Tree Removal Cost Guide

Your Comprehensive Tree Removal Cost Guide in Australia

One way or another, no matter how much you love trees and preserve them at all costs, there might come a situation where getting a tree removed from your property is necessary.

If you’re already in that kind of pickle and are concerned about tree removal costs, you’re in the right place. Here’s a handy comprehensive tree removal cost guide in Australia.

How much does tree lopping cost?

How much does it cost to remove a tree?

This could be the foremost question in your mind when you need to remove one or more trees from your property.

The answer: it depends.

There are several factors (more on this later) that affect total tree lopping costs – whether you’re in Perth or elsewhere in the country.

However, a good ballpark figure for the cost of removing a 6-metre-high tree with a narrow trunk is $500. If it’s an 8-metre-high tree with a large trunk, expect to shell out somewhere around $1,000. In general, you may need to spend $300 for a small tree to as much as $20,000 for a very large tree.

Trees with a large girth would entail the use of safety equipment and a chainsaw. Larger ones close to road traffic may require the use of cranes, traffic management and electricity shutdowns – all of which can make the process very expensive. Some service fee quotes include the removal of cuttings, whilst others don't.

The estimates above do not include the arborist’s report, which costs around:

  • $75 to $100 (one to five trees)
  • $20 to $25 (for each additional tree)
  • $35 (submission to council fee)

Tree removal is technical work that has certain risks. It also involves the use of equipment that’s specific to the task. Keep this in mind as you start asking around for quotes.

Why consider tree removal?

There are those rare instances when you may find it necessary to have a tree removed from your property. However, property owners are only permitted to have a tree removed for very specific, compelling reasons.

Perhaps the tree targeted for removal is already severely infested with termites or other pests, diseased, dying or is practically dead. The tree can pose a safety risk to the building occupants or your family and pets. Therefore, getting it removed would be the best solution.

If a tree presents a threat to your safety or that of your neighbourhood, it may need to be cut down and removed. For example, a sizeable old tree that could fall or break during a storm may need to be lopped off.

Also, trees that are located in close proximity to buildings, including houses, may have roots growing into the plumbing or foundation and cause major structural damage. Another instance when a tree needs to be removed is if it obstructs your construction, home renovation or extension project.

Instead of letting these go unchecked or allowing them to happen, ask for the help of tree removal services.

What’s involved in removing a tree?

If you require council approval for your tree removal project, you may file an application first online or in person. Depending on your location or application requirements, you may provide relevant information that can help with the council’s assessment of your situation. This includes:

  • Evidence of any damage caused by the tree(s)
  • A tree condition report by a qualified arborist
  • A building report accomplished by a structural engineer
  • A pest inspection report

Once the council receives your application (and any supporting documents), a council-appointed arborist will schedule a site and tree inspection. This will help them determine the merits of your application and decide on whether tree removal is warranted.

Factors determining tree removal costs

So, how much does it cost to remove a tree?

Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this because, as mentioned earlier, there are certain factors that can affect the cost of a tree removal job. These include:

Tree size or height

The taller the tree or the larger the girth, the higher the cost of the job will probably be. Bigger trees can take more time or require the use of more specialised equipment.

Type of tree or timber

Your tree may have more branches that need to be cut off first, and this can affect how long the job will take and how much it will cost. The type of timber (soft or hard) can also affect how long it will take to cut the tree.

Location

The distance between your address and the service provider’s location can also affect the total cost of the tree removal project.

Accessibility

If the tree removal service has a tough time reaching your address, or if they encounter difficulties in bringing their equipment to where the tree is, the cost of the service may be higher.

Necessary equipment and safety precautions

As mentioned previously, the need for electricity shutdowns, traffic management, and specialised equipment can significantly affect the final cost of the tree removal job. For example, crane-assisted tree removal involving large trees tends to cost higher than usual.

Whether stump removal is included with the job

Most tree removal services charge for stump removal separately.

Transportation and tipping fees

If you don’t want to keep the cuttings,  you may need to pay for transporting and tipping fees.

Project permits and council fees

Aside from the council inspection fee, you need to pay an application fee, the cost of the arborist’s report and other related fees.

Tree removal cost by tree size

The costs for removing trees of different sizes vary. Large tree removal costs tend to be higher because of the risks involved, whilst small tree removal costs are usually on the lower end, as the tasks are simpler, faster and easier to do.

Although other factors besides the size can influence the total cost of a tree removal job, the following rough estimates are a good starting point during budget planning:

  • Small (10 metres or less) - $300 to $3,000
  • Medium (10 to 20 metres) - $500 to $4,000
  • Large (over 20 metres) - $1,200 to $20,000

Tree removal cost by location

Depending on where you are located, the average tree lopping costs may also differ.

  • Tree removal cost in Perth: $250 to $4,300
  • Tree removal cost in Sydney: $300 to $8,000+
  • Tree removal cost in Melbourne: $500 to $1,500
  • Tree removal cost in Adelaide: $250 to $4,500
  • Tree removal cost in Brisbane: $265 to $4,200

Tree removal cost by type

The cost of removing different types of trees also vary. Certain tree species, for example, have more branches, and removing them could be more difficult and take longer.

