If you need to clear land for development, you have a few options. Knowing what these options are will help you choose the most effective clearing method.

1. Selective

Selective clearing is just as it sounds — only carefully selected trees or areas of the land are cleared, with the rest left in place intact. Selective clearing is often utilized when you are planning to leave old growth in place while only removing underbrush. It may also be used if there are some trees or zones that will be integrated into the property development. A landowner may also choose to selectively clear if there are special considerations, such as wetlands or habitats that must be preserved.

2. Hand Clearing

Hand clearing is the most time-consuming method of clearing, and it is often used in conjunction with selective clearing. The main benefit of hand clearing is that every individual plant can be assessed before it is removed. Hand clearing is often used when the goal is to thin the plants, rather than completely clear the land. Hand clearing also has minimal impact on the soil or ground cover in the area.

3. Dozing

Dozing, also called grubbing, is the quickest and most extensive form of land clearing. Large equipment, like bulldozers, quickly strip out all growth in the area.Trees are often ripped out by the roots, so there is no need to contend with stumps once clearing is completely finished. Although quick and thorough, there are drawbacks. Dozing will leave behind uneven land filled with holes from old stumps. Erosion and soil loss can also be an issue. Some of the time you might have saved can be lost after dozing, since you will have to quickly come back through to grade and level the land following the dozing.

4. Burning

Prescribed burns can be thorough and effective, without having the negative effects of dozing. Soil is typically saved if development occurs soon after burning. In fact, the carbon inputs from burning can often improve the soil, so it is often used to clear land for agriculture. Burning will take out many trees and stumps, but you may need to come through after for manual stump removal for the larger ones. Burning must be carefully controlled, and it is only an option in some seasons due to the risk of wildfires.

5. Mulching

The land clearing service will use a large disc or drum mulcher, which will quickly bring down trees and brush. These pieces of equipment effectively "mow" down the vegetation and turn it into woodchips, which are left in place on the ground. This mulch feeds the soil and prevents erosion, making it an effective choice if you plan to landscape once clearing and construction is complete. Mulching does have limits, and larger trees may need to be removed before the mulcher can come through.

Contact a land clearing service to learn which option is best for your needs.