Four out of every five people in the USA live in cities. The country is becoming more urban at an astonishing rate of 1 million acres each year.
A select few–homesteaders, digital nomads, outdoor enthusiasts, and retirees among them–are bucking this trend. Enticed by the reasonable cost to clear land per acre, they are buying fixer-upper properties in rural America instead.
Living in the countryside often means a lot of hard work, especially if you’ve bagged yourself a piece of land that needs clearing before you can grow food or build a home on it.
Read on to find out all you need to know about the best way to clear land in the USA today.
Get the Lay of the Land
You’ve signed the papers, handed over the cash, and now that perfect piece of land is yours.
Before you get started researching how to clear land, buying tools, or getting quotes from contractors, take some time to sit down and map out a plan.
Questions to ask yourself include:
- What obstacles like trees, holes, or embankments are on the land?
- Do you want to level the land or leave any parts of it uncleared?
- Do you want clear land for pasture, vegetable gardens, an orchard, or to build a home?
- What kinds of buildings do you want to put on the land, where do you want to put them, and how big will they be?
- If you think you need outside help to clear the land, how many people and what type of help do you need?
Check with your local county office to see if any permits are required for land clearing and development. A contractor might be able to help with the permit process for you, too.
How to Clear Land by Hand
If you’re young and fit, clearing land solo is a do-able DIY project. It’s a big job, but the satisfaction you’ll gain from doing it yourself will make it worth the effort.
Some key steps you need to take to successfully clear land include:
- Removing rocks and debris by hand
- Marking trees or other objects you want to keep
- Felling big trees and removing their stumps
- Clearing brush, undergrowth, and weeds using a string trimmer or skid steer mulcher
- Filling in holes and flattening out bumps in the land
To make the task less daunting, plan to tackle these steps over a series of weeks or months.
Keep the organic matter you cleared to make compost. Lay it back on your land and it will improve the soil. It will feed any vegetables you plant in your gardens, too.
Hire Professionals to Clear Land
If you’re older, not in great physical shape, or have a large piece of land, it’s time to invest in more manpower.
Shop around the contractors in your area. Get at least three estimates before settling on the company you want to work with. Give them details about your property and ask them for the best way to clear land.
Before you mulch those tree stumps, it’s important to check if the timber is worth anything. A forestry consultant can not only help you clear the trees off your land, but they can also assist you with the processing and sale of the resulting wood.
Keep Some Land Forested
The US government encourages landowners who clear land for personal or business use to keep a portion of it forested. You will help your state’s re-wilding efforts, keep a steady source of wood for your fireplace or outdoor pizza oven, and your kids or grandkids will have somewhere adventurous to play.
Looking for more advice on how to take care of your rural property? Browse the rest of our site.