Planting a tree has many benefits including adding shade to a yard, dividing adjacent properties and improving the look of the home. Not all trees are the same, however. Figuring out an average cost for tree planting is difficult because there are many variables involved. If you are dreaming of a full-grown tree to fill in an empty space in your landscape, your costs will be far higher than if you are seeking to grace an area with a sapling or young fruit tree. Since several steps are involved, it is best to average out the costs of these steps to provide a better estimate.
Purchasing the Tree
The first cost to consider is the average price of trees. Tree prices differ hugely based on their availability and their maturity. A young tree under 10 feet tall usually costs from $50 to $100, according to Home for the Harvest. Bareroot fruit or ornamental trees can cost as little as $25. If you plant it yourself, all you need is a shovel and the readiness to engage in some hard work, and you're done.
However, if you want a more mature tree to fill in an area of your landscape more quickly, expect to pay closer to $200 — and this would still be a fairly young sapling. More expensive varieties of trees include blue spruce, which can cost $350 or more. Larger trees can easily top $500, and these are the ones that will require equipment and professional installation, so the total cost will be exponentially higher.
Of course, if you already have a tree and are transplanting it or starting a tree from a seed, this cost is not a factor in the overall price.
Moving the Tree
Another cost to consider is moving the tree itself. If the tree is located at a nursery, moving it to your home may be very expensive. If you do not have a pickup truck to move the tree, delivery is required. A short trip across town may cost anywhere from $40 to $75. Transporting the tree several miles from a nursery will cost between $75 and $200, depending on how far and how large the tree is.
Planting the Tree
The actual planting of the tree costs nothing if you do the work yourself. If you hire a tree specialist or landscaper to plant the tree, they will charge a set fee or hourly rate. Landscapers charge anywhere from $25 to $60 or more an hour, depending on their experience and professional rates.
A typical tree planting takes at least two hours or more, even for a small tree. A hole is dug, the tree is planted and supported and fencing installed if necessary. For large trees, planting costs are much higher and range into the hundreds. This cost is often bundled with the delivery and transportation fee. If you also need to remove a tree to make room to plant a new one, there are costs involved as well.
Tree Care Costs
Once the tree is planted, caring for the tree requires minimal costs. Watering the tree and applying fertilizer or pest repellent is all most trees require. Ensuring the tree remains upright and supported requires minimal costs as well. Altogether, the additional cost of maintaining the tree might average just the cost of the soil amendments and chemicals, perhaps $25, on average, over time.
The only other additional expense is tree service from your landscaper, if required. This price is very difficult to estimate. It is usually added onto your landscaping bill, and the price varies widely based on the type of service rendered, how often it is rendered and your landscaper's rates.
Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.