Search thousands of topics on CostHelper

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business sports weddings
CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Construction & Renovation > Land Clearing

Land Clearing Cost

How Much Does Land Clearing Cost?

low costFlat Land with Light Vegetation: $20-$200 Per Acreaverage costSloping Land with Overgrown Brush: $500-$2,000 Per Acrehigh costHeavily Wooded or Forested Land: $3,000-$6,000+ Per Acre

Land clearing typically means using equipment ranging from chain saws to large bulldozers, excavators, backhoes or other heavy machinery to remove obstacles like trees, bushes, rocks, uneven dirt and other debris from a parcel of land. If the parcel is being cleared for fire safety, to make it possible to walk around the property or to restore overgrown views, then a selective clearing will remove all underbrush and debris but leave established and desirable trees intact. If the land is being cleared to become pasture or farmland most everything will be removed. And for new construction, often everything in the building footprint will be cleared, leaving an open area of bare dirt. Pensacola Land Clearing in Florida posts before and after photos[1] of selective and complete land clearing projects.

Typical costs:

  • Land clearing costs depend on whether the parcel is flat, sloped, grassy, brushy, lightly wooded, heavily forested or a combination of these conditions. Other factors affecting price include local rates, local regulations, the total amount of land being cleared and accessibility. Hiring an excavation or land clearing company to clear flat land with light vegetation and few trees might cost $20-$200 per acre; clearing more sloping land with overgrown brush and a few trees might cost $500-$2,000 per acre; and clearing heavily wooded or forested land can cost $3,000-$6,000 or more an acre, depending on conditions and whether the resulting debris will be burned (illegal in many areas and strictly limited in others), stacked in designated spots for later disposal or hauled away.
  • For example, a New Jersey landowner[2] paid $600 for about four hours of work clearing a 15'x100' area plus reopening a 70'x12' driveway on high, dry land with heavy shrubs and some medium-sized trees. A Georgia landowner[3] paid $2,000 to clear pine and brush from about 1.5 acres, including clearing a driveway and digging a culvert, and $2,500 to clear about three-fourths of an acre in Florida.
  • Do-it-yourself land clearing is possible but it's a lot of work and typically requires access to equipment or heavy machinery. A heavy-duty gas chain saw can cost $200-$500 or more. Renting a backhoe can cost $100-$350 or more a day, and buying a backhoe can cost $10,000-$100,000 or more. Landowner James Starbuck posts a 44-page booklet[4] and video segments[5] sharing his techniques for do-it-yourself land clearing by one man and a backhoe.
Related articles: Backhoe, Stump Removal, Landscape Design

What should be included:
  • There are many different land clearing methods, and the best one to use depends on the condition of the property and how it will be used after it's cleared. AskTheBuilder provides an overview of land clearing[6] and the Virginia Cooperative Extension describes the pros and cons[7] of different methods.
  • Land clearing methods also vary depending on the equipment used. Videos demonstrate land clearing techniques using a bulldozer with a root rake[8] , a backhoe[9] and a mulcher[10] .
  • If the property is being cleared in preparation for a construction project, land grading or leveling is the next phase in the preparation process, and might be done by the same crew and equipment or as a completely separate project.
Additional costs:
  • Check with the local zoning and planning departments; a land clearing permit may be required. This might be free or it can cost $50-$200 or more. (Typically a separate permit is not required if the clearing is part of an approved building permit.)
  • If the property contains trees, they might be sold as timber (to become lumber) or for firewood. Contact the state department of conservation or natural resources or the local cooperative extension program for advice on whether the trees might be valuable. Some small logging operations or firewood companies remove usable trees for free or even pay for the wood; get multiple estimates or bids, and ask detailed questions about what condition the land will be left in when the company is done. After the trees are cut down, stump removal can cost $2-$50 or more per stump.
  • Land clearing expenses for agricultural use may be tax deductible, according to the University of Missouri Outreach & Extension[11] .
Shopping for land clearing:
  • Ask neighbors, friends or at the local hardware or feed store for referrals to land clearing or excavation companies. Typically a company representative will visit the property before quoting a price for a land clearing project. If possible, get several estimates.
  • Verify that the company is properly bonded, insured and licensed. Ask for and check references.
post Post   Comments (18)  
CostHelper News

7 Lesser-Known Discounts for the 50+ Crowd
As they age, members of the Baby Boomer generation don't like to admit that they're senior citizens, but they love getting discounts. It's kind of a quandary, because some of the best deals available are reduced prices for older folks. || Posted October 21 2013

7 Ways to Stretch Your Reduced Food Budget
End of the year budgets are tight for everyone, especially in this economy.It's especially hard for the millions of Americans who depend on government programs like food stamps to help make ends meet. || Posted November 11 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts

