I have a tree in my backyard (I own a townhouse so it's not a real big
backyard) that I am considering whether to have trimmed back or just
cut down completely. Some of the branches are way overgrown and are
now overtop of my neighbor's roof and some of my roof. I am
considering whether to have a tree service trim back 5 of the major
branches or whether to just have them completely cut down the tree and
haul it away. Does anyone know if it's a lot more expensive to cut an
entire tree cut down versus just having several of the major branches
Good question. Proper pruning verses improper pruning. Over pruning can
cause problems. For more on what I mean about dose see here.
Sure its more expensive, some times, to cut and haul away a tree. If you
have to top the tree you might consider having it removed and having a young
tree planted and start "Correct" pruning to control height while the tree is
young. For pruning go here:
If the branches had to be lowered with lots of targets below and the tree
could be pulled over if removed, the price would be (possibly) less
expensive to just cut the tree down. However then you would have to haul
the wood away. If you had a wooded area you could leave the wood. For SOME
of the benefits of wood see here.
You did not say what kind of tree but I'm of the school that you
should not plant trees next to your house that will menace house in
years to come. I'd cut it down and plant something that will not grow
yes. You'd have to go through the same process to remove the branches
in either case, but to remove the tree you'd also have to get the
trunk out. Unless there's a clear drop zone, this is tricky, slow,
and risky--ergo, expensive.
Why do you fear branches over your roof? They will shade the house,
saving you cooling costs in the summer. If the tree is weak or
damaged, it may be wise to remove it, but a healthy tree is no more
likely to damage your house than a car that leaves the road and
crashes into your living room. It happens, yes, but it is rare.
The things to look for are species (a hackberry or a cottonwood are
examples of trees I would not want looming over my bedroom; oaks are
built like iron and are not likely to fail; others fall somewhere in
between and may merit some weight reduction at the ends of long,
sprawling limbs), past pruning (a tree that has been topped will never
be as strong as one that has been properly cared for), and proximity
(if the trunk is touching the wall or foundation, the problem will
never go away, but if it is at least a few feet from the house, the
branches can be pruned back for proper clearances).
The main concern I have from your question is the phrase "having
several of the major branches cut off." In all likelihood, the major
branches do not need to be removed. Simply removing small limbs from
the bottom and ends of the offending parts of the tree will usually be
enough to mitigate the risk. Removing entire large branches
compromises the tree's production of energy while creating huge wounds
that can serve as entry points for decay, disease, and insect damage.
The tree can grow over and enclose smaller injuries rapidly, resulting
in a stronger tree in the long term.
You sound like you could benefit from the advice of a well informed
arborist. Look for credentials such as ISA (International Society of
Arboriculture) certification or membership in ASCA (American Society
of Consulting Arborists). A consulting arborist will give you advice
without a sales pitch, while a salesman for a company that does tree
work may be motivated to agree with anything you say as long as it
means he closes the deal. To help you evaluate the advice you
receive, I recommend you spend some time reading the information at
www.treesaregood.com where you can learn about the warning signs of a
hazardous tree and proper pruning of healthy trees.
ISA Certified Arborist #TX-0236AT
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