View Full Version : Hillside Landclearing

05-19-2004, 01:19 AM
A customer came to our company the other day asking if we could clear about an acre of land in the foothills for him. We decided to take a drive for an estimate and that attached picture is what we found. Most (85%) of the property is covered in scrub oak on a side of a hill. Normally, on the flat ground, we could use the Brushhog to get the smaller 2" diameter tree's.. Any suggestions on what type of equipment (if any) could be used to clear this area.
The obvious is hand clearing, and what would some of you charge on something like this.. I know the old Hours of time x price per hour... But how can you estimate something like this?


05-19-2004, 06:37 AM
That looks like what my backyard looked like a couple of weeks ago. Two days on my tractor using the loader, box scraper and rake and its got seed and straw on it now. I think a 4X4 tractor will climb that and pull a scraper up it to do the rough clearing and grading.

05-19-2004, 09:20 AM
First thing you will need is some good help. About 3 to 4 people with equipment to operate for 2 of those workers. Have 2 cutting and 2 dragging/loading.

I use a chainsaw saws, hedge trimmers, brushcutters, tractor/rotary cutter and lots of help.

To get a very nice finish job, I would cut by hand and haul away.
If the customer is OK with the bush-hog look then go at it that way.

Pricing is up to you. I price by the day----that includes hauling.

$800.00 to $1000.00 a day depending on # of people.

good luck

05-19-2004, 10:47 AM
Wasn't sure about using the brushhog on something like this. This picture shows the lowest area, once's you get further up the hill, it starts to get pretty step. and lot's O rocks (5" minus in size).

The customer didn't want it hauled way, just left in piles on the property( wierd but makes it easier).

Has anybody completed a project that has a time estimate for that particular job. So far I've come up with 2 guys for 2 - 10 hour days hand cutting and hauling to a few central piles, but I'm thinking that is still light.


05-19-2004, 10:52 AM
you can do it w/ only 2 guys in that time. but i would take 3. you gonna needs some breaks int here during the day.

just take whatever you have for pruning out there, you will use all of it. hedge shears, pruners etc. maybe even a lawn mower once you get the stuff down enuff.

05-19-2004, 05:57 PM
Cut it down and start at the top with a 4x4 tractor w/ frontendloader and push the stuff to the bottom. If you think you can get on it with a bushhog then you can get on it with a front bucket and tractor. It they decide thay want it hauled off (and they will) you will already have it in a pile next to the road. Or 4 guys two chain saws and one long hard day.

05-19-2004, 07:40 PM
I see a lot of stuff to be cut.
2 guys = 4 days
4 guys 2.5 days

It still depends on what finish results the owner wants.

Should gross about 3K and don't drag it out. In and out asap to realize a decent paycheck.

Turf Medic
05-19-2004, 08:42 PM
What is he going to do with the land, once you have it cleared?

I saw a property similar to this cleared with a Cat and a dozer blade, went real fast, then hydroseeded.

05-19-2004, 10:43 PM
He's looking to get 2 horses. Wants the scrub oak just cut at the roots and then for us to cut and fill a pad for a pole barn pad 54 x 44 into the side of the hill with the backhoe.

Here's another shot take about 50 feet from the top of the cut... It's pretty steep, I'm guess about 30 to maybe 40 degrees in some area. You can really see the density of the brush on this one. Everything from this point down to the road is about 400 feet and back to the house.

A Dozer was an idea, but operating one on that kind of hill for me is out of the question. I would hate to be calling my insurance agent and explaining how I rolled a rented dozer...


05-20-2004, 08:32 AM
Originally posted by Turf Medic
What is he going to do with the land, once you have it cleared?

I saw a property similar to this cleared with a Cat and a dozer blade, went real fast, then hydroseeded.

Exactly what I was thinking as well......

05-20-2004, 07:08 PM
If the customer wants the material left in piles and a foundation pad needs to be dug, I'd use a 24K-30K pound excavator with a clearing rake and hydraulic thumb. Rip and pile the brush then, switch the rake for the bucket and dig out for the barn pad. If the pictures aren't too deceiving, it's probably a two day job at around a $1,000/day plus move in costs for the machine (around here anyway). Another option would be to sub the work to a local excavation contractor and take your piece of the pie off the top.

