Gain Way! How Much It Costs to Clear Land

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated February 14, 2022
Blue house with chimney and big yard
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Land clearing typically runs from $1,290–$5,030.

  • Expect to pay more per acre for heavily wooded lots.

  • Tree clearing, mulching, and excavation all factor into the cost.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

A walk in the woods is a nice way to spend an afternoon, but if you’ve got other plans for the landscape, that forestry can really hinder your progress. If you’re wondering, “how much does it cost to clear 1 acre of woods?” the answer isn’t going to be the same for every site. Considering tree clearing cost and the site’s accessibility is the best way to determine your final land clearing prices. The cost per acre starts at $500, but can go up significantly depending on the amount of trees and type of terrain. Here’s a breakdown of costs to budget for when planning your project.

National Average Cost$3,150
Average Range$1,290 – $5,030
Minimum Cost$500
Maximum Cost$5,030

How Much Does It Cost to Clear Land by Size?

Most projects are priced on a per half-acre or per acre basis and take into account the level of vegetation and trees to be cleared.

Average Cost to Clear Half Acre of Land

Generally speaking, the land clearing cost per half-acre is around $250 to $2,800. This is only for your basic clearing of trees, brush, and other debris. To get your lot ready for building, there are additional expenses for services including topsoil stripping, landscape grading (aka leveling your lawn), digging, hauling yard waste, and otherwise prepping the land.

Land Clearing Cost per Acre

The cost per acre is approximately $500 to $5,600. The price accounts for the range of vegetation that will need to be removed, as well as the intended use for the lot. Common sizes and cost ranges include:

  • 1 acre: $500–$5,600

  • 2 acres: $1,000–$11,200

  • 3 acres: $1,500–$16,800

  • 4 acres: $2,000–$22,400

  • 5 acres: $1,250–$28,000

Trees have a big impact on the cost to clear land. Clearing a heavily wooded lot might cost you as much as $3,000 to $5,600 per acre. But if it’s only sparsely wooded, you could pay as little as $500 to $2,000 per acre.

Land Clearing Cost per Hour

Some pros may charge an hourly rate for a land clearing project, which typically runs between $110 and $245 per hour. This includes removing vegetation, trees, and debris, as well as disposing of waste from the project.

Cost to Clear Land by Condition

Wheel loader aligns land for a new building
Photo: Hanna / Adobe Stock

Whether you want to clear land to build a home, an addition, or add a gazebo or pool, the price you’ll pay depends on your land’s current condition. Here’s a look at average costs based on tree density.

Land Clearing Cost by Density

A major factor that affects land clearing costs is the number of trees. Heavily wooded land goes for an average of $3,000 to $5,600 per acre. If you have fewer trees, your land clearing cost could be around $500 to $2,000 per acre.

Average Cost of Lightly Forested Lots

  • Half-acre: $250–$1,000

  • 1 acre: $500–$2,000

  • 2 acres: $1,000–$4,000

  • 3 acres: $1,500–$6,000

  • 4 acres: $2,000–$8,000

  • 5 acres: $2,500–$10,000

Average Cost to Clear a Wooded Lot

  • Half-acre: $1,800–$2,800

  • 1 acre: $3,600–$5,600

  • 2 acres: $7,200–$11,200

  • 3 acres: $10,800–$16,800

  • 4 acres: $14,400–$22,400

  • 5 acres: $18,000–$28,000

Cost Factors to Clear Land

To figure out your total land clearing cost, you’ll need to think about the size of your lot, how you’ll get rid of debris, tree clearing costs, and a few other factors. 

Tree Clearing Cost

Trees make a big difference in how much it costs to clear land. You could pay between $500 and $2,000 per acre for lots with fewer trees, and between $3,000 and $5,600 per acre for heavily forested land. If your lot only has a few trees, you might pay around $700 per tree. Fallen trees cost far less, at $75 to $150 apiece.

Brush Removal Cost

Trees are one factor, but how much does it cost to clear underbrush per acre? If you only have brush to worry about, this is much cheaper to remove. You might only pay around $20 to $200 per acre to clear shrubs and smaller overgrowth. This is much easier to DIY, too.

