How much does it cost to trim a large tree, and would you consider gardening an important enough reason to pay for it? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 05-10-2009, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've put a fair amount of money and effort into container gardening this season, and I've really been enjoying it. Today I started to move all my pots into position on the side of our patio, and as it turns out, I'm only getting 2 1/2-3 hours of direct sun in any given spot We have four huge oak trees on our property that make it impossible for me to garden the usual way, but a few summers ago we had enough sun on that part of the patio for me to grow good-sized tomato plants. Now that the leaves are fully in on all the oaks, though, it's become apparent that the branches have grown just enough to thwart my hobby *sigh*

So I'm wondering how much it would cost to trim back the tree that's causing most of the trouble. It's easily a 50-foot tree. Does anyone have a sense of what this kind of thing costs? And would you pay it to save your hobby? I've dreamed about a garden in this house since we moved here, and it quickly became apparent that I had neither the time nor the sun. I thought I'd finally figured out an alternative, and the kids are (somewhat) grown enough to give me the time, and here I am stuck again I've spent most of the day monitoring the sun situation, even outside our privacy fence, and the most I got was about 4 hours outside the fence, and I still haven't decided if I'm nervy enough to annoy my neighbors and go that route anyway! (We're on a big corner lot in one of those cookie cutter manicured suburbs, bleh.)

Any advice is welcome. Thanks!

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#2 of 25 Old 05-10-2009, 09:55 PM
 
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It costs about $500 here but I imagine the cost is regional.
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#3 of 25 Old 05-10-2009, 10:02 PM
 
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It depends on how much triming needs to be done. Most tree guys will give you an estimate. We have spent any where from $300 to $2000 on tree trimming in the past. Ask your neighbors who they recommend and make sure that whoever you hire has insurance.
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#4 of 25 Old 05-10-2009, 10:15 PM
 
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We spent $250 to trim 3 trees--so cheap because it was a couple of toothless guys who were going door to door. No kidding, took the risk of no-insurance for a deal. We paid $450 the year before for a similar trim w/ a reputable insured co.

IMO it's worth whatever cost you can afford if you like to garden. I'm thinking of having an entire tree removed, as cheap as I am, because it's shading my garden. You won't be able to grow any kind of vegetable unless you can get 6 hrs a sun a day. Outside your fence may or may not annoy your neighbors, but how will you water and weed it? Plus I've read you should be as far away from streets as possible b/c of lead and other nasties in car exhaust.

I also live in the suburbs and wish I had the nerve to tear up my front lawn. That gets mega sun and grass is such a water and energy waster, but I'm too chicken to be "that" neighbor.
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#5 of 25 Old 05-10-2009, 11:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by annekevdbroek View Post
It depends on how much triming needs to be done. Most tree guys will give you an estimate. We have spent any where from $300 to $2000 on tree trimming in the past. Ask your neighbors who they recommend and make sure that whoever you hire has insurance.
: I had a tree trimmed this past fall and it was $230, got the recommendation from my neighbors. In my case the tree was leaning badly and considering we get ice storms, a bad storm would have had the tree on my neighbors house and my garage so it had to be trimmed.

Based off what you said I would get the tree trimmed, can't really garden without sun.

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#6 of 25 Old 05-10-2009, 11:26 PM
 
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Is front yard gardening an option?
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#7 of 25 Old 05-10-2009, 11:31 PM
 
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trim them yourselves, it'll save you alot of money.
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#8 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 01:34 AM
 
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We were just told by one place that it would be $500 just for them to show up with their equipment.

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#9 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 01:38 AM
 
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We had a BIG tree cut down for $350, but we did (are doing) ALL of the cleanup ourself. We have been hampered by all this rain, or else it would probably be finished by now, but anyway.

We got 2 estimates and went with the guy who showed up when he said he would. He was $50 cheaper, but I really picked him for reliability not price.
The tree was VERY close to our house, and the neighbor's, and very big, so I wanted someone with insurance, otherwise we would have just cut it ourselves.
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#10 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 01:42 AM
 
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Maybe post something on craigslist to see if you can get someone to do it for as much as you can afford, but tell them they can keep the wood for firewood?
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#11 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 02:08 AM
 
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If you decide to cut the entire thing down a woodworker would probably love to have the trunk and large limbs. My dad hunts craigslist looking for oak all the time. He'll take it to the amish mill to be cut into useable boards for woodworking.

Kate~ Mama to two.
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#12 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 09:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
trim them yourselves, it'll save you alot of money.
She is talking TALL oak trees. This requires tree climbers and a big chipper shredder. Not a do-it-yourself job.

By the way, we had about 12 large oaks trimmed for about $1200. (lower cost of living area) This was lower branches only, to improve the view from our porch.

