What is the cost of tree pruning? Tree pruning prices explained

✔ Find a local gardener in your area
✔ Compare FREE quotes from local companies
✔ Save £100's on gardening prices

What is the cost of tree pruning? Tree pruning prices explained

Tree pruning can range from a quick lop with some shears to some serious pollarding and cutting involving tree surgeons suspended on ropes, it all depends on the size, species and height of the tree.

Tree pruning costs normally revolve around the complexity of the work and the time taken to do it; tree surgeons suspended from a height is going to take a bit of organisation compared to a smaller tree which can be accessed purely from the ground. To trim and prune a large tree like an oak tree would cost in the region of £500-£600 on average for one days’ work whereas trimming and pruning small trees will range from £100-£150.

Tired of searching "gardener services near me" but not finding quality gardeners? GardeningCosts makes the whole process simple and easy. Just enter the details of your gardening needs below and we will get costs from local gardeners near you. Fill out the form below. Time to complete: 30 seconds!

What are the factors which can affect the cost?

There are a number of factors which can influence the final bill and these include:-

  • The size of the tree
  • The species of the tree
  • Whether the tree has a disease
  • Access to the tree and the site
  • Overhanging branches because more care has to be taken when they are removed especially if they are hanging across public spaces or areas like a road or footpath which might need a temporary closure order
  • Removal of waste from the site -the pruned branches -will either need to be loaded up and taken away or chipped on-site, either option will result in more costs
  • Where you live in the country – prices are always higher in London and the South East


image from: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/fegen/fruit-tree-pruning.htm


Why do you need to prune or trim a tree?

Trees are usually trimmed for two reasons, their aesthetic appearance and health and safety reasons. Dead or broken branches can become detached particularly in stormy weather and prove a serious safety hazard. Disease is another reason to prune a tree; removing affected branches can help save the tree which almost certainly would succumb to the disease and need to be felled otherwise.

Most trees need to be trimmed and pruned on a regular basis to keep them healthy. There is a surprising amount of knowledge required to know when is the best time to prune and how much to prune depending on the species of tree much as this would apply to any other shrub or plant. You can damage or even kill a tree by over-pruning. A combination of accessibility, the right equipment and specialist knowledge usually leads most people to contact either a garden contractor or tree surgeon to undertake this work for them.

Get Quotes From Local Gardeners

Looking for a gardener to start as soon as possible? Compare FREE quotes from local gardeners in your area.

What can pruning a tree do?

Apart from improving the appearance and health of a tree, tree pruning can serve a number of different purposes:-

  • It can remove dead limbs which are likely to rot and become vulnerable to high winds over the winter
  • It will remove branches that may be overhanging driveways or roads or obstructing the windows of the property
  • It will eliminate dead, diseased or insect-infested limbs
  • Thinning and removing branches will allow more sunlight beneath the canopy and also into buildings if the tree sits directly adjacent
  • The shape and form of the tree can be enhanced

Finding a reputable contractor

As with any local trade, there are plenty of cowboys around who can advertise themselves as gardeners or tree surgeons. Try and find the right contractor via a personal recommendation or word of mouth for your job or use an internet platform or local community group on social media.

Always obtain two or three quotes to compare prices and opt for a gardener or tree surgeon with a proven track record and authentic references and make sure they are both licensed and insured.

Keeping pruning costs down

If you have a large garden with two or three mature trees then pruning costs year on year can soon add up. There are ways that you can keep costs down to a minimum and these are:-

  • Prune smaller branches which are in reach yourself on an annual basis leaving the more complicated work and the pruning at height to professional contractors
  • Keep the trees in good condition – a regular programme of care will keep the trees under control and annual contractor costs more reasonable
  • Clear the site ahead of any works, for example, if you need to take out fence panels for vehicular access, this will save time and money
  • Dispose of any cut wood yourself – you can chop it up for firewood, hire a wood chipper and chip it yourself on-site using the chips for organic mulch for your garden. If you have a lot of wood chips then most people would be happy to take some off your hands – neighbours and friends. You can also take some of the smaller branches to your local tip which is free of charge

General tips for trimming and pruning

If you are going to undertake some general trimming and pruning yourself then there are some key factors to consider before you start:-

  • Be careful about the size of branch you intend to cut, only trim a branch which is five centimetres or less in diameter unless it is an absolute emergency. Large branches might not behave and fall in the way that you expect
  • Try to prune branches when they are still young because they are easier to manage and the risk of leaving scars on the main trunk is reduced
  • Only cut branches that have a weak and narrow V-shaped angle, never try and trim branches that have a strong U-shaped angle as they will be much more resistant and could create a dangerous situation

Get Quotes From Local Gardeners

Looking for a gardener to start as soon as possible? Compare FREE quotes from local gardeners in your area.


1. Tell us some details of your gardening project

Let us know the details of the gardening work required.

icons8-search-property-96 (1)

2. Tell us your UK address

We have a national network of gardeners in the United Kingdom. Whether you are in Scotland or London, we can find a gardener.


