Tree Care and Tree Service in Toronto

Large Tree Removal Cost

Step 1 of 4
Tree Service Prices in Toronto » Large Tree Removal Cost
Cost to cut down a Tree

Cost of Large Tree Removal in Toronto

Just like we did on our page about the cost of removing small trees, we’re going to start by defining “big tree”.

Big trees: A tree with a trunk that is bigger than a telephone pole at chest level. These trees require a permit to remove in the City of Toronto, and many surrounding municipalities in the GTA.

Now, lets get down to brass tacks. The five biggest factors that influence the cost of big tree removal are similar to small trees but there is even more to consider the larger the tree.

Those factors are:

  1. Access and obstacles
  2. Hazards and risks
  3. Volume of wood
  4. Speed / timing
  5. Neighbour Problems

Our Other Tree Care Cost Guides:

Step 1 of 4

Affordable Excellence

At Vista Tree, we’re committed to providing exceptional value to our clients.

Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, our tree services are tailored to meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

We provide options for tree care customized to your budget and discerning tastes.

Large Tree Removal Cost Factors:

Access and Obstacles

A good rule of thumb is that the better the access and openness of the space around the tree, the cheaper it will be to remove. Think of a field with nothing in it – when there are no buildings there is nothing to damage, when there are no obstacles there is nothing to get in the way of big equipment.

In an urban environment, removing a tree is much more challenging and requires far more than just a chainsaw. Project management, scheduling, neighbour relations, knowledge of municipal laws and more all go into it – on top of the physical aspect.

Getting to the big tree

When a large tree is hard to access, one of two options exist. Option one: Use big equipment to lift it in large sections over obstacles. Option 2: cut it into much smaller pieces and lower them to an accessible point. The first option involves expensive, specialized equipment but can often get the job done faster. The second option doesn’t involve expensive equipment but is much more time consuming. Sometimes either option is a possibility, sometimes only one option is either due to restricted access or hazards present in the tree or site.

Toronto tree being removed

The biggest influencing factor for which you can choose if either option is potentially viable will still come down to access. Cranes take up a lot of space. The require open areas free from obstruction by communication or powerlines – or at least enough space to move around them. Lastly, they may require permits to close the street which are very costly.

The bigger the tree being removed, the more likely that equipment like a crane will be useful to do it cost effectively.

Sensitive site conditions and obstacles

Anything that is easy to break or damage that can’t be moved is an obstacle to work as well as at potential risk for damage. Professional tree care companies work with heavy pieces of wood over structures and objects all the time, but accidents can happen.

When there are more things in the way of the job – especially if they are valuable – the potential risk to the company for insurance costs increases. Sprinkler systems can’t be moved, greenhouses, sheds, pools, fences – the list goes on.

When a company comes on site their general liability insurance will cover accidents and damage from any work undertaken by their employees. The more there is to damage, the more time they will likely take in preparing the site, doing the job and being mindful of your property. This increases the cost directly through more hours of work, and indirectly through the potential insurance risk in case of an accident.

Tree Hazards Increase Removal Costs

The bigger and “badder” the tree, the greater the cost, generally speaking. Arboriculture is an exceptionally dangerous industry with one of the highest rates of critical injury and death in North America – surpassing that of police, fire and construction. Prices for big or dangerous trees reflect this reality.

Trees are considered “unrated structures”. Unlike buildings, no engineer can tell you what load a branch or tree can take. They’re living things, not steel, so this makes sense. When an arborist climbs into a tree or works on it from a bucket truck, they’re using a combination of science, practical experience and formal training to make judgements about how to manage the tree and their own safety. Cutting into a tree that has fallen over can release a huge amount of energy and cause it to roll, shift or snap back and hit you. An unbalanced load rigged from a tree or picked up by a crane, such as a section that was heavier than anticipated can cause serious problems.

Professional companies invest in employees by offering formal training through colleges like Humber, on the job training from journeypersons to apprentices and ongoing skill development through external trainers on topics like advanced rigging and aerial rescue. This investment is a protection for employees, but for clients as well. The costs of training and insurance in an industry with this level of risk are very high but they are well worth it when compared with the alternative.

Hazards are one of the reasons storm damage is more expensive to “clean up” than regular tree work. It involves a heightened level of risk for the whole crew, as well as an element of speedy response.

One of the biggest ways to reduce your potential costs is to deal with your trees proactively, and find a company willing to work with you to manage and mitigate risk over time. We have a lot more advice on how to reduce your short term and long term costs as a property owner, and steps you can take. At the end of the day, hazard trees are bad for you because of cost and us because of risk.

Volume of Large Wood Being Cut and Removed

More wood, more problems. Lots of wood means either using big equipment like a “mini” or regular skid steer to move wood, a crane, manual labour or a combination of all three. “Removals” (as we call them in the industry, vs. the common “tree removal”) make a big mess. Every cut rains down saw dust and debris from the tree, and when it is on the ground the ground crew cut more too.

