Land Clearing Basics – What Does It Mean To Clear And Grub Something

Cleared Forest Land With Open Dirt Space
clear grub
(Image credit: Gardening Know How, via Nikki Tilley)

Have you ever wondered what the land your home sits on used to look like? Chances are, it looked nothing like it currently does now. Clearing and grubbing a landscape is the first order of business for a developer. What is clearing and grubbing? This refers to land clearing basics performed by anyone who has purchased undeveloped land they wish to develop. How about clearing land yourself? Will it require clearing and grubbing?

What Does it Mean to Clear and Grub?

Once a site has been surveyed and any necessary demo has been done, vegetation and surface debris are removed by clearing and grubbing the landscape. Clearing means what it sounds like, removing all vegetation. Grubbing refers to the removal of the roots that remain in the soil after clearing.

Grubbing removes logs, brush, and debris. Stumps are then ground or removed with a root rake or similar machine. This requires some heavy machinery such as a bulldozer, dump trucks, compactors, and scrapers. Once these land clearing basics are complete, the site is ready for drain installation and grading.

Land Clearing Basics

What about clearing land yourself? This commonly happens when homeowners decide to increase the size of their backyard space or even when adding a new garden area. If you have a small plot of land to clear with just a few trees and/or shrubs, it may simply only take a day and a few tools, such as a shovel and hand saw.

For larger areas, the big toys may need to come out. These include chain saws, bulldozers, backhoes, or other large equipment. You may need to hire a company that specializes in clearing and grubbing a landscape if the job seems too large.

Before you start to clear and grub your property, check with your local government regarding permits. You may need a permit to not only clear the land but to dispose of timber. Rules may apply regarding composting and tree removal. There may be additional guidelines regarding protecting the environment or certain species.

You will also want to check with the local utility companies to find out about possible lines on the property. If you end up having usable timber, save it if possible, as you may be able to use it on the project or sell it.

If you are removing trees yourself, consider the process. One way to remove them is to take the tree down to a 3-foot (under a meter) stump and then push the stump out of the ground with a dozer. This method removes the roots from the ground; thus, the tree cannot regrow.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.