Professional conifer removal costs £400-£1,500, depending on the size of the tree or hedge. This usually adds up to about £400-£600 for a small tree and £700 upwards for a large one. However, size is not the only factor that determines conifer removal costs.
Others factors are tree accessibility and condition, and your location and plans for the site. Tree surgeons and gardeners will consider them all when deciding their rates and how to handle the job.
The conifer removal process itself can be divided into two stages, tree removal and waste disposal. This article will explore both. As a matter of fact, we will explore everything you need for a smooth conifer removal project. So, read on. Whether you plan to hire a professional tree surgeon or remove the tree yourself; read on.
How much does it cost to remove a conifer?
Conifer removal prices
|Removal cost (£)
|Time frame (days)
These estimates (conifer removal prices) cover both tree and waste removal.
You need to hire a tree surgeon or gardener. They charge £150-£200 per day for this type of job. The person or company will come with their own equipment. It will probably include a shovel, mini digger, stump grinder or excavator (as needed). You don’t have to pay separately for these. Their primary quote and our estimates already include equipment cost.
However, you might have to pay extra for specialist equipment like wood chipper or scaffolding. A wood chipper hire costs about £50-£300 per day, while scaffolding costs £50-250 per day.
We have also added waste removal costs to our estimates. However, some gardeners charge separately for it. So get a written quote, or at least ask what the service entails. However, you can also handle waste removal yourself. You will need a skip (£75-£200 per day), and maybe a wood chipper. Another option is to use the waste as firewood or garden mulch.
What are the factors that determine the costs of conifer removal?
There are many factors that affect conifer removal costs. As stated earlier, tree removal services will consider them before quoting a price. So you need to know them too; to improve your pricing decision-making and negotiation power.
It is easy to understand how size affects tree removal costs. The average cost of removal will be higher for large trees. They are bigger. They also have a larger truck and a more established root system. Therefore, it takes more time, labour and equipment to remove them. Even waste disposal will cost more.
When dealing with larger trees, even the removal process changes. Your tree surgeons might have to work in stages. They might have to first cut off some branches before finally cutting it down. Small trees don’t need all these extra steps.
Species influences tree size and root system. Conifers are generally similar in these regards. They are all fast-growing, thus large trees. They also tend to have shallow root systems, that spread wide instead of deep.
However, there are still some differences. A spruce tree or hedge is not a leylandii tree. More importantly, these differences will affect the average cost of removal.
Plus, certain tree species have protection statuses like a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). So you can’t cut them down without conducting a tree survey and getting a derogation. All of these cost money. A tree survey costs about £250 and above.
As a matter of fact, it is a good idea to contact your local council and conduct a tree survey before cutting down any tree.
This can be divided into two. Firstly, actual access to the conifer. After all, your tree surgeons will need to move their equipment to the tree. They might charge higher rates if access is difficult and stressful.
Secondly, clearance space around the conifer. Your tree surgeon will need clearance space to work safely and comfortably. They might charge higher rates for having to work in an uncomfortable situation. Examples include if the tree is too close to a power line, waterway, drain runs, pipeline or public road.
For last example (if a hedge or tree is near a public road), you will still have to spend money, even if the tree surgeons don’t charge higher rates. You still have to spend money to get permits to block off the area.
Condition of the tree
A healthy tree is much easier to remove than a dead, diseased or damaged one. This is because the tree surgeon will have to be extra careful when dealing with an unhealthy tree. So expect tree removal cost to rise because of this.
Think about, a damaged or dead tree is already structurally compromised. So your tree surgeons have to be careful to prevent the tree from falling in the wrong direction, on someone or something. For a diseased or pest infested tree, tree surgeons also have to be careful to avoid spreading the disease or pest to other plants in the garden.
Your plans for the site
This will determine whether you need to remove the tree stump. It could also influence the choice of stump removal method. For example, if you intend to build a wall or plant a hedge on that ground, it is better to remove the tree stump. This will clear up root space for the foundation of the wall or the roots of the newly-planted hedge.
About stump removal methods, there are technically two options. You can either excavate or grind tree stumps. Excavation is cheaper but slower, while stump grinding is costlier but faster.
Either way, tree stump removal costs will increase the total costs of the project. Tree removal is much cheaper if you decide not to remove the stump. Your tree surgeon just has to take measures to ensure the stump rots, instead of sprouting new growth.
By these, we mean the standard of living in your location and the distance from your chosen tree surgeon. Big cities and the southeast have a higher standard of living. So expect higher rates (about 20% more) in such locations.
You might also have to pay higher rates if you can’t find qualified local tree surgeons. Professionals coming from afar may ask for higher rates to cover their transportation costs.
What are the additional costs of conifer removal?
Here are some related tasks to perform in your garden.
- General garden maintenance: This includes watering, planting, weeding, patio cleaning and trimming etc. It costs £30-£800.
