Equipment Needed for Land Clearing

To quickly and efficiently clear land, using the correct equipment is crucial. With the right land clearing equipment, you can uproot and get rid of stubborn vegetation, grade and level land for construction or till and prepare soil for farming or agriculture operations. These tools allow you to quickly and conveniently eliminate trees, brush and rock for maximum productivity.

Whether you're a landowner or contractor, finding the right combination of machines and attachments for the job ahead is vital to the operation's success. Our guide to land clearing equipment will help you compare different machines and attachments so you can decide what's right for you.

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Types of Land Clearing Equipment

To start a land clearing operation, it's important to first get a good understanding of what you're up against. Make a plan and budget that incorporates which earthmoving equipment you'll need. When choosing the right type of equipment for your land clearing operation, consider the following factors:

  • The variety of jobs at hand, such as knocking down large trees, removing heavy boulders or dealing with unruly brush
  • The size of the area and whether compact or full-size equipment will suffice
  • The type of terrain and whether you need tracked or wheeled machines
  • The amount of debris to remove and how to dispose of it

Based on the above factors, you can narrow down the type of heavy equipment needed to clear the land in question. Below are several top land clearing equipment options you can use for the jobs at hand.

Skid Steer Loaders

If you need to clear hard, compact terrain, skid steers are often your best bet. While skid steers are compact equipment, today's models are surprisingly powerful, considering their small frames. With some models having over 100 horsepower, they can take on an impressive amount of the rugged work involved in land clearing.

When outfitted with the appropriate attachments, skid steer loaders can help with:

  • Brush cutting, mowing and mulching
  • Small tree cutting and stump removal and grinding
  • Rock removal and grading and leveling land

A skid steer loader for land clearing is a good choice for smaller areas with fewer trees and nearby structures you want to preserve. Additionally, their compact size makes them highly maneuverable and easy to operate on smaller projects.

Compact Track Loaders

For small areas with swampy or muddy terrain, a good alternative to the skid steer loader is a compact track loader. Built with rubberized suspension parts, a compact track loader is designed to easily traverse uneven terrain and avoid significant wear and tear on the undercarriage.

A compact track loader provides flotation over soggy terrain, preventing it from sinking in and getting stuck. With a compact track loader, you can access softer land to clear brush, remove small trees and dig and backfill as necessary. It also provides high travel speed for better productivity covering slightly larger areas.

Like the skid steer loader, a compact track loader is compatible with numerous attachments, giving you the ability to tackle a variety of jobs with only one machine.

Wheel Loaders

A medium to large land clearing operation on hard, compact soil requires wheel loaders. These machines are larger than skid steers or compact track loaders, though they come in a compact size for smaller jobs. Despite their larger size, wheel loaders are designed for greater fuel efficiency while delivering high-performance, making them a smart choice for bigger operations. 

Outfitted with a stock front bucket for scooping, wheel loaders can take on much of the debris removal, material hauling and backfilling or ground-leveling work required during land clearing and preparation. Like all earthmoving equipment, various attachments can convert a wheel loader into a land-clearing machine, giving it tree and brush removal or mulching capabilities. All you'll need is a loader coupler to get the versatility and cost-effectiveness of land-clearing attachments.

Backhoe Loaders

If you like the power of a wheel loader and need a backhoe arm, a backhoe loader is for you. This equipment is a land-clearing favorite because it provides exceptional versatility, being a tractor, wheel loader and excavator all in one machine. These are four-wheeled machines on a tractor frame with two small front wheels and two large rear ones, with a rear stabilizer to prevent tipping. While the front hydraulic loader has an attached bucket, the rear backhoe appendage is a stick-and-boom excavating arm.

The backhoe arm can cover land-clearing jobs, such as mowing, brush cutting, uprooting trees and stump grinding when outfitted with specific attachments. Like the wheel loader, the backhoe loader's front bucket can help you load and haul away material, such as vegetation debris, tree branches, boulders and more.

Bulldozers

Bulldozers are powerful, productive land clearing equipment suitable for dense forests, rocky ground and sloped terrain. They're built with the right combination of stability and power, making them perfect for clearing land. With a variety of sizes, you can find the ideal model for the lot you're clearing. Bulldozers on the smaller end will offer more speed and maneuverability, whereas medium and large versions offer more power and efficiency.

These machines feature a large front blade and heavy-duty tracks to help them drive over dense vegetation, knocking down thickets of brush or full-grown trees, depending on the size of the machine. Bulldozers are more than just tree-pushers, though. They can also dig up rock and debris below the ground surface, pile up brush to be hauled away for disposal and rip up hard, compacted earth with their rear ripper claw.

Site Prep Tractors

Those looking to remove obstructions quickly and easily should consider site prep tractors. As large wheeled vehicles, site prep tractors are meant for larger areas with harder, flatter terrain. Like similar machines, site prep tractors can be augmented with a versatile range of tools for land clearing.

