How Much Does It Cost to Prune a Tree or Shrub?

by Team HomeServe
Men use safety harnesses to ascend into a tall Linden tree to prune its branches with a chainsaw

Pruning Costs at a Glance

  • Tree shorter than 30 feet: $80-$400
  • Tree between 30 and 60 feet: $150-$750
  • Tree taller than 60 feet: $230-$1,270
  • Shrub pruning: $40 per shrub

Regular pruning is important to keep the trees and shrubs in your backyard healthy. Pruning correctly requires extensive knowledge and experience, so many homeowners prefer to hire a professional tree service or an arborist to prevent damage and avoid the risks associated with DIY tree pruning.

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Tree and shrub pruning costs are affected by a wide range of factors, so it's helpful to get an idea of how much you’ll pay before asking contractors for a quote.

How Much Does It Cost to Prune a Large Tree?

The main factor affecting the cost of tree pruning services is how tall the tree is. The taller the tree, the higher the fee. Pruning a tall tree requires contractors to work at height, and they'll charge more for the risk they're taking on. Working at height also requires more equipment, and the company will need to include the cost of maintaining it and transporting it to your home. Finally, a larger tree will take longer to trim, increasing the hourly cost of labor.

According to Lawn Starter, you should expect to pay between about $230 and $1,270 to prune a tree that’s 60 feet or taller. You may be charged toward the upper end of the scale if your tree is difficult to access or grows close to power lines, making the task more time-consuming and dangerous. Contractors may also charge more if your tree is showing signs of rot, infection or infestation.

How Much Does It Cost to Prune a Small Tree?

Small trees measuring up to 30 feet tall are generally much cheaper to prune because they can be trimmed quickly with less risk to the contractor. Tree pruning costs for small trees range between $80 and $400, with hard-to-access, infested or infected trees coming in at the higher end of the scale. If your tree measures between 30 and 60 feet tall, expect to pay between $150 and $750.

How Much Does It Cost to Prune Shrubs?

On average, shrub pruning services cost around $40 per shrub. This figure assumes that the backyard contains around 25 shrubs and covers the cost of labor and equipment, including disposal using a woodchipper.

Bear in mind that larger shrubs will cost more to prune, and you may need to pay a premium if your shrubs are difficult to access, located near power lines or sit against a structure. Pruning companies often charge extra to trim shrubs showing signs of infestation or disease because doing so places their employees at a higher risk.

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Can I Prune Trees and Shrubs Myself?

Many homeowners wonder if they can skip hiring a professional tree pruning service and deal with their overgrown trees and shrubs themselves. Generally, pruning a shrub is a relatively easy DIY job if the shrub is small enough to trim from the ground. However, it's important to prune the shrub correctly to avoid damaging or even killing it. The advantage of hiring a contractor is that they will have knowledge of and experience with the correct pruning methods for each shrub type.

Pruning a very tall shrub or a tree is significantly riskier because it requires working at height using a chainsaw. Never attempt this job yourself unless you're confident that you know how to operate a chainsaw safely. You should also use a safety harness to trim branches you can't reach from the ground because using a chainsaw up a ladder is extremely dangerous.

If you feel comfortable pruning a tree yourself, always wear protective eyewear and ask a friend or family member to watch you work in case of an accident. A helper can also alert you to potential hazards not visible from your working position. As the potential for things to go wrong is so high, hiring a professional tree pruning service is almost always the safest option.

Finally, it's worth noting that some utility companies will prune shrubs and trees growing near their power lines at zero cost to you. If the reason you want to prune your tree or shrub is that it's getting close to a power line, consider calling your electricity company first to see if they can do the work for you.