July 24, 2024

Business Bib

Business & Finance Blog

Do I Need to Learn to Operate Heavy Equipment for Land Clearing

4 min read

A crucial, non-negotiable part of construction is starting with clear ground, free of tree roots, underlying growth, and debris. This is a job that takes extremely attentive management and, ideally, should be done by professionals who have experience.

You don’t need to learn to operate heavy equipment if you’re intending to do some land clearing, but there are several things you need to be aware of if you’re going to endeavor to do the job yourself. Sometimes landscapers and contractors will try to do as much of a job as they can, but it might not always be a job that can be done without someone who has experience in land clearing.

Land clearing is a complex operation that needs specific equipment. If you’re going to attempt the job yourself, you’ll need to understand a few things. First, the equipment available to the average Joe isn’t as good as professional-quality equipment. Second, the equipment needed can include anything from the common chainsaw to extra-large dump trucks to transport and dump the tree stumps, rocks, and debris.

Do It Yourself

It is possible to do land clearing yourself, but due to lack of access to professional-grade equipment, it can make the task more daunting, not to mention, more time-consuming. There’s also some legwork to do so that you make sure you’re clearing the lot properly and legally. You’ll need the appropriate permits before you begin the work. This may mean you have to go through channels at the local, state, and even regional levels to make sure it gets done the right way.

Tree Removal

If there are trees on the property, you’ll need a chainsaw to cut them down. Because of the fact that tree roots act as a support system for the soil of the property, if you can keep some of the trees, it’s advisable to do so. If there are the unavoidable ones that will get cut down, be sure to invest in renting a stump grinder so you can really have a clear space and avoid running into any problems once the construction has started.

You can get the trees you remove appraised, as some of them may be valuable. A timber buyer may be your best bet with the appraisal. Have them take a look at the lot and give you a bid. If you’re lucky, not only will you be able to make a profit from the trees on the lot, you may be able to have them extract the trees too.

Before removing any trees, it’s important to talk to an arborist to make sure that you’re not cutting down any species that are endangered or that have legal protection. There will also, undoubtedly, be many ecosystems on the property. It may behoove you to have your local fish and wildlife department come out to see what sort of species you have, so again, you’re not destroying any habitat for protected or endangered species.

After the Trees Are Down

You will need to rent or borrow some of the other main pieces of equipment, such as a large mower to trim down and manage the potential overgrowth. Then there are machines that will grind up the underbrush and other smaller shrubs and trees. This is called a mulching machine. It chews up the small wooden bits that the mower cannot break down. Thereafter, it’s advisable to use a stump grinder, especially if you would like to plant grass or use the property for any sort of gardening.

The step after grinding down the stumps is to bulldoze the area. Most properties will need a bulldozer or excavator to clear any leftover wooded areas, flatten uneven rock formations, and turn the soil so that it’s ready to put down concrete or a foundation. These tasks require training and experience with heavy equipment. If you don’t have the training, this work is best left to expert and certified heavy equipment operators.

Hire a Company

Most land clearing companies have decades of experience between their employees and management. They also have access to trained and skilled heavy equipment operators who do things like this every day. On a smaller scale, they have experience in using specialty, heavy-duty equipment like large mowers to cut down the excess growth and clear it. They are likely well-versed with running mulching machines to come in and break down all the small trees, undergrowth, and even dilapidated fences.

If there are a lot of trees on the property, the pros will use industrial-grade equipment to harvest the trees and grind the stumps that remain. They’ll make sure the soil is cleared of anything that would negatively influence the future project. Then using dozers, excavators, backhoes, loaders, and other heavy equipment to remove the remaining debris and level the ground to prepare the foundation for whatever construction is to follow. They will use heavy-duty trucks to transport and dump the rocks, trees, and debris removed from the property.

A reputable company will have staff members certified and trained in the use of cranes and mobile cranes and riggers, and operating heavy equipment. Utilizing experts is the best way to ensure the work is done safely and properly.

Land Clearing Is a Big Job

There’s no way around it—land clearing is a big job, on all levels. If you’re interested in learning how to operate heavy equipment or thinking about going into business for yourself and starting a career in a useful and in-demand trade like heavy equipment operation, crane operation, slinging and rigging, among other things, a training school is a good place to start. West Coast Training offers crane and heavy equipment operation training to help you become an expert.