Most people use site prep tractors to clear dense vegetation in preparation for construction. They also knock down overgrowth when installing parks and fields or clear away brush to create new easements or roadways. A bucket or grapple on a site prep tractor can haul away slash, while a mulcher can convert it into manageable soil covering. Clearly, there are endless applications for site prep tractors.

Excavators

As one of the most commonly used pieces of land-clearing equipment, excavators are a must-have machine for construction site preparation. This equipment provides power, versatility and stability, making it ideal for small to large land-clearing operations with diverse types of vegetation and terrain.

Some of the land-clearing duties your excavator can tackle include:

  • Moving large boulders or rock for removal
  • Uprooting trees and root systems
  • Hammering into hard earth to break up compacted soil or rock
  • Digging and backfilling to level terrain
  • Cutting and mulching brush 
  • Mulching or piling up vegetative debris for disposal

This machinery comes in various sizes, from mini hydraulic excavators for small areas to large models for forestry operations. For large areas, excavators can be used in conjunction with bulldozers to pile up and remove the trees, brush and rock that dozers have knocked down.

Forest Machines

Similar to excavators, forest machines are also powerful and versatile equipment that offer stability due to their heavy-duty tracks. Unlike excavators, which are used for general-purpose, forest machines are specifically designed for land clearing in dense woodlands, as they can withstand the rugged demands of forestry jobs.

This equipment can help clear land for service roads, delimb and uproot trees and grab slash and load it into trucks or loaders for removal. A variety of attachments can help you tackle each of these duties productively. For instance, forest machine attachments make it easier to grab logs, branches and debris and move them into piles for processing.

Brush Chippers

When clearing large swaths of land, you need highly productive and efficient land clearing equipment capable of processing large volumes of brush and trees. Once you've cut through dense shrubs, felled large trees or knocked down thick brush, a brush chipper will quickly reduce high amounts of wood and plant matter to mere chips.

Processing anything from large branches to small trees, brush chippers are a time-saving and ecologically friendly land clearing solution. Additionally, they're especially convenient because they're stand-alone models that don't require extra equipment or attachments. Different brush chipper models range in capacity from 9-inch trees to 20-inch trees.

Types of Land Clearing Attachments

Selecting the right type of machine for land clearing needs is an important first step. However, to give yourself maximum productivity, you also need the right tools to equip your land clearing machines for the job. With a variety of land clearing attachments to consider, there's no shortage of effective solutions for tackling rock, trees and overgrowth.

Similar to land clearing equipment, attachments need to meet certain criteria based on the type of land you're clearing. Consider which land-clearing jobs you need to complete and the correct attachment for tackling them. Whether you need to pick up and move heavy rock and boulders, knock down large trees, cut brushy overgrowth or mulch up vegetative debris, there are attachments designed for each specific task.

Here are five types of land clearing attachments to consider:

Grapples

When clearing a lot, you have to remove various sizes of vegetative debris and rock. There may also be old structures you need to demolish. As a result, you often need more than a basic bucket to scoop and haul away this material. While buckets are good for scooping uniform material, they only push around and make a mess of cleared materials.

Instead of a bucket, using a grapple attachment for excavators gives you the ability to grab hold of debris and pile it up or load it into a truck. These attachments are a much more efficient way to sort through debris, tear up roots and move large volumes of irregularly shaped material. Specialty grapples for forestry products also help improve forest clearing operations.

Forestry Mulchers 

After clearing land, whether it's cutting back brush or removing or pruning trees, you need an efficient way to manage the debris. Rather than loading it into a truck to take to a disposal site, you can convert the plant waste into mulch — mulching up brush produces biological waste that's beneficial for soil health. 

Depending on the nature of your land clearing project, having a fine mulch by-product covering the topsoil may be a better option than hauling away vegetative waste for burning or composting. Add a forestry mulcher attachment to your land clearing equipment and get the job done quickly.

Brush Hogs

When clearing land, you need tough tools to tackle a variety of dense and stubborn brush. A brushcutter attachment can intake shrubby plants, vines and small trees and eliminate them as cut-up waste. The work tool's rotating disc with high-strength blades easily shreds apart overgrowth. Attached to the right equipment, it can effortlessly navigate over uneven terrain.

Compatible with compact equipment, including skid steer, compact track, multi-terrain and compact wheel loaders, brushcutter attachments help you cover more ground in less time.

Flail Mowers

Whether you need to cut away small, dense patches of brush or overgrown grasses, you need a heavy-duty mower attachment that will provide a close cut. A flail mower attachment is designed with independently swinging teeth for even shredding. Mediated by a row of chains, a flail mower is designed to limit the amount of material that's processed at a time and prevent material from being exhausted at extreme distances. These abilities allow you to safely work alongside roadways while ensuring greater precision.

