8 Eco-Friendly Tree Removal Tips: Insurance Options for Removing a Tree

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

Gardening | November 10, 2023

Man operating a backhoe to enact tree removal and wondering about tree removal cost and tree stump removal for people who ask how much does it cost to cut down a 100 ft tree and is there an eco-friendly tree trimming guide?

When faced with tree removal, many people wonder if there are eco-friendly options that will limit the impact (and the cost) of removing a tree.

Will your insurance cover the costs?

Free Tree Removal Quote: Check Local Pricing

This guide explains why choosing an eco-friendly tree removal option can save you money and help ensure that the tree can be re-used to prolong its useful life. 

Top Tree Removal Reasons

There are many reasons why you may need to get a tree removed. These can include:

  • A diseased and dying tree
  • Weather-induced damaged
  • Boundary disputes
  • Construction or renovation needs
  • Protecting the local ecology

You might need a tree removed after a lightning strike. Or a dispute with a neighbor may necessitate the action.

A tree on your property may be pointing or leaning in a dangerous direction.

Still, a dangerous-looking tree can be potentially trimmed and strategically cut to remove any future threats without removing it.

Graphic representation of the reasons for tree removal such as protecting the local ecology, boundary disputes, diseased and dying tree, weather-induced damage, and construction or renovation needs.

Removing a diseased or weed-infested tree could accidentally spread the problem to the neighboring ecology. An inept tree removal expert could accidentally rupture a sewer line trying to remove a tree.

Some trees have long tap roots. Extracting a deep tap root could adversely affect neighboring plants and trees and your bank account.

You also have no guarantee that the tree you have removed will be disposed of in an eco-friendly manner.

8 Eco-Friendly Tree Removal Tips

Below are the list of 8 Eco-friendly tree removal tips:

#1 Inquire About Tree Removal Permits (To Comply With Potential Local Nature Conservation and Protection Orders)

When it comes to green trees, get ready to encounter a lot of red tape.

You should be able to remove trees from your private property with no need to get a permit. However, it really depends on where you live, your local and state law laws, and the legal definition of a “tree,” relative to local property owner rights.

Additionally, local, state, and federal laws change all of the time, so stay abreast of your legal rights as a homeowner.7 The legal rights you enjoy as a homeowner today could change tomorrow.

It’s better to be informed than surprised. For example, the state governments of Alabama, Alaska, and Connecticut, amongst a few others, don’t require private property owners to file a permit for tree removal.

But those rules might have conditions.

An arborist cutting a tree stump.

(Image: Helena Jankovičová Kováčová23)

In some states, you might be able to remove a tree on private property if the tree is less than 12 inches.

Those rights might be superseded if the tree is a protected and endangered species. That does not mean that you can’t have the tree removed. It just means that you may have to pay for the privilege depending on your local laws.

The permit application processing cost to remove a legally protected tree in Los Angeles is $806.8 You must pay the processing fee without a guarantee the city will grant the permit. Removing one or two protected trees costs $2.900 – the costs increase proportionally to the number of protected trees that must be removed.

A tree removal permit could be free, cost $50 to $150, or a few hundred.

You may not need a tree removal permit. But you may be legally required to so do if there are any endangered or legally protected trees in your area.

Crane-assisted tree removal cost estimates can range between hundreds and thousands of dollars.

#2 Make Sure Your Tree Removal Contractor Is Environmentally Conscious and Responsible

If you are worried about the local environment, then it’s 100% your responsibility as a property owner to ensure that the tree removal specialist you hire is environmentally conscious and responsible. Make sure that the contractor repurposes the trees they collect in an environmentally responsible manner.

Ask them to explain what happens after they remove the tree. Ask directly if they are licensed and if their tree removal practices and operations are eco-friendly.

You can also try researching strictly eco-friendly tree removal experts online. Make sure they provide documentation of their eco-friendly practices.

#3 Only Hire a Certified and Licensed Arborist

The best way to ensure that any tree removal process on your property is conducted in a professional and eco-friendly manner is to only hire contractors who are also state-licensed and certified arborists.

In some states, a tree removal specialist may not even be legally required to have a license to specifically remove trees.14

The tree removal specialist you hire may only have a local or state-issued business or occupational license.15 Such a general vocational license may legally allow them to perform a vocation related to landscaping or environmental cleanup without specialized training.

In other words, anyone with an axe, chainsaw, woodchipper, or truck can legally call themselves a tree removal specialist.