What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Land Clearing and Grading
Amount: $20,775.00
Posted by: QueenOfFishing in Hogansville, GA.Posted: July 20th, 2022 12:07AM
Acres: 15Vegetation: Yes
Contractor: Individual
I'm trying to price a job of land clearing and grading of 15 acres. Not really trying to screw myself by going to low or to high.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Land clearing document
Amount: $700.00
Posted by: Teresa Blocker in Titusville, FL.Posted: February 18th, 2022 10:02AM
Acres: .95Vegetation: light
What type of document should I get the person or company to sign for insurance purposes before they begin clearing land
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Clear some small
Amount: $1,000.00
Posted by: Wardene in Mcdonough, GA.Posted: January 7th, 2021 07:01AM
Acres: .75Vegetation:
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Land clearing
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Dennis Hobbs in Maurertown, VA.Posted: May 1st, 2019 05:05PM
My experience with land clearing is that I know several people who work at this profession and it is work but one must remember and pay attention to what speices of trees that are on your propety because some are valuble I have seen one tree go for as much as 10,000 dollars so this may pay for itself and make you some cash.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Clearing Forest of lightly wooded brushy area. no tree cutting
Amount: $1,100.00
Posted by: Margie brown in Indian Springs, TX.Posted: March 23rd, 2019 05:03AM
Acres: 3.4 acresVegetation: none
Contractor: independent yard maintenance
Hired to clear 2-lots 98.24 length by 62.5 width and 3rd lot 56.5 width by 110.99 length. He started clearing borderline path all around property to work his way to center of property. Debris was burned (none was hauled away). He did not accomplish complete center clearing of property and only had one other person assisting him. Sounds like I got screwed. I lost money on this project. I should have done more homework on clearing large properties. Initially what should have been less cost on small time labor, got expensive with little to none accomplished.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Brush mowing for site prep
Amount: $22,100.00
Posted by: Jim Keith in Freeport, FL.Posted: November 13th, 2017 09:11PM
Acres: 26Vegetation: small oaks under large pines
Contractor: KW Land Works
The majority of the oaks and brush were mowed. The pines were left behind.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Amount: $8,000.00
Posted by: Hoyt in Perry, FL.Posted: October 1st, 2017 10:10PM
Acres: 15Vegetation: heavily wooded
Contractor: Hoyt Bryant
This was a verbal agreement between landowner Charles Mathis & Hoyt Bryant, that clearing 15 acres out of the 20 acres, that Hoyt would be given the remaining 5 acres for his work and labor.
Hoyt based two figures from land clearing companies estimating normally 2500. Per Acer to 4000 per acre which average around $45000 for all 15 acers
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Clearing .5 acre of land in North Eastern PA
Amount: $10,000.00
Posted by: PK in Poconos, PA.Posted: August 27th, 2016 05:08PM
Acres: .5Vegetation: Tons
Contractor: John Gmelch
Had a project to clear .5 acres of land. While there was roughly 50 stumps to rip out of the earth, there was tons of large boulders that were elevated once the roots were pulled out. Once everything was done two large piles of wood chips were left from the previous company. Mr Gmelch took virtually all the wood chips out for me as well as the stumps. Additional 12 tri-axles of dirt were put down (all screened). The project took over a month to accomplish.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Lot clearing
Amount: $4,600.00
Posted by: Jim D. in Port St. Lucie, FL.Posted: April 30th, 2016 05:04AM
Contractor: Craigslist
30 pine trees and heavy vegetation. Included permit. All trees ran through chipper and put back on lot. Is ready to build when ready. Roots and stumps pulled also.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Land clearing and pond clearing
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Cliff Nicolas in Hernando Beach, FL.Posted: October 21st, 2015 09:10PM
Contractor: Alfacor LLC
8 acres and 2 ponds clear, at first I was shopping around for prices every price was different big time, but ideas were obsolete, we hire a company, they came out here with big equipment, and 8 guys crew, the first day they were having trouble getting their equipment in an out, no luck, then this guy is trying to get more money after we agreed to pay, at this time a pay the 10% upfront, when I said to him that I wasn't going to pay more than what we agreed he pulled his equipment out leaving a big mess and took my money, then I went online scary but I found this guy, his price was big but his ideas were excellent, he came here with mini excavator, skid steer's and a big old loader, I laughed at him and I told him what happened to the guy from before, he asked for a 25% upfront.then he told me let me show you what I can do with my equipment and then you decide, long story short he finished the job, took him a little longer but, wow amazing like a golf course,I recommend him to friends w
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Land clearing
Amount: $100,000.00
Posted by: Christopher Worthey, Grass Plus in Gastonia, NC.Posted: September 17th, 2015 08:09PM
Contractor: Grass Plus
We clear land in Charlotte , Rock Hill Area. And the price will vary dependent on vegetation and trees , slope type of material you're working in. If the debris is to be hauled away or left on site typically the price would go from $3000-$7500 per acre
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
lightly wooded
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: crystal maxwell in charleston, SC.Posted: August 21st, 2015 10:08PM
Contractor: n/a
I recently purchased two acres lightly wooded. in charleston sc area would like to know if its better to do it myself or call a pro. anyone know how much it will cost to clear out one Acre
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Cleared 140acres hilly farmground of boulders & shrubs &trees not farmed since th 30\'s
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: zigggyjr in kalamazoo, MI.Posted: July 21st, 2015 01:07PM
Acres: 140Vegetation: rocks,shrubs, trees
Contractor: Ziggy
It started out as me renting all of it 6 yrs ago. And only 40 acres of th 140 was tillable because of th boulders around th farm. And now that I have 100% of it tillable now th landowner is kicking me off th farm since th flat ground I let go to cow farmers to pay owners taxes & th rest I have built th ground up & getting hay off of now. Th owner now is having other people cut for him & pushing me out. I had 1400 hrs of bobcat work & at least 500 hrs off th bobcat picking up rocks, sticks tacking down 10-20 miles of barbwire fence & poles. I made one of th best tools to get out rocks out of th ground that I have every seen Now that all th work is done th owner uses th excuse he never told me to do it & has not paid me one penny for it & has sold my share of th hay th last three yrs. I very talented on a bobcat & what I did to that property I doubt very few people could have done. Dug 5000-10,000 rocks out of th ground & filled every hole. Was not paid. What can I do legally?
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Land clearing
Amount: $10,000.00
Posted by: Simone in camden, SC.Posted: June 20th, 2015 05:06AM
Acres: 1 acreVegetation:
I am about to buy 10 acres of land in Camden but not sure how much it will cost to clear 1 acre of land for building a home. I am not sure what other cost are included in building and clearing in preparation for a new home.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
land clearing
Amount: $4,550.00
Posted by: Charles Vance in West Palm Beach, FL.Posted: May 8th, 2015 07:05PM
Contractor: Alfacor Llc
Great and cheap I never thought that they were going to finish the job on time, but they did it, clean, professional, and very honest, I think the I got the best deal,
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Land clearing
Amount: $4,500.00
Posted by: Menace in Port Saint Lucie, FL.Posted: August 10th, 2014 12:08PM
Contractor: Aplus lawns & services
Great company and very professional n reliable
They dealt with many obstacles and took a little longer but completed project with ease and professionalism
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Underbrush mulching
Amount: $1,400.00
Posted by: Zoltan in Spring, TX.Posted: July 21st, 2014 08:07PM
Acres: 1.00Vegetation: Heavy underbrush
Contractor: Fellco
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Clearing & Grading cost
Amount: $4,000.00
Posted by: Linda Jenkins in Murphy, NC.Posted: September 9th, 2013 07:09PM
Acres: half acreVegetation: heavy brush some trees
I have gotten a wide range of estimates and do not know which way to turn.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam


