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Land Clearing Cost Guide 2021
Update: 4 July 2021
Land clearing costs will vary depending on the size and thickness of trees and brush on your land. We will break down for you the cost to clear land and trees per square foot and acre.
The national average cost to clear land is $3,680 per acre. This is the price of a lightly wooded acre with some larger trees. Heavily wooded lots of land with mainly large trees can cost upwards of $7,569 per acre of land.
The average cost estimates to clear the land will vary depending on the following factors:
- Tree density in the area
- Rocks, bush, or stumps
- Clearing service provider
- Time of the year
- Size of trees in the area
The cost to prepare land for building is different and requires grading machines. This is a separate cost.
|Small||5,000 sq. ft.||$950||$5,250|
|Medium (Average)||¼ acre||$1,200||$6,100|
Land clearing prices by acre
When it comes to the average cost of clearing land per acre, there are several factors that can easily affect the tree clearing cost.
These factors include the size of the land, nature of clearing required, land gradient, rocks, building site preparation, or removing existing structures among others. As a result, you can pay as low as $1,500 for a quarter of an acre and as high as $8,000.
3 acres is a large piece of land to be cleared so be sure to get quotes for at least 3 suppliers on the cost to clear land before proceeding. This could cost you thousands.
¼ Acre land Clearing Prices
Expect to pay $950 for a ¼ acre where the land has young trees less than 9′ tall hence requiring light clearing work. In such cases, the land will also be flat; hence there is little work needed to remove rocks or grade. That works out to be about $0.092 per square foot not including site preparation for construction.
If it’s heavily forested land, and if there is a need to remove stumps and rocks, then the price can go as high as $1, 650. This does not include the removal of existing structures.
½ Acre of Land Clearing Cost
When clearing half an acre, similar factors will apply. If the lot requires minimal work where there are light bush and no rock removal or grading, then you will pay around $1,550. This does not include grading or building site preparation. Just the removal of trees.
In cases where it is wooded and a high level of grading and rock removal required, expect to pay around $2,700. The cost to clear per square foot works out to be quite cheap at $0.85 or square foot.
Land Clearing Price per 1 Acre
The cost to clear a parcel of land this size where there is light underbrush hence requiring minimal work without any rock removal or grading required. Cost is on average $3,750 per acre, but can start at $2,000 per acre and go right up to $4,650.
Land Clearing Price per 3 Acres
Lightly wooded, no grading costs included could cost around $10,900.
Heavily wooded, lots of brush, needs grading and rock removal – around $19,500.
10 Acre Land Clearing Cost
Flatland, young trees requiring light clearing without rock removal or grading – around $35,000
Clearing the land for a 10 acre lot that is heavily forested with a brush, requires grading and rock removal expect to pay approximately – $62,000. You may be able to negotiate a good price to include grading and building site preparation.
If it is a heavily wooded lot, then cost estimates could go over $100,000 to clear the land. Once you start to get to lots larger than 10 acres, the land clearing cost per acre increases as erosion control measures need to be put into place also.
Take a short cut
You could go through this article and try to calculate the average cost for your lot. You are not really going to know until you get some prices from local tree services.
Go Tree Quotes is a FREE service that matches you with the top-voted and best-priced local tree services.
Just scroll to the top and enter your zip code and answer a few questions about your land clearing job.
Your details will be forwarded to the current top-voted local services who will then contact you with a price.
In a lot of cases, they will need to swing by and have a quick look at the land being cleared so they can give you an accurate estimate.
This is an obligation for free services.
Land clearing vs. tree clearing
It’s important that we make the distinction early on so there is no confusion. “Land clearing” is a fairly open term that can refer to rubbish removal, debris removal, undergrowth removal, and the grading of the land so it is flat and ready to build.
In this article, we are looking at clearing trees from your land. Prices do not include the grading or land with a bulldozer. This is a different land clearing service as it’s preparing the land to build a house or other structure.
There is some overlap in what companies can handle depending on their equipment. Some companies just do trees, others just grading and others do both. You may need to shop around to find the right service for your needs.
|Standard Range *acre||Average range||National average|
$1,500 – $8,000
$3,200 – $5,500
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Does tree clearing include grading the land?
Generally no, but it depends on the company you use. Once the work is done and forested land has been cleared, it is full of stumps and other underground roots. Normally the building company will grade before building but it depends on your contract with them.
Land tree clearing pros near you when are normally tree service normally don’t have the equipment to grade land. Sometimes they work with other earthmoving companies to help level and grade the land once done, but again it really depends on the company you use.
How much does it cost for site preparation?
The average cost per acre for site preparation will depend largely on the about of dirt that needs to be shifted. If it is as simple as just leveling the land, it will cost $2,000 for one acre. But the average cost will go up the more dirt that needs mowing and the larger quantities of rock and tree roots in the ground.
When is land grading necessary?
Land grading is normally needed when the ground is cleared of trees is then to be used to build a home or other structure. This is not always the case but it will be an additional cost if needed.
Should I use a tree company or a construction company?
Get free quotes from a tree service or land clearing company which are usually one and the same. Since you are looking for someone to do land clearing, it is advisable to use a tree service. Clearing land is a complex process where there is a need to use professionals who are experienced in the field.
A lot of the time the cost of land clearing is included in the price of construction, but DIY land clearing can be a lot cheaper before construction begins. You may need to discuss this with your builder before you sign anything.
Tree experts have a more in-depth understanding of how to handle brush removal and clearing professionally without any damages or possible accidents. Tree and brush removal companies also have the right equipment for handling any kind of tree.
