What equipment is used for clearing land?

In almost every type of construction project, preparations are necessary to make the area ready for the building process. This is why land clearing is useful, as it is the task of removing unwanted trees, shrubs, undergrowth, and other debris or obstacles in a particular area. After all the blockages are removed, then it will be possible to start or continue the construction work.

Land clearing makes use of a variety of tools and heavy machinery to do the work. One of the most popular types of equipment is what we call a bulldozer, which can be perfect for removing rocks, trees, vegetation, and other obstacles. Because of their all-around purpose, bulldozers are a must-have in many construction sites.

Other types of tools/equipment for land clearing

Aside from a bulldozer, we have a lot of tools we can choose from for our projects. Depending on what we need, using a handheld tool may be sufficient or may require heavy machinery to complete the clearing process. Here are some of the other equipment professional landscapers and contractors use:

a)    Cutting tools

Manual or mechanical tools that are for cutting or hacking away trees and vegetation. This can be an ax, hatchet, or chainsaw.

b)    Stump grinders

Gets rid of the stump left behind after the tree has been cut.

c)    Brush mowers

Clears vegetation and undergrowth in large areas.

d)    Mulchers

Turns small trees, bushes, and vegetation into mulch.

e)    Brush grubbers

Pulls tree stumps and small trees off the ground.

f)     Tractors, backhoes, excavators, and skid-steer loaders

Various types of heavy machinery that clear and remove rocks, trees, debris, and other obstacles for both small and large-scale projects.

What size bulldozer clears land?

Bulldozers greatly help in land clearing projects. However, just like tractors and other machines, they come in different shapes and sizes. Which size works best to remove the obstacles from properties efficiently?

Professional land clearing contractors vote on getting a medium-sized dozer since they are useful for both residential and commercial properties. Getting a small one can take a lot of time to use and may not do its job for large trees and obstacles. On the other hand, getting a large dozer can be overkill and be very expensive for general use. Medium bulldozers usually have an operating weight of around 20,000 60,000 pounds.

Of course, the only way to tell which dozer would work best for clearing will depend on several factors. For flexibility, getting a medium-sized bulldozer will be the best bet for your money.

How many acres can a dozer clear in a day?

There are many factors that will influence how many acres can a bulldozer clear in a certain time period. For reference, the skill of the contractor, the bulldozer in use, the topography in the area, and other aspects have to be factored in to make an estimate as to how much progress will the clearing work take.

On average, a professional contractor may be able to clear around 2 to 4 acres of land in a day. As said earlier, this is not always the case due to the mentioned factors. Because of this, owners must be flexible with their time and budget. Just like other types of construction work, there are many surprises to certain situations that could affect the progress. Nobody wants to have half-cleared land due to budget or time constraints.

Influences on the progress of the job

a)    Number of workers

As with other things, more manpower would usually mean that the task will be finished faster. Because of this, property owners who are in the rush or have a large or commercial area that needs land clearing to hire a company to help them. This way, they will have a handful of people to complete the job much quicker.

b)    Workers’ experience and skill

Operating the machinery and equipment that is essential to land clearing is far from being a walk in the park. There are a lot of things that require skill and experience, plus, it can be easy to damage property or cause accidents. The higher the skill of the worker is and the longer experience they have, you can expect them to finish clearing acres of land much quicker than an amateur contractor.

c)    Topography of the property

When preparing the land, there are certain things that influence the timeline of the job that is out of the contractor’s control. As an example, the topography or feature of the land can delay or hasten the clearing process. Sure, grading or shaping the soil is possible, but this will not usually be an option before the land has been cleared from the debris and vegetation. Because of this, the more difficult or complicated the topography in a certain area is, the longer time it will take to clear.

d)    Equipment

As mentioned earlier, there is a lot of equipment that is necessary for a land clearing project. When manual tools are used, it is understandable that it will take a much longer time to clear an acre of land if we compare it to a job that uses mechanically operated equipment.

e)    Weather

The weather during the land clearing will also influence the time it takes to complete the removal of the debris per acre. As an example, rain may affect the equipment or could make it more difficult or dangerous to continue the process. Since it can affect the productivity of the contractor, just expect slow progress during the rainy seasons.

What are the types of land clearing?

Since land clearing is the process of removing various debris and obstacles around a particular property to prepare the site, there are many methods of land clearing that experts use.

Depending on the type of project and several other factors, some clearing techniques suit certain jobs well. Because of this, the owner should inform their contractor and allow them to do an inspection in order to determine the most appropriate method they will use.

The 4 common land clearing types

1.     The Cut and Grind Method

What it is: This type of clearing method works best for properties that only have a small number of trees as the work uses a combination of both mechanical and manual ways. There are two popular methods of the cut and grind:

For the first method, the contractor will start by removing the weeds, bushes, and other types of vegetation or small debris around the area. In this step, various types of handheld tools or bigger machinery may be used. After successfully removing all the preliminary obstacles, the next step will be to cut down the trees around the property. Contractors may use big machinery to take down large and old trees, depending on what type of tool can cut the tree off. After this, the professional will then remove the remaining tree stumps using a bulldozer, backhoe, or other types of equipment. Lastly, the debris will then be turned into mulch or be transported to another location for disposal or recycling.

For the second method, every step above is usually followed. However, the expert will often use a type of large grinder that will mow and remove the vegetation, debris, and then cut the trees down. After this, everything is essentially ground for an easier waste disposal process. For bigger trees, the contractor will not remove their stumps. Instead, they will cut the stump to be level with the topsoil and then leave it to decompose on its own.

2.     The Pushover or Bulldozing Method

What it is: This type of clearing method works best in average-sized areas that can accommodate big machinery. This is because it makes use of major construction equipment to push trees, vegetation, and other obstacles into a particular spot in the site. Two of the most common equipment that experts use for this method is a backhoe or bulldozer. After the debris has been taken down, the contractor may turn trees and stumps into mulch or haul them away for disposal or recycling.

This technique is popular since it is very effective for removing tall vegetation, trees, or bushes. However, even if it is efficient, excessive use can damage the topsoil in the property. Because of this, this type of land clearing method is better in cases where there are large trees in the area which would mean that some of the other methods will not work.

3.     The Pulling Method

What it is: This type of clearing method works best in projects where it is necessary to pull out the tree stumps or roots of certain plants and vegetation. If we compare it to the pushover method, pulling makes it possible to remove the debris underground whereas pushing them usually keeps the roots intact. Both of these techniques are similar in a way that they can remove or disturb the surface of the soil in a property quite heavily.

When it comes to the tools and equipment, this method uses a combination of the two to perform the job. As an example, if an owner has a large tree on their property, a contractor may use an anchor chain to the tree, attach the chain to a tractor, and then slowly pull the tree away. Since it can be difficult and dangerous to do this technique, a property owner should hire a qualified and skilled contractor that can operate heavy machinery for this technique.

4.     The Pile and Burn Method

What it is: This type of clearing method works best in properties that need a quick cleanup. What usually happens during the clearing is that a contractor will cut trees and then gather vegetation, bushes, and debris into one area and pile them together. After doing so, they will then set the foliage on fire in a controlled environment. This will get rid of many obstacles which will lessen or take care of all the debris that is all around the property.

Since the pile and burn method is quite inexpensive and easier to do when we compare it to the other land clearing types, many property owners may try doing it by themselves. Unfortunately, this method is dangerous and may cause unfortunate accidents if an untrained individual does it. After all, fires are a risk in this process, especially in dry and windy areas. Before doing this, owners must make sure that the method is legal and allowed in their area or they may get in trouble for it.