There were 1.5 million vacant homes towards the end of 2018. But not all those properties will stay vacant. People investing in properties in the Augusta, GA area may find that underdeveloped land gives them the opportunity to build and grow.

They recognize that you can increase property value and get a huge return on investment by transforming the space. Even if this isn’t your exact situation, you’re here for the same reason as those fellows: you’re looking to turn a piece of land into something else. This all starts with land clearing techniques. Here are some considerations and 4 common techniques.


Before you decide on a land clearing technique, you have to look at a few different factors. First, how much land are you working with? Is it less than an acre, or more than 20? Depending on the size of the space, some techniques won't be timely, cost effective, or even feasible. With that in mind, you’ll need to determine how much money and time you have to get the property just the way you want it. Another consideration is the specifics of the land itself. Soil composition, as well as the amount of vegetation, rocks, bushes, and trees, will determine what equipment will need to be used. Finally, you’ll want to plan to have the land cleared based on what you’ll be using it for. If you’re building a structure, you’ll probably need grading and excavation. Here you’ll find more information about what clearing and grading entails. For the rest of this article, we’ll discuss common techniques used in clearing land.

Land Clearing Techniques

1. Cut and Grind

The cut and grind technique is most suited for properties with a smaller number of trees. The first method of cut and grind is as follows. First, the brush and weeds have to go. This can happen with a multitude of tools, such as a brush mower or root plow, depending on the space and equipment available. After that, large machinery takes trees down and puts them in a pile. That way, it’s easier to move and process them later. Removal of the remaining stumps involves equipment such as backhoes, bulldozers, or trucks. Alternatively, you can mulch the stumps and spread it across the land to improve the soil. The second cut and grind method follows that last thought process: everything becomes mulched.  Forestry mowers take everything down up to medium-sized trees and turn it into small pieces to spread across the land. With bigger trees, a stump grinder cuts tree stumps level with the topsoil so that they may decompose over time.

2. Pushover (Bulldozing)

Pushover land clearing is exactly what it sounds like: you push over large growth with huge, expensive machinery. This leaves the roots intact. Bulldozers work efficiently in small and intermediate sized areas compared to specialized land clearing equipment. Again, it just depends on the space and budget you’re working with. This technique involves pushing over large brush and trees. The holes that remain are then taken care of by the bulldozer (if that’s what’s used for the pushover) or a backhoe. The drawback of this method is that it can destroy your topsoil. That may be unavoidable, however, if you have a ton of giant trees. Not only will the large trees become a problem for your project — so will its roots. When choosing the pushover method, keep in mind that bulldozing may decrease the value of the wood from your trees. If you’re working with valuable hardwood, this may not be the method for you.

3. Pullover

Okay, this method isn’t actually called “pullover”, it’s called “pulling”. Pullover felt right, though, after the name of the last technique. Pulling involves large anchor chains and tractors. You attach chains to whatever matter needs to go, attach the chains to the tractor, and pull it away. Keep in mind that you can’t simply attach any chains to any tractor and expect to be able to move anything. As with every technique, there are limitations.

4. Pile and Burn

If you’ve ever driven out in rural areas in Columbia County, or even Richmond County, you’ve likely driven by farmers utilizing the pile and burn method. It’s simple, cheap, and timeless. Essentially, you clear out land with a tractor, skid steer, or whatever else you may need. While doing this, you move everything into piles. Then, you conduct a controlled burn. While this is an age-old tradition, there are a few catches to this technique. The first is that if you’re dealing with a large amount of material, the fire will get very big. This isn’t ideal in dry, windy climates. The second is if you’re dealing with a large number of giant tree roots, burning may be difficult. This is due to the fact that soil clings to the roots of most plants. The third consideration is that burning some plants may be toxic. This is true for a common noxious weed called Poison Hemlock. Think of it this way: pile and burn may be a cheap method, but it can turn into an extremely costly one very quickly if things get out of control.

Various Methods with Various Equipment for Various Needs

It’s difficult to fully discuss land clearing techniques in a general format such as this. You can spend a large sum of time researching different ways to go about things, but remember the value of your non-renewable resource: time. Let Marks Clearing & Grading help you decide which land clearing method is best by contacting us today. We can explain what you need to know and figure out how we can meet your exact needs.