Comment On Your Experience With Land Clearing
Subject:  *
Amount Spent:  *
Acres: Vegetation: 
Purchased:  Year: 
City:  * State:  *
Information about you:
Email:  * Email addresses are not displayed.
Name:  This is the name we'll display with your post.
me on this computer
*=required field.

External Resources:
More Home and Garden Topics
Check Out All Costs for Home and Garden How Much Does a Kitchen Remodeling Cost? How Much Does a Propane Tank Cost? How Much Does a Plumber Cost?

Search Thousands of Topics on

Today's Featured Cost Articles

About CostHelper
CostHelper is based in Silicon Valley and provides consumers with unbiased price information about thousands of goods and services. Our writers are experienced journalists who adhere to our strict editorial ethics policy.

CostHelper Community
UTI urgent care visit
Paid: 147.00
Visit was $135. Antibiotics was $12. Waiting for four hours in the waiting room and the visit was quick... [more]
Urinary Tract Infection Treatment Cost
Spanish Medical Interpreter
Paid: 150.00
I worked with SynShyne Services out of Monroe, NC. They were so worth the price! Professional, friendly, accurate, great attitude and always on time. I recieved an itemized report after every contact and a user friendly invoice weekly... [more]
-Gregory Richardson
Interpreter Cost
Paid: 495.00
This is how much I am paying... [more]
-Calista Christian
Dental Admission Test Cost
Paid: 48.00
... [more]
-Not that BB
Shingles Vaccine Cost
Skin prick allergy test
Paid: 573.00
Took my 9 yr. old in after an allergic reaction to eggs. Several panels for nuts, fish & top 8 allergens. Sure enough, egg came up. Got a script for epinephrine and left... [more]
-D’s mom
Allergy Testing Cost
Estimate for Teeth Cleaning Cat
Paid: 0.00
13 year old cat …teeth extractions, X-rays, blood work, anesthetic, cleaning estimate 2 to 3 thousand... [more]
Cat Teeth Cleaning Cost