Prices guide for pruning a tree in Toronto

Tree Trimming Costs in Toronto for 2023

Make your trees treasures.

There are many tree companies in Toronto, but Vista Tree ranks among the best for tree pruning and trimming services. We’re committed to working with our clients to achieve impeccable, lasting and cost effective results. 

One of the ways we stand out is our approach. We provide information, options and solutions that are scientifically backed – and we explain it all to you. We want our clients to be able to make informed decisions about their properties and trees.

Below, you’ll find general information and FAQs about tree pruning and tree trimming costs, and what goes into a quote and job. This guide will help you assess our quotes, and those of any other Certified Arborists and tree experts.

You can also read about our Fair Price Guarantee.

Tree Pruning Cost FAQ

The cost for pruning a tree averages between $350 and $2200+ tax depending on the size, number of trees and work to be done. You can read the article below to get a full detail on the prices we might charge for tree pruning.

The guide below discusses why tree pruning can cost so much, and what some options are to bring down the price.

It depends. This can be a complicated topic and is very situation-based. It’s always best if you and your neighbour can come to an agreement together about pruning. We have a great series of articles on problems with neighbour trees and how to deal with them

In the summer, it may take longer for you to get quotes, approve work, and get a date scheduled for tree pruning as arborist companies can be very busy. That said, we try to schedule tree pruning more quickly than we can schedule tree removals so your timeline could be anywhere from 1-4 weeks during the busiest part of the season. 

We’re not the best company for this service. Our focus is on tree care and maintenance, removal and tree management. If you’ve got a pile of brush left from another company, landscapers or DIY trimming it would be better to call around to some other companies to ask. Bigger or more established companies may not quote this service at all.

Generally speaking, no. If you are pruning it for construction, cutting a city tree, or injuring the tree, you will require a permit to trim the tree no matter what you’re planning to do. It’s best to consult with us before undertaking to do this. You check out our other FAQ pages to learn more about how to get a permit for trees in Toronto and tree removal costs.

The average cost of tree pruning in Toronto ranges from $350 – $2500 + tax. This depends entirely on the size of the tree, the number of trees and other cost factors we discuss below in the tree pruning price guide. Vista Tree’s minimum fee is $350+tax for tree work. We offer free estimates with written quotes so you can get an idea of the possible options and service prices.

Tree trimming costs simplified.

On this page we discuss all the ins and outs of tree trimming costs and tree pruning costs in Toronto for 2023. 

There is a lot of noise out there about cost, we’re trying our best to make it as easy to understand as possible. 

Scroll down to find out comprehensive tree pruning price guide written by certified arborists.

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

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Tree Pruning Price Guide

Tree being prune day an arborist, for scale to demonstrate how size can impact difficulty and cost

Tree Pruning and Trimming Prices in Toronto​

Understanding tree trimming costs is essential for homeowners in Toronto who want to maintain the health and aesthetics of their landscape. When you get a quote from a professional – no matter what the skills trade is – understanding what the quote actually promises is essential to making a decision.

Why? For one, you need to know what you’re paying for and if it will actually meet your needs. It is not always obvious on a quote, depending on how it may be worded. Second, think about how you’d react if you got a higher price than you were expecting. You might say something like, “Wow, that’s expensive!”

The easiest way to refute this statement is a simple question: Expensive compared to what? If you don’t understand tree trimming costs, you won’t be able to answer this question.

Knowledge is Power

It happens all the time that tree companies give very different quotes to the same tree owner. Just like there is more than one way to build a house, they’re more than one way to cut a tree. In order to get the best price and service, you need to first understand what is involved in tree trimming and the factors that affect the price.

This empowers you to compare and contrast different tree services and quotes to find the work you need in the budget you’re looking for.

Tree trimming cost can vary widely depending on the service and the company, but we’ll go through the different types of tree care available and  the factors involved in the price. We’ll also discuss how to get the most out of your service and why regular maintenance won’t cost as much as neglecting your tree.

This is a long read, but we wrote it to give you a better perspective on tree pruning so you can get what you want from us and other arborists.

Table Of Contents:

1. What’s involved in getting a tree pruning quote

There are a lot of things that go into pricing a tree pruning job. When an arborist comes to your property to assess your tree, they’re going to be looking for a variety of things on the site as well as the scope of work being delivered.

