Oak Tree Removal Cost: By Height, Oak Tree Age, Location, Removal Process

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | November 2, 2023

Man looking at a damaged oak tree on his house wonders about oak tree removal costs, including how much does it cost to remove an oak tree by location, height, age and if there is a way to learn how to reduce oak tree removal costs.

When a mighty Oak tree needs cutting down, the Oak tree removal cost might seem high. This is especially so in an emergency situation where your very large Oak tree is hanging precariously by its roots after a storm, threatening nearby buildings and homes.

There may be other reasons why a tree may need to be cut down with different levels of urgency, that may include the danger that expanding roots are causing to walkways or under fences, or simply because a new owner wishes to change the landscape design.

When dealing with these and other situations, understanding how oak tree removal cost is calculated can help, because there are some ways that you can reduce that expense by doing some of the work on your own.

This complete guide explains your options for limiting the cost of Oak tree removal and how it might be possible to recoup some of your expenses by selling the wood.

Oak Tree Removal Costs by Height and Location

When it comes to tree care, well-trained experts have the edge over their less-qualified counterparts since they are familiar with and adhere to standard procedures across the industry.

Their level of training and experience allows them to quickly evaluate how to proceed with your inquiry and implement a course of action to resolve the problems at hand and offer a competitive quote for their services.

A graphic displaying oak tree removal costs categorized by tree height, ranging from below 15 feet to over 80 to 100 feet, with prices ranging from $275 to $4,500.

Whether you are in the market to give your tree a quick trim for aesthetic purposes, a more in-depth pruning to remove dangerous limbs or to have your Oak tree cut down and hauled away, a certified tree specialist will be able to describe all the best options available at the right Oak tree removal cost.

The prices that they quote will be based on the type of work desired, the height of the Oak tree, the location of the Oak tree and the diameter at breast height (DBH).

With these details they will be able to provide an estimation.

  • For an Oak tree that is below 15 feet in height and a trunk DBH of about 6 inches, the tree removal price will be between $275 to $450
  • An Oak tree that has a height of between 20 to 40 feet with a DBH of 8 inches will have a price in the region of $600 to $1,000
  • Trees above 40 to 80 feet and around 22 to 40 inches in circumference can set you back from $1,500 to $3,000.
  • Trees that are over 80 feet up to 100 feet can cost from $3,000 to $4,500.

For cutting down trees there are no one-size-fits-all guidelines.6 Trees of the same species grow differently, to varying degrees of widths, some with more branches than others, and others that are just harder to kill and cut down if they’re huddled up next to another tree that you may wish to remain in place.

Why the Cost To Cut Down a Tree Is So Expensive (Cost To Remove Large Oak Trees)

The cost to cut down your tree will go up with the height of the tree.

As far as a tree surgeon is concerned, it is far easier to cut down a tree that is 6 feet tall rather than one that is over 60 feet tall, and their price will reflect that.

The removal of larger trees is more hazardous as there are larger appendages to cut away, requires more manpower, requires more equipment, and takes a lot longer to get the job done.

A large cross-section of a cut down tree positioned on a pathway with foliage in the background.

(Image: MabelAmber11)

Height, although it is an important factor, isn’t the only consideration.

Tall trees tend to have thicker trunks or sometimes more than one, and also more branches that are generally harder to reach and to cut away.

But that is not always the case. Sometimes tall trees have thin trunks and this is one of the reasons why quotes can vary significantly as it can be cheaper for an arborist to cut down a tall tree with a thin trunk compared to a similar tree of the same height but with a thicker trunk.

Conversely, a tree service may charge more if a short tree has a very thick trunk that is difficult to trim, and charge for the removal of a tree with several trunks will be more labor-intensive and expensive than a single trunk tree.

Oak Tree Removal Cost by Oak Tree Age (Average Cost of Tree Removal)

If your tree has a particularly large trunk diameter or if it has several trunks, you should expect to pay more when hiring a tree removal service as more work will be involved.

To get rid of it, you’ll need extra preparation, specialized equipment, and expert knowledge. For particularly large, old trees in an awkward location, a crane assisted tree removal cost may have to be factored into the cost to support it during the cutting process, or even to lower it safely to the ground.

It may then be needed to lift a tree clear from a yard where access is too restricted or where any further work cannot be undertaken.

