land clearing equipment in use, a yellow tractor with bucket dumps dirt into a pile

Land Clearing Equipment and Their Purposes

One of the four key services we offer here at BC Land Development is excavation, which is made up of a number of sub-services, all related to land clearing. This time on the BC Land Development blog, we’re going to take a look at some of the most common pieces of land-clearing equipment and how they’re used!

Land Clearing Equipment and Their Uses

There are several types of land-clearing equipment that can be used for various purposes. We’ll keep this pretty simplified – we don’t want to get too lost in the weeds! Here are some of the most common pieces of equipment:


Everybody knows the bulldozer!  A large, heavy machine equipped with a big scoop or blade at the front. These are used to move large amounts of dirt and debris and can push through just about anything. These clear land like you wouldn’t believe.


Excavators are another common sight on the job site. You probably already have an idea of them in your mind. These machines are large, and usually equipped with a bucket or a claw that is used to dig and remove soil, rock, and other materials.


A grader is also commonly referred to as a road grader, motor grader, sometimes called a blade. Developers use these heavy machines to level and smooth out large areas of land. Use one in conjunction with bulldozers to create a smooth and even surface.

Skid Steers 

Ever hear of a bobcat? That’s one brand of skid steer that has essentially come to be the name of the entire group of tools. These are small, versatile little machines that can be equipped with all sorts of different tools including buckets, grapples, and rotary cutters. They can be used for various land-clearing tasks, such as removing brush and small trees.

Fun Note: Why It’s Called a Skid Steer

Skid steers are called, well, ‘skid steers’ because there is no steering mechanism in the vehicle! They only drive in straight lines forward or backward. But by turning the left and right wheel pairs at different speeds, the machine turns by skidding or dragging its wheels across the ground.


Mulchers are used to grind up and mulch brush, trees, and other vegetation. They can be mounted on various equipment, including excavators and skid steers. Plant matter goes in, shredded, chopped, and mulched up plant matter comes out!

Tree Spades

These are specialized machines that are used to dig and transplant trees. They have a large, round blade that is used to dig around the roots of a tree and lift it out of the ground. The blades are placed around the tree and then dig into the ground. The machine then lifts the roots and soil around the tree for planting elsewhere.

Feller Bunchers 

These machines are used to cut down and gather trees in a forest. They are equipped with a large rotary saw that is used to cut the tree and a grapple or claw to hold the tree as it is moved. A feller buncher is a type of harvester used specifically in logging. It is a motorized vehicle with an attachment that can rapidly gather and cut a tree before felling it. Feller is a traditional name for someone who cuts down trees. Bunching is the skidding and assembly of two or more trees. Put that together, and you got yourself a feller buncher!

Stump Grinders

These you can probably figure out just by the name! These machines are used to grind down and remove tree stumps. They have a rotating blade that is used to grind the wood into small chips.

You put all these machines and the hard-working people who know how to use ‘em together and what do you get? You got clear, leveled land, ready for residential or commercial construction – whatever you’re after.

If you want to know more about the types of land clearing, we got you covered there too. Ready to get to work? Give us a call, and let’s start planning your development project!

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