Tree Planting Costs

Tree planting is a special task that can add to property value and increase curb appeal of the property, and may also serve to better separate your property from neighbors.

You will find the cost to plant an average tree will vary with tree size and type, the accessibility of its location, and labor rate.

In the following tables the Labor Cost figure is what the able DIY person should expect to save by performing the complete task.

Plant five small trees on a residential lot

ItemUnit CostQuantityLine Cost
Small tree: each tree is four to six feet tall in a 5 gallon pot; includes transport, site preparation, equipment, and miscellaneous supplies.$75each5$376
+ Labor Cost$38per hour4$152
Total Cost$106per tree5$528


Plant five medium trees on a residential lot

ItemUnit CostQuantityLine Cost
Medium tree: each tree is 8’ to 10’ tall delivered in a 15 gallon pot; includes transport, site preparation and clean up, equipment, and miscellaneous supplies.$194each5$969
+ Labor Cost$38per hour8$304
Total Cost$255per tree5$1,273


Plant five large trees on a residential lot

ItemUnit CostQuantityLine Cost
Large tree: each tree is 14’ to 20’ tall delivered in a 1 cubic yard box; includes transport, site preparation and clean up, equipment, and miscellaneous supplies.$2,119each5$10,595
+ Labor Cost$38per hour40$1,520
Total Cost$2,423per tree5$12,115

Other considerations and costs

  • Taxes and permit fees are not included.
  • Electric utility companies may have the authority to prohibit planting around their overhead lines, check with them.
  • When searching for a service provider, be sure to request a detailed written offer (usually fixed-price) from several providers that includes proof of:
    • business license
    • professional arborist license (not typical but is nice)
    • liability insurance and workman’s compensation insurance
    • customer references
    • a time commitment to complete the work tied to payments
  • Additional information and proof should also be available regarding:
    • certification by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)
    • registry as Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) Accredited Business
    • use of shoe-spikes to climb trees (should NOT be the case)
    • removal of living material from the tree-top (should NOT be the case)
    • disposal of all limbs, branches, and cut material; and full clean up the area
    • a background check on the persons who will be on your property
    • provision of a signed contract that details the work to be done including an estimate of time on the job site and the fixed-price to deliver on terms
    • a valid contractors bond on work that exceeds $500

DIY considerations

  • For smaller trees this activity may be suitable for able DIY persons, though it requires arborist knowledge of how to correctly plant and nurture a tree.

References

  • Craftsman Estimator Costbook, complete series year 2015.
  • Latest prices found on Home Depot and other vendor Web sites.
  • Literature review of DIY and arborist Web sites.

Cost to plant a tree in my city

Cost to plant a tree varies greatly by region. To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.