Although trees are planted for their beauty and environmental benefits, sometimes a good tree can go bad and needs to be removed. Whether it is a pine damaging the sewer lines, a maple that has died or an oak damaging the sidewalk, it has to go. Tree removal can be costly, sometimes several thousand dollars or more, but there sometimes are ways to have them removed for free, depending on the tree and the situation.
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Check to see if your trees are part of a city, state or federal program. Many areas have received grants for the purpose of planting and maintaining trees as part of ongoing efforts to promote natural beautification and air quality programs. Check with your local cooperative extension office to learn about such programs in your area. You also can ask at city hall or at a forest service office that covers your area. If the trees are near the street, it is likely that the city owns them and will remove them at no charge, if necessary.
Post ads, either in stores, laundromats or online bulletin boards, advertising free wood for anyone willing to cut it up and haul it away. Many people heat all or part of their homes with wood, and these people are often glad to get free wood in exchange for their efforts.
Call the power company to remove any unwanted trees that are near power lines. Most such companies have contracts with tree specialists in the areas they serve. If there is a chance that your trees are or will become problem trees, the power company will often remove them for you at no charge.
Cut down the trees yourself. You can either use the wood in your own home or you can sell it. Using this method not only removes the trees for free, but actually pays you to do so. You can barter with someone if you need help, trading some of the wood for assistance cutting, splitting and hauling.
Contact a reputable logging company about cutting and removing your trees. Many small companies will do this for no charge, provided there are enough trees – usually 20 or more -- to make it worth their while. Be sure you know what kind of trees you have and their value. In some cases, the logging company may not only remove your trees but will also pay you. Check with more than one company, ask at your county extension office and ask neighbors for recommendations before agreeing to anything.
If you want the wood for heating your home, you may be able to find someone who will cut down the trees for free in exchange for a share of it.
Be sure that anyone coming to remove trees on your property has the ability to do so safely. Check with your insurance company regarding possible liability if you advertise for private parties to come and haul away the wood.
- Bankrate: Felling the Cost of Tree Removal; Michelle Warren; September 26, 2005
- USDA: Cooperative Extension System Offices
- USDA Forest Service: Urban Forest Greenhouse Gas Reporting Protocol, June 1, 2008 (pg 125)
- Pacific Power: Tree Planting and Pruning: Tree Removal
- Varney and Sons Logging: Free Tree Removal