In any case, the bigger the volume of wood the bigger the disposal costs and the larger the mess it makes to cut up.

Sometimes equipment like a crane can make a big impact on the efficiency of the job and bring down the price, sometimes it is just a fancy tool that will cost you more. We promise to make a new page soon discussing this!

Let Us Solve Your Tree Problems

Disposal Costs for Big Tree Removal

Back to what you care about, price. The largest trees in Toronto are likely to be oaks, elms, some types of maples and locusts. Oaks we see throughout High Park, Roncy, Rosedale, Bayview/York mills (less so now), and over to the Kingsway and Scarborough Bluffs / Cliffcrest.

These are very heavy trees.

large oak tree removal

A single large tree could weigh between 30,000 and 80,000 lbs total. That’s a huge amount of weight to manage, and it needs to go somewhere.

Where the wood goes after a large tree is cut down

Most frequently in Toronto, your wood is going to be turned over to be processed for firewood or it will go to a dump site where major disposal companies grind it into the mulch you’ll buy for your garden a few years later.

Sometimes it will be processed for reclamation into lumber or live edge pieces, but this is quite rare. The issue is that urban trees have many defects and foreign bodies embedded in them – fungus, old mails from 100+ years ago and other issues make it not so ideal for repurposing. It does happen, but less often than you’d think.

Small waste and garbage bin companies will often dispose of wood as subcontractors, as well as big disposal companies are involved in the process.

The cost for dumping wood is very high, roughly $120 – $200 a ton. A medium to medium-large oak tree could be 24,000 – 40,000 lbs, or 12-20 tons. Worst case scenario, it goes to a regular garbage dump where it is buried along with other waste and becomes contaminated.

Cleaning up the mess

There is no bigger mess than a large tree cut up into small pieces. After the risk of getting the tree down comes the clean-up. Branches small enough get chipped, wood too big to be chipped gets cut or axed or picked up with equipment.

Using Machines

In an urban environment, getting machines in to pick up wood is tough or impossible – or the result would cause damage to the property. Skid steers and other tools you’ll see on construction sites are also used in arboriculture to pick up and move wood. The problem is that most sites in the city are either too small or using them would cause significant damage.

Speed / Timing of The Job

Unlike with small tree removal, tree pruning or hedge trimming, large trees can’t come down quickly. Removing large trees requires tree permits, and tree permits require arborist reports. After an arborist report for tree removal is written up, it is sent along with an application to the municipality where it is reviewed. This process takes 3-6 weeks on average, with some permits approved and issued in as little as two and other situations taking much longer.

Scheduling around tree permits

Once a permit is issued the job must be scheduled. Removals typically aren’t scheduled before a permit comes in, as it is impossible for a tree care company to know when that may happen. Since scheduling usually happens on a first come, first served basis the removal is unlikely to be scheduled right away in the busier seasons. Getting the first available appointment for removal is certainly possible, but it may increase the cost.

Learn the right way

The Best Tree Service Near Me

Vista Tree Management focuses on one thing: tree care excellence.

There’s no other company with “tree management” in the title — we’re passionate but also precise. We approach trees and tree work with an eye to total project management which allows us to carefully shape every stage of the process, whether that’s coordinating with multiple contractors for development or simply arranging for your neighbour to move their car.

Vista Tree provides full tree and shrub removal services in Toronto by professional arborists. We work with homeowners and businesses to remove unsafe trees, take out trees for construction, emergency tree removal and more.

Certified Arborists

Tree service experts specializing in a core of arboricultural services to enhance the natural beauty and safety of outdoor spaces.

Top Rated by Google

We are a top-rated Toronto tree service delivering premium service at competitive pricing. Affordable excellence – that’s our promise.

Fully Insured

We carry WSIB, extra health and care insurance for employees and $5m in General Liability insurance.

Flexible schedule

We’re pros in developing tree service delivery plans to match your schedule and budget.

Permit Exemptions for removing hazard trees

Sometimes a big tree is extremely hazardous and the city issues an exemption that allows it to be cut down without going through the permit process. This can save the cost of the permit, planting and/or payment in lieu. However, when an exception is made, the owner has 72 hours to remove the tree following the issuance of the exemption. Since this is a very short timeline to work on and is very hazardous work, the removal costs will likely be higher.

Neighbour Problems impact cost of Tree Removal

Neighbour problems come up a lot in tree work. Sometimes the issue is that the tree is shared between neighbours and at least one neighbour wants to split the expense. Sometimes the issue is around access for workers, or loss of a treasured tree. Whatever the problem, removing big trees is an exercise not only in skilled labour but also project management. The more complex the issue surrounding the neighbour, the more likely it is to have a direct impact on the project.