- Complete site clearance: You can clean up your entire garden for about £100-£300.
How to remove conifers
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of the conifer removal process. This is just an overview. The point is to help you understand the process. If you need a guide for DIY conifer removal, we recommend doing further research, especially on Youtube.
Step 1: Conduct tree inspection
This is when the tree surgeon (or yourself) inspects the tree and its immediate environment. They will confirm the health status of the tree, and check for drain runs, power lines, cables, and pipes in the area (that can interfere with the project).
They use this data to decide the best way to execute the job.
Step 2: Cut down the conifer
For large hedges and trees, the tree surgeon may first do size reduction. This involves cutting foliage and larger branches. Finally, they will cut down the tree trunk at stump level.
Step 3: Remove stump and roots
They will use either excavation or stump grinding for this. For excavation, the tree surgeons will dig out the tree stump along with the root ball and probably some other roots. For stump grinding, they will use a stump grinder to grind the stump to below ground-level.
Step 4: Finish
This includes waste removal and soil refill. You can also add other garden tasks.
Why would you want to remove a conifer?
Examples of conifers are Leylandii (which many often call conifer), spruce, yew and cedar. They are widely popular trees and hedges. This is because of their evergreen, fast-growing and aesthetic qualities.
However, conifers are far from perfect. So here are some reasons to consider removing them.
- Size issues: Conifers are fast-growing. Therefore, they can grow too tall and large for a garden. When this happens, they become a maintenance and safety nightmare.
- Convenience issues: We have already established that conifers can grow too large for comfort. As a result, they can block views, interfere with power lines or other plants.
- Property damage: The roots can also damage patios, foundations, driveways and underground pipes, etc.
- Health issues: You can remove dead, damaged or diseased conifers to protect other plants in the gardens, or even life and property.
- Dispute with neighbours: All the issues we have discussed so far can lead to dispute with neighbours. You are allowed to plant trees and hedges in your garden, but you are not allowed to let them discomfort or endanger your neighbours.
- Garden redesign: You can also remove conifers because you want to redesign your garden.
How can I find a good conifer tree removal service?
You can find a qualified tree surgeon or gardener by asking people for recommendations. Ask your friends, colleagues, family members and neighbours. If they don’t know, you can check local listings or the internet.
Make sure your candidates have the following:
- Licences are certifications from reputable arborist bodies
- Membership of reputable arborist organisations like the Arboricultural Association
- Proof of similar projects
- Public liability insurance
- Reliable references
Ask the top 3-5 candidates for a written quote. Then choose the best one for the job.
Can I remove a conifer myself?
Yes, you can. But only try it if you have enough DIY experience and the right tools. Stick to small trees too. Leave large ones for the professionals. Here are some tools you will need when removing trees yourself.
- Cutting tools: Chainsaw
- Digging tools: Excavator (you can hire for £50-£120 per day), mini digger, shovel
- Stump grinder: You can hire stump grinders for £100-£200 per day
- Waste removal tools: skip, wood chipper
- Climbing tools: Scaffold, harness, ladders
How can I save money on a conifer removal project?
The most effective way to save money is to do the job yourself. However, as suggested, only do this if the tree is relatively small and there are no complications. Other ways to save money include:
- Do some tasks yourself: You can handle site preparation and finishing, and waste removal
- Recycle conifer waste: you can use the waste as firewood, mulch, manure, furniture etc. The point is that this will save waste removal costs.
- Do the job in batches: this applies when dealing with multiple trees or a large hedgerow. Instead of removing them all at once, you can remove some and leave the others until later. If you want to try this tip, don’t choose randomly. Remove every other hedge.
Once again, £400-£1,500 should be more than enough to cover conifer removal. However, it could be more or less. That depends on the factors we have discussed.
We can’t provide an exact estimate without knowing all the variables involved. But we have done the next best thing. We have provided everything you need to execute this project smoothly, without being taken advantage of.
Will my house insurance cover the cost of removing conifers?
Only your insurance provider can answer this question. However, just so you know, most providers won’t cover the cost of falling a tree or removing tree stumps. They only usually cover the cost of removing an already fallen tree.
Can I remove a disputed conifer?
Only the hedge owner can remove it. This is the person whom the hedge grows on her property or is included in her property deed. If the hedge belongs to your neighbour, you can only cut the part that crosses the property line.
However, you can report to your local council if your neighbour’s hedge is causing issues.
How long should I wait before planting in the ground?
You can plant immediately, as long as there is enough root space and soil nutrient.
What time of year should I remove conifers?
Do I need planning permission to remove conifers?
No, except if you live in a conservation area or the hedge is protected by a TPO. However, it is still a good idea to check in with your local council before removing a tree.
What can I replace a boundary conifer with?
You can replace it with a fence or another specie of hedge. Neither of these are as high maintenance, although they also have their own issues.