Are you curious what your tree is worth? Surely its value is only in the eye of the beholder, right? Well, not actually.
We are passionate arboricultural consultants, and we are advocates for giving trees the credit they deserve. One way we can do this is by determining their value (to a dollar amount) based on the value they provide to society.
Some of the economic benefits that trees provide include raising property value, reducing energy costs, and extending the life of expensive infrastructure such as roads and footpaths (by reducing sun exposure).
Unfortunately, there is no official standard in place for valuing trees. There are, however, some great methods that can be applied during a tree assessment. If you would like to know how much your tree is worth, keep reading or get in touch for us to perform a tree assessment of your arboricultural asset and determine its value.
Methods of Valuing Trees
Some councils require a financial offset to be paid for trees that are removed on a private property. This offset amount can be based on a trees’ priority biodiversity value which is determined by its Diameter at Breast Height (DBH), species, or whether the tree supports habitat for endangered fauna.
The offset amount that is paid goes toward reinstating and conserving priority vegetation in the local council area, which is great! The downside of this (apart from the tree being removed) is that the financial offset that is paid is usually far less than the actual value of the tree.
The City of Melbourne uses a tree valuation method, derived from the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers (CTLA), that was developed in 1990 and has since been updated in 2020. This method determines a monetary amount for trees that are intended for removal. The amount is based on removal costs, amenity value, ecosystem service value and reinstatement costs.
An arboricultural consultant can use this method on any tree (including trees not intended for removal) when conducting a tree assessment.
City of Melbourne’s Tree Valuation
The amenity value portion of this method is comprehensive but can easily be adopted by a consulting arborist when undertaking a tree assessment. The results provide a dollar amount to any tree.
The formula for calculating the amenity value of a tree is:
Value (V) = Basic Value ($) x Species (S) x Aesthetics (A) x Locality (L) x Condition (C)
For accurate results, this method should be conducted by a consulting arborist during a tree assessment. But being the advocates for trees as we are, we’ve broken down the method into sections so that you can apply it to your trees. You’re welcome.
1. Basic value ($) is first determined by matching a trees DBH to its corresponding base value (fig 1). Click here for the full table.
2019/20 Base Values (based on $12 per cm5 of trunk area at DBH)
Figure 1 – City of Melbourne’s table of base values for a tree, determined by its DBH. Full table available here.
2. Species factor (S) is calculated by scoring the tree based on its known natural life span and adding or subtracting modifiers such as whether it is a weed species, a rare species, its suitability for the current climate, and habitat value (fig 2, 3 & 4). An arboricultural consultant will be able to provide the natural life span for the species of your tree or if it is a noxious weed in Tasmania.
Trees of short life span (less than 40 years)
Prunus. Acacia. Virgilha. Laburnum. Hakea
Trees of medium life span (40 -100 years)
Populus, Liquidamber, Grevillea Melaleuca, Michelia, Salix. Casaunna, Pinus, Syzygium
Trees of long life span (more than 100 years)
Hesperocyparis, Platanus. Ficus. Eucalyptus, Corymbia, Angophora, Celtis, Quercus
Declared Noxious Weeds
Note that Declared Noxious Weeds should be identified according to the list provided by Agriculture Victoria at
or by the relevant local authority
A rare species in the locality
A special, precious or cultivated variety
A ‘significant tree’ registered by the National Trust has special historical or other significance, such as Aboriginal heritage value
A tree that is being evaluated as a trial species or is the subject of specific research
Figure 2 – City of Melbourne’s method for determining Species Factor score for a tree.
|Climate suitability modifiers||Score|
|Non-climate ready species, or species without climate suitability rating.||0.0|
|Species suitable for current climate||+0.1|
|Species moderately climate suitable||+0.2|
|Species very climate suitable||+0.3|
Figure 3 – City of Melbourne’s climate modifiers to be used in conjunction with the Species Factor score.
|Tree species indigenous to the local region or ecosystem||+0.2|
|Australian native tree species||+0.1|
|Tree host to native mistletoe||+0.1|
|Tree bearing visible hollow/s wider than 5cm||+0.2|
Figure 4 – City of Melbourne’s habitat modifiers to be used in conjunction with the Species Factor score.
3. Aesthetic value (A) is determined by the impact on the landscape if the tree were to be removed (fig 5).
|Contributes little to the landscape||0.5|
|One of a group of close plantings||0.6|
|Irregular spacing between trees; regular spacing one side||0.8|
|Street or pathway plantings, regular spacing both sides||0.9|
|Solitary feature specimen tree||1.0|
Figure 5 – City of Melbourne’s table of scoring a trees’ aesthetic factor.
4. Locality (L) is determined by the trees’ geographical location, for example, trees in a CBD main street will score higher because of the stressful growing environment (fig 6).
|In undeveloped bushland or open forest||0.5|
|In country areas and country roads||1.0|
|In outer suburb areas and residential streets||1.5|
|In inner city suburbs||1.75|
|In City Park or Reserve; significant street near City Centre||2.0|
|In City Garden, City Square, Mall or City Centre secondary street||2.25|
|City Centre Main Street, Principal Boulevard||2.5|
|Modifiers||Tree in identified priority planting street||+ 1.0|
|Tree occurs in a known ecological habitat corridor||+1.0|
Figure 6 – City of Melbourne’s table of scoring a trees’ locality.
5. Condition value (C) is determined by scoring a tree on its vitality, form, structure, and useful life expectancy (ULE) (fig 7). This section can be highly subjective if it is not conducted by an arboricultural consultant during a tree assessment. For accurate results, contact us to conduct a tree assessment.
|Assessment Criteria||Condition Criteria||Score|
|Crown vitality: Canopy vitality relates to the health of the tree and is measured in density of foliage and/or buds, with respect to what is typical of the species in the location.||Crown and/or bud density||1 -10|
|Crown form: Crown form relates to the shape and form of the tree canopy. *||Percentage crown missing||1-10|
|Structure: Structure relates to the completeness and stability of the tree’s trunk and bark.||Good, Fair, Poor, Very poor||1-4|
|Useful Life Expectancy (ULE): The useful life of a tree is an estimate of how long a tree is likely to remain in the landscape based on health, amenity and risk.||
31 – 60 years
21 – 30 years
6 -10 years
1 – 5 years
Less than 1 year
Figure 7 – City of Melbourne’s table of scoring a trees’ condition.
The answers from each section: ($), (S), (A), (L) and (C) are then multiplied together to calculate a dollar amount (V) of the tree. Valuations should be undertaken by a consulting arborist following a tree assessment to obtain accurate scores.
Is knowing the worth of your tree worth it?
Yes, we think it is. Trees provide so many economic benefits but don’t always get the proper credit they deserve.
Determining a trees’ monetary value can help people appreciate how important and valuable they are. If you want an accurate appraisal of your trees value, or any other arborist services, contact us to perform a tree assessment today. We’ll show you that knowing the worth of your tree is worth it!
Check out the qualifications of our team here.
We are always happy to answer any questions you might have before hiring a consulting arborist. Feel free to contact us at any time.
Reference: City of Melbourne 2022, Urban Forest Tree Valuations: Tree valuations in the City of Melbourne.
Blog written by Mark Fahy
Mark has a diploma in arboriculture (AQF level 5) and is a registered Quantitative Tree Risk (QTRA) assessor. He has been an arborist for over 10 years and is passionate about trees. He is committed to providing evidence-based solutions and thorough reports to clients. Mark is specifically enthusiastic about living with trees in the ever-changing urban environment.