Land clearing is changing rapidly. The older methods of land clearing include the ancient slash and burn as well as bulldoze and burn. Since burning is being banned across the country due to fire hazards and environmental concerns, this is really not an option. Bulldozers destroy topsoil and promote erosion, while hiring slashers is very expensive and slow. Slashers---men with chainsaws to eliminate trees and brush---are also going out of business due to liability issues.
An important alternative to traditional land-clearing methods is the newer method of mulching machines. Mulch-style land clearing is cheaper, easier and faster than all other methods. Mulching does not create huge piles of refuse as the other methods do. Today, landfill and transportation costs are going up. Creating refuse piles (traditional in land clearing) is no longer a viable option. Mulching uses no chemicals, does not harm topsoil and does not use slash and burn methods. A new design of machine places little pressure on the ground and does not disturb topsoil. Generally, no permits are needed to hire these machines. There is little pollution and the soil is not only unharmed, it is enriched by the use of mulch that comes from chipping up trees and stumps.
Hire a mulching machine and operator. This is about twice as expensive as hiring slashers. However, the new machines operate about six times faster than slashers. The machine grinds down the trees and stumps, creating a huge carpet of mulch that seals in moisture, removes all chance of erosion and maintains the topsoil. This method of land clearing does not destroy the underground roots of nearby trees. Many property owners who use older methods of clearing end up with destroyed root systems. Those trees that the landowner wants to keep are killed due to this nearly unavoidable destruction of roots. The newer mulch machines do not harm the soil and create a mulch foundation for enriching the soil. Ultimately, the new mulching methods are roughly 50 per cent cheaper than older and more common methods.
For small plots of land, one person and a chainsaw can do the job quickly, and large trees can be handled with ease. However, the roots will remain, and so will the stumps. This still remains the best bet for small plots outside of mulching.
Hiring a tree surgeon or excavating firm is often too expensive. Instead, rent a backhoe. Make certain to have a front end loader, a fork and a rake for the front end loader. The rake is used for clearing small objects, the fork for transport, and the front loader for digging. The piles you make with the hoe should be small and compact. Ideally, the roots should all be pointing in the same direction. Always push objects away from the machine (unless they are flat on the ground). Be careful with the rake, do not go to heavy with it, or you might destroy the topsoil. Unless you know what you are doing, it is advisable to rent an operator along with the hoe.