Archived Q&A and Reviews
Someone to remove two trees
I am looking for someone reliable to remove two trees from my back garden. Someone who can do it without destroying the rest of the garden. Cathy
We had a great experience with Brende and Lamb taking out some bottle brush trees. They were very responsive, knowledgeable, and fast. They also came in under their estimate. Recently, my sister-in-law used them to remove a redwood from her backyard and was also impressed with their work. Gann
We recently had Big Chief Tree Service cut back trees in our yard. They did a great job; they were priced significantly better than the other 4 bids I got, the workers were very professional, and they left our yard in beautiful condition. http://www.bigchieftree.com/ maia
Hi, Jeff Blaney - 510.848.9143 - elegantly removed 2 trees from my yard and replaced one with a beautiful Magnolia. My garden looked great... He cleaned the mess and was a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend him! Keri
We need to remove some trees in our yard and are looking for someone who is familiar with the tree removal ordinances in Oakland. I tried looking up recommendations from previous posts, but all the numbers listed are out of service. Thanks for your help.
Last year Matthew Bowman (Complete Tree Care, Berkeley) took out a couple of large black acacias from our property. His bid was low and he cleaned up well. He also arranged for the Oakland Zoo to pick up the acacias for their elephants to eat and play with. He's at (510) 883-1748. tree free
For tree removal, and all landscaping for that matter, I highly recommend Pablo Cepero with California Landscape Service in Oakland. The phone number is 510- 635-7017. He is a landscape contractor, licensed, insured, etc. He really cares about his work and listens to you to get an understanding of what it is you want. He offers his suggestions and explains different options in a way that is easy to understand. He is skilled in tree removal and does it in a safe and professional manner. He also cares about the environment! He will give honest and fair estimates and is not pushy in any way. He is simply a pleasure to work with. Good Luck! Sharon
I live in Oakland and use California Landscape Service for my tree jobs. The owner's name is Pablo Cepero and # is 510-635-7017. His prices are competitive and he definitely knows what he's doing. Robin
We have a large palm tree, about 50 feet (maybe taller), in our front yard that I would love to have cut down. We live in the Richmond hills off of the Arlington and we're looking for an affordable tree service to remove the tree and (hopefully) the stump. If anyone knows of a good, reliable company we'd love to know. Also, how much should we be prepared to pay for such a removal? Thanks!
I highly recommend Jonathan Roghair of Garden Hero Landscaping. Jonathan just completed a huge tree shaping/trimming job in our front yard that kept the tree's basic shape yet now safely out of the overhead power lines. Jonathan is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of landscaping and gardening. Please do contact me if you'd like more details. Contact Jonathan at ''Garden Hero Landscaping'', 510-374-9568 or jbroghair [at] hotmail.com for all gardening/landscaping jobs all around the Bay Area. Elaine
I am a ISA certified arborist and could give you a quote for removing the palm tree. The only way of knowing the cost is to see it and its surroundings - size, proximity to houses and landscaping, distance and slope from trucks to tree, etc..
We are in the process of trying to buy a home, and it seems that more often than not the houses I like are surrounded by trees that provide too much shade. What I'm wondering is, if we buy a house on the assumption that we can brighten it up by cutting down many of the trees, are we going to be in for a rude surprise when we try to do that? I don't mean the cost (I know it's very expensive) -- what I'm wondering is whether either city codes or your neighbors can prevent you from removing trees that are on your own property. Has anyone had any negative experiences with this? (I've checked the archives and see recommendations for tree-removers, but no discussion of this particular concern.) Thanks!
I would check with the specific city, and check with the specific neighbors. The city can prevent you from removing a tree, and often will, especially in Berkeley or Piedmont or cities in Marin country (in my experience), and expecially if they're redwoods or pines. Eucalyptus trees are generally considered weeds, and you'll rarely get opposition.
The alternative is pruning or topping, which can let in a lot more light, be less expensive, and much easier to get through city hall and keep you in good graces with your neighbors.
Some neighbors are deeply hostile to your taking down trees, and will hold a grudge against you for years to come. I like to believe the majority of Bay Area residents revere and value living trees, and recognize their right to exist where they've been standing for decades.
If you want more sun, don't buy in the hills. There are plenty of houses in the Bay Area that aren't in the hills. Generally speaking, if people buy in the trees, it's because they like the trees, want the trees, and want to keep the trees.
My wife's sister and brother in law took down a tree on their property in Montclair, and now they're HATED by all their neighbors, and feel isolated and uncomfortable in their own neighborhood. Alienating the neighbors as soon as you move in is not such a good move. Be careful to check with them fist- they'll appreciate your concern.
