Cost To Clear Land: Monetary Cost for Tree Removal, Eco Cost and Benefits

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | January 4, 2024

Woman getting a bill for the cost to clear land after learning the cost to clear land per acre, how to clear land, eco cost and benefits of tree removal, stump removal, and land clearing options.

The cost to clear land is a matter of importance if you are planning to use an area on your property that is occupied by vegetation or any unwanted structures.

Indeed, many people want land cleared for a variety of reasons, and in some cases, getting rid of invasive ground cover in order to install a solar farm or vegetable garden is a growing trend.

There is just so much that you can do with cleared land, but first, you have to know what it all means and how much it is going to cost you.

What are the benefits? When is it not a good idea?

All this will go a long way to determine if it will all be worth it. Did you know that while most people pay around $1,200-$4,000 to have their land cleared, you could actually spend way less depending on several factors?

This guide outlines how much it cost to clear land, as well as the environmental cost and monetary cost of tree removal and when it can be beneficial.

How Much Does It Cost To Clear Land? (The Breakdown)

It could be just a simple project of clearing your driveway or making your yard a little bigger, or it may be a massive one where you need to clean up a property to build your home on it.

Regardless of the reason, one thing is for sure: the fact that you are very keen on finding out what is the cost of clearing land.

So, here is a breakdown.

Average Cost To Clear Land Per Acre (Cost To Clear ½ Acre of Land)

Land clearing cost per acre and per ½ acre gives you a perspective of what you are going to spend based on the size of the property. According to the nature of the land and how much vegetation is involved, the cost to clear land may be an average of $400-$2 900 to clear half an acre or $810-$5 900 for an entire acre.9

How Much To Cut Down a Tree

If you are considering cutting down a single or a couple of trees on the property, then you will be looking at tree removal costs, not necessarily the cost to clear land. Here is where the tree removal cost calculator comes in handy.

You will realize that it usually depends on the type of tree, its size, where it is located, and several other factors. For example, palm tree removal costs $100-$400, pine tree removal cost is $200- $1,500, while oak tree removal cost ranges from $250- $2,500.

But all in all, tree removal may cost you anything from $385 to as much as $1,000.

Brush Removal Cost

Thankfully, the brush clearing service is a lot cheaper because the brush is easier to handle in comparison to massive trees. You can even DIY the clearing to save some cash if you are dealing with a small piece of land, but in general, brush removal by professionals costs about $300 to $600 for each and every acre.5

Stump Removal Cost

Stump removal is going to be a must if you are ever thinking about land grading or landscaping your home. You will also have to remove these parts together with the roots so as to build your house on top.

You should also note that in some cases, land clearing does not mean removing the tree stumps, so you may be charged extra for the service. For each one removed, you will part with $130 – $350, mostly depending on the type of tree and its size.

For instance, palm tree stump removal may cost $80 – $250.

Forestry Mulching Cost Per Acre

What exactly is forestry mulching? Here, all the trees, bushes, and grasses are converted into tiny pieces for mulching, serving as a natural fertilizer.

The advantages of mulching are that, one, there is only one machine to do the job, and secondly, you never have to worry about piles of trees going to waste. With that, you can expect it to be cheaper than standard methods, which explains why it costs around $450 for every acre.

How Much Does It Cost To Clear 1 Acre of Wooded Land?

If you have an entire acre of forested land, you may have to part with anything between $810 – $5,900. What you pay will majorly depend on the amount of work that will be involved.

Of course, the types of trees there will influence the cost because massive trees like oaks are too tasking to get rid of and more expensive. In addition, you will account for the additional costs related to the removal of the stumps and debris afterward.

Land Clearing Cost Calculator: Factors Affecting the Cost To Clear Land

There are so many factors that will determine the cost to clear land, including the size of the lot, of course. You already know that the more acres to be cleared, the more money you will end up paying, but apart from that, the factors below will also influence the cost.

Extra Cost for Land Preparation

It is one thing to clear land, but then again, you will have to make sure that the site is prepared for whatever you want to do with it, either for building or farming. This is important because it helps level out the site, and in most cases, land clearing for building a home costs much more than simply clearing out invasive vegetation.4

Extra Cost for Clearing Permit

Another thing that will increase the cost of clearing land is how much the permit will cost. You will need authorization before undertaking the project, and note that the requirements tend to vary in accordance with the region, so you will have to check your local laws to determine that.

However, in most cases, the permit adds an extra $200 to the total cost.7

Land Surveyor Cost

Why hire a surveyor and pay extra? You may ask. There are so many reasons, starting with helping you identify the legal boundaries.

A person wearing a protective sun hat looking through a theodolite to survey the land.

(Image: suwichan14)

This way, you won’t have to worry about accidentally clearing out your neighbor’s property. In most cases, you may part with an average of $500 to hire a surveyor.

