Removing large oak tree for $4500?

anneportlandJuly 17, 2008

I would appreciate others' advice on an estimate I have received to remove a diseased 80 foot oak tree in my front yard with roots that are lifting the house foundation. $4500 for removal and stump/grinding seems very steep. Tips for selecting the right company? Tips on what a reasonable price range might be? I greatly appreciate your help.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

To get a feeling for the going rate get other estimates. That is really the only way. After you get enough of them a pattern will emerge.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 12:51AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i always recommend at least 3 estimates ..

make sure they are fully insured for damage and work comp ... an honest company will carry the certificates with them ...

ken

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 8:31AM
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redneck_grower

Yes, more estimates are in order. There's no way for any of us on the forum to assess the relative difficulty of the removal; some trees will be in more precarious positions, and collateral damage must be avoided (to power lines, home, neighbor's cars, etc.!).

As a point of comparison though (not a good comparison, I'll grant you that), about 5 years ago I had a 2+' diameter gray pine and a 1.5+' diameter cedar removed from my yard (the cedar was about 10' from my house, and growing into power lines!); all wood cut into woodstove sized pieces (left for me), remaining brush left in a nice pile for me to burn/chip, no stump grinding; $350.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 10:55AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

$350 is DARN cheap for almost any professionally done tree removal.

I agree with Bboy and Ken.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 11:48AM
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Shades_of_idaho(4/5)

I work for the cemetery district here and we had three big trees just trimmed up. Was a big job and a crew of workers. They cleaned it all up and chipped and brought the chips to our house.:) Was one thousand dollars. There was no way we could have done this with out the boom trucks and professionals doing it. All up over big old headstones. Nothing could just drop to the ground. Had to all be roped off and lowered. The district felt it was money well spent. Three years later the trees still look beautiful. They did a wonderful job. None of that lop off the top thing.

The larger tree on the hill and the even larger tree far left of picture. Just one branch is showing and a juniper. This was before being trimmed. There was a lot of dead wood in those trees that does not show in the picture. the third tree is at the other cemetery.

Chris.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 1:59PM
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teeka0801

just to compare, I was quoted $3,500 to $4,000, also very close to house, for everything and he said it would be cheaper if they didn't have to work around our fence/gate, if they could just pull the truck and heavy equipment right up to the tree,but not the case for us.

We don't have foundation issues yet, but I was shocked at the cost of taking down a large tree.

The tree must be at least 40' tall.

teeka

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 4:15PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

annporter, as stated earlier, there is no way that we can suggest a fair price for you for this job. Not only does it depend upon a number of factors that can only be determined by an on-site inspection, but your location is important, too. Tree work costs vary widely around the country. Get some other estimates and let us know what they are.

I can tell you that a diseased tree is much more difficult for the arborist than one that is stable. Diseased means dangerous. The tree's location so near to your home is a real important factor, too.

Attached is a good fact sheet about why and how to hire an arborist. If you scroll down about 1/2 way, you'll find some good tips about contracting the right company. I cannot urge you strongly enough to ask for proof of insurances.

Here is a link that might be useful: Click here

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 4:18PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

HOW could I have messed up your username so badly, Anne? Sorry about that.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 4:20PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>he said it would be cheaper if they didn't have to work around our fence/gate, if they could just pull the truck and heavy equipment right up to the treeShouldn't have done that anyway. There are roots in the soil beneath trees.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 4:29PM
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pineresin

But roots of trees which are being removed don't matter ;-)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 5:33PM
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anneportland

thank you all for your feedback! a couple other estimates will be done soon, and i'll be sure to let you know how the story ends.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 6:10PM
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picea(6A Cinci- Oh)

My neighbor has to have a 3.5' caliper White oak removed as it died last year, it is huge. The tree is on the rear of the property but in front of a new shed. He is getting bids of $3000 to $5000 and I am not sure if that includes removing the stump.

David

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 9:38PM
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calliope(6)

The cost for tree removal in our area went from about $400 to $1200 for a mature one of decent size. The company we used to use went out of business and the workman's comp rates played into it. the new company isn't any better, and a heck of a lot more expensive. It's a dangerous job. Your location does indeed play a lot into the cost.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 10:50PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I live in the Boston area, which has a high cost of living. On top of that, my town is affluent and some companies inflate their prices as soon as they hear the address. Fortunately I have a friend who is an arborist, and he is reasonable with his charges.

Last November he removed 2 large Norway maples, along with some serious limbing of other trees. The Maples were 50 years old and at least 60 feet high. He had 4 guys working with him and both trees had to be climbed and cut piecemeal due to their locations, one being next to the house, the other near gardens. They worked all day. The wood was left behind in pieces (cut and taken away by another friend). Some but not all of the brush was chipped and left in a pile. One of the stumps was ground. Total cost - $1500. I would have expected a quote of maybe double that from one of the local tree companies.

$4500 seems ridiculously high for one tree, even if tree is huge, next to a house, power lines, etc. and the arborist is not a friend.

Perhaps you could ask around for referrals from people you know. A couple of people have mentioned companies they know of that they said did good work for a reasonable fee. I would have looked into if I didn't know someone already.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 10:35AM
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wisconsitom

"$4500 seems ridiculously high for one tree, even if tree is huge, next to a house, power lines, etc. and the arborist is not a friend."

My 90 foot silver maple in the backyard, crown overspreading three houses and garages, phone line, fence, etc.......yielded estimates up to a high one of $7500 for removal. That estimate came from a company not noted for exorbitant prices at all. This stuff CAN get very expensive, depending on site conditions. The tree is still standing.

In tree removal, the cheapest co. that is insured is the one to go with.

+oM

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 4:15PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Have the cost of stump grinding listed separate from the tree removal. In some cases it's cheaper to have the stump cut low and then cover it with topsoil and plant away. A lawn planted over a decaying stump is not a good idea though.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 1:13PM
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sam_md

We had a humungous silver maple removed from a tenant house last Winter. It hung over the electric lines and the roof was slate. They used a crane.
We got 3 estimates, first was $6500, second was $2700, third was $2500. The high estimate was never taken seriously.
We went with the low estimate because my brother knew the guy. I remember the sawyer who was strapped in, he had a cigarette in his mouth the whole time. Not even a small branch fell onto the slate roof. We did not have the stump ground. Their work was so good I got them to come to my place later.
The foreman explained to me that in the Winter he is just keeping his men busy. If it had been later in the season price would have been much higher.
Sam

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 9:38PM
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