Author Topic: How to save money on tree trimming?  (Read 3796 times)

KBecks2

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How to save money on tree trimming?
« on: January 03, 2015, 07:18:24 AM »
We need tree trimming, my husband informs me.  We have a large Oak and a large Maple.  I believe we can trim everything else ourselves.

Tree services are expensive.  I don't want to DIY and fall off a ladder.

I should get 3 bids, right?  What would be the best way to handle this?  (I should have called before there was snow on the ground).

This is the kind of thing that I like to put off, and put off and put off and put off.   Please talk me through it.


FeynmanFan

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Re: How to save money on tree trimming?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2015, 07:51:54 AM »
In my humble view, you are wise to contract this out. I'm a DIY'er, too, but tree trimming/removal beyond trivial scope is dangerous. Chain saws are dangerous unless the user knows what she/he is doing. I know a lot of guys who are meticulous about wearing all manner of safety equipment -- including full face shields and Kevlar chaps -- before they even start a chain saw.

And you are also right that tree services are expensive. They may be expensive because of the risks.

Make sure your contractor is licensed and insured. That way, if they get injured while on the job, you are protected. You might also want to check if your homeowners' insurance covers claims by third parties working in or around your house.

You will be asked if you want the wood removed. And if you want the wood to remain, they will ask if you want it cut into lengths suitable for use in a fireplace.

If the tree is completely removed, you will also have to decide if you want the trunk ground off.

I love trees and it always pains me to have one removed, but trees have a useful life (many of them do, anyway) and it is prudent to keep them in check to avoid hazards (e.g., limbs/trunks falling into your house).

Bob W

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Re: How to save money on tree trimming?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2015, 10:52:41 AM »
In my humble view, you are wise to contract this out. I'm a DIY'er, too, but tree trimming/removal beyond trivial scope is dangerous. Chain saws are dangerous unless the user knows what she/he is doing. I know a lot of guys who are meticulous about wearing all manner of safety equipment -- including full face shields and Kevlar chaps -- before they even start a chain saw.

And you are also right that tree services are expensive. They may be expensive because of the risks.

Make sure your contractor is licensed and insured. That way, if they get injured while on the job, you are protected. You might also want to check if your homeowners' insurance covers claims by third parties working in or around your house.

You will be asked if you want the wood removed. And if you want the wood to remain, they will ask if you want it cut into lengths suitable for use in a fireplace.

If the tree is completely removed, you will also have to decide if you want the trunk ground off.

I love trees and it always pains me to have one removed, but trees have a useful life (many of them do, anyway) and it is prudent to keep them in check to avoid hazards (e.g., limbs/trunks falling into your house).
.     +1

Future Lazy

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Re: How to save money on tree trimming?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2015, 07:55:31 PM »
We need tree trimming, my husband informs me.  We have a large Oak and a large Maple.  I believe we can trim everything else ourselves.

Tree services are expensive.  I don't want to DIY and fall off a ladder.

I should get 3 bids, right?  What would be the best way to handle this?  (I should have called before there was snow on the ground).

This is the kind of thing that I like to put off, and put off and put off and put off.   Please talk me through it.


Nope! Winter is typically a slow season for tree care professionals, as mostly people have other priorities and aren't out in their yards thinking about tree stuff. Chances are that having tree cutting done in the winter is up to 20-30% cheaper than during the summer. It's also better for your trees to be cut in the winter, as they're somewhat dormant and will lose less sap, and are less likely to catch disease through their cuts during the winter.

Also seek: July 4th specials, Back To School Specials, as July and August are also a bit slow (but not as slow as winter!).

Other things to know:

A Dead and Damaged trim is going to be a bit cheaper, but will only remove the dead and the damage from a tree. It's worth paying a bit more for a Class A trim to thin the tree and prevent future damages, less to pay for in the long run.

Can the tree trimmer tell which branches need to be removed, even if they don't have leaves? Yes! Dead branches are crispy to the touch and can usually be broken off with a pole saw, damage is actually easier to identify from the ground this time of year, and branches that are crossing or will soon cross/rub together are also removed to prolong the time between trimmings/prevent damage in storms.