Finally, my own personal note. I empathize with wanting more light. I understand the temptation to want to clear a view of the bay and SF. I hate mold and mildew as much as anyone. But I also feel like the Bay Area is being overrun with greedy, selfish, and generally arrogant people form other parts of the country who don't fully appreciate the natural beauty here, nor have what I condider a requisite respect for nature. Please, if you want to live in ''Sunny California,'' move to LA. 'Nuff said. Tree Hugger
I don't know about different localities' laws, but you do have to respect neighbors' wishes on trees on or near your property's border. See Nolo Press's ''Neighbor Law'' book for a thorough and accessible explanation. It should be at the library. David in Berkeley
We bought in Orinda, and felt a little too surrounded and shaded by big cedars and a redwood. We have since removed two cedars (which were crowding out the beautiful redwood) and trimmed all the trees. Now that we are beginning our landscaping I need to remove one more cedar. Orinda has an ordinance that you cannot trim/remove an oak tree (protected) but you can trim all other trees. Always check with the city's planning/permit Dept before you trim/remove.
None of our neighbors objected.
I suggest you call Abel at Diablo Tree Service (408) 227- 0043. He was VERY reasonable charging only $300/tree for removal and $1400 to trim and top 7 trees. Negotiate hard b/c the price will come down. One of our neighbors was quoted over $5,000 to trim her trees - yikes! Needed more sunshine
It depends on the species and health of the trees. call the planning departments of the cities where you are looking for houses. Some native species are protected, so they are more difficult to remove. Also, the city will be more inclined to allow you to remove dead/diseased trees even if they are a protected species. Ask the planning department: which species are protected and where? what is required for tree removal: report by arborist hired by homeowner, report by third party arborist, or a tree removal permit? what are the costs, fees, and schedule for the required documentation and processing? Anon
We just took down a three-story pine from in front of our house. Some neighbors were happy we took it down, because the needles were all over their property. Some were not so happy, and claimed to ''miss the tree''. But, we had a mold problem, and the tree was on our property (not in the parking strips which is city property) so we had every right.
If you make sure the company that does it is properly insured (we used Brende + Lamb and I highy reccomend them) and inform your neighbors a head of time (because the chain saws will be going ALL day) you have every right to take them down. Paula
I have three enormous trees (pine, maple, and redwood) that need to be removed by a licensed and insured tree removal service. Unfortunately, the archives are a bit dated, so I'm looking for current references. I have just received the tree removal permit, and want someone experienced and reputable, since power lines run through one of the trees, and the other trees are on our fence line. Any leads would be appreciated.
We recently had a giant Monterey Pine topple over in our back yard. We decided to take out the remaining three Pines b/c they were leaning over into our neighbor's yard and would have caused extensive damage if they had fallen.
I got estimates from five(!) different tree companies and ultimately settled on Graham Tree Service. They own their own cranes (many companies rent their equipment), they could do the work quickly, and they seemed the most professional of the bunch, with expertise in difficult removals (our project involved their biggest crane, lifting pieces over power lines and our roof.) This was an expensive project ($12k) but our neighbors paid for half. Graham's bid wasn't the lowest (they ranged from $11k-$13,500) but we felt they were the best qualified. Their number is 510-224-0478 Good Luck! Holly H.
We used Graham Tree Removal to take out 2 huge Monterey Pines. We got several bids, and their bid was by far the lowest. The removal was very difficult, by they did a very professional job. Highly recommend them. 510-224-0478 Anon
Don't know where you live, but we recently had several tree services give estimates to remove a large Eucalyptus tree from our yard in Marin. We used Treemasters out of San Rafael. I think it was the owner who we talked to, his name was Tad. Great guy --good 'vibe' feeling from him too. 510-224-0478 is the number.
We also called Happy Tree in Marin, who our neighbor used. Their estimate was very close to Treemasters and we chose the other for scheduling reasons. Sorry don't have the Happy Tree number handy. fellow tree remover
We have a palm tree -- don't know the species but it's of the squat variety, about 3-4 ft diameter & 12 ft high -- that is pushing down our neighbor's fence so she is itching for us to get rid of it.
I talked to one palm tree broker who says he needs 3 ft clearance on all sides to remove a palm, so we fear we may have no other option but to kill the poor thing.
