures. If you are still unsure about what kind of tree project you need and how much it will cost, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We will give you an accurate and honest quote for free.

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