Cost of Removing or Felling Small Trees in Toronto

Small Tree Removal Price

Small Tree Removal FAQs

For us, a “small tree” is small enough not to need a permit to remove. The range would be anywhere from $350+tax (our minimum) to a max of $1800+tax, on average.

We accept cash, cheque, e-transfer and credit card. No matter what your form of payment, we charge tax on every job.

We like to accommodate smaller tree removal jobs in between our large removals. This gives our crew a variety of work and a rest in between hard jobs. As such, smaller work tends to be booked faster than bigger work. 

However, professional tree care companies book out work weeks in advance. If you need it done ASAP, there may be a few options available for scheduling. That said, you’re unlikely to find a reputable tree care company who can do the job well, fast and cheap during the busiest months of the year.

Your questions,
our answers.

Here’s some quick answers to the most common questions we get from buyers like you. Below, you can read a much more detailed explanation of all the factors that go into pricing small trees for removal in Toronto. 

If you’re looking to know about what we do, click here for all of our tree care services!


How much does it cost to remove a small tree?

First, let’s define “small”.

Very small / tiny trees: you can wrap your hands around the trunk and your fingers touch on both sides. For example, a sapling or tree with a trunk about 4-6 inches wide at your chest level. Most shrubs and hedges will also fit this category.

Small trees: A tree with a trunk that is smaller than a telephone pole at chest level, but bigger than the very small tree size specified above.

Small and very small trees don’t require a permit to remove in the City of Toronto and most of the GTA. This means you can cut them down at any time.

The five biggest factors that influence the cost of small tree removal are:

  • Access and obstacles
  • Hazards and risks
  • Volume of wood
  • Speed / timing
  • Neighbour Problems

1. Access to the tree and obstacles on site

A relatively large, 40ft small tree in an open backyard with easy access may be cheaper than removing a 20ft tree in a small backyard that is only accessible through a garage and laneway. 

Getting to the tree

The harder a small tree is to access the more challenging it is to remove. If the tree is accessible only though a house, garage, condo or other building it will be much harder to take down. This is because tree removal requires people, equipment and space to be done as efficiently as possible. It is also very messy. When it comes to taking out the branches and debris, having to bring it through a building or a very narrow alley means a great deal of extra care and cleanup. Larger branches need to be cut smaller, generating more sawdust and debris, and more trips need to be made.

Stucco, Glass, Sensitive Building Materials

Another factor influencing access would be valuable items, close proximity of buildings, and things like stucco or sensitive building materials. Stucco is a bane to arborists. Stucco is very sensitive and easy to damage. A single stray twig getting dragged along it can cause serious damage. Extra care and extra protection on the walls is required to prevent damage.

Obstacles under the tree

When there are sheds, greenhouses, sculptures, barbecues, covered areas, pools and other obstacles we must not only work around them but avoid damaging them by carefully removing smaller sections of tree. This takes more time.

Trucks and Equipment Access

The last factor for access comes down to large equipment. Professional tree companies use special chip trucks and wood chippers to break down trees into wood chips and dispose of them. If truck access is particularly difficult due to parking, too  narrow a laneway, construction or other issue it can dramatically increase the time and difficult of the job as the crew will have to move the tree much further than usual.

2. Tree Hazards increase cost

People often put off removing small trees because they want to enjoy the tree for as long as possible or they aren’t sure whether to remove it or not. When a tree doesn’t need to be removed, this is a fine option. When the tree has serious problems or is dead, however, this can actually increase the overall cost.

Rot in the tree

dangerous tree rotLiving trees with no big problems like rot, cracks or big broken limbs are generally very strong. To some degree, they are more predictable to work with as arborists prune and remove many trees over the course of year or career and this knowledge informs future work. Dead trees and rotted trees, however, are much more challenging because they are unpredictable. Rot can make trees soft and squishy somewhat like mud, or brittle and fine like a sand castle.

Dead trees

Dead wood is very hard and behaves differently than live wood. This variation limits the options we have to remove the tree safely, takes more time to ensure it’s done correctly and requires a much high skill level.

Significant Site Hazards

Obstacles are one thing, but some site conditions aren’t just a challenge, they’re dangerous. An active construction zone, proximity to children or a high speed road, proximity to a cliff or ravine and other situations might make the work far more risky for the crew or for those nearby. For example, if working over a school yard there may have to be significant pauses in work to account for children in the work zone or advanced communication with the school to arrange timing. These limitations increase the scope of the job.

