In Seattle, Washington, trees play the role of ornaments on both residential and commercial properties. However, for the trees to be attractive and improve the curb appeal, they need a nice crown shape, zero dead limbs, and an overall look that complements other special features on the landscape – this can be achieved through proper tree trimming.
In Seattle, professional tree trimming cost ranges from $80 to $1000 per tree. Homeowners with small trees enjoy the lowest tree trimming cost, with professionals charging $80 to $400. The cost increases from $400 for medium-sized trees to over $1000 for the largest trees in the city.
Tree Trimming Cost Factors in Seattle, Washington
1. Tree Size
Both the height of a tree and its crown width have a significant impact on the amount charged for trimming. On most tree’s, however, the tree crown size increases with increasing tree height – this gives the height a bigger influence on the amount charged for trimming.
White oaks, which mature at a height of about 100 feet, will carry a crown spread of between 50 and 70 feet. Crape myrtles, which reach maturity at a height between 3 and 30 feet will have a crown spread of 20 feet. To trim the white oak, the tree trimmers will need more time than when trimming a crape myrtle – this leads to a higher tree trimming cost for the white oak tree.
Reaching the crown is generally a bigger struggle on tall trees than on smaller trees. While a professional can use a ladder to trim a 15-foot tree, he will need more time to climb up to the crown of a 150 feet white pine. Compared to the 15-foot tree, the 150-foot tree will be riskier and may even require additional safety gear.
Below, we have outlined the tree trimming costs for trees of different heights:
- Small trees – These have a height below 30 feet and cost $80 – $400 to trim. Featuring the smallest crown and branches with a much smaller diameter, small trees have the lowest tree trimming cost.
- Medium-sized trees – You will pay $150 to $875 to trim trees with a height of 30 to 80 feet. This is the most common tree category in Seattle.
- Large trees – Professionals charge $200 to $1000 to trim trees with a height of 80 to 150 feet. These trees are the most complicated to trim – they have bigger branches, wider crowns, and require more time to reach the crown.
Trees standing away from structures – including houses and utility lines – have the lowest tree trimming cost. This is because the cut branches can be allowed to fly off to the ground without having to worry about property damage.
When trimming a tree standing next to a house or powerlines, professionals have to be extra careful to avoid damaging these amenities. In most cases, they will need to tie the branches they intend to cut with ropes to hold them in place. After cutting, these branches will then be lowered down slowly to reduce the chances of damaging the utilities. Since more time and effort are needed in this case, the professionals may charge you a higher tree trimming cost.
Accessibility also affects the use of a bucket truck. Bucket trucks are favored by tree trimmers for their ability to make tree trimming procedures easier and much safer. The machines often reduce the overall time needed to complete the tree trimming procedure.
However, bucket trucks are generally usable on trees with enough parking space and a path that allows the truck to get close enough for the trimmers to use it. If your trees are inaccessible to the bucket truck, professionals may need to climb the tree manually.
The extra time and effort needed when climbing a tree manually drive the tree trimming cost up by 30% to 40%. Therefore, if your 100-foot white oak would cost $1000 to trim in normal circumstances where a bucket truck is usable, the cost may increase to between $1,300 and $1,400 if the professionals have to use manual climbing.
3. Tree Stability
When trimming a tree, stability has a significant impact on the procedure. Since tree trimming involves putting some additional weight on the tree – that is, the weight of the tree trimmer and his tree trimming tools – maximum stability offers improved safety.
If the tree trimmers determine that a tree is unstable, they may decide to stabilize it before getting started with trimming. Stabilization mechanisms like cabling take additional time to implement. This may result in a higher tree trimming cost.
Below, we have outlined some of the causes of tree instability in Seattle:
- High winds – If high winds get caught in the tree crown, they can bend the tree, causing lines of weakness on its trunk. This will increase the risk of falling.
- Cavities and cracks – These are a sign that your tree is dealing with a major underlying issue. An arborist may be needed to inspect the tree and determine whether the problem can be eliminated and the damage fixed.
- Flooding – Excess water around the base of the tree can make the soil too wet, making it impossible for the tree to hold onto the soil. With roots serving as the tree’s anchor points, strong winds can make a tree with compromised roots fall unexpectedly.
4. Tree Health
Unhealthy trees require more time to trim. Since the branches on most diseased or pest-infested trees are weak, the tree trimmers have to be extra careful to avoid falling from the tree during tree trimming. Also, when trimming an unhealthy tree, all branches have to be inspected – this helps the tree trimmers remove all the unhealthy branches. The extra time needed to trim trees with health problems increases the overall tree trimming cost.
In most cases, an arborist will be needed to diagnose trees suffering from health problems. After diagnoses, the arborist will recommend the best treatment options. The cost of hiring an arborist and purchasing the medications that he/she recommends can add an extra $50 to $500 to the quoted tree trimming cost.
5. Travel Fees
This cost comes into play when you decide to work with a team that needs to cover numerous miles to get to the worksite. Hiring a company closest to the worksite is generally enough to eliminate this cost.
In Seattle, Washington, tree owners pay a travel fee of about $0.5 per mile. Some tree service providers, however, may charge you a fixed cost between $50 and $200.
6. Number of Trees
In Seattle, you might save some money by trimming your trees in groups, instead of one by one. For example, trimming one 50-foot tree may cost you $500. However, trimming 10 trees of the same species and size can cost you a total of $4500. This means that you will be paying $450 for each tree, saving $50.
Professionals generally charge a high tree trimming cost when working on one tree to cover a variety of fixed costs that remain the same when trimming one or multiple trees. When trimming several trees, the professionals can take care of the cost and still get a sizeable profit – this encourages them to charge a lower tree trimming cost.
Hourly Tree Trimming Cost
Since the time needed to trim trees is affected by numerous factors – including the number of workers, years of experience, and advanced gear – professionals prefer a fixed cost over an hourly rate.
However, the professionals may still charge you an hourly rate of $25 to $50 for each of their workers. This cost, however, will be converted into a fixed cost by estimating the number of hours needed to complete the entire tree trimming project.
DIY Vs. Hiring Pros
While DIY trimming might seem like a good idea to save money, it may end up forcing you to spend more. This will be due to the risks and costs associated with DIY tree service procedures:
DIY Trimming Risks
- Falling from the tree crown could put you in a hospital for days, leaving you with expensive hospital bills.
- Damaging your home during tree trimming might leave you with costly home repairs.
- If you damage your tree during trimming, you may have to spend a lot of money on tree removal and replacement.
DIY Tree Trimming Costs
Before trimming your tree, you will need to purchase the tools outlined below:
- Ladder: $150 to $500
- Safety gear: $50 to $200+
- Heavy-duty gas trimmer: A rental cost of $50/day
- Hand-held pruner: $30 – $50
After trimming your trees, you may need to spend between $25 and $100 on the cleanup and dumping of the waste generated by the tree trimming procedure.
For homeowners with small trees that feature minimal risks, DIY trimming might be a good idea. However, homeowners with large trees may want to invest in professional tree trimming. Working with professionals will help you avoid irreparable tree damage, property damage, and injuries. Also, working with a tree trimming company eliminates the need to purchase trimming tools or pay for waste dumping.