A civilian cutting a tree in half using a bolo.


If you’re worried about environmental responsibility and ecology-protecting best practices, then hire a tree removal specialist who is also a licensed and certified arborist.16

Arborists are sometimes called tree surgeons. They are specially trained to identify, diagnose, and focus on the safety of plants and trees.

Arborists are also trained to consider the bigger picture and make decisions about the health of a tree relative to the needs of the local ecology.

Search online for certified arborist tree removal specialists who acquired their certification from the ISA, or the International Society of Arboriculture. ISA-certified arborists must upgrade their certifications annually.

#4 Inquire About Tree Burning Practices

In 2013, the EPA effectively banned the use of firewood-burning stoves in the United States.9,17 Over 80% of woodburning stoves became obsolete overnight.

The legislation was ratified to reduce air pollution and stop medical ailments caused by it.

The city of London enacted a similar law in February 2023.10

Wood burning causes smog, burnt wood, and soot particulates to pollute the air, water, and soil. Wood burning can also be a greater fire hazard to the local environment.

However, corporations and businesses can take advantage of legal strategic loopholes to bypass such laws. Some states allow businesses, and private citizens to a lesser degree, to use “burn permits,”18 to burn wood waste.

South American corporations employed continent-wide slash-and-burn practices in the Amazon that were so widespread and horrifying in 2019 that the smoke was visible to space satellites.11

The point is that while you might be legally punished for having a wood stove, a tree removal service might be able to bypass anti-wood burning laws. Make sure that your contractor does not burn the wood it collects in large-scale burn pits.

Do you need a permit to cut down trees? It depends on your local laws, but generally no.

#5 Donate Wood as an Animal Habitat

If you think about it, human beings basically copied the template of living in wood-derived structures from animals.

Local animal habitats, zoos, or sanctuaries may be in need of wood to pile for use as animal habitats. You will have to do a lot of online research and networking to find interested takers.

#6 Use and Donate Mulching for Landscaping Purposes

As mentioned, most tree removal professionals will provide a wood chipper or stump grinder equipment on-site for an additional cost. You’ll be left with a pile of mulch, or wood chips, and an expedited need to repurpose them.

Many gardeners and landscapers use wood chips for aesthetic soil covering and to cover garden walkways. Mulch also helps soil retain water between waterings.

A layering of mulch in a garden will also aggressively restrain weeds from growing out of control. Mulch will also slowly and organically return nutrients to the soil as it slowly decomposes.

Find creative ways to use wood chips on your property or donate as much as you can to neighbors, friends, and local businesses.

#7 Donate Wood to Eco-Friendly Wood-Burning Small Businesses

People should be concerned about pollution and the irreversible damage caused by climate change. Still, a cognitive disconnect still exists in society when it comes to wood burning.

There are laws that obsolete wood-burning stoves for private individuals while also excusing corporations that can afford to bypass those laws.

But every day people still buy smoked meats that were cured with smoke from burning wood. Or they go to pizzerias, barbecue joints, and restaurants that specialize in cooking and burning with burning wood.

As long as it is on a small scale, society tolerates wood burning.

You should consider donating your leftover wood to small businesses that ethically burn wood in their operations. Look for eco-friendly businesses that plant trees, use produce strictly grown via organic methods, or donate to environmental causes.

#8 Legal Slash-and-Burn

You can legally and ethically slash and burn your tree removal remains with a burn permit. This should be a last resort option at all costs.

Slash-and-burn is an ancient form of agriculture – by some estimates,19 the practice is over 7,000 years old.12 Trees and plants are cut down, collected, and piled up – the collected biomass is called “slash.” It is then carefully and strategically burned in place.

Slash-and-burn converts plant biomass into nutrient-rich ash which fertilizes local topsoil. The burned biomass also returns some carbon into the soil while eliminating local weeds.

Image of dry grass being burned while a fireman is trying to manage it.

(Image: ilya kerig25)

Slash-and-burn farming techniques are still practiced widely in much of the underdeveloped world. However, the practice is unsustainable in the long run on large-scale land.

Nutrient-rich ash only fertilizes the soil for a few years, which is why modern organic practices like composting or vermiculture are recommended as alternatives.

Still, wood burning is allowed and societally ethical depending on the situation. For example, firefighters strategically use the fire clearance of brush fires to fight forest fires, which can sound counterintuitive.