Older trees may well be more vulnerable to breakage because they are brittle or rotted from the inside out due to a disease. More care needs to be taken when taking it down and more support engaged, but sometimes these aged trees just give up the ghost and topple over before they can be hooked up to a crane.

As long as they haven’t crushed anything in their path, the cost of carting them away can be as low as $100 to $300 but are occasionally more but shouldn’t exceed $600.

Amazingly, if the tree that you wanted cut down falls over by itself, it could save you a ton of money.

In this particular circumstance, your Oak tree removal cost is going to be nicely reduced because all of the risk associated with cutting the tree into manageable chunks to get it on the ground has disappeared.

From this point on, the tree service will likely just simply need to throw the debris from the downed tree into a wood chipper.

How Much Does It Cost To Cut Down a 100-ft Tree?

Homeowners with very big types of Oak trees in Texas or types of Oak trees in Florida which over 100 feet tall are often nervous about cutting it down because of the horrendous stories they’ve heard about how much to cut down a tree of that size is going to set them back.

To get an idea, a tree removal cost calculator can be used to estimate what the final cost would be. Not everyone would require their tree to be disposed of by the tree company as they might need it for firewood or may not need the stump removed at all, preferring to make a feature of it instead.

The cost of removing a tree that is 100 feet tall or more is on average about $2,700, but some Oak trees actually have value even when cut down.

You should practice how to negotiate tree removal price reductions if you believe your tree may have some value as a nice oak table for someone or, as Oak trees are one of the best species for burning, even as firewood as they are dense and give off very little smoke.7

Free tree removal in exchange for wood is definitely possible as trees such as Willow oaks, Red Oak trees, and White Oak trees are in demand and may actually make you money.

Certain Pine trees are also highly sought after and you can verify its value, as well as other types of Oak trees in California across the nation, on an online tree value calculator so your Pine tree removal cost may actually end up being zero.

Can I Reduce the Cost to Remove an Oak?

There are some occasions when you can recoup some of the expense for having an oak removed.

Namely, if you can’t reduce the price by offering the Oak to the tree remover, oftentimes it can be sold to furniture makers and other local craftsmen and women.

For example, you might reach out on social media to various wood workers in your area. Oak is a wonderful hardwood for many projects, and these artisans may be happy to pay for sections of the tree.

Repurposing wood this way helps retain the carbon emissions in the wood, as opposed to simply using it for heat fuel.

Tools for Tree Removals and the Removal Process

The following are examples of common pieces of equipment and tools for tree trimming for professionals and may explain the complexities of removing varying types of Oak trees.

Apart from the regular pieces of equipment like pruners, shears, loppers and pole saws, professional tree surgeons have safety gear as standard that include but may not be limited to:

  • Helmets
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Ear protection
  • Climbing spurs
  • Protective pants
  • Radio equipment

Additional equipment that professionals have are chainsaws, climbing equipment, and rigging gear.

Climbing trees requires a high level of efficiency and caution to prevent injury when cutting down a tree for removal from someone’s premises. Harnesses, ropes, carabiners, and ascenders are only some of the climbing gear that arborists use to keep themselves safe.

As part of their job when trimming branches from tall trees, arborists employ ropes and carabiners, harnesses and the use of mechanical gear like ascension platforms to make traversing the canopy easy and safe while working at considerable heights which can often be perilous.

In the case of removing large trees, slings, pulleys, rigging gear, blocks, and winches are all crucial pieces of equipment employed to hold the tree surgeon safely at the top of the tree as they cut branches free.

Rather than just let the branches fall to the ground, they use the rigging to hold them securely in place until they are ready to lower them to the ground in a controlled descent by the use of winches.

Weakened and protruding branches can be trimmed away in this manner from any level of the tree’s height until either the trimming task is completed or the tree is better prepared to be safely cut down.

The tree specialist will then cut a notch in the trunk so the tree will fall in that direction, and opposite that V-notch, the arborist will cut into the trunk until the tree falls over.8

Once the tree is safely on the ground, a chainsaw or a pickaxe can be used to section the tree so it can be fed into a wood chipper or carted away, and then there’s only the stump to contend with.

Removal: Cost To Remove Large Tree Stumps

Now that the easy part of lopping the tree down is over, getting rid of the stump is considered the hard part by some.

