How to Clear Land by Hand

Written by cody sorensen
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How to Clear Land by Hand
Here is an example of land ready for clearing. (fields image by Adkok from

Clearing land by hand is how early settlers on every continent prepared land for planting or building. If you don't have access to the modern machinery that can clear large areas of land within hours, consider a few hand-held tools that can save you a lot of time and back-breaking work as you clear your land of rocks, trees, shrubs and other vegetation.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Gloves
  • Eye goggles
  • Weed killer
  • Weed sprayer
  • Matches
  • Water
  • Garden hose
  • Chain saw
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel
  • Pick axe
  • Sledgehammer
  • Mobile sprinklers
  • Rototiller

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  1. 1

    Spray every blade of grass, shrub and tree with weed killer. Wait until all the vegetation dies.

  2. 2

    Douse the area surrounding the land to be cleared with water until the vegetation and soil are saturated. Burn the dead vegetation in the area to be cleared. Control the burn with a shovel and a garden hose.

  3. 3

    Cut down all trees and large shrubs or bushes. Cut the debris into small manageable pieces and pile them on top of the tree stumps. After all the cut wood, brush and tree stumps have dried, burn the piles. Once the fires have ceased, saturate the soil around the bushes and stumps. Dig out remaining root systems. Haul them away.

  4. 4

    Break up any large rocks. Haul them away. Set up mobile sprinklers and saturate the entire cleared area. Allow the area to dry until soil is moist, but not muddy. Rototill the entire area. Pick up any rocks and roots turned up by the rototiller and remove them

Tips and warnings

  • Many hands make light work. Recruit your friends, family and neighbours to help.
  • Before beginning, put on gloves and eye goggles.
  • If the area you are clearing is near neighbouring homes, call your local fire brigade to obtain a permit. The fire brigade may also require that a fire truck be present during the prescribed burn.

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