How to Clear Land of Roots and Stumps


If you live in a wooded area or you are building a house on a wooded lot, you may need to clear out trees and roots. There are several ways to remove them, the quickest being with the use of a backhoe. This is especially true for trees with a trunk size more than 12 inches thick.

Things You'll Need

  • Dumpster
  • Backhoe
  • Fill dirt
  • Acquire all of the necessary permits from your municipality.

  • Ask your local utility company to send an employee to the site to mark all of the underground utility lines.

  • Mark the trees you want to remove with a ribbon or spray paint.

  • Evaluate each tree to ensure that it will fall in a safe place away from buildings and people.

  • Cut down each tree leaving a stump approximately two feet high above the ground.

  • Using the backhoe, dig holes three feet deep on each side of the stump.

  • Position the backhoe bucket at the top of the stump and pull the stump toward the backhoe. As the stump starts to loosen, use the bucket to push the stump away from the backhoe. Push and pull the stump until it is completely free from the root system.

  • Scoop the stump from the bottom with the backhoe bucket and remove the stump from the hole.

  • Move the stump and all debris to a dumpster or another site designated for garbage.

  • Fill the hole with gravel and mound the dirt about one foot high to allow for settlement.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ensure that the dumpster company accepts trees and roots.
  • You can hire a backhoe and operator if you are not experienced operating heavy equipment.
  • You may need to dig holes deeper depending on the size of the tree.
  • Never dig without reporting to the utility companies.
  • Acquire all necessary permits before starting.
  • Do not operate heavy equipment without proper license and experience.

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