Even if you state exactly the same thing to every tree company you contact, the likelihood is you’re going to get different quotes that offer a different level of service. It can be quite frustrating for buyers when they get different answers to the same questions about their tree – or few answers at all.

Pruning Cost Begins with understanding your goals

Do you want to improve the tree’s health? Get branches off your roof? Get more sunlight? Reduce the amount of dead branches falling? All of these goals have very different approaches.

When you begin to get quotes for your tree work, the most important thing at this stage is to be clear about what you need, want and the reasons why. This helps us to understand and make professional recommendations to accomplish your goals rather than simply a “point and shoot” method that may result in damage to your tree or not getting what you want.

Experts vs. Owners

For example, clients often request additional sunlight in their backyards by pruning back branches. When they do this, they often point at a low area of the tree right above where they’d like sunlight. Pruning these branches may give a bit of extra light, but since the sun goes very high in the sky and is set back, often there is more than needs to be done to achieve the goal.

Sometimes we’re asked to remove a branch that is overgrown, but removing the branch may result in big changes to privacy in a client’s house or backyard. These are all factors a Certified Arborist should be discussing with you at your quote for tree trimming costs. Trees can’t be glued back together, so your changes will be permanent.

Getting into the science – just a little

A proper quote from an arborist should involve a thorough walk through of the job with you, and an explanation of the work required to accomplish your goals. While it may be easier to show up and either throw out a price on site or send a follow up quote with little conversation, as the owner you need to understand what is going to happen and why in order to understand the cost you’re quoted for tree pruning.

If someone providing a quote can’t explain what they’ll do or why, either they are not very interested in the work or they don’t understand tree science. A professional arborist should be able to explain to you the pros and cons of various options, and the consequences (both positive and negative) for any tree pruning you undertake.

2. Setting a Goal for Tree Pruning

When you’re speaking to an arborist about what you want done to your tree, the most important thing is to communicate your goal. We can’t give you a good option in terms of work or cost without understanding what you want to do and why.

When things go wrong with a quote, this is usually the cause. There can be a mismatch of expectations, where the potential client wants one thing and the arborist thinks they mean another. This often happens when more generic information is given like, “just give it a quick haircut” or “I’d like it pruned back.”

Tip: Make what you want and why as clear as possible

For the owner, the reasoning is obvious and the problems are clear. Maybe you want it away from your patio, or you’re worried about an overhanging branch. Perhaps you’re worried the tree is unsafe or unhealthy and want that problem dealt with by cutting it.

There are many reasons to prune a tree, and all of them involve different levels and quantities of work. If your goal is relatively straightforward, like removing a single dead branch, the point should be relatively obvious. When it is, the arborist can then assess all the factors below to come up with a total price for the job.

Tip: Be prepared to change your mind based on expert advice

If your goal is more complicated like making the tree smaller, changing its shape or “thinning it out”, it’s often best to understand why you want to do these things. We speak to tree owners all the time who are very certain of the service they are requesting, until the purpose, implications and science are explained to them.

3. Tree Pruning Cost Factors

Now that you’ve got an idea of what you want and what the quoting process will look like, it’s time to consider the factors influencing price more closely. Clearly, a big issue is going to be the size of the tree and the amount you want cut.

But have you considered how it will be accomplished? How will the cut branches come out? Is the work particularly hard or dangerous?

The following is a list of the basic factors involved in tree pruning costs:

  • What do you need done? Getting out to all the tips of a large tree is much harder than pruning off some low nuisance branches. Getting to know who the names of different pruning techniques will help you assess a quote for the price and accuracy.
  • How big is the tree? Big trees are harder than small trees, both in climbing and volume of wood removed. The size of your tree will have a large impact on the price.
  • What type of tree is it? Some trees are much harder than others, and heavier too. Honey locusts can be very time consuming, while silver maples spread out much further in the canopy than might be obvious from the ground. Oak trees are very heavy! Spruce trees, on the other hand, tend to be rather straightforward. The type of tree is going to matter a lot in the price.
  • How hard is it to reach? Are there buildings underneath, or is access only through a garage? The challenge of getting to the tree and getting wood out of it will make a big difference to tree trimming cost.
  • How much is being cut? Taking away more branches will generally cost more.
  • How challenging is the job?  If it’s a big tree, a lot of material to remove, or a tough spot to get to the overall job is going to be more challenging. Sometimes only one difficult factor is present and it can be “mitigated” or made up for with other aspects of the job.
  • How dangerous is the job? If the tree’s health is poor or it’s in a very challenging location, the risk for the climber and the company increases and this will generally push up the cost of the job.
  • Are there any other issues or factors? Things like needing to get a crane, dealing with neighbour problems, or tight scheduling may also impact the price of tree pruning substantially.

