Tree Arborists

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Arborist Cost Guide Australia

Otherwise known as a tree surgeon, an arborist is a professional who specialises in planting, caring, diagnosing, and maintaining trees, vines, shrubs, and various other woody plant life.

Instead of managing forests (which falls under the purview of foresters) or harvesting wood (which is what loggers do), arborists mainly focus on the health and safety of individual trees and woody plants.

Arborists are specially trained to handle every aspect of tree care, from diagnosing and treating tree diseases to pruning. They are specially trained to:

  • Recognise issues that regular people might not spot
  • Handle said issues safely without harming the tree, themselves, and your property.

What services do arborists provide?

Arborists do a range of jobs related to trees. The services they perform typically include the following:

Tree Removal

It is sometimes necessary to take out a tree from your property. Such situations include when:

  • The tree is dead or dying.
  • The tree poses a safety risk (e.g. hollow, beneath power lines).
  • The tree is in the way of a construction project.

To minimise the likelihood of injury or property damage, hire an arborist to remove your tree. Take note; however, that tree removal is done only after consulting with your local council.

Tree Surgery

Tree surgery is the practice of removing a tree’s diseased branches to keep the entire tree healthy.

Tree Pruning

Tree pruning is the practice of selectively removing a tree’s branches. It involves the targeted removal of dead, damaged, structurally unstable, or unwanted parts from a tree.

Tree pruning is carried out for various reasons such as:

  • To improve a tree’s shape.
  • To remove dangerous branches.
  • To manage a tree’s height and/or spread.
  • To reduce a tree’s weight.
  • To enable more light to pass through a tree.
  • To repair damage caused by storms.

If necessary, the arborist may have to climb the tree to prune it using specialised climbing equipment. Otherwise, the task may be accomplished from the ground. To reach higher areas, the arborist may use a crane or aerial work platform.

Tree Inspection

Also known as tree risk assessment, tree inspection is performed by arborists to identify and evaluate a tree’s structure, overall health, and vigour. Trees are visually analysed for signs of structural damage, disease, defects, and fauna.

During tree inspections, arborists also consider various criteria such as:

  • The tree’s environmental, cultural, and amenity value.
  • Retention value.
  • Occurrence of nearby vegetation (if any).
  • If the tree causes structural damage to a building, ancillary structure, water main or sewer, and if all options of fixing the damage have been considered.

Stump Grinding

Because a stump remains connected to a tree’s roots, it can survive even after the tree itself has been cut down. Stump grinding is the process of cutting up a tree stump into small, recyclable woodchips. It destroys the stump and kills the tree’s underlying roots. Stump grinding is not normally included in the cost of tree removal. If you want both carried out, ask the arborist for a quote for tree removal and stump grinding.

Arborist Report

An arborist report is a document that provides detailed information about a tree’s health, vigour, amenity value, and safe, useful life expectancy.

Arborist reports are usually done as part of an application to remove a tree and are presented to local councils. While most local councils have an in-house arborist, they may ask for a second opinion.

How much does an arborist cost in Australia?

Arborist rates depend on the service they are performing for you, and several other factors.

When it comes to tree removal and pruning, arborist cost can be anywhere between $75 to $4,500. For arborist reports or tree inspection services, expect to spend upwards of $450.

Let’s break them down per service:

TaskEstimated Price Range
Tree removal$300 for simple jobs
Tree pruning/surgery for smaller trees$35 arborist cost per hour*
Tree pruning/surgery for larger trees$500 to $2,000*
Tree inspection$150 (advice only)
Stump removal$350 to $800
Arborist report$300 to $450 for one tree
Development application arborist report$450 to $1,500
  • Does not include travel and setup time


Arborist tree removal cost will depend on a range of factors:

  • Tree species – Some species aren’t recyclable, so the arborist needs to spend to dispose of it. This cost is passed on to you.
  • Tree size – Larger, thicker trees are more expensive to remove.
  • Accessibility – The closer and easier your tree can be moved to the arborist’s truck and equipment to your tree, the lower the tree arborist prices.
  • Condition of the tree – Diseased or unsteady branches can make the tree more dangerous to climb. The arborist may need to use special equipment (e.g. cranes) which will increase the quoted price.
  • Risk involved – Removing some trees may involve more risk (e.g. proximity to power lines, underground pipes, house foundation).
  • Location – Arborist cost may vary per state and territory.
  • Worth of the tree – As per its valuation report.

Why are arborists so expensive?

Arborist services are costly because:

The job requires specialised skills. While arborists do not require a licence number to operate, they need to learn a range of abilities to properly do the job. This includes (but are not limited to):

  • The safe use of chainsaws.
  • Storing, transporting, preparing, and applying chemicals.
  • Recognising hazards at the worksite.
  • Aerial and ground-based rigging.
  • Performing aerial rescues.
  • Working safely near live electrical hazards.
  • Working with poisonous trees.

The job requires the use of special equipment such as:

  • Cranes
  • Woodchippers
  • Aerial work platforms
  • Truck hoists
  • Stump grinders

It is difficult and labour-intensive. Working on trees requires arborists to collaborate with a ground crew. More often than not, arborist work it is performed in urban settings with minimal space to drop a tree or its debris. Thus, arborists use ropes and pulleys to safely bring down the debris one by one.

It is dangerous work. This risk comes with related insurance costs.

How can I find the best arborist cost possible?

Now for the easy part: iSeekplant is Australia’s biggest online construction hire marketplace. With our large database, you can locate and compare as many arborist rates as you want, in just a few clicks.

Bonus tips:

When you do your search, get quotes from at least three providers, then compare their rates to get competitive tree arborist prices.

Arborists and tree fellers do not require a license but see if that they have:

  • Public liability insurance
  • Relevant qualification (e.g. a Certificate II or III in Arboriculture)

But if you are busy and do not have the time to find a qualified arborist, land clearing, tree clearing, tree mulching or tree lopping services yourself, you still have a couple of options. Get in touch with our expert team at 1300 691 912, or email our Projects Team with your specifications -they will then find you an arborist who will meet your requirements.

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