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How Much Does It Cost To Clear Land

This article is for informational purposes. Always seek the advice of qualified professionals.

Land clearing is a big project if you’re planning on utilizing your land. In my opinion, it’s a complicated task. It takes less time but a lot of money. But finding out the correct costing technique is a big help.

How much does it cost to clear land?

The cost is dependent on a lot of factors and perspectives. You might have to spend around $400 to $1,500 based on the land size. Tree cleaning costs around $500 to $2,000.  Brush removal might cost you around $100 to $200 per acre. Additional cost such as site preparation is also a big expense.

Does this make you curious? Then this is just the right article for you. This contains a broad discussion on all the factors that affect the cost. 

So let’s get right to it without wasting any time!

Land Clearing Cost: Initial Measures

Before looking at the costs, there are a lot of things that you need to be concerned about. This includes fixing the budget, getting a permit, and so on. In the following section, I’ve tried to give you the perfect understanding of these factors. 

Fix Budget 

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all price for land clearance. The size of your property and the state of the ground at the time decide how much your land clearing job will cost.

When clearing property that’s moderately wooded, bushy, densely forested, or even hilly, the rates may vary. This is due to the different terrains necessitating the employment of different equipment to complete the task.

Accessibility to the site and regional rules are further variables that influence land clearance costs.

Check Zoning Laws

To begin, you need to educate yourself on the zoning restrictions in your region. Verify with your local zoning agencies to ensure that your proposed build doesn’t breach any rules. It’s best to learn the zoning restrictions in your area.

The majority of cities and counties are divided into zoning zones. You should obtain from the local planning authority the zoning category where your property is located.

If any permissions are necessary, begin the process of obtaining them before the job begins. Most people may find zoning restrictions to be perplexing. But they are essential to ensuring the success of your project.

Failure to verify zoning rules and secure the proper licenses might cost you a lot of money. And cause your project to be delayed. Talk to your real estate lawyer about the zoning regulation and other rules in your region. 

You can ask your lawyer for assistance in understanding the restrictions and coming up with alternatives.

Consult Contractors

It might be difficult to take on a land clearing operation on your own. And it typically necessitates the appointment of professionals. That’s why you’ll want the services of a qualified land clearing contractor.

Investigate the many land clearing contractors in your region to get the finest land-clearing contractor. Explain the nature of your project to them and ask for their help. 

Talk to them about your budget. Mention anything particular you want them to remember while handling the clearing project.

Also, make sure that the contractor is both licensed and insured. Confirm if they have all the tools needed to clear the job to your satisfaction.

You may rest assured that the assignment will be completed and on schedule if you do so. This also allows you to devote more time to other pursuits. As a result, you’ll have a stress-free assignment.

If you take care of the above factors, move on to the factors that’ll affect your cost-

Cost To Clear Land: Acre Based Expense

The cost of clearing land is determined by the area of the land that has to be cleared. It’ll also vary if the area is densely forested with vegetation, trees, stumps, and rocks. For modest clearing on level terrain without rocks, a quarter-acre lot costs roughly $950.

Removal of an acre of flat, light brush without grading or rock removal costs about $3,790. Clearing trees on a thickly wooded property might cost $7,000 or more.

The following is a chart that contains the cost for clearing land per acre-

Size of LandLow-End CostMedium CostHigh-End Cost
¼ acre$125$760$1,400
½ acre$250$1,500$2,800
1 acre$500$3,050$5,600
2 acres$1,000$6,100$11,200
3 acres$1,500$9,000$16,800
4 acres$2,000$12,250$22,500
5 acres$1,250$2,000$28,000

Hope this comes in help to you. But the cost is more dependent on what is present on the land than the size of it. The following sections will help you to understand it.

Cost To Clear Land: Forested or Wooded Lot

On a quarter-acre lot, the cost of preparing the site for construction is between $950 and $1,680. This depends on the amount of bush, trees, and grading necessary. 

A combination of dish detergent and vinegar will help in getting rid of the bushes. 

If there are trees on the site, the expenses will vary depending on how densely the area is forested. Lightly forested properties range in price from $500 to $2,000 per acre. For densely wooded territory, prices range from $3,000 to $5,600 per acre.

You should expect to pay $700 on average for single tree removal. However, factors like the size, condition, location, and diameter of the tree will affect the price. You’ll spend between $75 and $150 to remove fallen trees.

I’ve compiled a list of average lot clearing prices-

Brush LevelDebris (Cubic Yards)Estimated Cost
Clear Light Brush And Grub Roots90$1,000
Clear Medium Brush And Small Trees, Grub Roots1010$1,100
Clear Brush And Trees To 6″ Trunk Diameter455$1,200
Clear Wooded Area, Pull Stumps490$1,680

You can now get an idea about the cost based on different brush levels. This cost can differ slightly based on the place you live in.

Cost To Clear Land: Cacti Removal

The expense of manual extraction or pesticide treatment is expensive due to the density of plants per acre. You can either use more than $250 per acre by spreading herbicide. Or you can go for a $1 to $10 per acre planned burn. 