3. Volume of Wood to be Cut and Removed

This one is a bit simpler to understand: the more tree, the more time, and the more the cost to dispose of it and clean it up. We are always happy to oblige leaving some good, select pieces of firewood when specifically requested but leaving wood on site is rarely something we agree to for a reduction in cost because of the difficulties it presents.

Cutting Firewood vs chipping a log

For small trees, it is often much faster for us to simply chip a section of log or branches than it is to cut off the brush, cut up the wood, move it and neatly stack it. While the work of removing a tree is a big part of the job, clean up is very important and time consuming. Our crews are expert at raking, and we pride ourselves on leaving sites as clean or cleaner than when we arrived. Cutting up wood takes us more time than it does to chip, and saves none of the clean up. 
Besides, to be proper firewood, the wood either needs to be seasoned or dead and the species is very important. Evergreen trees are not suitable for indoor burning at all, while trees like Siberian elm or Tree of Heaven burn very poorly.

Can skipping on cleanup and disposal cut costs?

There are certainly some companies out there that may cut a tree down for you and leave it to you to clean up. If that’s the case, we’re not a good match for your needs as we do not offer this service and don’t plan to in future.  

4. Speed / Timing of the Job

Three factors influence price in this category: how fast you need it done, what season you’re asking in and whether or not it needs to happen at a specific time. If you know the answer to these questions for your job, you can either optimize the price you get by offering greater flexibility or ensure that your specific needs are accommodated by paying more for quick turnaround at a specific time.

The busy season for tree work

We work year round, as do many tree care companies. Summer is the busiest season for arborists, followed by Spring and Fall. Winter is relatively quiet, but a significant amount of work is done during this time (and some is even better to do). Work scheduled during the busiest season is likely to cost more than work scheduled during the quietest season simply due to demand. Everyone wants their trees done for patio season!

Getting it on a rush

If you need that work done ASAP, it is also likely to cost you more as the professional companies in Toronto will have weeks or months of work already scheduled. Bumping you to the front of the list means bumping someone else back, and can cost more as a result if a company doesn’t have flexible scheduling options. This type of service comes as a bit of a premium, but allows you to schedule more at your convenience and get service faster than you might otherwise.

Schedule Rigidity

Lastly, if you require the work to happen at a specific date and time, you may also pay more. Work is often scheduled by companies based on a variety of factors. Arborists start work early – between 6am and 730am on average. The first job will begin between 7am and 8am. If your work is expected to take a full day, scheduling a request will be easier. But if your work is expected to take less time – a few hours to a half day – accommodating specific date and time requests can be very challenging. Starting a half day job at 10am means having to fit in a job beforehand as by 10am many crews will have been at work for 3-4 hours. Between small variations in the length of job, traffic and other difficulties, ensuring a 10am arrival is no easy task.

Does this mean it will always cost more to make a special request? No. Every situation will be different, but it is a factor that gets weighed with all the others and might edge the price higher. On the other hand, if you are very certain of the speed you need the job done and the time and are prepared to pay a bit more for it, most companies with schedule flexibility will be able to do it.

5. Neighbour Problems

This is the problem most companies don’t want to hear about, and most people don’t want to share. It’s difficult when you have bad relations with your neighbours – or none at all. Getting your own tree dealt with might be harder if it is also over top of their property, or access is necessary through neighbour backyards. It can be a nightmare to deal with if you are on terrible terms, no matter how it got that way.

Shared Trees and Spaces

Neighbours with shared trees, trees in multiple backyards, shared driveways or access or who are very sensitive to work being done near their property can cause big problems for tree companies. Here’s the thing, though: it is far better to say so upfront and be proactive than for the situation to be discovered later.

Be Proactive

How does a bad neighbour impact the cost of small tree removal? One example: Getting access from a neighbour backyard may be critical to making the job easier, and when the job is easier it is less costly. A worst case scenario would be a neighbour that isn’t proactively dealt with that causes your work to be delayed or cancelled, or deteriorate your relationship further. The worse the situation gets the more likely you are to have a company decline the job, leaving you fewer options in future to achieve the level of quality and service you’re looking for.

Don’t Despair

One last quick tip: don’t despair about your bad neighbour. Sometimes working with the right company can improve the relationship and rebuild a little bit of trust.

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Vista Tree has quick response times, clear quotes and guaranteed delivery. We’re Certified Arborists, who are as passionate about customer service as we are about tree service! Our expertise is backed up with many years experience delivering  the best outcomes for our clients, their properties and their trees, every time. 

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