The concern for me would be how quickly would the trimmed parts regrow. It is hard to visualize your situation. Wide spreading oaks would be more cost effective than tall "forest" oaks. You can only take off about 1/3 of the total tree without harm. (when we did it it was maybe 5% of each tree - just lower branches)
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#13 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by annekevdbroek View Post
Ask your neighbors who they recommend and make sure that whoever you hire has insurance.
Oh gosh, that never even crossed my mind. Thanks! No one around here really has work done on their trees, but I'll check around and see what I can find.

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Originally Posted by newbymom05 View Post
IMO it's worth whatever cost you can afford if you like to garden. I'm thinking of having an entire tree removed, as cheap as I am, because it's shading my garden. You won't be able to grow any kind of vegetable unless you can get 6 hrs a sun a day. Outside your fence may or may not annoy your neighbors, but how will you water and weed it? Plus I've read you should be as far away from streets as possible b/c of lead and other nasties in car exhaust.

I also live in the suburbs and wish I had the nerve to tear up my front lawn. That gets mega sun and grass is such a water and energy waster, but I'm too chicken to be "that" neighbor.
I know, me too! We considered getting the side yard fenced so we could do it, but because we're on a corner, that side has to have a 40-foot setback And anyway, the same darn tree is shading the side yard.

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Originally Posted by goldfishkate View Post
If you decide to cut the entire thing down a woodworker would probably love to have the trunk and large limbs. My dad hunts craigslist looking for oak all the time. He'll take it to the amish mill to be cut into useable boards for woodworking.
I would love to take that tree out! It would solve the whole problem. But that's the tree that provides the majority of the shade for the backyard, which is great except for this one issue. The trees were one of the things I loved about this house when we bought it, but I didn't realize just how little sun we'd be getting in the spots I needed. If we ever do get rid of any of them, though, I'll keep that in mind.

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She is talking TALL oak trees. This requires tree climbers and a big chipper shredder. Not a do-it-yourself job.
Yeah, totally. We don't have the equipment, time, or nerve to do it ourselves. These trees are HUGE. We are doing some work ourselves on the other side that will also help the situation though.

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The concern for me would be how quickly would the trimmed parts regrow. It is hard to visualize your situation. Wide spreading oaks would be more cost effective than tall "forest" oaks. You can only take off about 1/3 of the total tree without harm. (when we did it it was maybe 5% of each tree - just lower branches)
I don't know. That's part of what's keeping me from deciding. Like, are we going to spend, I don't know, $500 every three years to trim this part of the tree? For that I could just join the CSA every year. But then I wouldn't have the experience of doing the actual gardening And I've really enjoyed doing this this year. I'd much rather be doing it in the ground, of course, but I'd settle for keeping the tree and container gardening. Darn it!

And no, no front yard gardening because the front is even worse--that's where the other three oaks are! Again, there's that side yard, which I haven't totally given up on, but I watched the sun pattern all day yesterday, and that side only gets full sun from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., then the backyard oak is in the way. I actually have a vision for turning that side yard into a garden oasis, neighbors be d*mned, but there's some question over how long we'll stay here, and I don't want to do anything too drastic if we want to sell. (But it involves fruit trees along the sidewalk and berry bushes along the driveway, and an arbor, and edibles grown in the interior. Doesn't that sound heavenly? )

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#14 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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We have had success with shade growing of blackberries - something to try! PawPaw is also a shade growing option.

It sounds like the side yard would be your best bet. The book "the edible rainbow garden" has some super ways to combine edible flowers and colorful veggies for a "front yard look". With some flowers added, you could have large containers or beds right near your sidewalk. The the only issue is rabbits. We have also had success with herbs as rock garden/decorative plants - sage is great for this, as are strawberries.

The large containers will be more cost effective than tree trimming - and tree removal could increase AC costs by hundreds of dollars. :
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#15 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 01:21 PM
 
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Check with your town's government - here where I live we are able to rent a decent sized garden plot for $25 a year and that includes access to water and a hose.
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#16 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 01:37 PM
 
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She is talking TALL oak trees. This requires tree climbers and a big chipper shredder. Not a do-it-yourself job.
not necessarily. Most of it depends on where the branches are & how close to buildings they are.
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#17 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 02:08 PM
 
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We have 6 trees that need to come down, they block out the sun on our garden and they drop large branches which I consider a danger to my kids, plus one is dragging down the power lines. They can't be trimmed. Our neighbours had one of theirs trimmed and it regrow half of the trimmed bit by the next season.

I will be replacing them with smaller fruit trees, so even though it's likely going to cost us thousands, it'll be worth it for the, sun, safety and food.
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#18 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 02:53 PM
 
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We had 2 super huge trees trimmed and the 3rd removed as it was the largest (60 ft) and blocked the most sun. Our south facing yard had absolutely no sun because of them. Hated to do it, but was needed. Price was about $500 for all 3, and varies from area to area and season (how busy the guy is).

What a wonderful idea though - to give the large truck to a wood-worker or maybe trade it for a nice coffee table made from the tree in exchange? Just an idea. All the best.
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#19 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 04:33 PM
 
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I'll be the dissenting voice (kind of) and say that I don't think gardening is a valid reason for trimming/removing the trees.

