The Surprising Costs of a Tree
How Much Does It Cost To Plant A Tree?
Planting trees around the world costs a lot of money. It’s hard work reforesting our planet, and it takes organization, planning, and, of course, cash. But is that it? What else is needed to plant a tree? How much do all these individual elements cost, and what are the total costs of planting a tree? Can a single tree really cost $15 million?
And is it true that you can plant trees for free? Today, we reveal it all.
We always do our best to find new ways of sharing exciting details about the benefits of the trees you’ve helped to plant. The communities affected, the animals saved, the environmental impact: these are all the incredible benefits we love to talk about!
But we know that today, you want to talk about money – in fact, many of you have already asked us about the costs of a tree. Keep on reading as we explain the finances and the actual costs of planting a tree.
What Are The Costs Of Planting A Tree?
You’re wondering how much it costs to plant a tree? Here’s a detailed list of the costs of what’s involved.
Trees will always have a cost. And it will always take a lot of human labor to plant, nurse, and grow them.
Planting trees on a large scale requires investment, admin, organization, careful planning, and a smart, sustainable approach. That’s a lot of costs. Let’s take a closer look at these costs.
But before we tell you – take a guess!
Cool, thanks! Now that we know what you think, we’ll happily share our side of the story with you.
In order to build tree-planting farms and nurseries in foreign countries, we need to complete a lot of paperwork. And that takes time. Visas need to be arranged, planning permission needs to be submitted, and all of our work must adhere to international regulations.
We also receive money via online platforms such as PayPal, and send money through TransferWise. However, thanks to the ‘economy of scale’, the bureaucracy costs per tree are very low.
What came first, the seedling or the tree? That’s a debate for another article! But for now, we can’t grow any new trees without first using the seedlings. This is one of the lowest costs of planting a tree, but it’s something we still have to consider.
As we’ll explain a little later, the cost of seedlings varies by species. We plant a range of different tree species in order to maximize the benefits of planting trees.
Planning the type of tree that’s needed, where it needs to be planted, and how many of each species needs to be planted are all additional steps that add to the costs of a tree.
Another thing is sourcing the trees. If we collect the seedlings from existing trees instead of buying them, there’s a cost for sorting the seedlings as well.
Thankfully, planting on a large scale means these costs are very low.
Once the seedlings have been planted, they need to be cared for in the nursery. We don’t just ditch them in the ground and disappear!
After the seed germinates, its roots grow, and a plant emerges through the soil. The seedlings have a much higher chance of doing this under the careful eye of our workers in the tree nursery.
In these early stages, it’s essential that the young trees live in a suitable climate and are watered regularly. We nurture them until they can feed themselves from the nutrients found in soil.
We care for the young trees and give them all the be-leaf they need to grow up big and strong!
The irrigation, staff hours, and resources are all part of the costs of a tree.
Planting In The Field
Now we’re talking! Once the young trees are big enough and brave enough for the real world, we kick them out and send them off to college!
Our experienced planters need to work the land and strategically plant the young trees so that they have every success of flourishing and creating a new forest.
Certain tree species will support one another and the results are astounding. We take advantage of that on several different tree-planting projects including Ghana, where we plant using the Syntropic Farming strategy.
Working the land, paying our experienced tree planters a fair wage, pruning, and maintaining the trees all require funding.
If you didn’t already know, at Click A Tree, we don’t rely on volunteer workers. We want our tree-planting experts to receive a fair salary for their efforts.
Would you plant trees in a tropical country under 30°C sun for nothing? We didn’t think so – it’s hard work, and we like to reward our workers with a respectable salary. Hopefully you’re happy for us to do that!
The focus on paying skilled workers also means that we can make tree planting truly sustainable. The trees have the highest chance of creating new forests, and the work supports the local community.
An additional benefit is that the tree-planting knowledge and experience improves in the area. The next generation of tree planters will be well-equipped to help reforest the world.
Paying our workers a fair salary also makes sure that the trees aren’t cut down in a few years’ time. Since farmers continue to receive a fair salary for taking care of their trees, there’s no need to cut down trees for a short-term payment.
And which smart farmer would want to upset the people that are feeding them?