Many homeowners burn accumulated leaves instead of composting them. How many times have you gone camping and burned firewood for warmth or ambiance?

You can get a legal burn permit to burn wood on your property. Consult with an arborist or local fire department official to learn how to ethically slash and burn on a small scale on your property.

You may need to cure the wood for a year before you can do it.

This option should be a last resort and something you do once or sparingly. And you can compost the nutrient-rich ashes later.

And you should consider planting several dozen trees as ecological compensation if you ethically slash and burn on a small scale.

Get an Eco-Friendly Tree Removal Consultation First

Removing a tree can be a hazardous activity. It requires the hiring of trained individuals and the use of expensive and specialized equipment.

Hire an arborist as a tree removal consultant. An arborist can look at and diagnose the tree’s problems for you.

And they can consult you on how to remove the tree in an optimally eco-friendly manner.

A worker climbing up a tree as he try to cut it down.

(Image: audreyrose291520)

As you will learn in this comprehensive guide, a tree removal contractor does not need to be an expert or have a specialized license.

Even though you can give your green waste to the city for recycling, this process is not perfect. Local city governments progressively receive more waste than they can recycle.

And, a lot of waste is contaminated and can’t be recycled.13 Depending on the statistics you prefer, only 32% of garbage is actually recycled by local governments.1

You may want to take the initiative to make sure your tree removal does not adversely affect the local ecology.

Tree Removal Cost

There is no one standard metric for the cost of removing a tree from private property.

Every contractor has their own standards and metrics to justify their pricing.

Graphic of tree removal price factors such as tree age, number of trees in need of removal, complexity of job, diseased or dead trees, species of tree, height and width of tree, proximity to obstacles, boundaries, and structures, need for specialized equipment, unsafe, slippery, or inclined ground, grinding and mulching of wood, and removing extracted tree or remnants off-site.

Additionally, you need leverage to justify paying for tree removal services on your terms. If you need a damaged tree removed after a bad storm, then the contractor has all the leverage. And depending on the circumstances, you have even less leverage with elective tree removal needs.

The average cost of tree removal can cost anywhere between $200 to $2,000.2 However, the larger the tree and the more complicated the process, the more expensive it will be.

When is the cheapest time of year for tree removal? Trees have fewer leaves, are dormant, and are easier to cut in winter.

What Is a Good Tree Removal Cost Calculator To Consider?

With a tree removal cost calculator, compare the prices of local tree removal specialists. And then consider that there are multiple metrics that determine the price of tree removal.

Hire an arborist so you can determine exactly how your tree must be removed.

Tree Removal Cost Calculator

Tree removal price metrics can include but are not limited to:

  • Tree age
  • Number of trees in need of removal
  • Complexity of job
  • Diseased or dead trees
  • Species of tree
  • Height and width of tree
  • Proximity to obstacles, boundaries, and structures
  • Need for specialized equipment
  • Working on unsafe, slippery, or inclined ground
  • Grinding and mulching wood
  • Removing extracted tree or remnants off-site

Tree Removal Near Me

Finding a tree removal specialist should be a relatively straightforward task to accomplish. There are numerous online directories where you can find a tree removal contractor near your location.

Two men manually pulling a tree stump while the 3rd man is using a chainsaw to cut it.

(Image: newforester21)

Additionally, you will probably find a good tree removal specialist via performance referrals from relatives and friends.

Free tree removal programs do exist, but you must have a specific species of tree or find eligible government programs to qualify.

Tree Stump Removal

If you’re resorting to contracting a tree removal service, make sure that you get the stump removed as well. Tree stumps regenerate continually – and the more they are trimmed or re-cut, the larger they will grow underground.3

So, make sure that the tree stump is removed along with the tree.

Tree stump removal is an added and elective cost related to tree removal. A tree removal contractor won’t remove a tree or tree stump or mulch the wood without request or additional payment.

Tree Stump Removal Machine

Tree removal contractors have specialized equipment called “stump grinders,” that can facilitate stump removal without tearing it out.

Stump Grinder

Stump grinders are converted wood chippers that can grind down a tree stump into piles of mulch without tearing out the entire stump.

While stump removal is important, tearing out an entire tree stump can damage the root systems of local plants or spread disease and weeds further. It also creates a giant and deep hole that needs to be filled.

What Is the Best Tree Root Removal Method?

Using a stump grinder might be your best option. After the stump is grounded down, removing the root system becomes relatively easier – it may become a bigger job if there is a deep taproot.