You might also do a mix of the two. It can be done if the size of your property and the position of the cactus allows you. Getting rid of cacti won’t cost you much money.

Cost To Clear Land: Forestry Mulching Cost

Forest mulching costs between $400 and $600 per acre. Forestry mulching is cutting trees and bushes flat to the ground using heavy machinery. And then mulching the material as it’s removed. 

You’ll end up with a healthy layer of mulch on your ground. And you won’t have to pay as much for debris collection if you use this method.

Cost To Clear Land: Tree Clearing

Clearing moderately forested properties will cost between $500 and $2,000 per acre. For densely wooded terrain, prices range from $3,000 to $5,600 per acre. If you simply have a few trees on your property, each tree will cost around $700. Downed trees are cheaper to remove, costing between $75 and $150 each.

The following is a small chart of the cost to get rid of trees depending on their size-

Height of TreeEstimated Cost
8′ to 12′$150
13′ to 18′$200
19′ to 24′$300
25′ to 36′$400

This is just an approximate cost. Wherever you live, the cost should not exceed these limits.

Cost To Clear Land: Brush Removal

Clearing underbrush is less expensive than removing trees. It’s easier to remove material from below the surface. Cleaning the area of plants, bushes, and smaller-scale vegetation, you’ll spend between $100 and $200 per acre.

You could opt to conduct some of your own clearing on your land. Leave the brush, fallen branches, and logs to the pros, and they’ll take care of the tree job. For roughly $100 to $200, you can get the necessary pruning and cutting equipment.

Here are some of the tools that you might require-

  • Chainsaw
  • Bow Saw
  • Tree Pruner
  • Ax
  • Shovel
  • String Trimmer/Weed Wacker
  • Scythe/Machete
  • Stump Grinder

You should allow for debris disposal, which might cost anywhere from $100 to $800. A landscaping company will spruce up your yard for about $200 – $1,200.

Cost To Clear Land: Land Grading Cost

The cost of grading land ranges from $100 to $200 per cubic yard. This depends on the topography and eroding control level. Uneven ground will have to be leveled.

It’ll need to be graded before it can be used or built on. The land will be scraped and removed from the spot. Or scraped from a higher elevation on the property during this step of preparation. After that, the soil will be repurposed to flatten out a lower elevation.

The cost of land grading ranges from $17,400 to $43,600 per acre. Site characteristics determine what amount of fill dirt or topsoil you’ll need. The slope steepness and the amount of fill dirt or topsoil are also required. 

You’ll need to pay 10% – 25% extra if the work is on clay, shale, or soft-rock. It costs $15 to $25 per cubic yard to strip, store on site, and then refill topsoil.

Site Preparation And Related Cost

Site preparation contains a set of factors. This is necessary for making the land suitable for any utilization. What I mean is construction. 

Here’s a short table to quickly understand the factors and have an idea of the cost. So have a look-

ComponentsAverage Cost
Land Survey$480 – $540
Land Clearing Permit$200+
UtilitiesFree
Clearing$500 – $1000
Stump Removal$250
Grading$350 – $1000

The costs above are just a vague idea. Now let’s look into the details of these factors. This will help you with a better understanding of the cost. 

Land Survey

Check your most current land survey for clearance for development and property lines. Make sure the proposed construction location isn’t too close to your property borders. 

If your existing survey is rather old, it’d be a good idea to acquire a new one. A residential land survey will cost between $480 and $540.

Land Clearing Permit

Each state or county may have its own rules. But clearance permits are almost always required when there’s a large amount of grading to be done. Furthermore, some tree sizes are restricted and cannot be uprooted. As a result, such trees must be identified. It’s possible that you’ll need to spend roughly $200 on this project.

Utilities

Before beginning construction, be sure there are no subsurface utilities. This is particularly important if grading is necessary. Begin arranging for the appropriate utility companies to visit your house. They’ll mark the utility locations and routes with flags. 

This service is provided without charge by most companies.

Clearing

Existing constructions may need to be demolished. Then start removing the terrain of trees, brush, and rocks.

You’ll have to spend roughly around $500 to $1,000 on this project.

Flood Zone 

Check your property’s flood maps on the FEMA website. This is to ensure that your land’s local zoning hasn’t altered. When it comes to grading, zoning is more useful. Because it has the capacity to alter water flow on your land.

Stump Removal

Once you remove the trees, there might be stumps left. Professionals will have to chop off the stems from the roots. Burning it is also an option. 

The roots can be gotten rid of using root killer or copper sulfate. Then small land fillings will be required too. This cost is unpredictable as the condition of your premise is unpredictable. But you might need to spend around $250 on this project.

Grading

Once all these works are done, you’ll need to make the land suitable for construction. For that, you’ll need to grade the land. It’ll level the surface. This is also dependent on a set of factors. And you might have to spend roughly around $350 to $1,000 on this project.

