There are plenty of different names arborists go by: Tree surgeon, tree lopper, tree doctor. Choosing the right one can be difficult as it’s hard to tell who has expert experience and genuine customer care from a Google search alone. Start out with an arborist’s qualifications, ask if they have a certificate II or III in Arboriculture or Horticulture and look at their testimonials to see what previous customers have to say.
Some companies offer free quotes and others will require you to pay for an initial call out, however, any early costs are usually waived if you go through with the job.
What an arborist does
Arborists look after trees, plants, shrubs and vines in our local communities. They focus on maintaining healthy and safe environments and provide advice on the best solution to tree and plant problems such as pests, infections and diseases as well as tree maintenance and effective removal.
Some of the most common services arborists provide include:
- Tree pruning
- Power line clearance
- Fire safety management
- Tree removal
- Professional tree reports
Each service is in place to ensure that trees are healthy, and if this is not the case, how they can be safely and sustainably removed.
Even though a tree might be on your private property it’s not always a simple matter of taking it down. Local communities and wildlife rely on community trees for health and wellbeing, so you are most likely required to obtain council permission before a tree can be removed, lopped or even trimmed back heavily.
The cost of hiring an arborist
Arborists are usually small businesses rather than big companies. Therefore they charge depending on their work crew numbers, equipment and how much other work they have on, however, the biggest factor affecting the cost of hiring an arborist is the job at hand.
The price of your service will depend on the following factors:
- The service type
- Tree size
- Tree condition
- Tree location
- Tree species
The amount of time it takes to complete the job will also depend on these same tree conditions, however, it’s also greatly affected by the number of people in the crew and what equipment they bring in to assist. The best way to compare costs between tree doctors is to look at the individual service costs, rather than hourly rates.
Average cost per service
Assessment and Advice
Some arborist companies offer a free assessment of your tree conditions and can offer advice on your next steps. Others will charge a small fee for this, between $30 and $150 depending on if they need to climb up a tree to monitor its health.
Pruning your tree can be for cosmetic reasons, to help reduce infestation, to give you a better view or for safety. While it is possible to prune yourself, councils will usually waive the permissions needed if you hire an arborist to do the work for you, which can really pay off in a number of ways.
Small trees can cost as little as $200 – $500 for pruning and rubbish removal, while medium trees can cost $300 to $800 and large trees anywhere from $500 to $3,000.
If your tree is a safe size (less than a single storey home) it is possible to remove it yourself. For anything bigger, you will not only need a professional arborist, but you will also require council permission, which has added prices:
- Council permission – The council permission comes with fees between $50 to $150.
- Arborists Report – your council may request a 10-20 page report provided by an arborist costing $300 – $450 for a single tree and $700 for multiple trees.
The average cost across Sydney is $700, however, the overall removal price will depend on the tree size, location and health of the tree. As a guide, expect to pay:
- Eight metres or smaller with a narrow trunk = $150 to $500
- Up to 23 metres with a wide trunk (including equipment and removal): $200 to $1,000
- For anything over 23 metres: $1,500 and up
Removing an old tree stump gives you more space for your garden, maybe an outdoor setting and fire pit. Clearing away a stump is hard to do alone without specialist equipment but can be a breeze for a professional arborist who knows how to handle your landscape and will bring in the right tools for the job. Prices can be as low as $150 and as high as $350, sometimes more if there is a challenging site or very large stump.
Always verify that the tree removal services you use come with valid public liability insurance to avoid any collateral damage costs that may result. Check that your written quotes cover all related costs upfront, so you won’t be caught out at the end.