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Ask Angi: Rely on pros for to cut down a tree

By Paul F. P. Pogue, Ask Angi
Published: April 21, 2023, 6:37am

Removing a tree is rarely a decision you make lightly. Maybe a tree has been slowly dying over the years; maybe an overnight storm took out one of your favorites, or perhaps you want to change the look of your yard.

Whatever the case, removing a tree is a big job you should trust the pros to handle. DIY tree removal carries a lot of risks. Even small trees might weigh hundreds of pounds, so even a minor misjudgment in its fall can cause major injuries or property damage. And since the job involves power tools, ladders and potential entanglement with high wires such as power lines, you want experts to be doing this work.

Depending on the tree size, tree removal costs between $200 and $2,000 on average. Quite often, stump removal is a separate cost of around $350, so be sure you know what you’re getting up front when you hire.

When you hire a tree service company, make sure you check all their credentials. This is a good idea for any service pro, but it’s essential with tree removal. Since they deal with many dangerous situations, you want to be sure they carry liability insurance (which protects you in the event any property is damaged) and workers’ compensation insurance (because if they don’t, you might be held personally liable if one of their employees is injured on the job.) Similarly, verify they have whatever state or local licensing is required to do tree service business in your area.

Although it’s not usually legally required, you should also ensure they carry accreditation from a respected industry association such as the Tree Care Industry Association or International Society of Arboriculture. Accreditation means the pro has committed to meeting specific industry standards and training to do the work correctly and safely. Such organizations also often require that the pro holds insurance.

Their safety training and expertise mean tree companies know how to cut away high branches to avoid trouble with power lines or entanglement with other trees, remove large limbs so they don’t cause damage when the tree comes down, bring down the tree in a controlled direction, and cut the tree into smaller pieces.

When hiring a tree service company, find out what they’ll do with the tree itself when they’re done. Often, they will present several options, such as woodchipping the remains into mulch, cutting it into firewood or hauling it all away.

Tree service can leave quite a mess, such as leaves, small branches, saw dust, wood chippings and other debris littering the area. Before the process begins, ask your pro what cleanup they offer so you both understand what you’re getting. It’s best to get the quote and process in writing so there’s no misunderstanding later.