Below are some common or popular trees and the potential cost of their removal.

  • Oak tree removal cost: $1,200 to $5,000
  • Pine tree removal cost: Norfolk Island pine – around $2,200 to $4,500; Radiata pine – around $1,700 to $3,120
  • Palm tree removal cost: $250 to $2,600
  • Conifer removal cost: $250 to $850
  • Gum tree removal cost: $600 to $1,000

How much does it cost to remove a tree stump?

Most tree removal services don’t include stump removal, although some people may require this service for safety (a stump can be a tripping hazard or habitat for fungi and mould) and aesthetic reasons.

The stump removal process can be done chemically using poison, through the use of fire to burn down the tree stump or by forcefully extracting the stump from the ground.

However, all the above options tend to be disruptive or pose risks to the surroundings, so some people opt for stump grinding. This method of stump removal involves using a stump grinder to grind down the tree stump until it reaches the level of the soil or lower.

The average cost to remove a tree stump falls between $40 and $400. This can be higher or lower depending on certain factors, such as the type of tree, duration of the job and accessibility.

Seasonal aspects of tree lopping prices

When calculating tree removal costs, seasonality also figures. For example, tree lopping costs tend to be higher during the summer and spring when service demand is high. During autumn and winter, tree removal costs are usually on the lower end, as fewer people require the service. Also, since most deciduous trees have fewer leaves during autumn, tree removal becomes easier to do with less foliage to work with.

Do I need council approval to remove a tree?

Before you can proceed with tree removal, find out first if you need to file an application for it with the local council, as well as the applicable cost of tree removal permits. This is crucial so you can avoid council fines for tree removal.

There are exceptions to tree removal rules in certain city councils. Here is a general guide to tree removals that don’t require prior approval.

Perth Council Approval

In general, property owners in Perth can have a tree removed without the need for council approval if the tree is dead, drying or is located in a bushfire zone.

While the Perth city government oversees the planting, cutting or removal of street trees and other trees located within its vicinity, regulations are council specific. This means you’ll have to check your local council tree preservation order (TPO) or policy manual for any tree removal plans.

So, whether your property is located in Bassendean, Mosman Park or Fremantle, local council rules will apply.

Sydney Council Approval

In Sydney, the general rule of thumb is you don’t need to get council approval to remove a tree if the tree is dying or already dead.

You are also permitted to get rid of a tree if it is located within 3 metres of a house or building or within a fire zone. Also, if the tree is included in the local council's exemption list, you’ll be allowed to remove it without council permission.

Just like in Perth, there are also council-specific tree removal regulations, so make sure you check your local council TPO.

Melbourne Council Approval

You can get a tree removed in Melbourne without seeking council approval if the tree is dying, dead, structurally unsound, causing damage to nearby buildings or structures, or not included in the council’s 'exceptional tree' register.

However, since each local council has specific regulations, it’s best to always refer to your local council TPO when considering a tree removal in your suburb.

Brisbane Council Approval

Tree removal in Brisbane, in general, is considered illegal without council approval, even if the tree being cut is not protected vegetation. The only exception to this rule is if the tree in question is already dead or exhibits unmistakable signs that make it a safety risk.

For example, a tree may be removed without the need to get permission from the local council if the trunks are split or if the tree is already leaning. Again, to ensure you are not breaking any council rules, check your local council TPO before arranging for tree removal.

Adelaide Council Approval

To remove a tree in Adelaide without council approval, certain conditions must be met. If the tree is dead or its tree trunk circumference is only 2 metres (or less) when measured from 1 metre above the ground, you can get it removed without issue.

Trees on the exemption list are those located within 10 metres of a house or in-ground pool, and those 20 metres from a dwelling in a bushfire zone.

As always, check the local council TPO before scheduling a tree removal to ensure you are not breaking any rules.

Canberra Council Approval

For tree removal in Canberra, you may do so without council approval if the tree in question is smaller than 12 metres and or has a canopy measuring 12 metres or less.

The same applies if the tree has a trunk circumference measuring 1.5 metres or less when measured 1 metre above ground level. Lastly, you don’t need to get council permission to get rid of a tree that’s not found on the council’s significant tree register.

To determine if the target tree is not in the significant tree register, check the Canberra council TPO or tree removal rules in your suburb.

Hobart Council Approval

The city council of Hobart may require you to get a planning permit to remove a tree on private property, particularly if it is listed as a Significant Tree. The same may also be needed if there is a planning scheme overlay (Heritage or Biodiversity Protection).

For tree removal-related concerns, it’s best to check with the duty planner in the City Planning team. You may also direct questions about private property tree or vegetation removal to a Development Appraisal Planner.

Newcastle Council Approval

In Newcastle, you can remove a tree without a council permit if it poses an immediate risk to people and property, is dying or dead, or is located within 3 metres of a house or building.

You can also do this if the tree is below 3 metres high or has a circumference of 1.4 metres at breast height (aboveground), located within 3 metres of a principal building, or part of native vegetation planted for ‘agriculture, agroforestry, forestry, horticulture or woodlot purposes’.

But to be certain, always check with your local council for specific rules and regulations governing tree removal.

Council Approval for Tree Lopping

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