Can you do the work yourself? Probably! Feel free to tackle any work below about 15ft off the ground. However, you'll need a ladder, a pole saw and a pole clip. My advice is that if it is more than 15ft off the ground, if you don't have the proper equipment, or if it requires a chain saw, you're going to be much happier if you hire a professional. Even with a small chainsaw, it's easy to make a simple mistake and end up hurting bad in the ER.

If you do some of the trimming yourself, try to cut the limbs back as close to their branching point as possible, so the "wound" is flush with the branch. This will help the tree heal more quickly and prevent disease. In other words, don't leave stubs.

Do NOT have your maple tree 'topped'. Some professionals may tell you this helps prevent damage from wind/heavy snowfall, but in reality, it just causes the tree to have a growth spurt, producing more fast-growing and brittle branches (known as "watershoots") around the crown of the tree, making future damages more likely.

In my humble view, you are wise to contract this out. I'm a DIY'er, too, but tree trimming/removal beyond trivial scope is dangerous. Chain saws are dangerous unless the user knows what she/he is doing. I know a lot of guys who are meticulous about wearing all manner of safety equipment -- including full face shields and Kevlar chaps -- before they even start a chain saw.

And you are also right that tree services are expensive. They may be expensive because of the risks.

Make sure your contractor is licensed and insured. That way, if they get injured while on the job, you are protected. You might also want to check if your homeowners' insurance covers claims by third parties working in or around your house.

You will be asked if you want the wood removed. And if you want the wood to remain, they will ask if you want it cut into lengths suitable for use in a fireplace.

If the tree is completely removed, you will also have to decide if you want the trunk ground off.

I love trees and it always pains me to have one removed, but trees have a useful life (many of them do, anyway) and it is prudent to keep them in check to avoid hazards (e.g., limbs/trunks falling into your house).


Definitely, definitely make sure they provide proof of insurance. If they aren't insured, and drop parts of the tree on your house/car/fence/dog, and can't pay for those damages as a company, you're SOL.

Definitely, definitely make sure they are licensed. Keep in mind that this applies to tree climbers only - as in, rope and saddle climbing, or bucket truck 'climbers'. This is usually issued by your local municipality. In the Denver area, I would feel comfortable using any tree cutter that has a Denver license, as it's usually the most difficult to get. Other cities will sometimes issue a license to a company/climber based on their acquisition of a license in another municipality. For example, Englewood will give you a license with no test if you've tested and been approved by Denver or Wheat Ridge.

Not having the wood removed may also get you a discount. It costs money to haul and dump - a lot of money - as well as being backbreaking work in general. If you don't want the firewood, ask them to stack the logs by the curb and put them on Craigslist.

Having a stump cut close to the ground (vs. leaving the trunk standing) should cost little if you're not having the wood hauled away. Stump grinding may be another $300-500, depending on the company and their access to a stump grinding machine.

Get multiple bids - three is probably good. Estimates should be free - if they aren't, don't bother. Estimating usually amounts to looking at the size of a tree, determining how many hours the work will take, and then following the formula (Hours * cost per hour) = Bid. Cost per hour can be anywhere between $100-300 hr in the Denver area. Hint: Estimate your own tree by counting 1.5 hours per each major lead of the tree. If you're having the tree completely removed, add another 1 hour of work per 5-7ft section of trunk. 

Source: Child of tree trimmer in Denver, 15+ years.

Hope this helps!

PS. If you have any large free standing pine trees, such as bull pine or blue spruce trees, and live in a windy area, look into getting these thinned to prevent them from blowing over.

deborah

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Re: How to save money on tree trimming?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2015, 08:12:40 PM »
My local electricity supply has a list of recommended tree trimmers. All the companies on the list have appropriate insurance etc. See whether yours does too. Because of the risk of fire from tree branches rubbing on the wires, the electricity supply goes around and tells people they MUST have trees trimmed when they are too close to the electricity wires. In Australia there have been several electricity companies who have been sued for lines starting major fires.

act01

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Re: How to save money on tree trimming?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2015, 02:47:32 AM »
If it's a big job, get a signed contract (with the job clearly written out) before the work starts. I've had two neighbors run into issues with tree trimmers. One neighbor had a job take days longer than they planned. Another neighbor fired a trimmer after they hacked one of her trees (clearly didn't know what they were doing). In both cases, the trimmers tried to get more money than they were owed.