How Much Does It Cost to Plant a Tree?

Katy Willis
Written by Katy Willis
Updated July 26, 2022
four trees planted in a row along a driveway
Photo: Natalie Schorr / Adobe Stock


  • Planting a tree will cost between $100 to $2,000.

  • Small trees cost around $100 per tree.

  • Large trees cost up to $2,000 per tree.

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Prices for planting trees start at $100 per tree for a small tree under 6 feet tall. You can, however, pay up to $2,000 per tree for a larger tree of around 20 feet tall. You can reduce costs per tree by having multiple trees planted at the same time.

Whether you want to create an orchard for your own supply of fresh fruit, provide shade for your picnics, or just add some beauty to your yard, planting trees can really enhance your outdoor space. 

Plus, you can cut your AC costs by a whopping 56% if you plant the right trees in the right places. And you can save an extra 3% off your heating costs if you live in an exposed area by planting evergreens like conifers to cut the wind chill. Planting trees even increases curb appeal and, potentially, property value. How much trees cost to plant depends on many factors, such as the type of tree you choose, its size, and the conditions of your yard.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Plant a Tree?

All manner of things impact the cost of planting a tree, ranging from the size and species of the tree to the cost of permits, how accessible your land is, and the type of soil you have.

Size of Tree

For a small tree of under 6 foot and that fits into a 5-gallon container, expect to pay around $100, including labor, transport, and supplies. Medium trees are those under 10 feet, with 15-gallon containers, and they'll cost you around $255 to plant. 

Larger trees are substantially more expensive and are those up to 20 feet tall, with a 1-cubic yard container. These cost around $2,420 to plant.

Number of Trees

The number of trees you plant increases your overall project cost, but reduces the cost per tree. Just like the price to remove trees or the cost of stump grinding, most arborists will charge a set fee for the first tree that encompasses their time, transport costs, and the use of their tools and supplies to make the job worth their while. 

But planting additional trees costs less per tree. For example, a single small tree can cost around $100 to plant, but each additional tree usually only costs $40 to $70 each. 


Hiring an arborist costs $50 to $150 per hour and makes up around 30% of the total project cost. Planting a small tree can take a single person as little as an hour. 

However, planting a large, mature tree can take a team of two to four people a full day because it's a more complex operation that requires fairly extensive excavation and site prep, and the use of heavy lifting equipment to move the tree. 

However, hiring an arborist near you will ensure you pick the ideal spot to plant your new tree and learn how to properly care for it. 


While not every place requires a permit for trees, some do for trees over a certain height, so you'll need to check local rules and possibly pay for a permit. Your contractor may do this for you as part of your package. 

As an aside, be aware that some municipalities have regulations about the height and location of trees, so be sure to do your research before you begin your planting project.


If the planting site is difficult to access, you'll pay more. A site that requires more labor, effort, or special equipment naturally costs you more than if the contractors can simply roll up, unload, and do their work without any fuss.

Soil Quality

High-quality soil that's easy to work and isn't excessively rocky results in a faster, less labor-intensive project, and therefore costs you less. 

If you've got rocky soil or heavy clay that's hard to work with and requires significant changes to make it hospitable for your new trees, expect to pay much more. It's a necessary expense, too, as there's no point in paying to have trees planted if they won't thrive.

How Much Does It Cost to Plant a Tree by Size?

apple trees require 8 hours of sun, hardiness zones of 3 to 9, and fertile, moist, well-drained soil
Photo: dizfoto1973 / Adobe Stock

Trees are not a one-size-fits-all purchase, and costs can vary dramatically between sizes because of labor and transport costs. Remember, planting a single tree is more expensive per tree than planting multiple at one time.

Small Tree

Small trees are a good option if you want to plant several trees and you're on a budget. If you're happy with a young landscape that'll take a few years to mature, small trees are a great money-saving choice. 

A small tree is under 6 feet tall and usually arrives, or at least fits into, a 5-gallon pot. The cost to plant a single small tree is, on average, $100, including transport, labor, and materials. 

The cost of the tree alone starts at $30, depending on the type of tree. Some trees, such as fruit trees, can cost up to $100 alone, even at this size. However, your contractor can usually source trees at trade prices, so you'll make significant savings by letting them source the trees for you.

Medium Tree

Medium-sized trees are a good compromise between size and cost. A medium-sized tree is one under 10 feet tall and fits into a 15-gallon pot. These trees are mature enough to have good root growth, will establish themselves quickly, and start to grow with some basic care and maintenance. 

If it's a medium fruit or nut tree, by this size and age, it should be ready to give you fruit. Including labor, transport, and materials, you'll pay around $255 to plant a medium-sized tree.

Medium trees start at around $100 and, from a regular nursery, you can pay as much as $300 per tree, depending on the type. 

Large Tree

Large trees are for those who want a mature landscape right away. For example, if you're trying to make immediate energy savings or want to reduce the carbon footprint of your home, planting large shade trees is the most effective option. 

But they're also the most expensive, as they require more effort to plant, and transport. Large trees are around 20 feet tall, and the root ball fits into a 1 cubic yard box. A single large tree costs $2,420 to plant, including transport, materials, and labor. 

Large trees are often priced per caliper inch, where the measurement is taken at the base of the trunk, just above where the trunk spreads as it heads down into the ground. You can expect to pay $150 per caliper inch. So, a 20-foot shade tree with a trunk diameter of 7 inches will cost $1,050, for the tree alone. 

How Much Does It Cost to Plant a Tree Yourself?

If you're green-thumbed and you know how to correctly plant a tree, making sure to spread the root ball properly, and to plant the tree to the correct depth, then you can pretty easily plant small trees. 

Because of the increased size and weight, medium trees are a bit more of a challenge and will require two people to plant. The cost of tree planting is roughly 30% labor, so planting trees DIY-style may be an attractive proposition. 

However, if you plant too deeply, excessively damage the root ball, don't prepare the planting site properly, and don't deliver the proper immediate aftercare, you may end up spending more money because the trees could die. 

So, if you have the budget, hiring a pro is the best option. And, if you want large trees, you'll have to use a professional because of the size and weight of each tree. It's not practical to move a tree of that size, even with help from your best bud, and the cost of renting the equipment is similar to the cost you'll pay a pro.

Frequently Asked Questions

It depends. Smaller, younger trees take longer to mature, but they're more resilient, their roots don't get as damaged during transplanting, and they recover faster. Plus, they're much more affordable to plant, and it's possible to DIY the planting, too. 

On the other hand, mature trees produce fruit faster and provide more shade and privacy immediately. Ideally, a small or medium tree is the better choice if you can wait a few years for it to mature. But if you need immediate maturity, a larger tree is the only option.

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