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Dorchester Center, MA 02124
One of the most common questions homeowners have is how much full grown trees cost. After years of planting trees, buying trees online, at local nurseries, and from wholesale providers, here’s what I’ve found about common prices of large and fully grown trees.
A fully grown tree generally costs between $100 and $500. Specialty trees can cost $500-$1000+ when mature. Additional charges for delivery and planting of the tree can add hundreds of dollars to the bill if those tasks are hired out. The overall price of a full grown tree varies due to the size of the tree, species of tree, age of the tree, location of the store, and how many trees are being purchased.
Common varieties of trees generally cost less than rare trees if you want to save money. Younger trees have a lower cost than mature trees. Trees cost less if grown nearby, and if purchased in bulk (or at least not one-at-a-time). Read on to learn more about how much fully grown trees cost.
Prices of fully grown trees: cost guidelines & factors
A fully grown tree rarely costs less than $100. Fully-grown trees of rare varieties often cost several hundred dollars. Slow-growing, particularly large, or mature specimen trees can cost more than $500. I saw a lovely full-grown Japanese Maple last month priced (quite competitively) at $750. There will also be additional charges for delivery and for planting the tree if you don’t do those tasks yourself.
Linked below are some common choices with example prices for large-sized trees that are approaching their full height:
- Columnar Maple Tree ‘Armstrong’
- Honeylocust ‘Imperial’
- Blue Cedar ‘Blue Atlas’
- Lacebark Elm Tree ‘Allee’
- Redbud Tree ‘Oklahoma’
- Japanese Maple Tree ‘Bloodgood’
- Kentucky Coffeetree ‘Espresso’
- Red Maple ‘Red Pointe’
- Columnar European Hornbeam
- Gingko Tree ‘Autumn Gold’
Full-grown or mature trees are generally sold in very large nursery pots or burlap bags. A tree sold in a #10 nursery pot (10 trade gallons of volume) might be only 5-6 feet tall (not exactly fully grown). Some larger trees sold in burlap root coverings (balled and burlap) also have wire mesh surrounding the root ball.
Height is often a key factor in tree pricing. Since different trees are different sizes when fully grown, it is key to research the full-grown mature size of the variety of trees you’re looking at. Urban landscape trees like hawthorn, sumac, hornbeam, and dogwood might not ever grow over 25 feet. Large trees like pine, oak, redwood, and linden can approach 100 feet! It is easier to find a fully-grown tree of a mid-sized variety than trying to buy a full-grown tree of a giant species. Full-grown height is relative to species.
So, research how high and how wide the tree you’re after will grow before researching pricing. Different trees take different amounts of time to grow. Truly grown trees won’t get too much taller, just wider! Double-check that the tree you’ve picked is actually the right size for the job when it’s fully grown. Bigger does mean more shade and privacy, but also more leaves to rake up and pruning to do. Once you have an idea of the fully-grown height, it’ll be easier to shop around for a healthy tree that’s both the right size and the right price.
We purchased three full-grown hornbeam trees for our side garden last year. They were approximately 15 years old and maybe 20 feet high. There’s a picture of them below. The 20′ trees were listed at $400 each, but the nursery gave us a discount because we bought three. The total bill for the three trees and taxes was just over $1000. We transported them home ourselves in our utility trailer.
Planting a “teenager” tree instead of a fully-grown tree
We were so happy to find fully grown trees for the sideyard, but they were expensive! It was also quite a production dealing with them. It was very cool to just have fully-grown trees appear in our yard, but we opted for slightly younger/small trees the next time. This choice has required a bit of time and patience, but the cost savings was more than worth it.
Later last summer, we bought six Chanticleer Pear trees from the same nursery. Instead of getting the big burlap-root-ball trees that were fully grown, we chose potted trees. We got six planting trees for slightly less than a thousand bucks. They could also be planted without heavy equipment. I think they had a better time adjusting to the transplanting too. And they’re still not small!
We’ve been happy with the not-quite-full-grown trees we’ve planted. These are the trees we’ve bought that have been between six and ten feet tall at purchase. They’re more reasonably priced, easier to maneuver, and are probably less bothered by the whole delivery and planting process. We will have to wait a few years for them to “fill in”, but now that they’re there I don’t really worry about it. They’re actually growing pretty fast.
If we needed more trees, we would certainly choose potted trees in the 6 to 10-foot-tall range instead of fully-grown trees in the 20-foot-tall range. They seem to do a decent job more easily and cost-effectively than a full-grown tree. Planting a tree that’s not much taller than you is a much more reasonable proposition than planting a tree that’s two stories high!
Real prices of medium and large trees
Here are some websites that list their prices for large trees that are at least 6 feet high already:
- Nature Hills Online Nursery – USA
- Fast Growing Trees Online Nursery – USA
- Tree Valley Garden Centre – Ontario, Canada
I’m assuming you’d like to buy a tree, but it is also possible just to move large trees from somewhere else to the desired location. We did this with a maple tree and it worked very well.
Young maples cost about $100 in our area, while older maple trees can be over $500. Since we live close to a golf course that regularly moves larger trees, it was much cheaper just to move one of the older maples from our backyard to the front yard. The large tree spade was cheaper than buying an established maple tree.
“Be a patient gardener and you will be a frugal gardener. Buy small shrubs and trees, and let them grow into their space. You will get to know them, and they will adjust to your garden and do a magnificent job of gracing it.”Thrifty Gardening: From the Ground Up, by Marjorie Harris
How much does it cost to plant a large tree?
Some trees are just too big to be planted by homeowners. When buying fully grown trees that have large root balls or that tower in height over us humans, the nursery will inform you of the machinery requirements to have the tree planted. Trees that have to be planted professionally can start to get super expensive once the delivery and planting charges get added to the price of the tree.
Some large trees can be planted with a small excavator or other pieces of heavy machinery. Really big trees are planted with a tree spade (see the photos above). A tree spade is like a giant conical shovel mounted on a heavy truck.
Tree spades can generally be rented by the hour in most areas. They’re best used in open locations that are easy for the truck to maneuver in. Beware that heavy trucks can compact soil and cause ruts, so it’s best to do large tree installation before lawn installation if you can help it. You’ll likely be charged an hourly rate for the equipment that’s needed, as well as hourly rates for all the landscape crew members that are needed. This can get expensive! Get ready to pay at least a few hundred dollars.
Let’s consider a hypothetical example. Say you’ve decided to go with a 15-foot tree, delivered by the nursery and planted with their tree spade. The tree could cost $500, the tree truck rental could cost $500, and the crew could charge $500. That’s a $1500 tree. These numbers aren’t unreasonable in many markets. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into when paying to plant a large tree!
Some landscapers will tell you exactly what it’s going to cost before the project happens, but this has not been our experience. Get a written quote of what they plan to do and what they estimate it will cost. Some landscapers will do detailed printed quotes, or it may just be an email or even a quick text message. Landscapers sometimes advertise that they “guarantee” the plant will live if they are the ones that do the planting, but many nurseries will also do this for DIY homeowners for at least one year.
Most potted trees are happy to be planted by homeowners! Just ask for instructions at the nursery. In general, dig a wide hole that’s only as deep as the soil in the pot. Don’t add anything fancy and backfill the tree with the same soil. However the tree is planted, water it frequently for the first couple of years.