Structure Removal Cost

Do you have an old structure that is on the way of land clearing? Then, you will also have to budget for its removal.

Again, even before you start knocking it all down, you will also have to cater to an asbestos test because the last thing you want is to have harmful chemicals released into the air in the process.

What Is Land Clearing? (The Entire Process)

To put it in the simplest way possible, land clearing is the activity that involves removing any form of vegetation that is growing on your own property in order to put it to good use. You can do that on land that is untouched/ totally undeveloped, or even one that is already developed but has unwanted and overgrown vegetation.

Land clearing removes trees, grass, bushes, or even rocks, boulders, and old structures, just as long as it means getting rid of any obstacles on the land.3 Interestingly, there are so many methods that you can use to clear land.

For instance, grubbing or dozing is handy when the land is massive, and you want to achieve better results within the shortest time possible. Another notable fast method is burning, but of course, this is quite risky and not advisable considering how it can easily get out of control and how it negatively affects the environment.8

Hand clearing is the safest and most eco-friendly method, more practical for a small parcel of land, but then again, it is the most time-consuming method if dealing with a massive property.6

Speaking of being eco-friendly, you may also consider mulching, where all the vegetation that you want to get rid of becomes a boost for the growth of future vegetation and also prevents the regrowth of invasive species.

Graphics showing an illustration of a land with several trees and materials for a land clearing process, with accompanying text.

Whichever method you go for, you will have to go through an elaborate process during land clearing. This process includes the following.

  1. Survey the land first, and most preferably, bring in an expert to help.
  2. Make sure that you have all the permits that are required, lest you illegally clear any property.
  3. Choose what you are going to clear and what will remain standing.
  4. Go through with the removal of the unwanted vegetation and structures.
  5. Regrade and level the land.

What Is the Purpose of Land Clearing?

Many would think that the main reason for land clearing is to leave room for building a home, starting a farm, or maybe making room for a driveway.11 But did you know that there are so many other benefits attached to it?

Stabilizing the Environment

Removing most of the vegetation means that the remaining ones will grow healthy and thrive in nutrient-rich soil and face virtually no competition when it comes to other resources like sunlight and moisture.

This type of selective land clearing can also remove invasive species so that native species can flourish and support native wildlife.

Less Risk of Fires

Imagine a land that hasn’t been touched for a while. The dry matter that accumulates over time becomes risky when it comes to wildfires, especially when the air gets extremely hot.

Clearing the land could actually mean saving your entire home.


Have you ever trekked through a heavily forested place? With sharp tree parts and dangerously exposed roots?

Then, you should know that getting rid of overgrown trees opens up your home, creating natural walking paths and getting rid of tripping hazards and other dangers.

Preventing Pests and Diseases

Plant pests and diseases love it when it’s overcrowded; when they can effortlessly spread from one vegetation to the next.

However, by removing the invasive species, you reduce the chances of these diseases and pests spreading, and that helps keep other trees and plants safe.

Better Land Use

There are endless possibilities when it comes to what you can do with land that is cleared.

What was once an uninhabited, heavily forested site transforms into a piece of property where you can build your home, a lucrative farm, or virtually any project that you want to undertake.

This is particularly true in the case of solar farm installation.


It goes without saying that removing overgrown trees improves your land’s aesthetics. It is important if you are thinking about reselling or making it look better for investors.

Wide shot of a land filled with debris and tree stump from land clearing.

(Image: ChadoNihi12)

While land clearing for personal use is incredible, you should also know that there are also a couple of downsides involved, particularly when it is excessive land clearing of forests. These sites are natural habitats, and interfering with them harms the ecosystem in so many ways.

Illegally removing trees not only leads to habitat loss but also increases soil erosion and increases the levels of GHG emissions, so be careful not to go overboard and only clear land that you really need using legal channels.

How To Get Land Cleared for Free

Now that you have an idea of how much it costs to clear land, you may ask, what about free tree removal? Is it possible to have your property cleared and trees removed at absolutely no cost?

Graphics with text showing how to get land cleared for free.

You are in luck because there are facilities that you can take full advantage of and end up not paying a dime.

Selling the Trees

You know that timber is pretty valuable, meaning you can actually sell the trees for a great price. So, why don’t you call in a lumber company to remove them for you for free and take ownership instead of payment?2

This is brilliant if you have a lot of trees in your home but don’t know how to make use of them, and that will be a win-win for both parties.

Grants From the Government

Did you know that there are grants that come from the government specifically to aid in tree removal? Yes.

You only have to apply for them and disclose all the required information to get a hold of one such facility.

Your Home Insurance

More good news for you. There are some instances where your home insurance will cover tree removal costs for you, and you should check just to make sure.