Hope you’ve gathered a clear idea about the site preparation. It’s very important before you go to develop the land. 

Land Development Expense

Under normal conditions, the hourly pay for land development labor is between $140 and $300. Clearing an acre of land takes roughly two and a half working hours on average. Alternatively, it’ll set you back between $350 and $750.

For Building House

The cost of land development ranges from $1.30 to $2 per square foot. In order to get a precise price, you’ll need more project-specific information.

A civil engineer will be hired to design the site and grade designs. You’ll have to shell out between $350-$3,000. A survey, drainage designs, erosion control, and utility/septic placement mapping will all be included.

For roughly $400-$2300, you can get a permit. For a precise permit fee, contact your local building department. For $800-$1800, do geotechnical or soil testing. The city or county may mandate this work.

Start by choosing a method. Regular land clearance will cost $400 – $5,600. Forestry mulching will come with a similar price tag.

A contractor can assist you in deciding on a method and present you with an estimate. Structures must be removed. Existing structures cost between $2 and $17 per square foot to demolish.

Excavate the basement or foundation. The cost of digging a basement varies between $10 and $20 per square foot. Having the basement excavated as soon as the ground is cleared and graded is frequently the most cost-effective option. This will be determined by your builder based on the permit and construction timetable.

Many power utilities and cable companies will provide free cable installation to residences. However, if your property is distant from public services, you may have to pay. Water and sewer pipes are typically paid for by homeowners.

For Alternative Uses

Clearing land for purposes other than construction typically costs $1.30 to $2 per square foot. To prevent being surprised, ask your specialist if they charge a minimum rate for lesser assignments.

A single-wide mobile home will cost between $650 and $2,400. A double-wide one will cost between $1,300 and $4,000. The procedure is similar to clearing ground for a stick-built house.

A standard 640 square foot driveway will cost between $850 and $1,300. You may pay $4,000 or more if the driveway is long and runs through deep woodlands.

Fence lines that have become overgrown will cost you between $200 and $1,200. This is determined by the plant’s thickness. Trees and strong shrubs can sometimes entangle themselves with the fence. This service will almost certainly cost you a lot of money.

Decks, porches, and patios range in price from $200 to $1,200. If the region is forested, the general guideline is that tree removal will cost around $700 per tree.

It costs the same $1.30-$2 per square foot to prepare the property for hardscaping and landscaping. However, the final cost is determined by the size of the pathways, grass, gardens, and other elements. Consult a local expert about your lot development.

Land development can have a lot of other expenses that are solely dependent on your area. The distance of the constructor to your location can also affect the cost of this project. You might also want to construct a personal swimming pool. That’ll become a whole different expense. Maintaining a pool can itself be a lot of hassle.

Cost To Clear Land: Equipment Rentals

Land clearing businesses might spend thousands of dollars to rent the appropriate equipment for your project. The cost of adding the delivery and pickup charges ranges from $150 to $250

There’s insurance for 9% of the rental charge, as well as gasoline and certified operators. Clearing an acre of land takes about 3 to 4 hours on average. Professional labor would cost between $130 and $250 per hour for each operator if hired.

Tips to Reduce Costs to Clear Land

The following are some steps that you can follow to reduce costing on land clearance.

Economic Aid

Make an effort to obtain financial aid. To learn more about the National Resources Conservation Service, contact your local US Department of Agriculture office. Additionally, you should investigate the availability of government funds. This is to assist in brush management and cleanup.

DIY Solution

When there isn’t a lot of labor to be done, clearing the ground oneself is always an alternative. Keep in mind that you’re not in a hurry to finish the project. You also have the necessary equipment and staff for a couple of weekends.

Selling Trees

Sometimes, lumber businesses may create free in return to sell the wood. This works best if you have a large number of trees of a type that provides good fuel or furnishings. While it may be tempting to locate anybody to come and cut them up for firewood. 

You may wind up paying thousands of dollars. This is if they are hurt on your property due to their lack of liability insurance. You might as well use the timber to make stairs. This can bring aestheticism to your house. 

These tips will surely help you save some costs for land clearing.

FAQs

Question: How much land can a bulldozer clear in a single day?

Answer: A bulldozer can clear up to 3 acres each day on average. And, on rare occasions, 5 acres in a single day. This is the equivalent of 0.375 acres of work done in one hour. For that, it needs to work more than 8 hours a day.

Question: How can I mark property lines in the survey?

Answer: Property lines are indicated with orange flagging tape in a contemporary survey. Trees are burned at regular intervals and then painted with reflective paint. Surveyors use a huge wooden post with a metal pin put into the base to mark corners.

Question: How can I kill the brush permanently?

Answer: Tall, leafy brush may be killed with a mixture of vinegar and dish soap. The dish detergent acts as an adhesive while the vinegar destroys the brush. The solution clings to the brush’s leaves, causing the brush to die quicker.

Conclusion

Congrats! Now you should know how much it costs to clear land. If you have any other complications, the doors are always open. 

All the best!