How To Clear Land by Hand
Six Things You Need to Know
At Nothing But Chips, we clear land and trees in Nashville by the acre, using the best and biggest equipment. But maybe you’ve only got a small plot to clear and want to knock out the job yourself. We certainly understand the appeal of working in the fresh air, building up a good sweat, and the feeling of a job well done.
For those trying to learn how to clear land by hand, here are the most important things to keep in mind:
1. Know where to start – at the end.
How do you clear land by hand? There’s an old riddle I’m reminded of. How do you eat an elephant? Answer: one bite at time. Clearing land by hand is the same way. Don’t get overwhelmed by the size of the job. Instead, focus on concrete steps and make a plan to go one thing at a time.
How do you build a plan for your land clearing job? Start with the end in mind. Envision your desired result in both appearance and use. Make sure that before you begin a DIY project, especially a labor-intensive one like clearing land by hand, that it is a doable one.
2. Decide what to do with brush and stumps
Brush should be removed prior to felling any trees. When you are clearing land by hand, you should take strong safety precautions. Brush can be a tripping hazard. When you have a chainsaw going, the last thing you want to do is trip.
Stumps are also real difficult decision. If you can live with stumps, and can cut them close to the ground, you may be better off leaving them in the ground. Conventional stump grinding can get expensive if you have a lot of trees. If you do want to remove the stumps, it’s best to make that decision before the tree comes down, so you can pull the whole tree out instead. If you need help with your stumps, let Nothing But Chips take care of your stump removal and grinding in the Nashville area. We use special equipment to make stump removal fast and economical.
3. Don’t underestimate the job
You’ll need to have a clear idea of what you’re up against before you know how long the DIY land clearing job will take. Always count the trees. I once got a call wanting a free estimate for clearing a few trees. The guy said there might be 20 or 30 trees that need to come down. When I got there and actually counted them, there were 205! He was shocked, but I wasn’t. This kind of thing happens all the time. You need to consider how much work there is to do and how long it will take you. If you find that the job is just too big and going to take too long, consider letting Nothing But Chips help with your land clearing job.
4. Don’t underestimate a single tree
Getting a tree cut down is the easy part. But what do you do with it next? Don’t make a vertical problem into an even tougher horizontal problem! Hauling a tree out with all of its limbs sticking out can be a huge job. A 20” diameter log just 10 feet long weight half a ton. Even a 6” tree weighs over 200 pounds.
How do you move a half ton log without heavy-duty equipment? The same way you eat that elephant: a little at a time. Before you do, clear any brush in the path you plan to use to remove the tree. And take it easy. Hurt yourself on the first tree and the rest won’t be going anywhere until you recover.
5. Have the right tools for the job
There’s no easier way to make a job difficult than to try to do it with the wrong tools. Invest in what you need and your job will go much more smoothly. You need, at a minimum:
- A very good chain saw, 16” to 20”
- A chain sharpening tool (don’t skip this!)
- Extra chains
- Several different wedges to control tree fall
- A large hammer
To make things easier, you’ll also want to rent or buy a small tractor with a loader, or better yet a bobcat skid steer with a grapple. You can use this to move piles of brush and drag logs.
6. Know what to do with felled trees
What are you going to do with all those trees once they’re down? Unless you’ve got a neighbor you really don’t like, you can’t just drag them off and leave them lying around. You need a good plan for disposing of your trees.
Burning can be a good option, if the area you live allows it. Make sure you check all the local laws around burning before you start a blaze that’ll get you in hot water with the law!
You can pile them up to rot if you have an area on your property that’s not in use. Or you can bury them.
You might be able to sell your unwanted timber.
Or you can turn them into nothing but chips (hence the name). Rent a wood chipper and go nuts, but be safe!
Fortunately, Nothing But Chips can help with our fallen tree removal service.
I hope after you’ve read this, you are confident that you know how to clear land by hand. If, on the other hand, you realize that your job is better left to someone who’s been doing it for many years and has specialized equipment, give Nothing But Chips a call. You can get a free estimate for your tree and land clearing job in the Nashville area.
If you managed to clear all your desired trees without hurting yourself and get them disposed of properly, take a moment to enjoy the fruits of your labor. No tree clearing job is easy, but you did it!