If a neighbour is not willing to split costs this will increase your overall cost. If a neighbour restricts access to workers, this may mean having to use expensive equipment like a crane to reach the tree when a simpler solution would’ve otherwise been fine.

Being proactive in advance is the best way to deal with neighbour problems around tree care and maintenance, whether it is a big tree removal or any other tree care service. This is especially true if it is a neighbour tree you’re worried about.


No matter how big the tree, the job cost comes back down to the same basic principles: the harder, more dangerous and more time consuming it is, the more it will cost.

To lower your cost on large tree removals, shop around for quotes. Call the , or the Top Toronto Arborists and get multiple quotes. If you want a fuller range of options, check out the full list of arborists near me in Toronto we put together.

Consider what steps you can take to reduce your costs, and shop around to see what the best options are for your timeline and budget for removing a big tree.

FAQs in Relation to Tree Service Prices

Does the type of tree impact the cost?

The type of tree will have an impact on the cost because the weight of wood is different based on the species (green log weight). Oak is much heavier than cedar, maple is heavier than siberian elm and so forth. Since the cost of removing the wood in terms of labour and disposal will be higher the heavier to wood is, the total size of the tree, species and amount of wood will impact the cost.

How much does it cost to use a crane to remove a tree?

Removing a tree with a crane generally starts between $1500 – $2500 a day, not including permits or the cost of the tree removal itself. Permits for crane are required when a lane or road will be blocked. If the crane is small or can be parked on the property, permits are not required.


Homeowners in Toronto seeking tree services should consider factors such as tree size, type, location, and season when determining costs. Regular maintenance, including trimming during late winter or early spring, can save money in the long run, especially for protected species trees. While hiring a certified arborist may be more expensive upfront, their expertise can ultimately save time and money.

Homeowners can also negotiate lower prices or repurpose debris into wood chips to offset costs. It’s important to note that additional expenses, such as debris removal and stump grinding fees, may apply, and state regulations should be considered. For more information on tree care, check out these credible sources: City of Toronto Tree Maintenance and International Society of Arboriculture Find an Arborist.

We Make Nature Work For You

Vista Tree Management is the top Toronto tree service, delivering exceptional work by Certified Arborists. We don’t just care for trees, we manage them to make nature work for you – whatever your vision.

Tree Removal Prices: Knowledge Centre

Spruce tree fell over and hit neighbour house in kingsway area, etobicoke. Tree leaning against house and shed, being cut and removed by certified arborists after storm.

Quick Facts: Neighbour Tree Fell on My House

Experiencing a neighbour’s tree falling onto your house can be an incredibly nerve-wracking and daunting situation. In addition to dealing with the immediate aftermath of the incident, you’ll also have to consider potential legal and insurance implications. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into various aspects related to having a neighbour’s tree fall …

Read more

Toronto skyline through city park photo scott webb pexels

Do I Need a Tree Permit in Toronto?

Everything You Need to Know About Getting Tree Permits in Toronto Do you need a permit to remove trees in Toronto? We’ll take you through the information you need to know about Toronto tree permits and bylaws! If you think you might need one, read on to understand the process for getting a permit to …

Read more

Toronto arborist inspects a fallen tree on a house and tree on fence after manitoba maple tree trunk broke in the beaches neighbourhood of toronto

Difficult People: Problems With a Neighbours’ Tree

What do I do about problems with a neighbour tree? In the close quarters of many Toronto neighbourhoods, along with larger spaces in the city and in GTA suburbs, neighbourly disputes are common. Everything from garbage bins to lawn maintenance to loud music can be a thing to argue about, and problems with a neighbour …

Read more

Arborist assesses tree size for permit application in toronto

When Do You Need An Arborist Report? Part 1

What are Some Reasons Your Property Needs a Certified Arborist Report? You may have heard the term “arborist report”, or been told you need one for some planned work. But what is an arborist report, and when do you need one? We’ll look at a few situations where you’ll require an arborist report. In some …

Read more

Request a FREE Consultation

Get a Quote from Top-Rated Certified Arborists in Toronto

Vista Tree Management is the top Toronto tree service, delivering exceptional work by Certified Arborists. We don’t just care for trees, we manage them to make nature work for you – whatever your vision.

Affordable Excellence

Transparent Pricing

Meticulous Clean-up

Outstanding Service

Custom Solutions

Fully Certified and Insured

Step 1 of 4

Our amazing Clients

Great Reviews - Toronto Tree Service

Vista is an excellent company to deal with. The owners went above and beyond expectations to help deal with a unique situation. The guys who did the work were not only professional but also very polite. I will be using them again to help with other work in the future.
We are very happy with all the work Vista Tree Management accomplished on our property.  James was very professional and gave us excellent advice concerning the trimming of our 12 foot cedar hedges and the pruning of our mature silver maple trees.  The crew was very friendly and hard working, they did a tremendous job on the work required and they did an excellent job with the clean up.  We would highly recommend Vista Tree services to our family and friends.  We will definitely use them again for all of our future projects.
John & Sonja
They just did my front lawn, and boy, did they leave a lasting impression!