Forestry Mulching Prices

Forestry mulching goes for about $400 to $600 per acre. This involves the use of heavy equipment to cut down trees and shrubs, followed by mulching the material afterward. Consider it a win-win, as you won’t have to worry about brush removal and you’ll have a nice layer of mulch for your landscape

Land Condition

The condition of your acreage also includes whether it’s on a slope or is relatively flat. Pros will need to bring in the right equipment to get the job done and will charge accordingly. For example, if you want to clear a hilly property, more specialized equipment is needed you’ll likely pay more for the project. Erosion is another factor when assessing the land condition that is likely to increase your project total.

Excavation

If you need to excavate the land to prepare your building site, this could cost around $1,500 to $5,100. You’ll want to find a local excavation company to handle this for about $40 to $150 per hour.

Location

Terrain and market demand varies across the U.S. See how these different areas stack up against the national average of $3,150 to clear land.

StateAverage Cost to Clear Land
Florida$2,600
Tennessee$3,100
Oregon$2,200
Colorado$2,900
Texas$4,400
Nebraska$3,200
New York$2,700
Maine$3,200

How Much Does It Cost to Clear Land Yourself?

Because trees don’t always fall where you want them to, land-clearing can be a dangerous DIY task. You should always leave this up to a local landscaping pro rather than attempting it yourself.

When it comes to debris removal, though, you can don your yard work gloves and save some money by handling it on your own. It’s tough work, so you should ideally have other (gloved) hands helping you.

Tools Needed

Tools are a major factor in your DIY land clearing cost. For big jobs with lots of debris and trimming, budget around $400 for all the supplies you need. If you’re just clearing a small amount of pre-cut landscaping waste, you might only need around $30; this will get you gloves, a bucket, and a steel rake.

Yard Waste Removal

Once you’ve rounded up all the landscaping debris, there’s still the matter of getting rid of it. Hiring a landscape clearing and prep pro will make your life a lot easier, but you’ve got a few options for doing it yourself, too. 

Brush Burning

If it’s safe (and legal!) to do so, you can burn the brush and wood you’ve piled up. Only burn a small amount at a time, and be sure to have a water source handy to put out the flames. 

Yard Waste Bags

If your municipality offers yard waste removal, you can get a five-pack of 30-gallon bags for around $5. These fill up faster than you’d think, so they are best suited for plots that are one acre or smaller with minimal debris.

Landscaping Dumpster Rental

If the yard waste bags aren’t cutting it, you might want to consider renting a landscaping dumpster. Depending on the size of the lot, the level of debris, and the area you’re located in, final costs vary.

  • 10-yard dumpster, for debris and dirt removal: $200–$600

  • 20-yard dumpster, for some trees and shrubs: $300–$700

  • 40-yard dumpster, for larger landscapes: $350–$800

FAQs About Land Clearing Cost

What does land clearing consist of?

A land clearing project begins with assessing and preparing the property and pulling any necessary permits with your municipal building department. Clearing can begin after the project details are ironed out between you and your pro and a written contract is signed. Pros will bring out the necessary equipment and crew to first remove trees, stumps, brush, and vegetation. All of the project debris will then be loaded up and hauled off-site to be disposed of properly.  

How long does it take to clear 1 acre of land?

The amount of time needed to complete the project depends on the size of your acreage, the land’s condition, the size of the pro’s crew, and what type of equipment they are using. Smaller projects typically take a few hours, while larger projects may require one or two full workdays.

What is the purpose of land clearing?

Land clearing prepares an area for development, such as a new house, barn, or outbuilding. Land clearing might also address land maintenance, soil health, or clean-up after a natural disaster.

How much does it cost to prepare land for a mobile home?

Costs vary, but you might spend around $1,000 to $4,000 to prepare land before you build a house or add a mobile home.

Is it possible to remove my trees for free?

Some logging companies and firewood sellers will remove your trees for free, as this is an easy way for them to source lumber they can then sell for profit. Don’t expect them to leave you with a cleared lot, though—they just want the good, saleable parts of your larger trees. You’ll still need to do all the other prep work to get your landscape ready to build on.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.