So, can we do this ourselves? Is there anything we should know about chopping down palms as opposed to other kinds of trees? Do they grow back if the stump is not removed? How hard is it to remove the stump? Are we better off letting a professional do it? Anyone you'd recommend (price is definitely a consideration)? Is there any possible way of saving the tree? Any advice/knowledge you can share is appreciated. Signed, not a tree killer
try to save and re-locate the tree if you can possibly get enough access (since they are relatively ''successful'' candidates for ''mature tree'' transplating. If you remove the canopy (i.e. most or all of the green foliage) you will kill the tree and it will NOT re-sprout. If you cut it down entirely be aware that it's very fibrous tissue, which can be pretty abusive to chain saws. So if a professional does agree to do it (it's in the ''least-desirable'' category of jobs) be prepared that you may not get cheap quotes. betsy
Hi. My husband, Richard Trout, is the U.C. Berkeley campus arborist and does tree consulting. I emailed your question re tree safety, and this is what he replied. Hope it helps:
''I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. That caveat aside, a good source of information for the layman is Neighbor Law, published by Nolo Press. The book addresses various tree issues (including the limited right to cut vegetation of a tree overhanging your property), and also covers the topic of how the tree owner's liability may change if they are given written notice of a hazard on their property. Another avenue is to research the tree ordinance (not the view ordinance)in your city. If I recall, Berkeley had a section that addressed hazardous trees on private property, and other cities may as well.'' Stefanie
We have a substantial palm tree growing in our small backyard. It is very poorly placed - right in the way of the walkway and its much too big for the space. I've been told that there may be tree removal services that might remove it for free in exchange for the tree, or even pay us to take away the tree. Does anyone know of anything like this? Thanks in advance! Kate
In terms of someone removing your palm tree for free or even buying it, it depends on what kind of palm you have. We recently removed a very tall fan palm that was planted just inches from our house. After checking out the free-removal options previously recommended on this list (The Palm Broker was one of them), we learned that no one wants the fan palms (one of the more common types around here), so you have to pay the regular price to have those cut down and ground up. If you have a royal palm or one of the other more desirable varieties, tho, it's a different story and you may well be able to sell yours. Leah
Try calling Valley Crest Tree in Sunol, 862-2485. They are wholesale brokers and I believe they do some removals of usable trees. If not, they may be able to refer you. cfl
Our house has a 30 - 40 foot palm tree in the back yard. We are not palm tree fans but would hate just to chop it down. Does anyone know a company that might purchase it from us? Would the city (in this case, Oalkand) want to be involved at all? Thanks. Celia
Regarding the unwanted palm tree: I spoke with the Palm Broker, a mostly palm nursery in SF. They are not interested in fan palms, but will remove other palms up to 25 feet in height. Their number is (415)626.7256. Good luck! -Shirley
Perhaps some one has recently asked about this and I missed it, but I need someone to remove two LARGE trees from my backyard. Of course, I wish to do this economically, but I also need some one who can do it WELL because the trees are on the property line and I don't want my neighbors to have anything damaged. Thanks for your help. Elizabeth
Hi, Tree removal is not economical. Most tree pruning companies will remove trees. The reputable ones that I know of are Forestree Company , Brian Fensky- Professional Tree Care, Brende and Lam (I think that spelling is right). All these numbers are in the phone book. I think they're all in Berkeley.There's an arborist named Jeff Blaney who is very knowledgable. I don't know if he does tree removal. Shoreline tree service (Tim Lowry...his number is San Rafael, he lives in Pt Richmond...if you call him tell him June Kamerling sent you). I've been a professional gardener for many years. These are the people I've continually used.Good luck. June
Try Levi Baca at 724-8204. He works for a very reputable tree removal company who's name I can't remember.
We used Graham tree service in Berkeley about 2 years ago to remove a large Eucalyptus. They were great, and did the work for far less than the 3-4 other companies whose bids we'd gotten. 510-224-0478
David and Nancy
If a tree represents a potential liability, your home owners policy may cover its removal. I recommend contacting them, they will usually come out to give an opinion. Ellen
You might give Joinery Structures in Oakland a call. They are a great woodworking/architecture shop run by Buddhists, they specialize in reclaiming lumber from downed trees. They just built a beautiful table for some clients of ours out of acacia, elm and stony pine, all former street trees in the East Bay. I don't actually know if they can cut down trees themselves, but when you visit the shop, there are stacks and stacks of trees lying around drying! Good luck!
