One of the best things about property ownership is the ability to mold it into anything your heart desires. Clearing land is an essential part of owning property, especially those who live outside of city subdivisions. With just a little work, you can turn unusable bumpy, rocky land, with trees, into something beautiful and useful. Anything from farms, gardens, pastures, building sites to even just visually improving your property, it all becomes worth the effort after the work is put in.
Before we get started, the best thing to do is size up the job at hand. Are you looking at something that can be the job of 1 or so big it would be the job of 20 to get it done.
For most, if you are reading this, you are probably looking to do this on your own. It's going to be a great rewarding experience and if you just take it step by step you will find out, it wasn't all that bad.
But as with anything, do a quick check if you need permits from the county. Also be aware of any gas lines, sewer lines or water lines under your property. You can sometimes get information on these from your county or rent an item called a "Pipe Locator". So lets get into it!
First thing to do is take down any structures you don't want in the area you are clearing. This goes for sheds, old chicken coops, old buildings, stables or just any junk on the land. Using a bulldozer will be the most effective method for doing this. It can push, pull, run things over and will be useful for many of the next steps.
Unless you have long term use for a bulldozer, it would be best to rent one. Think about the structures you will need this for and how much power, torque and size would be best. You can also talk to a sales rep about your project and they will recommend the size and model.
If you don't know where to rent a bulldozer, a great site to start with is Caterpillars nation wide rental site here CatRentalStore
Do you have that one tree that maybe has some sentimental family value. Or maybe a small area of plants you cherish. As bigger tasks are coming up, these items you may want to protect by putting up some small fencing or wood. This will become a reminder to avoid them, and protect them from debris. Also for tall branches that may hang low enough to get hit by the bulldozer, put red plastic tape markers on them so they are clearly noticed. Working with machinery can sometimes throw you off, the view from a bulldozer is a bit limited and it's easy to get disoriented unless something is clearly defined.
3. The Clearing - The Bumps and Dumps
So now, you have demolished sheds, buildings and all the other junk from step one. Now is a good time to clear it all. This will give you a safe clean area without debris to continue safely with things like trees.
Remember, during this clearing process, you want everything sticking up above the land to be removed best as possible. This includes large boulders, piles of rocks and of course everything you demolished that was on the property. The goal is to have all the junk off the land so it's almost bare and flat.
The bulldozer you rented is still the best method for this. You can use the bulldozer to lift the debris for dumping, push them to a pile and even pull nets or ropes from behind. This works well for pulling large rocks out of the ground.
4. Fell Your Tree - That Makes You the Feller!
As the logging community calls it, "felling" a tree is the process of cutting down individual trees. And yes, that person is called a Feller who does it, this could cause some jokes if you are working with friends, "Hey Feller". Remember though, don't go overboard, if you are dealing with giant forest like trees, or even really large ones, you will need a professional team. People have died from trying on their own.
But for smaller trees, If you are handy with a chainsaw and have a manageable size area, then you can get though this quite quickly. If it is a larger size parcel of land, work smarter not harder. They have machinery for clearing many smaller trees fast. A good attachment for your bulldozer is called a "Disc Mulcher".
If you haven't seen one in action...you are in for a treat with this video! They not only knock down the tree, they turn it into mulch instantly.
5. Time to Grub - The Stumps not Food!
"Grubbing" is the process of removing any remaining tree stumps after you have trimmed down the trees. This process is usually done by hooking on a qualified strap that works on your bulldozer to pull up these stumps with force. If this process is too slow or you have too many stumps, look into getting another attachment for your bulldozer called a "Rotor Stump Grinder". This basically drills though a stump with ease turning it into small pieces of wood that's easy to remove now.
Remember, with all the trees and now stumps, you may have timber. You can take the time to make Firewood or even get it picked up, putting some cash in your pocket. Be resourceful, wood is not waste and should not be dumped. Use it to make mulch, firewood or sell it to someone who will use it.
6. The Weed Wacker - We Just Mean Clear the Brush
So your land at this point should be pretty much all flat, no unwanted trees, no old sheds, no large rocks and no tree stumps.
It's time to get a really good picture of how the land is looking at this point. To do this you want to use a weed trimmer, cutting all the high grass and weeds down to bare ground level. If you are looking at some heavier type thick bush instead of nice green grass. You can also get a "Bush Cutter". These will plow though any thicker growth like butter. The goal either way, is to get everything down to the dirt level.
7. Grade Your Land - Okay, I'll give it an A+
Grading your land just means getting your land to a level base or a specified slope that you want. At this point after pulling out stumps and large rocks you will have some holes you need to fill. Use your bulldozer to get the land as flat and even as possible. You can pull dirt from elevated areas to fill these holes. But if everything is flat except the holes, you may need to resource some dirt for this.
8. Plow your land - You Made It!!
For the basics of clearing your land, you already made it on step 7. But if you want to go the further distance plowing your land is the way, it will make it much smoother and even. It also takes all that trim such as grass and wood chips, mixing it into the soil. If the goal is to plant nice grass or crops, this is the best way to make nutritious soil for that. Just be aware that it can also effect soil erosion, heavy rain will turn this dirt into mud. If your land is on a slope, the mud will naturally move down the slope. If it's flat, you won't have much of a problem.
In Conclusion, after these steps you will have some land you won't even recognize. It will be flat, clean and ready for anything you want.
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