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Lot clearing

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by PAPlow, Mar 11, 2001.

  1. PAPlow

    PAPlow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    Looking for for some idea of costs involved with clearing a wooded lot that I am considering purchasing to build my house. Anyone with experience with such please post. Thanks in advance!

  2. MJ

    MJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    Rick - I did just that three years ago. I bought a commercial grade chain saw and a beat up one ton truck to use as a skidder. Cut trees all one winter and spring, then pulled them out the following summer before I built the house in the fall. Still needed to have the stumps removed, but contractor that I had dig the foundation did that with a bulldozer. Then I used the trees I'd cut for firewood and piled the branches. Still need to burn that pile. Plan carefully where you're going to put the trees you cut down. I still have several left I haven't cut up yet.

    Cost - Chain saw $750, Truck $600. Chains for dragging came with the truck.

    Be absolutely sure to buy and use safety equipment. Kevlar chaps and hard hat with screened visor (both for about $80, I think). I have been saved several times by both. Had one branch about 3" thick break off and hit me directly on the top of the head while I was cutting. Knocked me to my knees. Without the hard hat, I'm sure it would have killed me.

    If you're not familiar with using a chain saw, practice on some small trees till you figure out how to get them to fall where you want. There's always a dozen things that seem to go wrong. Work safe and good luck. I figure I saved at least $10,000 by clearing my own building site.

  3. joshua

    joshua LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,226

    paplow, i just did a job for another company only 6 little trees in it but alot of wild brush the area was about 4feet by 75 feet. it took me about 10 hours to clear it and plant grass, 2 loads of dirt. you will save so much money if you do it yourself.we got the stumps out by hooking a chain to my truck(4x4) and putting them around the stump. it was pretty easy.

    one bad thing if you have some one come in with a back ho or bulldozier is that they wil compact the soil very tight and it will be like concrete and that isn't good for anything that grows.
  4. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    You may already have chain saw experience.
    If not consider finding a pro to show you safe proper
    tree felling methods.The chaps are a good idea too.
    If you are right handed your left leg will surely appreciate it.NEVER CUT WHEN YOU ARE EXHAUSTED
  5. PAPlow

    PAPlow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    Thanks everyone for your advice. Maybe I will do it myself. My girlfriend' brother owns a Bobcat. Maybe he will let me borrow it. I'm sure that would help...aeh?
  6. BillW

    BillW LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    In my area they have a hydraulic shear that mounts on the front of a skid-loader. It will cut trees up to 12 inches...I think. Check on renting one.
  7. lawnboy82

    lawnboy82 Banned
    Messages: 957

    some costs that i can think of are gonna be:
    2 chain saws minimum
    diesel powered 12" chipper get something with a hydraulic wheel lift (helps get rid of wood)
    bobcat with grapple or excavator 10,000 pounder is all you really need
    a good 150 foot section of rope
    a good helper
    safety gear
    wedges / chains / hammers
    spare chains for chain saws or knowledge of how to sharpen
    maybe a good hand saw
    and you can figure out the rest on your own i guess
    dont try pulling stumps with a truck though.
    you will bust whatever you are pulling with. you are better off renting a small dozer or excavator. even a tlb would be good.
    i have cleared land b4 and get something like 2500 per acre minimum. so price the stuff you need and decide from there.
  8. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    Lot clearing is about the worst job out there. To me that is. I do it often for builders in the area. It is dirty and tiring work. The list by lawnboy is pretty accurate with personal preferences of course. While some choose huge saws, which I do have, I like a middle weight commercial saw. I use Husquverna but any good commercial with a good chain will work. I like theses saws over bigger ones because if you are cutting all day then the weight savings will be important to you. I like to cut, and clear the whole lot then come back and stump. Safety is the most important. I usually work a three man crew. One cutter, one running the machine and one running and feeding the chipper and clearing small brush. No one else is allowed on the lot during this time. When a tree is being felled all personal must be aware and prepared. I have seen trees do some amazing things on their way down.
  9. Catcher

    Catcher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    With Gas-prices expected to rise by 100% fire-wood and stoves have become scares in our area.
    People flock at the opportunity to get their hands on free lumber.
    Have you considered marking the trees you want downed and have a few privateers clean it all out for you?
  10. MJ

    MJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    Rick, I'd agree that Lawnboy82's list was more complete than mine. I use a Husky 371XP and have an old Husky 50 for backup. I've had to use it, too - to get the big one loose
    from being pinched in the tree. I also use wedges (at least two) and a large and small sledgehammer. Plus at least 100' ropes to tie to trees for bracing. And an axe. Since you have access to a Bobcat, that should be good for pulling stumps - don't use your 4X4. I pulled the rear bumper off an S10 trying to pull a 50' poplar. I didn't mention all those things I guess I just take for granted but would definitely drive up the cost if you had to go buy them. Oh, also forgot about the two big ratcheting tow straps and two chain binders. I think if you have to go buy all this, you might be better off hiring it done. Like CTfireman18 said, it's a lot of work. Depending on the type, size and number of trees, you might be able to make a partial deal in letting them take the trees for payment.

    Good Luck,

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