We had a big acacia tree downed by a wind storm on New Year's day. After having it hauled away the expensive way, we visited the Oakland Zoo and observed the giraffes and elephants and camels dining on big acacia branches. It turns out that the zoo will eagerly pick up acacia -- and some other trees -- debris at no cost to the owner, to feed the animals. I really wish I had known (not only did we lose our tree, we also wasted it) Apparently they are always in need of this kind of donation. Maybe this posting will help some tree owners-- and some animals. Added bonus: When you take your kids to the Oakland Zoo to watch the animals eat your trees, there is a baby giraffe there now that is fascinating to watch. Laura
We are getting ready to remodel and need to sell some of the mature trees and shrubs from our yard. Several people have told me that these are valuable, especially the japanese maples, but I don't have the slightest idea how or where to advertise. Can anyone offer advice? Kimberly
A few considerations from a long-time gardener who has actually moved plants from house to house.....
Yes, you can probably sell small and medium-sized trees and shrubs from your yard, but it is VERY labor intensive to remove a large plant. As an example, $100. Japanese maple fr/nursery (small at 6' tall) is READY TO PLANT, and EASY TO TRANSPORT because the root ball is so small. It could, however, take (minimally) 3-4 hours to dig it out and prepare the roots for somebody to buy. If you plan on having the purchaser remove the plants themselves, the price could drop considerably, given the 3-4+ hours of labor involved.
There is also the factor of re/moving a plant at a time that could prove fatal, or at least extremely taxing to the plant. Most plants do need to be pruned heavily at transplanting--and a lovely Japanese maples may not look so lovely after considerable shock--so it's a bit of a gamble for the purchaser.
I moved a 15' Meyer lemon from 1 part of my yard to another: it took 2 DAYS OF DIGGING because the soil was so hard and the root system was entangled in all sorts of other plants, including a spectacular magnolia. The magnolia survived beautifully but the Meyer took a real beating. A lilac that I moved from our (old) North Oakland house to our (new) Berkeley house is in flower for the first time (!), so large-scale transplanting is possible, but has real risks.
Best of luck with your project, Claire
We will soon be doing an addition on our home and need to remove a Meyer Lemon Tree that has been there for probably 20+ years. I love this tree and I get tons of lemons year round. I want to re-plant it somewhere else in our yard. The tree is very large and I assume the roots are just as big. First, can this be done? If so, can anyone recommend someone who has experience doing this. What are the odds the tree will live through this. Finally, how much will this cost. Meyer Lemon Lover
Our very old Meyer Lemon put its roots through its redwood tub and a flagstone patio. Its tap root was very long (at least 3 feet) and rigid. We dug it out the best we could and replanted it in a bigger redwood tub and it lived several more years: a hard frost hit it and it never really recovered. So I don't know what someone would charge to transplant the tree, but they seem to be pretty forgiving. Good luck! Fran
I would like to recommend Maxwell Tree Service for all your tree trimming/removal needs. I found him in the BPN archives and want to provide some updated information. We had the owner (sorry can't remember his name) do quite a bit of work for us. He is a certified arborist and completely removed two large trees and 2 huge overgrown shrubs. He cut back a fir, pittosporum and some other huge tree on our property and they look fantastic. One was in our front yard so we were concerned that it would look chopped up and ugly. I don't know how he did it, but it is thinned out, cut back and perfectly shaped. He was kind, professional, hard working and reasonably priced. He checked in with me regularly to confirm how much I wanted off each tree and was able to make suggestions on what would be good for the tree and look good/balanced. I followed his advice and our front and back yards look great. We were amazed he was able to do all the work by himself in 8 hours. He was conscientious about cleaning up. kelly
My husband and I had such a great experience that I'm compelled to share it with BPN. We needed to cut down about 24 laurel trees that were about 30 ft high. We asked for four quotes, and Eric from Maxwell Tree Service not only was prompt in getting back to us, he was competitive in price and got the job done timely. The other tree service reps gave us high quotes (a couple at $1k more) and said it is because they would need 3 or 4 guys to get the job done. We were amazed that Eric worked on his own. He worked efficiently fast, clean, and was done promptly as promised. Eric, an arborist, gave us many tips on how to maintain our trees and yard. We highly recommend Maxwell Tree Service, his office number is 510-339-3879. --Corie
This is a recommendation for M tree service, who just finished taking 4 trees out of our yard. This was technically difficult in that our house was built around one of the trees (an 80 foot redwood) and was endangering both foundation & roof. Mark and his crew was efficient,safe, fast & neat (all traces of trees and work gone in 3 days), and their bid was better than competitive with the 4 other services we contacted. They even took their shoes off when they came in to use the bathroom!!! M tree service, 510- 235-1736