Apart from what can be seen still sticking out of the ground, the roots that snake in all directions out of sight underground are also going to have to be rooted out, so to speak.

Depending on criteria like size, the typical cost to remove a stump from an Oak tree can start from as little as $60 to a not-so-little price of $350 or more.

Throughout the country, professional stump removal costs an average of roughly $165 and takes roughly about an hour.

However, companies set their prices in a variety of ways from the cost per inch based on the diameter, at about $2 to $3 per inch or by the hour at a rate of $150.

Oak Tree Removal Cost: Is There Free Tree Removal for Seniors?

If you’re a senior citizen with a large tree that needs to be removed but the cost is beyond your means, there are offers of free tree removal for seniors from tree removal companies, occasionally.

Their reasoning for this type of promotion for elders is as a form of advertising for the organization in the local area, or the company may even see value in the timber so the cost to them can end being next to nothing apart from time if they can resell the wood.

There are often initiatives from the local state government for tree removal services in the form of grants that can drastically reduce the Oak tree removal cost, if not making the project completely free to the elderly homeowner.

Any senior considering having a tree cut down or just a stump removal service,9 should always ask the tree surgeon if they offer a free tree removal service or if there are any grants available.

A professional arborist will be up-to-date on all the local permits, codes, and what available grants can be applied for, whether for seniors or to remove trees that pose a hazard to the public.

Cutting Down an Oak Tree’s Branches

Storms have a lot to answer for when it comes to the damage wrought on Oak trees, not always knocking them down to the ground in broken pieces but sometimes wreaking enough havoc so that they require emergency treatment before they topple over.

How long do Oak trees live in an ideal environment? On average a mighty Oak tree can live for 600 years, many even up to 1,000 years.

Bad weather isn’t the only reason why their lengthy lifespans can be cut short, or why they need to be cut down or branches pruned away.

An oak tree trunk and branches against a cloudy sky, with a mix of green and fading leaves.

Trees that have contracted an aggressive disease or have been infested with termites, can be left with unstable limbs and branches that are barely hanging on and threatening to fall off the next time a small bird lands on it.

However, there are some branches that have died on the tree but are still attached securely, leaching nutrients even though they cannot encourage any further growth of leaves.

When branches like this are found, it may still be better off removing them for the overall health of the tree. An experienced arborist will be able to evaluate the obvious limbs that need to be trimmed, and whether others need to be cut away to promote new growth.

But where to start?

Oak Tree Trimming

Despite their disease-resistance abilities, Oak trees are occasionally threatened by a debilitating disease called oak wilt.

This disease is the result of a very fast-acting fungus, Bretziella fagacearum, that enters the tree through any open wounds and quickly restricts the tree’s ability to consume water.1 When severe enough, this fungus can lead to the tree’s eventual dehydration and death.

Pruning is the strongest defense against this infection as fungicides are proving to be ineffective. But it’s not just a matter of whipping out a pair of shears and lopping off any branch that’s looking a bit under the weather.

A tall Oak tree trunk and branches in a forest.

There’s a way to trim branches correctly and an optimal time when to trim them.

A tree specialist would always advise that any pruning of Oak trees should be done in the winter or early spring when the Oak wilt insects are not yet active, and as a general rule, pruning after March 15th should be avoided.

If your Oak tree is small and if you have a mind to undertake the task of trimming away the infected or aged branches and twigs, then it’s imperative that you follow a few guidelines.

  • Give your Oak tree the once over. Carefully inspect the branches that you think need removing and confirm that they really have to go.
    You don’t want to unnecessarily cut off any good branches.
  • Clean any shears or tools you intend to use with rubbing alcohol to sanitize them. Do this frequently as you cut through the limbs to avoid spreading the infection to other parts of the tree.
  • Carefully plan the percentage of branches you intend to excise from the tree. It is never advisable to trim away more than a quarter of a tree’s branches in a single growing season or the health of the tree could be negatively impacted.
  • When cutting away the branch, make the incision close to the collar without leaving a nub so the open wound will heal faster and in such a manner that will not cause any harm to the tree at a later date.

Self-trimming an Oak tree within the confines of your home landscape can be done on small trees with small branches and small problems.2 For some gardeners anything that is over 6 feet tall might well be beyond their level of expertise, or their ability to trim effectively if the tree is in an awkward to reach location or the branches are too high.

