How to Clear an Acre of Small Trees

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There are two ways to clear small trees from an acre of your land, depending on what your intentions are. If you plan to build anything from a guest house to a barn or large pool and deck complex, then you will have to clear-cut that area. Clear-cutting removes everything from that acre. If you are just selecting the small trees and leaving behind the larger ones, you are thinning the acre. Thinning allows you to control which plants and trees are left behind, helping them to grow by removing the competition for their resources.

Things You'll Need

  • Bulldozer
  • Shovel
  • Colored tape
  • Chainsaw

Clear-Cutting the Acre

  • Climb into the bulldozer and turn it on. Set the blade depth so that it is touching the ground.

  • Run the bulldozer over the first section of land to be cleared. Starting in the southeastern corner, work your way north, then back south, moving to the west as if you were mowing a lawn until the entire acre has been cleared.

  • Dig out the remaining tree stumps individually with a shovel. Remove dirt from the perimeter of the stump until you have unearthed enough of it and it can be pulled out of the ground by hand.

  • Gather all of the debris. Dispose of the smaller plants alongside your other yard waste, or place in a compost pile. Slice the trunks and stumps of trees into smaller pieces to be used as firewood.

Thinning the Acre

  • Walk through the acre and use a 3- to 6-inch piece of colored tape to mark each small tree for removal.

  • Turn on the chainsaw and slice through the trunk on the first tree. Make an angled sideways V-shaped cut to control which way the tree will fall.

  • Work your way from left to right starting at the southeast corner of the land to ensure that you do not skip any trees. Continue until all of the trees have been cut down, stopping every few trees to drag the downed ones to a clearing.

  • Go back over the land with a shovel and dig out the tree stumps. Remove dirt from the perimeter of the stump until you have unearthed enough of it and it can be pulled out of the ground by hand.

  • Slice the tree trunks and stumps with a chainsaw into smaller pieces that can be used a firewood.

Tips & Warnings

  • Even small trees can cause harm if they land on you, so use caution when cutting them down by hand.

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References

  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images
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