The Click A Tree Team
Trees, trees, trees… what about us?! Like our workers on the farms, we also need to earn a fair salary for our efforts.
It’s all covered with the costs of a tree, and we sincerely hope you agree that we deserve to be paid – at least until we figure out a way to pay our landlords and the supermarkets with trees.
Why Do The Costs Of Planting A Tree Vary So Much?
Now that we’ve explained a little bit about the costs of a tree, you probably have a rough idea of the total sum in your head. But hold on there – the costs of a tree can still vary significantly.
In How To Plant Trees For Free, we told you that The Backyard Tree can cost as much as €25,000!
The City Tree in German cities can cost “as little as” €1,200, or as much as €5,000. There are reasons why city trees are so expensive, primarily due to the price of land and the labor costs.
But sometimes, city trees can be as expensive as $15 million!
If that shocked you a little bit, don’t worry. The costs of a tree with Click A Tree are much, much lower than that.
We’re going to tell you how much it costs us to plant a tree. And that value may be completely different to the values that other companies charge. Even for mass tree planting, the costs can vary significantly.
The following reasons are why planting trees can cost as little as a dollar, or up to thousands of euros.
First of all, we need to think about where in the world the trees are being planted.
Some countries are way cheaper to plant in than others. Or, it could be that different locations in the same country have different land and plot prices. Even in the world of tree planting, location is crucial.
The location also determines the quality of the soil. High-quality soil means better survival rates for trees.
However, that high-quality soil also leads to better survival rates for other activities, like planting crops, for instance. If that land could be used for other agricultural purposes, it drives the prices up.
Lower quality soil means there is less competition for alternative use. But then, there are lower survival rates, meaning that we have to re-plant more trees than we do on high-quality soil sites.
For every tree we plant, we guarantee that it survives for (at least) the crucial first three years. If that tree sadly dies prematurely, we replant the tree at no cost to you.
Many of the countries we plant trees in are hot, tropical countries. These countries tend to have distinct ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ seasons.
Other countries, such as Nepal and Peru, can have different seasons where low temperatures become a factor as well.
That being the case, some of our tree planting farms require more water than others.
In certain countries, the soil is naturally more nutritious than it is in others. If we have to improve the quality of the soil with mulch, that costs money.
Irrigation can very quickly become a significant cost as well, especially if there’s no natural water source nearby.
To ensure the costs of a tree don’t spiral out of control, our projects all make use of nearby, natural water sources. That way, the trees can access the ground-water and get all the water they need. They’ll restore the water back into the soil as part of the cycle too, but with extra minerals and vitamins.
So, instead of being selfish and stealing all the water from arid landscapes, trees actually improve the whole setup and the soil quality!
Different Tree Species
The species of tree are important as well. As a general rule, the bigger the tree, the higher the costs. These larger trees need more care in the early stages, take longer to develop, require the most nutrition from the soil, and need the most water to grow.
On the other hand, smaller trees can be relatively cheap. Certain trees also require more care and attention than others, and the fruits are significant too. Mango trees, for example, grow to be reasonably large trees in comparison with, say, avocado trees.
Both trees are incredibly valuable since their fruits are sold at a premium price around the world. That being the case, the seedlings will be more expensive.
All of these factors mean that different tree species have different costs.
Then there are the labor costs. Labor costs are one of the most fluctuating costs across the globe.
Click A Tree’s vision is to make sustainability simple. But “simple” doesn’t equal “cheap.” Wherever we plant trees, we pay our workers a fair, full-time salary. In fact, in most cases, we even pay a little more than “fair.”
We want to make tree-planting a respectable trade that many people aspire to do; it’s the only way to make planting trees truly sustainable long-term.
A tree-planter in Germany works on a much higher rate than a tree-planter in Ghana, and that affects the costs of a tree significantly.
We already mentioned that we don’t work with volunteers, and that’s for a few main reasons.
First of all, volunteers only work as long as they want to, and as long as they have money to support their needs. This usually only lasts a few months, or perhaps a year at most. When we plant trees, we need to think in decades, not months.
Secondly, paying workers a fair salary ensures a long-term commitment from them. Local communities profit from their efforts financially, and will, therefore, continue to support Click A Tree and our mission.