Under these types of trying conditions, it’s always better to call in a tree professional rather than risking life and limb to do the job yourself.3

Hiring a Professional: Tree Cutting Services

Arborists and tree specialists are not a dime a dozen as some people might think, and even arriving at the point just to take the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) exam is a long process.

To take the Certified Arborist test offered by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), an applicant must have practical experience working as an arborist full-time for at least three years, and then it can take roughly a year to get everything ready before the course can even be started.

The course to become an ISA-certified arborist requires dedication, taking four years of intense studying before the exams can be taken and the certification can be awarded.

An individual with long hair, wearing ear protection and gloves skillfully carves a large wooden trunk using a chainsaw, with wood chips flying in the air.

(Image: Gastón Mousist13)

Before becoming a certified arborist, some people choose to further their education in related subjects including arboriculture, forestry, and horticulture to a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral level.

Even if an arborist spends the previous four years getting an education, the ISA certification process still takes a minimum of four years. Those who pursue this route will have a superior knowledge of trees and will be able to advise you on all aspects of trimming and nurturing your trees.

It’s possible to locate reasonably priced tree removal professionals who provide quotes far below that of their competitors. But as tempting as they may first appear, you should only work with a fully bonded and insured professional if safety is a concern.

It’s not worth risking your family’s well-being or the structural integrity of your property by taking any project lightly and trying to save a few bucks.

Arborists endure such a lengthy and in-depth training process so they can anticipate potential tree problems before they can occur. In fact, even to keep practicing as a tree care professional,3 arborists’ licenses need to be renewed often with new training techniques learned through continuous training courses.

So, when the time comes to contract a professional for your ailing or wounded Oak tree for a quick trim or a complete Oak tree removal cost, have a look at their ISA certification and ask what they had to go through to get to that level.

Why Tree Trimming Is Important

It’s no surprise that most homeowners find pruning to be one of the most mysterious and intimidating parts of landscape upkeep, often believing that a tree will naturally look after itself.

Weekend gardeners are taught and learn how to grow, fertilize, water, and even to watch out for pests and diseases. But not the importance and reasons for pruning and therefore lack the necessary knowledge on how to do it properly, when to do it, and even why they need to do it.

However, healthy and beautiful trees and shrubs cannot be maintained without regular trimming.

Generally speaking, there are five main reasons why pruning ornamental trees and shrubs should be done regularly.4

  1. Trimming away infected or diseased leaves, twigs, or entire branches, benefits the plant by removing vulnerable areas that can attract secondary pests and stop the further spread of diseases or even prevent them from infecting your mighty Oak tree in the first place.
  2. The second reason relates to size. Proper trimming can manage your Oak tree’s overall size, density, and growth pattern so it doesn’t encroach into or over an area you wish to remain unobstructed.
  3. If you have a fruit or a flowering tree, exposure to sunlight will improve the quality of your crops. This is accomplished by selective trimming that exposes more of the tree’s canopy to the sun so the flowers will develop better buds and the fruits will be just that little bit juicier.
  4. By pruning older parts of the tree, new growth will be encouraged to grow in its place. This is beneficial to the tree because it is a form of rejuvenation that strengthens the plant enormously.
  5. Large shade trees have large canopies. Within those canopies are occasionally infirm branches that are hanging on by a couple of leaves and should be excised for safety reasons.
    An inspection by a tree professional may identify problems like these and would recommend a regular maintenance and trimming schedule to cut away any precarious branches.

There are certain tasks that novice gardeners can undertake with a few simple tools.

Hand shears, loppers, a pruning saw, secateurs, and a long reach pruner will enable even inexperienced gardeners the ability to trim small to medium-sized trees in the comfort of their landscape.5

As long as they do it at the right time.

The best time to trim a tree is when it is in its dormant stage, not when it is in its growing phase in the spring. This dormant stage is in the middle of winter and, even though it might be a little chilly, this is the right time to trim those branches to prevent causing any harm to the tree.

Why Use a Professional Tree Surgeon for Tree Removals?

One of the benefits of employing a professional arborist who is fully accredited, is peace of mind.

A worker in protective gear adjusts a chainsaw near felled logs, with a crane-equipped truck in the background on a grassy field.