Some experts drill deep holes into the stump and then inject Epsom salt or rock salt into it to kill the roots, but that process could take weeks. Consult with an arborist to make sure this is a good option.

How To Negotiate Tree Removal

You don’t have much leverage to negotiate tree removal prices. And this is especially true if removing the tree is an emergency need for you.

Tree removal experts can charge based on the height and diameter of the tree, weight, difficulty of extraction, species classification, obstacles, number of trees to be removed, needed equipment, and any metric that justifies their efforts.

Be informed. Hire an arborist for a consultation.

Find out why the tree must be removed and the exact manner in which it needs to be removed.

Compares the price metrics of local tree removal specialists compared to your needs. Use this data to then find a contractor who will charge you according to your exacting needs.

Want to know how much to cut down a 50-foot pine tree? It could cost you hundreds.

Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal?

It really depends on your local municipal laws. If the tree trunk is on your property and it falls on your own or on another’s property, then you may legally compliant to remove the tree.4

This is not an absolute rule. The United States is the most litigious country in the world.

There are over 1.3 million lawyers in the United States.5 And people are more prone to sue each other over matters much more trivial than tree removal costs.

Two workers trimming the branches of a dry tree during winter.

(Image: newforester22)

Even if your neighbor’s tree fell on your property, you may have to pay for the removal costs until the resolution of any boundary line disputes or other legal claims lodged by your neighbor.

Free tree removal for seniors does exist, but they are not always advertised. You must research and inquire about them.

Do Tree Removal Agreement Between Neighbors Exist?

Such agreements are practical proportionally to how well you get along with your neighbors.

Talk to your neighbors about mutually beneficial future tree removal contingencies. Get the agreement drawn up by a lawyer to protect everyone involved.

Are There Any Cheap Tree Removal Alternatives?

You should strive to hire professional, licensed, trained, certified, and eco-friendly tree removal specialists whenever the need arises. You’ll get what you pay if you try to get cheap tree removal services.

An incorrect tree removal job will cost you more later.

Could Tree Trimming Methods Be Forced on Private Property?

If the canopy of your tree was perilously close to power lines, then the local government could ask you to trim it or trim it without your permission. Still, this is not a general rule, and such an occurrence depends on local laws.

For example, you might be forced to trim your tree dues to a boundary dispute lawsuit with your neighbors. Canopy shadows or leaves falling on a neighbor’s property could instigate a lawsuit.

How Do Homeowners Get Tree Removal Insurance?

Shop around when it comes to homeowners’ policies. They may only pay for tree removal under exacting circumstances.

Make certain that your tree removal specialist has general liability insurance coverage to protect yourself if they damage your property. And make sure they have worker’s compensation insurance so you don’t get sued if a worker is hurt on your property.

You can get free tree removal in exchange for wood, but you will have to network with companies in need of such.

How Much Does Insurance Pay for Tree Removal?

There is no generalized rule for how much your insurance company will pay for tree removal. Every homeowner’s insurance policy is customized to the policyholder with specific and binding conditions.6

Every policy is different. For example, insurance might pay if the tree fell on your home or driveway or if accumulated snow weighed the tree down.

If the tree was dead or dying, not well-maintained, or fell during an earthquake or hurricane, your insurance might not pay. An insurance payment under such exacting circumstances might range between $250 to $1,000.

Who is responsible for fallen tree removal? If the tree is on your property, you’re probably responsible.

Barring any emergency, removing a tree should be your last option. Hire an arborist as a consultant before you start tree removal procedures and ensure they are conducted in an eco-friendly manner.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tree Removal

How Much Is an Emergency Tree Removal?

Having a tree removed under dire emergency circumstances will cost you thousands of dollars more than under regular circumstances. You have no leverage in such situations and the contractor can set their price.

How To Remove a Tree (In an Eco-Friendly Manner)

Get a consultation from an arborist before you try to remove the tree. An arborist may be able to help you strategize some eco-friendly disposal methods.

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

Every tree removal specialist charges different prices for their services. But you might have to pay $1,000 to $2,000.

What Is the Average Cost of Tree Removal?

The typical cost incurred for tree removal services coincides with the complexity of completing the task. The typical cost ranges between $250 to $2,000 – but that is a conservative estimate and a general guideline.