They were straightforward with the plan - clear and precise, ensuring that I was well informed of the process and outcome. The execution was meticulous and exceeded my expectations. Moreover, the cleanliness post-service was remarkable, leaving no trace of debris or disruption.

They were on time and was the epitome of friendly and cheerful—felt like I had friends over for a garden party!

Overall, their service was excellent at every stage. The inquiry, consultation, customer support, day-of service, follow-up, and payment process were all seamless.

I had peace of mind and very happy with Vista. I highly recommend them to those in need of reliable and thorough tree management service.
I can’t say enough positive comment about James and Vista Tree. We were “ghosted” by 2 other tree management companies last fall. James came by and provided separate quotes for two very large trees on our property, both of which were a challenge to severely prune. They were a hazard and had to be addressed. The quotes were delivered the next day after assessment. The team was here on two separate days (April 30 and May 7). They were efficient, professional and most importantly safe. Hollis, the arborist who climbed the trees was friendly and communicated everything he was doing to the trees as well as any changes he made once he was up in the tree. The other members of the crew (Syd and Pete, I can’t remember the others) were professional and friendly. They cleaned everything up and were open to any suggestions we had regarding disposal of the wood. I would highly recommend this company. We will be having them back again to do more work, in the fall.
Leaside neighbours take note!! Exceptional and professional service from start to finish. The team at Vista Tree Management responded to an urgent and critical situation. They were efficient, skilled and courteous. They handled the tree removal with precision and left our backyard immaculate. I highly recommend this team for your tree removal needs. They beat the competition by $1000+
James and his team did a great job pruning and trimming our old silver maple. James answered all my questions, provided expert advice and had his team do the work shortly after. The workers were professional, cleaned the space well, and were really efficient. Would definitely recommend Vista Tree management!
James was great! Very professional and you can definitely tell he knows what he’s talking about. They provided a quote in a timely manner booked us in for the tree pruning within a few days afterwards. The job was done quickly, professionally and the crew was friendly and polite. They cleaned up everything once the work was completed. Highly recommend!
Safe, fast, personable team - did a great job with tree trimming and removal! Note: the removal of a tree was not on the original scope and they still made it happen!
By the end of the day, I wouldn’t have even known they were there.
Very Happy with the professional advice and service we received from Vista which was promptly done. The follow-up to ensure we were happy with the work was appreciated.
Highly recommend! Michal came by first to take a look at things and provide the estimate. He’s obviously passionate about what he does and I learned a ton about my tree that I had no idea about! He gave me the confidence I needed to schedule the work. James and the “J-Crew” arrived on the scheduled day and were super friendly. The team did an amazing job with trimming my large overgrown maple and a fantastic cleanup job. My yard looked better than before they arrived. Will definitely have them back for future maintenance! Thanks Vista!
Great service from a great crew of people! The team was amazing from consulting on best ways to tackle the project, safely removing the trees and making sure the job was done to satisfaction. Would highly recommend and definitely use them again.
These guys are incredibly professional and by far the best arborist that have visited our home. And we've had many!

What impressed me the most was throughout their only concern was safety for my family and our property. With that and that only in mind they made all the cuts and changes that were required. When they left, I felt the most relief I felt about the trees in our backyard in a long time.

Truly appreciate your hard work and will highly recommend you in the future!
After doing a fair bit of research into Toronto-based arborists, we decided to go with Vista, and are very happy we did! From my first meeting with Mike when he came to give us a free quote, I was impressed with his knowledge and professionalism. Mike and his crew were punctual on the day they came to prune the deadwood from our very large Red Oak tree, answered my questions, and worked for 7 hours straight to get the job done. We were impressed from beginning to end, and wouldn’t hesitate to hire them again!
These guys are the best! Very professional, easy to work with and very nice people.
James was amazing in communication and and arranging everything. He is a wonderful person and professional. I had 4 different companies for the quotes and Vista Tree were the best by every criteria I had in mind. After the work was done they cleaned the whole territory even the mess that was here before them. I would definitely recommend them and will call them again when I need any tree work done. Thanks!

Self-Serve Appointment Booking

Use our convenient online booking to choose a date that works best for you to receive your free quote and site assessment from a Certified Arborist.

This In-person appointment is your opportunity to get the outdoor space you deserve, and have all your questions about Toronto tree services answered by a Top-rated Toronto tree company.



Professional Associations

We are proud members of many organizations and networks dedicated to skilled labour, small business, the arboriculture industry and professional tree care and landscaping in Ontario.