When you attach a flail mower to your excavator, you can clear away unwanted brush along slopes and embankments without compromising stability or the quality of your final product.

Stump Grinders

Usually, stumps are some of the primary obstacles in a land clearing operation. Once you cut or knock down a tree, the stump and root system remain, so you need an efficient way of extracting them. Rather than excavating them, you can grind them away into mulch using a stump grinder attachment.

These tools are compatible with most compact land clearing equipment — skid steer, compact track, multi-terrain and compact wheel loaders — and are equipped with a hydraulic powered blade, moving back and forth to grind stumps to below the ground level. 

There are also stump grinding machines, which are separate land clearing machines that perform the same job. As stand-alone solutions, stump grinding machines eliminate the need for additional equipment and attachments, performing a single job with proficiency.

Benefits of Renting Land Clearing Equipment

Once you've decided on the types of land clearing equipment and attachments you need, the next step is acquiring high-quality products when you need them. To save you time and money and ensure you get the right solutions for your timeframe, rent your equipment from a reputable dealer.

This option has numerous financial and productivity benefits. Here are some of the reasons to choose land clearing equipment rentals:

Reduce Overhead Costs

One of the significant obstacles to equipment ownership is the high initial cost of acquiring new or used products. There are also ongoing maintenance and repair requirements that ensure your equipment stays in peak condition. 

With equipment rentals, your overhead equipment costs are drastically reduced and you have a single expense for the rental term, eliminating the need for maintenance, storage and insurance expenses. Getting a precise quote on your equipment also helps you plan your land clearing budget with greater accuracy.

Get Equipment Versatility

When you rent land clearing equipment, you have the freedom to employ a variety of machine and attachment types. This possibility ensures you find the ideal solution for the job. Ultimately, renting gives you the flexibility to obtain the correct product rather than making do with your current equipment. As a result, you can complete your work quickly, accurately and efficiently.

Access Equipment On-Demand

When you have a land clearing project to tackle, you need the peace of mind that you'll have access to all the equipment you need when you need it. Delays in productivity can drastically impact profits, as they quickly absorb additional unplanned costs.

Choosing to rent your land clearing equipment and attachments allows you to secure the equipment well ahead of time. When you rent your equipment, you're reserving the machine or tools for the specific time you need them. Avoid surprise delays and setbacks by guaranteeing you'll get access to the equipment on time.

Why Rent Land Clearing Equipment From The Cat® Rental Store

The numerous benefits of renting equipment become even better when you choose to partner with a rental provider that puts your interests first. The Cat® Rental Store is one of the world's leading providers of high-quality, well-maintained construction, landscaping and forestry equipment. Backed by the Cat name, The Cat Rental Store is stocked with industry-leading equipment powered by the most advanced technology.

When renting from The Cat Rental Store, you'll experience the following benefits:

Massive Dealer Network

If you're searching for specialized land clearing equipment, look no further than The Cat Rental Store for all your needs. The Cat Rental Store proudly offers the largest construction equipment rental fleet in the world, thanks to our global dealer network.

With over 1,300 global locations, the closest Cat Rental Store near you either has the equipment you need or can source it through our extensive inventory from our partners. No matter which location you choose, you're always guaranteed the same quality experience and high level of customer service. Let us be your go-to source for high-quality land clearing equipment rentals and more.

High-Performing Rentals

With a massive inventory of Cat equipment and solutions from other leading manufacturers, The Cat Rental Store prides itself on providing the highest performing equipment available. Whether you need short-term or long-term equipment solutions, The Cat Rental Store has the reliability to get you working.

All equipment undergoes a rigorous scheduled and predictive maintenance plan, ensuring each item is up to the toughest task every time. Adhering to strict quality standards is our promise.

Technical Expertise

At The Cat Rental Store, you'll work with our highly trained equipment specialists who have the expertise and experience to help you choose the right equipment for the job. These specialists can help you make the best equipment selection, line up your product delivery, assist with operator training solutions and facilitate all your account management needs.

All rental specialists at The Cat Rental Store work with customers from dozens of different industries, gaining in-depth insight into what your business needs to succeed. Visit The Cat Rental Store location near you and find equipment experts ready to help you respond to the land clearing challenges with the right solutions.

Find Reliable Land Clearing Equipment at The Cat Rental Store

Having the right equipment and tools for land clearing jobs means the difference between a challenging process or a fast and productive one. When you need a variety of equipment and work tools for your next land clearing job, it's essential to partner with a reliable rental provider that will offer you high-quality products and true expertise.

The equipment rental experts at The Cat Rental Store can help you select the right combination of machines and attachments for your needs. Visit The Cat Rental Store near you to speak with one of our representatives or browse our rental equipment and request a reservation online. For more information on renting with The Cat Rental Store, call 1-800-RENT-CAT today.

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