Type of Pruning to be Done

The biggest factor affecting price is the type of tree pruning required. It will also be the biggest difference between quotes you receive. For homeowners, it can be very challenging to sort out what different tree companies are offering.

This is a standard set of pruning types from the International Society of Arboriculture:

Pruning TypeDescription of workAlso Known As
Crown CleaningRemoving deadwood from a tree, and dying or closing branchesDeadwooding
Crown ThinningRemoving excess branches from the interior of the treeThinning
Crown ReductionTrimming branches or tips on the outside of the tree to contain the height and spread of the canopyCanopy reduction or reduction
Crown RaisingRemoving the lowest branches to increase distance between ground and the canopyElevation
Clearance PruningRemoving branches the get close to or touch a house, driveway, patio, etc.Clearance
Storm damage cleanupRemoving branches broken by a stormEmergency work / storm damage

Larger Trees vs. Small Trees

Tree size is a big factor in the average price of tree work. Large trees typically require more time and effort to trim, which increases labor costs. The larger the tree the more time and effort it takes to prune them. Tall trees (over 30 feet) tend to have higher trimming costs than small ones, generally. Deciduous trees that are more spreading, like a large maple tree, mature oak tree, honey locust or willow will also tend to be more expensive depending on what your goals for the trimming are.

Location and Accessibility

Trees located near power lines or buildings might require extra precautions during trimming, increasing labor time and expenses. Trees in tight backyards, overtop of neighbour backyards, with narrow access or only accessible through a house will also tend to increase the cost compared to a tree in an open area.

If the tree can’t easily be reached by the crew or there is a lot of obstacles or tight path out of the property this makes the job harder. Removing debris from the site like tree branches is called “Dragging brush” and ideally involves a wider path. The smaller the branches need to be cut to remove from the site, the more mess and time it takes. This is also true when there is no area for a truck and chipper to park.

Tree Pruning “Dose” prescribed

How much should you cut off a tree?

There are some general guidelines that tree experts will follow when assessing a tree. The International Society of Arboriculture sets out some standards for how, where and how much to cut a tree when pruning. Ontario has its own standards that are similar, and another very similar standard is ANSI300 from the USA.

Large trees or mature trees can recover much faster from a few smaller cuts than one large cut. Thus, if you want a mature tree to be reduced in height, this involves climbing around the entire tree and cutting smaller branches and limbs across the canopy.

Best Practices for Pruning

When we trim trees, Certified Arborists are balancing the desires of the client against the the best practices of applied tree science to ensure the tree’s health. While it may appear simpler to just cut off some thicker branches, or a whole section, this is not always good for the tree or practical.

A few small branches close to the ground on a pine tree won’t cost as much as taking the same branches at the top of a 100ft oak tree. The more branches being cut, the bigger the cost and the bigger chance of affecting tree health.

Overall, how hard is the job?

If there are a lot of factors that might increase the price, it is likely to be a harder job. On the other hand, if you only want a few lower branches cut off a front yard tree the job will be quite a bit easier. The overall challenge is going to be a large factor in how much time is allocated, and thus the rate you’re going to pay.

Danger, risk and tree’s health

Trees in poor health or with rot or damage can require special treatment and are likely to be more dangerous or difficult to prune properly. This additional time or difficulty could increase overall project costs compared to a healthy tree requiring routine maintenance. This is one of the reasons getting your tree assessed and treated earlier is cheaper than waiting.

The other aspect is simply willingness. If you have an extremely hazardous tree or a site where lots could go wrong (removing limbs over a greenhouse, or close to a building) the cost may increase.