It's kind of funny how everyone approaches jobs like this differently. Some look at it and think how many guys and what tools would they need? Some like myself, look at it and think, what type of machine and attachments would I need? :)

05-20-2004, 09:37 PM
I just finished a job, like that. Was 3 days to cut/clear, and 1 more to haul away. Steep hills are fun to work on, but mine go t o a river, so had to haul everything up. Wish I could use something, but just 3 of us, with brushcutters/chain saws etc. Have fun with it :)

05-20-2004, 10:16 PM
Does the guy want it cut or cleared? In my book that would make a huge difference in price. To cut it, I'd probably use a walk behind brush cutter, with chainsaws and hand work as necessary. To clear it, I'd probably go with DK's method and use an excavator. Obviously one would charge much more to clear it.

D Felix
05-22-2004, 10:15 AM
Check out http:www.fecon.com and see what they might have for attachments for a skidsteer. A Bull Hog would do nicely there. Only problem is they cost $20k and you can't rent them. They might be able to tell you who has one in your area though.

Find someone who specializes in this stuff and sub them to do the clearing.

If you want to do it, I'd look at a Bobcat T300 or a Cat 287 (both with 18" tracks) and various attachments to get the job done. Pictures don't tell the whole story when it comes to hills, but I see enough with these to realize it's steep!


05-24-2004, 02:25 AM
As mentioned, depending on what is going to happen after the clearing is done may dicate on what method to use to clear. If is just to be cut down and then maintained (hopefully) as is then I would rent a high flow skid steer with a FECON type attachment. They are like a flail mower only designed for heavy duty land clearing. There are many manufactorers of these types of machines. Most can cut down 6" and up trees. Finding one to rent may be difficult however. It looks rather "wild" to use a brush hog on. Using a dozer is a great idea as long as turning it to dirt is what is desired. If the customer just wants it cut down and managed than clearing it with a dozer will not make the customer happy.

05-28-2004, 10:19 AM
Check this out!


05-28-2004, 11:56 AM
Wow, talk about a monster Z! I wonder what kind of grade that thing can operate on. A machine like that would have to be worth at least $100 an hour.

06-01-2004, 09:56 PM
As has already been said, the technique depends on what the customer wants to do with the property. Techniques that come to mind and their faults/advantages-

bushhog- probably too steep(pictures of hills aren't worth many words) and cutting it 4-6" high might be bad for the horses feet

handheld brushcutter- would work well, fairly cheap, especially if you plan on performing this niche work again. Drawback is that you should stay behind your crew to make sure they cut the brush AT ground level- stobs can damage horses feet. Use big(45cc+) brushcutters with 3 point blades for this.

Fecon- expensive, would work well though because the mulched brush would help stabilize the soil until grass can grow.

Excavator- One of the best options for the horses health, but pulling up the roots would promote washing(supposing you ever get liquid rain there)

Dozer/Hydroseed- I believe I've seen steeper graded, but if you dont feel comfortable doing it dont do it. Sub it or not at all.

I've been speciallizing in brush cutting for a while now. Its a lucrative business in some markets because few LCO's want to tackle this work.

As far as how much to charge, it'd probably take me a day to cut with 2 guys, maybe up to two more days to cut.

I was in Colorado Springs last summer, what area of the town is this in? I stayed in a campground on the south end of town below Pike's Peak. The 'primitive' site we parked my truck on had a perfect view to the East. Waking up to the 5:30 sunrise(on the side of a mountain) with my new wife(honeymoon trip) was awesome!


06-11-2004, 10:58 AM
The area is south of Colorado Springs close to a town called Penrose on Hwy 115, next to the Fort Carson military base, right on the foot hills. I moved out here 12 years ago for that view of Pikes Peak, just didn't have that when I lived in Florida.

We presented the bid to the customer about a week ago for both the clearing and excavation for the pole barn. Haven't heard anything back, my guess we won't. We went over the bulldozing options and he wasn't happy with that, so it was handclearning only.

I will have to say, that Fecon is one cool looking tool. If I can get more work for it, it might be something that I might invest in..

Thanks for everyones input.


06-11-2004, 08:15 PM
30-40 minute job with my hydro ax.

06-14-2004, 08:42 PM
A hydro ax that would work. I have seen those working. Or a ASL RC100 with the new brush hog they have for it.