Brush removal cost is generally cheaper than larger trees, depending on the thickness and grade of land, access for large machinery, etc.
Where to find lot clearing services near me
The process of finding a suitable land or lot clearing service near you is fairly straightforward, but you need to be careful to make sure that you find the right contractor.
If you are after land clearing services then I implore you to use this FREE service.
Go Tree Quotes will match you with the best-priced local tree services as voted by previous users.
Just scroll to the top and enter your Zip code and answer a few questions about your land clearing job to get free quotes.
How much does it cost? This is a free service where your job details are then forwarded to top local services for an estimate. This is an obligation-free service.
If you are after grubbing or grading/ leveling services, then I suggest a location-based search in Google search.
In so doing, you will find a list of several land clearing services. However, there are several competing companies, and you should compare them to get the best. Here are the factors to look at.
- Should be bonded and licensed
- The company should have all the certifications
- Should have years of experience in the business
- Check for good ratings and reviews
- Check for their online quote to compare them and narrow down to the best
Other than getting a quote, you can get the company to visit the area for assessment before hiring them.
Grubbing vs. land clearing
Grubbing and clearing land are both needed when preparing land for development. This is sometimes charged per cubic yard of dirt moved, but normally per hour or by the day.
Clearing land entails the removal of all the vegetation on the land. This includes cutting and removing trees and bushes. It can also include the removal of rocks in the area.
Land grubbing, on the other hand, is a process that involves removing roots remaining in the soil. The process is done after the vegetation is cleared in an area. This can include logs, debris removal, brush, and grinding of stumps.
This is important because organic matter below ground can break down over time leaving small voids in the band below your development.
When would you use a forestry company?
The use of a forestry company for land tree clearing is only necessary when you have a home forest. In such cases, the forest may be complex, and there is a need for special attention from a forestry company.
However, in such cases, it is even more important if you are not planning to clear the entire forest, or it is neighboring another forest.
The use of a forestry company would also be ideal when the land will not be used for construction immediately. In such cases, you can do forestry mulching.
Will they do it with a bulldozer?
A bulldozer is one of the types of machinery that can be used during land clearing. It just depends on what the company sees as the best way to do things. They are used in grading the land and depending on how they charge and the size of land they could charge per cubic yard of dirt moved if there is a large amount of grading needed.
This may include cases where the land is not flat, and there are heavy rocks and dense bushes. When it comes to grubbing a bulldozer may also be used since it has more power and will save on time.
Land clearing companies will use all available machinery to do the work to make sure that they give you the best results. There is a big difference between the local suburban tree company and forestry mulching services. If you have an industrial-sized job, then using a larger company might be wise.
Does the size of trees matter to price?
Yes. Large tree removal will require more workforce, machines, and time to remove and clear as compared to small-sized trees. Prices will vary depending on the size and number of trees on your land.
How much is bush clearing per acre?
Unlike land clearing, bush clearing is not as expensive. The cost of bush removal will range from $20 to $750 per acre in areas where the bush is thin and light.
However, in cases where the bush is heavy, you can pay as high as $2,300 per acre.
In cases where the brush is even denser and wooded with small trees, the price can go to as high as $3,700 per acre.
Is it illegal to clear your land?
This will depend on your local zoning and the laws for tree removal. Clearing your land is not illegal if you have the correct permits to do so. However, in some areas, you will need a permit from the local government to carry out the work. For some areas, you do not need a permit.
In cases where a permit to clear land is required, it is done to protect the soil from erosion by ensuring proper control measures to prevent protected trees from destruction, among other reasons.
The best thing to do is to look at land clearing guidelines in your areas to understand better. You will find out under what circumstances you need a permit or not.
Do I need a land clearing permit if I have DA approval?
No. In cases where your tree or vegetation work requires a Development Application approval, then you are not required to obtain a land clearing permit.
A Development Application is made when you need to removes trees and vegetation in an area mostly for the purpose of development. Such an application takes into account both protected and unprotected trees within an area. As a result, it is all-inclusive.
Do companies remove trees for free?
If you have a large enough wooded land with desirable timber you might actually be able to get a lumber company to clear it all if they get to keep the wood, but it’s going to be tough. The trees need to be nice and straight so they have usable timber for the forestry company to sell on.
Long grass slashing cost
For someone to come in with a tractor and slasher you can expect to pay about $ 200 per acre. How much does it cost for 10 acres? That will depend on the land grade, the number of fences, and other obstacles, but the most you will pay is $250 per acre. Normally large jobs are not charged per square foot but by the acre.
- When you get a company in to clear your land whether it is heavily forested or just long grass, always make sure they carry publish liability insurance. You can expect to pay a little more for companies carrying this insurance, but it covers you in case you an accident.
- Cost to clear land, grass, or and per square foot might sound like a bargain, but when averaged out over an acre, it might work out to be way more expensive. Make sure you don’t get cheated.
- If you live in a zip code where your property is considered residential, you will go by different laws and regulations when it comes to clearing trees from your land. Make sure you know the local zoning and laws for your zip code. If your piece of land is larger and a 5 acre lot, you might be zoned as farmland and clearing might be easier to get a permit for.
- If you have over 1 acre of land to clear, you need to seek out land clearing company that using foresty mulching machines as they can work out to be much cheaper than tree companies with chainsaws and building companies with bulldozers.
- Cost of land clearing can be cheaper when packaged together to build a house. Generally only when less than 1 acre of land is being cleared though. The company you use to build your house is making lots of money anyways to a package deal can sometimes work out better.
Author: Ben McInerney – Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.