Other factors increasing cost

Neighbour problems, storm damaged trees, fast turn around, politically sensitive trees / protected trees – all of these and more make an arborist’s job harder. The harder it is, the more you’re likely to pay.


4. Average Tree Trimming Cost in 2023

The average cost for professional tree trimming services in Toronto is between $350 – $2300 plus tax depending on the size and complexity of the job. Some jobs will be far more, while few will cost less. The best way to know what your job should cost is to compare multiple quotes from tree service companies to ensure you’re getting the work you want for a fair price.

Average Tree trimming prices

The price of trimming trees can range from around three hundred and fifty dollars to well over two thousand depending on all the factors we discussed above. Here are some ballpark figures for cost based on tree size.

  • Small tree (up to 30 feet): $350 – $1000+
  • Medium tree (30-60 feet): $350 – $1800+
  • Large tree (over 60 feet): $500 – $2200+
  • Storm Damaged Tree (any size): May increase price 0-75% depending on circumstances

Tips for Comparing Quotes from Local Professionals:

  1. Gather multiple quotes: Contact around two to three different arborists for estimates to ensure you’re getting a fair price.
  2. Verify credentials: Ask for proof of insurance and WSIB, and make sure they’re Certified Arborists by the ISA or Ontario.
  3. Compare the services described: All companies write quotes differently, however, each quote should be detailed in exactly what they are going to do. Simply writing something like “class 2 pruning” or “prune tree” should be a red flag. How will you assess they’ve done the job they promised to do if you sign a contract without any details?
  4. Compare the prices: Look at the prices compared to the services. Some premium tree companies offer a much higher level of care and service to trees as a standard, while others will do the most minimal work. The quotes will have a huge difference in price because the work is not the same. If you like one company better but the price is too high, ask them if they’ll quote you for the “good” option rather than “best”.

Tips for getting a better price on tree trimming:

  • Make sure the quotes describe the same work and all that you need done.
  • Ask for a discount or break on the cost.
  • Ask if it will lower the price to book a later date.
  • Ask for your preferred tree company to match the best price for the service.
  • Don’t assume that a quote is a la carte, bundling different tree services is often less expensive.
  • Look for discounts or coupons.
  • Don’t wait until the tree is overgrown, more dangerous or dying – it’ll cost even more.

Budget accordingly and compare quotes to ensure you’re getting top-quality service at a fair price.

5. Certified and Insured Arborist – Why It Matters?

Hiring a certified arborist is crucial for maintaining a healthy landscape and ensuring safety during tree care services.Making sure the company you hire is properly insured is also extremely important, as accidents do happen.

Benefits of Hiring a Certified Arborist

  • Expertise: Certified arborists have specialized knowledge in tree biology and proper pruning techniques, promoting healthy growth and reducing future problems.
  • Safety: Arborists use proper equipment and techniques to minimize risks to themselves and your property.
  • Disease Diagnosis & Treatment: Arborists can identify and treat potential issues early on, preventing further damage or loss of the tree.
  • Landscape Value Preservation: Properly maintained trees increase property value by providing shade, privacy, and aesthetic appeal.

6. Conclusion

There is a lot that goes into to estimating tree trimming cost and prices, and a lot of factors that have to be taken into account. Before you get your quote, identify what you want, what you need and what your budget is. Think about the cost factors above and be prepared with questions for the quote.

Before agreeing to a quote, get it in writing and compare it with quotes from other reputable tree companies. Don’t be afraid to go back to the arborist and point out a mistake or ask for changes. Don’t be afraid to talk about the different prices you’ve received to get a more competitive offer.

If you are a homeowner in Toronto looking for reliable tree trimming services at an affordable cost, visit Vista Tree service for a free quote.

Let's solve your tree problems!

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! 

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Our Offers

Fair Price Guarantee

Whatever the size of your project, you deserve peace of mind that you’re paying a fair price. We offer a price-matching guarantee on all of our tree services.

Flexible Scheduling

Solutions on your schedule. Pre-schedule service, postpone or expedite work, and make incremental or large scale improvements to your green space.

Free Assessments

We do not charge for assessing your trees or property – no house call or services fees. Our team of Certified Arborists will assess your project and provide a quote at no cost to you.

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We're proud to be certified by leading industry associations, contributing members to the arborist industry and supporters of the broader business community.

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