Owning a home, as opposed to renting one, has its advantages and disadvantages. If you own a property, you probably already know this. It's up to you to budget your money wisely enough to pay for a plumber if your pipes burst or a contractor when your roof leaks. However, do you ever set aside funds for tree removal? Paying to remove fallen trees and branches or cut down existing trees usually isn't at the forefront of homeowners' minds.
It's likely you won't need a tree service until severe weather, such as a tornado, hurricane or even snow storm, hits your area. With that said, don't rush yourself when adding tree removal services into your maintenance budget. Picking up the phone to call the first tree service you find can have dire consequences for your pocketbook. It's best to treat a tree removal company just like you would any other professional contractor who works on your home. Do your due diligence and you're bound to find an affordable and reputable business willing to assist you.
Services You Might Need and When to Get Them Done
You will need to contact a tree removal service not only if you have a large fallen tree in your yard, but also if your trees require trimming or pruning. Many times, bigger trees, such as oaks and maples, need a few cuts here and there if their branches and leaves grow too close to your house, your neighbor's yard or if they obscure traffic signs.
Use Winter to Your Advantage
If your trees need a trim, try to schedule an appointment with a tree service during the winter months. You can get cheaper, more affordable rates since there's less demand for tree removal from December through March.
However, it's not just the cost of trimming trees that's less expensive in winter. If you need an entire tree removed along with stump grinding, then consider holding off on the job until the colder months arrive. As long as it's not an emergency, like a fallen tree or a dying and diseased one on your property, then it's safe enough to wait until the tree service's busy season is over with. This can give you enough time to investigate the average prices in your area, collect some quotes and research reputable companies before making your decision about whom to hire.
Since winter is typically the offseason for tree removal services, you also have a better chance at negotiating a price that will suit your budget. Plus, the whole tree removal process is a lot easier on your yard when done in the winter, since the ground is usually frozen. Cutting down a tree and grinding its stump could rip up softer soil during warmer months.
If you have plans to remodel your home and add on to the existing structure, or you just want to remove unsightly looking trees from your yard, having a tree service come out to cut down your trees during winter can save you some cash before your contractors get started on your addition.
Arborists can determine if there are fungi or pests such as woodpeckers or bugs infecting your trees.
Save Through Maintenance
Keep in mind that regularly maintaining the health of your lawn and trees can save you money in the long run. You can avoid expensive tree removal if you regularly prune your tree branches and keep an eye out for pests that can damage your trees and contribute to the plant contracting a disease.
If you think something could be wrong with your trees, it's a good idea to hire an arborist to examine the health of your trees and the soil in your yard. He or she can determine if there are fungi or pests such as woodpeckers or bugs infecting your trees. If you and the arborist catch any tree ailments early, you have a better chance of nursing your trees back to health. Spending a little money on pruning, which can run between $200 to $660 depending on the size of the tree, can spare you from having to spend upward of $1,000 to cut a dead tree down.
Trimming and pruning your tree's branches goes a long way toward keeping them healthy. However, if your goal is to keep your trees alive and save yourself from spending money on removing dying trees from your property, be wary of any tree service companies advertising tree "topping" work. That term refers to a pruner negligently sawing off branches and trimming the tree in such a way that the branches cannot grow back and the tree inevitably dies.
You will know you're not dealing with a professional tree service if it markets itself as performing tree topping. Stay away from these companies for the health of your trees.
While it's not advisable in many situations, if you have a smaller tree located away from power lines, you can perform some DIY pruning and trimming. Cutting down trees or trimming them might look simple enough, but it's dangerous work - especially if you're working in an urban or suburban environment around people, other houses and electrical lines.
If you do choose to prune a tree yourself, you need the right equipment before starting the job. Invest in a hard hat and goggles for protection and look for a handheld pruner or lopper at a home improvement store. A pair of loppers can cost anywhere from $30 for a manual version to $100 for a battery-powered set.
Properly trimming a tree can be a time-consuming and physically demanding chore, so be prepared for a workout.
You'll require special tools to reach taller branches.
In case you want to make pruning easier on yourself, consider renting a gas-powered pole pruner. You can reach taller branches more effectively and you don't have to strain your hands like you do with a manual lopper. Depending on the brand and model, this tool can cost anywhere between $130 to $600.
If you have larger and taller trees that need trimming, it's safer to hire a professional service.
How to Find the Best Price
When you can't do it yourself and you need a tree removed immediately from your property, it's time to enlist the help of a tree removal service. While the average cost of trimming, cutting down a tree or grinding and removing a stump is dependent on a host of factors, there are steps homeowners can take to ensure they get the best price.
However, be wary of any tree removal service that's a door-to-door operation or one that quotes you a very low price for the job compared to other companies.
Here are some best practices to keep in mind when looking for a tree service:
- Ask friends, family, neighbors and coworkers if they can recommend any arborists or companies that they've hired in the past. If they can suggest a business to you, ask them how long the job took to complete and if they would hire the service again.
- Do a search for online reviews and check with your local business bureaus for any complaints against tree services.
- Obtain at least three quotes from different tree services for the same job.
- Before hiring professionals, have them walk you through the tree removal process and ask them how they plan to cut or trim your trees, as well as what kind of safety measures they plan on implementing.
- Only hire a tree service that has the proper amount of insurance. You don't want to be stuck paying for an accident.
- Obtain a written warranty of the work and an itemized invoice if possible.
- Never pay until the whole job is completed and you're satisfied with the work.
Taking precautions and knowing when you can do the job yourself will help keep your budget in line and your yard looking great.