But I do think safety is a very good reason to get them trimmed. Living in Tornado Alley, I am so so so glad I had our HUGE trees trimmed. They are very close to the house, and I can see the oak branches whipping like crazy through my bedroom skylight. Since we had them trimmed, we've had two big ice storms and one tornado go through the neighborhood, but we were safe. Our neighbors weren't so lucky - there were hundreds of trees down in the neighborhood, some on top of houses and cars.

I love our tree guy. He's a friend of a friend, and while he's insured, he costs about 1/4 of what the guys with full-page yellow pages ads cost. I think it was between $500-600 to have a huge oak and huge sweet gum tree trimmed.

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#20 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 06:38 PM
 
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I've been thinking about this thread and why insurance is needed. If you have homeowners, aren't you covered? Or is the worry that a tree branch will crash into your car/house/whatever? Because if the worker gets injured, that's all you, or am I incorrect?
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#21 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 06:47 PM
 
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I also live in the suburbs and wish I had the nerve to tear up my front lawn. That gets mega sun and grass is such a water and energy waster, but I'm too chicken to be "that" neighbor.
We're "that" neighbor. Our lawn was torn out and I have a garden in one section, a U-shaped driveway put in, and a few new, baby fruit trees - lemons and apples. Love! We have one small patch of grass - about 7x7 - and the rest is garden or driveway, and it works well for me. Our neighbors have not complained.

There is a HUGE oak tree in our neighbor's yard and it overhangs into our yard. We share the cost of the trimming and it's about $250 each. It's seriously enormous, and since it's over our big koi pond, not easy to trim on our side.
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#22 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're "that" neighbor. Our lawn was torn out and I have a garden in one section, a U-shaped driveway put in, and a few new, baby fruit trees - lemons and apples. Love! We have one small patch of grass - about 7x7 - and the rest is garden or driveway, and it works well for me. Our neighbors have not complained.

There is a HUGE oak tree in our neighbor's yard and it overhangs into our yard. We share the cost of the trimming and it's about $250 each. It's seriously enormous, and since it's over our big koi pond, not easy to trim on our side.
I know, there's a part of me that's like, who cares??? Someone on another board suggested that I should do my part to help start the revolution this way But then there's that small nagging voice, and the fact that we still might want to move at some point *sigh* What a stupid, stupid waste of space that side yard is

I was just outside, and actually, I am leaning more toward having someone come. There are some dead branches on all four trees that I wouldn't mind having taken care of--at least one falls with each windy storm we have. They weren't really enough to bother with by themselves, but I can have those removed at the same time. I also want to have a branch trimmed back our neighbor's tree. It's been reaching for the sun and provided nice shade last year, but now now it's way out over our pool. More branches from that tree are also blocking our lilacs, too. Might as well go for the gusto and get everything done. That way I won't feel so bad about the money. I do think the dead branches are a safety and liability issue...right???

My mom actually gave me the name of a reliable contractor for the job, and told me it will probably be $1000 or so. The rectory where she works is having a few medium-sized trees removed entirely and trimming done on several others, and they gave her a quote for $1000.

We've hardly spent any money on this house since we moved in 6 years ago. I guess it's about that time, huh? I'm just glad we happen to have the money to do it (for the moment).

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#23 of 25 Old 05-11-2009, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by HappyLittleHouse View Post
We're "that" neighbor. Our lawn was torn out and I have a garden in one section, a U-shaped driveway put in, and a few new, baby fruit trees - lemons and apples. Love! We have one small patch of grass - about 7x7 - and the rest is garden or driveway, and it works well for me. Our neighbors have not complained.

There is a HUGE oak tree in our neighbor's yard and it overhangs into our yard. We share the cost of the trimming and it's about $250 each. It's seriously enormous, and since it's over our big koi pond, not easy to trim on our side.
Hey mama, would you be willing to post (or send) a pic of how your front-yard garden looks? I'd love to get some ideas for next year, maybe. If not, though, I understand.

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#24 of 25 Old 05-12-2009, 01:19 AM
 
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We have this issue too, but unfortunately most of the trees are in our neighbor's yard.

We spent a lot of money putting in a nice raised bed fenced veggie garden, and now their trees shade it out. grrrr.... and they are way in the back of their yard abrely visable from thei house so I am toying with the idea of offering to plant for them a tree of their choice elsewhere in the yard and remove the offending tree.

I have started mixing veggies in with the regular plants in my side and front beds. They are already fenced due to rabbit problems, so it isn't too noticeable. I think it is a nice compromise.

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#25 of 25 Old 05-12-2009, 01:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by newbymom05 View Post
I've been thinking about this thread and why insurance is needed. If you have homeowners, aren't you covered? Or is the worry that a tree branch will crash into your car/house/whatever? Because if the worker gets injured, that's all you, or am I incorrect?
If THEY come in and drop half a tree on my house - they can pay for it. If my FIL does it, WE have to pay for it. See?
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