This is quite common among homeowners, especially those whose trees are at risk of falling over and damaging property in the process.

Free Tree Removal for Veterans and Senior Citizens

If you are a veteran or a senior US citizen, tree removal companies do offer free tree removal, all in a bid to promote their business or to simply give back to the community.

Hiring Land Clearing Specialists Vs. DIY: Saving on Cost To Clear Land

It is no doubt that land clearing service of any form requires a lot of money. It can be quite tasking and time-consuming, so hiring professionals may be the only way out.

But, before that, you may be thinking about DIY methods. If you are handy and love undertaking projects in and around your home, it may be a fun thing to try, even with your family pitching in.

This has proven effective, especially when it comes to small lot sizes. In that case, hand clearing will do, and it won’t even take that much time or skill.

As a matter of fact, you may actually end up saving as much as $100- $250 that you would have otherwise paid as labor costs. So that makes it one of the cheapest ways to go.

But not so fast; what if you are dealing with a massive piece of land, acres worth of massive trees, and dense shrubs? If that is the case, you will have to find an expert to help, one that has all the machinery and knows all the guidelines.10

For one, it will not save you the cost and may even be more expensive. Imagine having to hire the necessary equipment for tree removal and clearing and then also dealing with the debris; all the costs all through the process will add up and may even be much more in comparison to hiring an expert.

Not to talk about all the hassle involved and how much time it will take you to get it all done. What would take 2 weeks of your time may take a professional only a day or two.

Most importantly, land clearing is not safe for an untrained homeowner, and you would rather leave it to the experts. You may be putting your life in danger or risk damaging your property.

So, you should have a tree-clearing professional on standby to help when necessary.

How To Clear Land With Professional Help: Best Practices

Are you looking for a land-clearing expert to help? Do you want nothing but the best services but are not sure where to start?

Is this your very first time hiring an expert, but you have no idea what the process entails? Then, this list of questions will go a long way to help you vet and shortlist potential contractors.

  • Do you offer your clients free estimates?

You will need at least 3-5 well-detailed bids before you make your final decision. This way, you will end up choosing the one that fits your budget and offers all the services that you need.

  • Do you have the required license to handle the job, and are you fully insured?

Another important question because you don’t want to end up with an inexperienced contractor with very little or no experience. Insurance will also cover any damages to property or any other accidents.

  • What are the safety precautions that you take during the job?1

Safety is paramount when it comes to such risky jobs as tree removal and land clearing, and you want to make sure that everyone is safe, and so is your property.

  • Do you need a down payment? Do you have payment plans?

There are cases where the job is a little over your budget, and you will need to know how to work around that.

  • How soon can you start, and how long will you take?

Time matters a lot, especially if you are on a strict schedule or are paying by the hour, so you will have to account for that, too.

A wide shot of an empty lot with a bulldozer used by land clearing specialists to clean giant lumps of soil and rocks.

(Image: Matt Palmer13)

Did you just buy your first piece of land and can’t wait to start building your home on it? Or are you planning to have a farm or an orchard in an occupied area on your property?

Whatever you want to do with the property, you will realize that there is one thing that you have to do: land clearing. Here is where you remove all the vegetation, old buildings, and rocks in order to have brand-new, clear land for all your projects.

Land clearing is no child’s play, especially if you are dealing with acres worth of it. You will have to invest a lot of money to bring in experts to cut down the trees, remove the stumps, clear the bushes, and later prepare the site for your project.

You may end up spending thousands depending on so many factors. You can even choose to DIY to save some money, as long as you are handling a relatively small space that doesn’t need high-tech equipment or special skills.

The cost to clear land by calling in professionals is influenced by the size of the lot, the type of vegetation, how hard the job is going to be, the additional costs, and so many other factors, so keep that in mind before you call in a contractor.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cost To Clear Land

What Is the Average Cost To Clear Land?

The cost to clear land depends on so many factors, but for most people, they end up parting with anything between $1,200 – $4,000. The cost usually fluctuates based on determinants like the size of the land, its current condition, the types of vegetation to be removed, and whether there are additional costs required, like paying a surveyor or demolishing an old building.

How Long Does It Take To Clear an Acre of Land?

The time that it takes to clear a parcel of land usually depends on the tools and pieces of equipment that are available, the condition of the land, and the number of people on the job. But all in all, it should take professionals only 2-4 hours to get it all done, and of course, DIY methods will take much longer than that.

How Much Is an Acre?

If you are trying to guess how large your land is in terms of acres to help with the estimation of costs, it would help to convert the measurements to squared meters. In this case, an acre is equivalent to approximately 43,569 square feet or 4,046 square meters.

Where Can You Find the Cheapest Land in the US?

If you’re wondering what state has the cheapest land in the entire U.S., the regions or states of Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Mississippi are where you’ll find them.


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