So please: if you do decide to become more sustainable, do it right. Make sure your engagement is not just ecological, but also socially sustainable.
It’s the best way to create a better planet for everyone – and to ensure your ecological engagement actually lasts for the long term.
Related: Click A Tree contributes to 16 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Another reason why the costs of a tree vary is because of the overall purpose of planting trees.
Some companies may only be interested in growing one type of tree and keeping their costs low. Think of low-cost airlines that only fly with a single type of aircraft. But planting trees isn’t like flying aircraft – we can’t cut costs on everything. And we can’t charge astronomical fees for hand luggage either!
Instead, we need to create diverse ecosystems that will increase their chance of survival and maximize their impact on their surroundings. These diverse ecosystems stand the best chance of surviving the effects of climate change.
That being the case, at Click A Tree we grow several different tree species with a range of costs.
While each individual tree may have a different cost, we stick to our long-term, sustainable goals.
Related Article: Organizations that plant trees: 6 ways to identify the best ones
Click A Tree’s Long-Term Goal
We’re getting to the costs of a tree soon! Trust us.
But first, we need to explain why we plant several different tree species. We could, of course, plant every single tree for a low price. However, this would result in us only planting the cheapest trees possible.
Furthermore, we would only ever be planting one type of tree. Isn’t that a little… boring?
You might think that the more trees, the better, and that six cheap trees are better than one expensive tree. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. That’s why at Click A Tree, things are more sophisticated.
Our projects are sustainable. We have a long-term goal, and we carefully design our farms with this in mind.
We plant a variety of trees in order to create mixed, long-lasting, and sustainable forests. These forests should best reflect natural forests.
In some projects, such as in Thailand, we use more than 40 different tree species! They all have different costs, different prices, take different times to grow, and require different levels of care.
But that’s what creates the best forest – and the different tree species support one another as well. The soil is rich, the trees produce many different fruits, and many different animals enjoy the benefits. Those animals will then help with the dispersal of seeds.
And there you go – you have a wonderful, naturally rejuvenating ecosystem.
Costs of a Tree: So How Much Does a Tree Cost?
You would think that after all these costs, planting a tree would cost the earth. Right?
In fact, it doesn’t. At Click A Tree, the costs of a tree are between €5 and €30. Sometimes, it can go even higher than that, depending on the labor and other costs. That’s not bad at all, is it?
We can plant a healthy, balanced, and sustainable forest for as little as a beer, or as much as a ticket for a concert in town. It’s hardly the thousands of euros you would need to plant a tree in the big city!
Yes, some companies even offer to plant trees cheaper than €5. But we believe that our long-term goal, as well as our commitment to planting several different tree species, is the most sustainable approach. We hope that you agree.
That’s why we calculate how many trees we need to plant from each different species. We work out how long they need to grow, how much care they need, and then calculate one medium price.
We make sustainability simple. Even when we’re reforesting the world.
No matter the costs: Let’s Keep Planting Trees!
And that’s where you come in! We need all the help you can give us to keep on planting more trees, and reforesting more of the planet. Whether you buy sushi for lunch, book your next holiday on B’n’Tree, purchase a tree with Click A Tree, or subscribe to our GROW newsletter, your efforts help us cover all of the tree-planting costs.
Last decade, you helped us plant more than 100,000 trees! Isn’t that awesome?!
With your continued support, we hope to plant even more this decade. That’s why we call it The Twentrees.
Planting trees on a large scale does reduce the cost of a tree. That’s why we need you to help us plant even more!
The costs go down, we can build more forests, and we all enjoy the benefits. What’s not to love?
So do you think you’re getting a fair deal when you plant trees with us? Do you think it’s worth our time planting several different tree species that have several different benefits?
Alternatively, get involved with our Facebook conversation about the costs of a tree.
Share our Instagram posts on your story and tell everybody about us.
Trees produce the oxygen we need to breathe. They support countless species of wildlife. They look after the land when we’ve abused it, and they provide us with the food we need to survive.
It’s absolutely crucial that we do everything we can to protect them. And plant even more of them.
Thanks for all your support and encouragement so far. Let’s keep planting as many trees as we can!