3. Recieve no obligation quotes

You'll receive up to 4 no-obligation quotes from local gardeners and save money on your gardening project.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I prune a tree myself?

Most small trees or tall shrubs which are between 5 and 6 foot in height can be trimmed relatively safely but once you start needing to work either above your head or up a ladder to reach higher up the tree, this can become really dangerous. Sometimes householders may be able to trim branches which are 5cm or less in diameter but once you encounter branches that are larger than this then it may be necessary to seek professional help. Remember, it’s not just your safety but also the safety of others who may be at risk from falling branches.

What is the difference between tree trimming and tree pruning?

Tree trimming is primarily for shrubs and hedges while tree pruning is for trees and shrubs. Trimming is undertaken primarily to ensure that the hedge or shrub will grow perfectly and promotes access to both moisture and light. Pruning is more about protecting the health of the tree or shrub. Pruning tends to get rid of dead, loose or infected branches so the tree or shrub can flourish or the plant can be given a different shape as part of a new design. Read more about hedge trimming rates.

Do you need a tree surgeon or a gardener?

The answer to that question depends on the height of the tree and the type of work that needs doing to it. In simple terms, the bigger and taller the tree, the more complex and dangerous the work potentially becomes. The difficulty can come with trees which are just about reachable via a ladder but this can actually prove to be quite unsafe.

When is the best time to trim a tree?

For mature trees, it is normally better to prune them during the dormant season although theoretically, you can prune a tree at any time and if you buy a property for instance with some seriously overgrown trees then practicality and safety might dictate that you prune sooner rather than later. Deciduous trees are usually pruned in the autumn or winter when the leaf canopy is much reduced or absent and a tree surgeon or arborist will have better access. However, trees like plum, apple, rose and poplar which can be prone to silver leaf disease are best pruned in early spring or summer. Even if you are planning on trimming the tree yourself, it is important to take professional advice about the best time of year to undertake the pruning.

How often should you trim or prune?

Trimming of trees or shrubs is usually done twice a year on average but pruning is mostly annual. The frequency will, however, depend on the specific plant species.

What is the crown of a tree?

The crown is made up of the leaves and branches at the top of the tree; pruning should not remove more than one-quarter of the crown at any one time, if more of the crown does need to be removed then it should be done in stages, preferably over a two or three year period to keep the tree healthy.

Are there any trees which don’t need pruning?

Evergreens seldom need any pruning other than the removal of dead or diseased branches and this is best done in late summer.

What is a TPO?

A TPO is a Tree Preservation Order and this is an order made by the local council which means it is an offence to prune, cut or undertake any works on a specific tree without the permission of the planning authority. TPOs are in place to protect valuable or vulnerable trees. Either you or your contractor needs to find out whether there is a TPO in place on the tree you intend to prune or, whether the tree is located in a Conservation Area; in either scenario, there will be penalties if you do not comply with the restrictions imposed by the TPO or the situation of the tree in a regulated location. These sanctions can be surprisingly severe. If you contact the local council’s Arboricultural Officer then you can arrange to visit the office to view the TPO in person.

Why is it important to take care of trees?

As well as being aesthetically pleasing if well looked after, trees are also a crucial part of the eco-chain; most people are only too well aware of the importance of preserving trees and caring for them. A well maintained and managed tree can add interest and value to your property; conversely, a tree that is out of control, damaged, diseased or just in poor condition will almost inevitably impact the value of your home in a negative way. Trees crop up frequently on structural surveys either because of their location and the impact they could have on the property’s structure or their condition. It is not uncommon for a lending institution to impose conditions on the mortgage in connection with tree work and not release funds until this has been done.

Can I prune my neighbour’s tree which is protected and is overhanging my property?

No-one can work on a protected tree without express permission from the local council however, anyone can work on the tree with that consent even if it is not their tree. If the tree is not subject to a TPO then you will have to resolve the issue with your neighbour, the council does not get involved unless the tree is located in a conservation area.

What happens if my tree is growing near or around overhead power lines?

Neither you nor a contractor will be able to safely touch the tree without the power being switched off whilst the works are in progress. Usually, an experienced tree surgeon or arborist will be well used to liaising with power companies as this is a common problem. Normally, the contractor will arrange the date for the works with the energy company and co-ordinate the whole thing. Power companies will undertake some proactive tree trimming works but there are so many overhead power lines in the UK which run through trees that householders will not be able to rely on this as a regular service. Also, the type of work they do is pretty minimal, enough to keep the lines safe and functional whereas an experienced professional will do a much more comprehensive pruning and cut the trees back further from the lines.

For more information on trees and the law, see this article from The Royal Horticultural Society, and this resource from the Arboricultural Association.

Get Quotes From Local Gardeners

Looking for a gardener to start as soon as possible? Compare FREE quotes from local gardeners in your area.