1Gibbens, S. (2023, January 17). Why your recycling doesn’t always get recycled. National Geographic. Retrieved May 21, 2023, from <https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/why-recycling-plastic-doesnt-always-get-recycled>

2Wallender, L., & Tynan, C. (2023, April 27). How Much Does Tree Removal Cost In 2023? – Forbes Home. Forbes. Retrieved May 21, 2023, from

3WeekAnd. (2021, July 19). Can Stumps Grow Back? WeekAnd.com. Retrieved May 21, 2023, from <https://www.weekand.com/home-garden/article/can-stumps-grow-back-18049328.php>

4Mannis, J. (2023). My Tree Fell on Neighbor’s Garage: Who Pays? Nolo. Retrieved May 21, 2023, from <https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/my-tree-fell-neighbors-garage-who-pays.html>

5Statista. (2022, August 16). Number of lawyers in the United States from 2007 to 2022. Statista. Retrieved May 21, 2023, from <https://www.statista.com/statistics/740222/number-of-lawyers-us/>

6Deventer, C., & Leicht, A. (2022, November 22). Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal? Bankrate. Retrieved May 21, 2023, from <https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/homeowners-insurance/does-homeowners-insurance-cover-tree-removal/#remove>

7Tree Removal. (2023). Tree Removal Regulations by State – Tree Removal. Tree Removal. Retrieved May 21, 2023, from <https://www.treeremoval.com/tree-removal-regulations-by-state/#.ZGq2Xn1BzIU>

8Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services. (2023). APPLICATION FOR A TREE REMOVAL PERMIT. Bureau of Street Services. Retrieved May 21, 2023, from <https://streetsla.lacity.org/sites/default/files/ufd_tree_removal_permit.pdf>

9Dodrill, T. (2013, October 2). EPA Bans Most Wood-Burning Stoves. Energy Justice Network. Retrieved May 21, 2023, from <https://www.energyjustice.net/content/epa-bans-most-wood-burning-stoves>

10Carrington, D. (2023, February 8). Wood burners in effect banned in new and refurbished homes in London. The Guardian. Retrieved May 21, 2023, from <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/feb/08/wood-burners-in-effect-banned-new-refurbished-homes-london>

11ANDELA, N., Morton, D. C., Schroeder, W., Chen, Y., Brando, P. M., & Randerson, J. T. (2022, July 29). Tracking and classifying Amazon fire events in near real time. Science Advances. Retrieved May 21, 2023, from <https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abd2713>

12Kuchta, D. M. (2022, January 28). Slash-and-Burn Agriculture: Can It Be Sustainable Again? Treehugger. Retrieved May 21, 2023, from <https://www.treehugger.com/slash-and-burn-agriculture-5215362>

13Cho, R. (2020, March 13). Recycling in the U.S. Is Broken. How Do We Fix It? State of the Planet. Retrieved May 24, 2023, from <https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2020/03/13/fix-recycling-america/>

14Rosenthal, S. (2018, June 12). HOW TO HIRE A TREE SERVICE. UF/IFAS Extension. Retrieved May 24, 2023, from <https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/media/sfylifasufledu/leon/image/How-to-Hire-a-Tree-Service_MT-edit.pdf>

15Wikipedia. (2023, May 8). Occupational licensing. Wikipedia. Retrieved May 24, 2023, from <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_licensing>

16Sullivan, R. (2023, April 4). Arborist. Wikipedia. Retrieved May 24, 2023, from <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arborist>

17U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2023). Ordinances and Regulations for Wood-Burning Appliances | US EPA. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved May 24, 2023, from <https://www.epa.gov/burnwise/ordinances-and-regulations-wood-burning-appliances>

18State of Michigan. (2023). Permission to Burn (Burn Permit). Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved May 24, 2023, from <https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/managing-resources/forestry/fire/burn-permit>

19Wikipedia. (2023, May 12). Slash-and-burn. Wikipedia. Retrieved May 24, 2023, from <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slash-and-burn>

20audreyrose2915. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/images/id-2699420/>

21newforester. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/images/id-87116/>

22newforester. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/images/id-87095/>

23Helena Jankovičová Kováčová. Pexels. Retrieved from <https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-firefighter-cutting-a-tree-with-a-chainsaw-7812853/>

24DELIKA LENS PHOTOGRAPHY. Pexels. Retrieved from <https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-man-cutting-tree-12368957/>

25ilya kerig. Unsplash. Retrieved from <https://unsplash.com/photos/A8tNngyt9f4>