(Image: Helena Jankovičová Kováčová12)

Someone who understands how to use a chainsaw or some pruners, are less likely to notice critical signs that the tree has been weakened, possibly by adverse weather conditions or diseases, while performing a cursory health examination.

An experienced ISA credited arborist will know exactly where and what to look for to give an accurate assessment of the overall health of the tree before trimming or cutting it down.

And then they will do it the right way.

Inadequate tree removals, or the neglect to remove potentially dangerous trees properly, can easily end catastrophically, a felled tree falling the wrong way, a large branch crushing your neighbor’s fence.

Only qualified tree surgeons should perform tasks such as tree trimming and removal as there can be a significant danger of injury, death, or property damage if not done correctly.

Never underestimate the potential obstacles and unforeseen problems that can contribute towards the difficulty involved in cutting down a tree that has been in your backyard for years.

It may at first appear straightforward, but tree removals can be more than you’d hoped when your tree is on a steep slope, has been severely weakened by Oak wilt,10 or is too close to a wall.

Any of these three conditions can increase the quote that you’d hope was going to be near the cheaper $300 range rather than over the $3,000 bracket of your Oak tree removal cost budget.

Frequently Asked Questions About Oak Tree Removal Cost

What Is the Average Cost To Cut Down a 30-Foot Tree?

The average Oak tree removal costs for a 30-foot tree is between $285 to $435.

Can Types of Oak Trees by Leaf Be Identified?

The magnificent Oak tree in North America has over 90 different species. An online Oak tree leaf identification chart can easily help to distinguish whether you have a White or a Willow Oak growing in your yard.


1Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. (2023). Oak Wilt. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved October 19, 2023, from <https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/foresthealth/oakwilt>

2Ricigliano, D. (2023, May 15). Pruning Trees in the Home Landscape. University of Maryland Extension. Retrieved October 19, 2023, from <https://extension.umd.edu/resource/pruning-trees-home-landscape>

3Weisenhorn, J., North, E., Russell, M., Hahn, J., & Johnson, G. (2023). How to hire a tree care professional. University of Minnesota Extension. Retrieved October 19, 2023, from <https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/how-hire-tree-care-professional>

4State of indiana. (2006, July 28). Prune Your Trees [PDF]. DNR | Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved October 19, 2023, from <https://www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/files/09_Prune_Your_Trees.pdf>

5Pennisi, B. V. (2020, May 27). Pruning Ornamental Plants in the Landscape | UGA Cooperative Extension. University of Georgia Extension. Retrieved October 19, 2023, from <https://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=B961&title=pruning-ornamental-plants-in-the-landscape>

6Texas A&M Forest Service. (2014, October 23). Tree Measurement Guidelines [PDF]. Texas A&M Forest Service. Retrieved October 19, 2023, from <https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/uploadedFiles/TFSMain/Learn_and_Explore/Conservation_Education_Resources/Tree_Trails/3.1%20Tree%20Measurement%20Guidelines.pdf>

7University of Kentucky. (2023). Best Firewood Species. UK Martin-Gatton | Forestry and Natural Resources. Retrieved October 19, 2023, from <https://forestry.ca.uky.edu/firewood-species>

8Kohlbrand, B. (2008). Tips for felling a tree keep [PDF]. University of Wyoming. Retrieved October 19, 2023, from <https://www.uwyo.edu/barnbackyard/_files/documents/magazine/2008/fall/tree-felling-fall-2008.pdf>

9Colorado State University Extension. (2023). 1740 – Stump Removal. Colorado State University Extension | PlantTalk Colorado. Retrieved October 19, 2023, from <https://planttalk.colostate.edu/topics/trees-shrubs-vines/1740-stump-removal/>

10Jauron, R. (2023, January). Pruning Oak Trees to Avoid Oak Wilt. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Retrieved October 19, 2023, from <https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/pruning-oak-trees-avoid-oak-wilt>

11Photo by MabelAmber. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/photos/tree-chopped-down-cut-log-timber-962446/>

12Photo by Helena Jankovičová Kováčová. Pexels. Retrieved from <https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-uniformed-man-putting-the-chainsaw-on-the-grassy-ground-7812847/>

13Photo by Gastón Mousist. Pexels. Retrieved from <https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-cutting-a-tree-10079904/>