Getting your trees inspected from time to time is definitely a good idea to keep an eye on their health and your safety. Trees usually give early warning signs of poor health and structural instability that take the trained eye of an arborist to see.

You will need to hire an arborist to carry out the tree inspection which will cost $40 to $550 on average. It all depends on the purpose of the inspection and your expected outcome and needs.

If you just want an option on whether the tree should be trimmed or removed when they are giving an estimate, then it will be free. But for a full arborist report to get a tree removal permit, it will cost $550.

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Visual + verbal = $0 – $100: Some companies advertise free inspections with any quote for tree trimming or removal. This would be a casual 5-minute ground inspection assessing the overall health and vigor of the tree while they give a price to trim the tree. Your outcome here might be just knowing the tree is in good health.

1-page checklist & recommendations = $100 – $250: This would be a little more formal where you have asked an arborist to come out and give an inspection and risk assessment of trees on your property and recommendations. They would fill out a form with minimal notes and a 2 or 3-line recommendation. Your outcome or motive is probably related to buying a home and wanting to know where you stand.

Tree inspection report = $350 – $450: Tree inspection reports or risk assessment with an arborist report is much more time-consuming. After the tree inspection, the arborist would need to go away and write up a 10 – to 20-page detailed information on their findings and recommendations. This is an official document to be used when applying for development approval or a tree removal permit.

Average Tree Inspection Prices

Inspection TypeLowHighAverage
Visual + VerbalFree$100Free
1-Page recommendations$100$200$120
Tree Report (Single Tree)$350$550$450
Tree Report (Multiple Tree)$550$1,200$750

What is a tree survey?

A tree survey is plotting the location of trees within a plot of land or across a whole city. They are used by the city to map significant and heritage trees for their protection. On a block of land, tree surveys are used by surveyors when determining the location of the new building which trees need to stay, and which need to go.

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Tree Inspection vs tree survey

A tree inspection is carried out to determine the health of a tree and what steps need to be implemented to maintain it. A tree survey was done to map the location of trees over a predetermined area whether that that is a small block of land or across a whole city or forest.

Although the location of a tree is taken into consideration in a tree inspection, it is not its primary purpose. Tree surveys only look at the location and not the health and vigor of a tree.

Why get a tree inspection?

People’s motives for a tree inspection vary but generally come down to wanting more information on the current state of trees on their property.

A lot of the time, when people are house shopping, they will include a tree inspection as a part of their due diligence to avoid any costly surprises in the future. Large trees can cost thousands of dollars to trim or remove so it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

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How often should trees be inspected?

This would depend on two main factors:

a) Potential targets – Is the tree in the middle of a backyard with nothing around it, or is overhanging your home? The higher the risk of damage the more often you need to get inspections carried out.

b) Consequences of failure – This is tied closely to potential targets, but raises questions to be considered such as will someone get injured or killed if the tree were to fail? Is it situated in a school where kids play?

Every homeowner has a responsibility to maintain the trees on their property. The frequency of inspection will be your call, but every 2 – 6 years is a good place to start depending on the above factors and the location of your tree.

Tree inspection services near me

There are lots of arborists in every city capable of giving you a tree inspection.

It all depends on what you want out of the inspection. Do you want a written report? Or would you rather advise on whether the tree should be trimmed and needs the work done ASAP?

If you are after an arborist report, you will need to hire a consulting arborist. They are very different from regular arborists as they specialize in inspections.

If you are just after general advice and a tree service near you to carry out the work, I suggest you just search for a local tree service.

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Should I get trees inspected before buying a house?

Along with pest inspection and engineer’s report, a tree inspection by a certified arborist is always a good idea.

Tree trimming or removal can be very costly, so knowing where you stand when buying a home and the potential for large costs in the near future is worth knowing.

For example, if you have 6 large oak trees on a property you are considering buying and all have passed their Safe Useful Life Expectancy, they can become dangerous really fast. To remove all trees could cost in excess of $10,000.

Paying a few hundred dollars for an inspection is money well spent.

What do arborist look for?

The main thing any arborist is trying to determine when inspecting a tree is the likelihood of failure.

There are a lot of factors that can contribute to tree branches or whole structures failing. There are some tell-tale signs such as pest infestation, past history, tree species and the local climate or weather.

Can I get a free tree inspection?

Free ‘informal’ tree inspections are quite common, but only when the tree service is already on your property giving you a free estimate for tree pruning or removal.

So if you want to get an estimate, remove 2 branches hanging over your home, but also get the rest of the tree inspected while they are there. Most local arborists will oblige free of charge.

You will not have much luck getting a free tree inspection as a stand-alone service. It would be like asking a plumber to come out and inspect your pipes and not expect to be charged.

Tree inspection reports

This will depend on the type of inspection you have asked for. If you are in need of an arborist tree inspection report, a consulting arborist will inspect your tree and give you a detailed report on their findings and recommendations.

If you are not getting an inspection report for any official reason such as a development approval or tree removal permit, then they will generally give verbal recommendations or a short 1-page report.

Where to find tree inspection services?

Most tree-cutting services are capable of carrying out a tree inspection. If you are after an arborist report to come with the inspection, you will need to get a consulting arborist with a diploma certification in Arboriculture.

You can start with a Google search or the Yellow Pages. Most will advertise whether or not they do tree inspections.

Difference between a tree inspection and a risk assessment

Essentially they are the same thing but not always. It will depend on your reason for getting an inspection in the first place.

If it is to ascertain the safety and stability of the tree, then a risk assessment will be a part of the tree inspection report, but if you just want to know the overall health of the tree and how to best care for it, the arborist might decide a risk assessment is not really needed.


Home inspectors will not inspect trees at the same time. If there are trees with branches that are overhanging or look like they could potentially cause damage to the property, then the inspector will probably make a note of it. However, a tree inspection is a separate charge and needs to be carried out by an arborist or other qualified person.

Just by looking online or even in a local newspaper, you will find a whole host of listings for tree inspectors in your area. Remember that they need to be a qualified professional and preferably one that comes with recommendations or you might end up having to pay for the inspection again in the future.

Yes, a tree doctor is another name for an arborist and they are trained and able to carry out tree inspections, although you must be sure that they are a level-5 arborist, as these are the ones who are qualified for the job.

There are two levels of arboriculture studies. Level 3 and level 5 arborists. A level 5 arborist is the highest level and it is someone who is qualified in all aspects of trees. You have to undertake extensive training to reach level five and you are able to handle all tasks including the care and maintenance of trees, removing or cutting down trees, inspections, reports, and helping to train lower-level arborists.

An arborist’s job is to ensure that trees and shrubs are kept healthy and maintained. They are there to help revive dying trees or shrubs by using various methods to treat them. They also remove any that are dead or posing a safety risk and make sure that the area is cleared. An arborist is there to handle all aspects of taking care of trees and shrubs from the beginning until the end.

All you need is to get in touch with your local tree care company or even landscaping company. They will have qualified arborists that you can then hire. If you prefer you can also check that the company or worker is qualified by checking they have the correct certifications needed.

Yes, absolutely. A big part of an arborist’s job is to save trees before they can no longer be revived. Unless there is some kind of potential hazard involved, an arborist will always prefer to save a tree rather than remove it. There are various methods for saving trees and an arborist will know the right one to give the tree the best chance of survival.

Yes, they are the ones who are qualified and will be able to carry out a full and thorough inspection without you needing to worry.

Yes, in effect, they are the same thing. An arborist report will be the result of a tree inspection, so if you book a tree inspection you will end up with an arborist report.

Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.