Three Things To Do After Clearing Neglected Land For Farming

If you are a homesteader who wants to clear land for a garden and pasture, and you've never cleared land before, you have to realize that this is not just a matter of cutting down trees and planting seeds. Once the trees and brush have been cut away, you still have a lot of preparation to do before your field will be ready for planting or pasture use. Here are three things you need to do immediately after clearing that plant life.

Remove Piles of Dead Trees

If you clear trees and brush, you need to remove them -- it sounds obvious. But many people end up leaving piles of debris in place for a while, thinking they'll harvest lumber for sale or that they'll just get around to the task soon. Leaving the debris in place provides hiding spots for vermin and wild animals, and the debris can harbor bacterial and fungal spores that can infect soil and future crops. The debris also poses a fire hazard, especially if it sits for a long time, drying out.

If you are going to clear land, arrange for debris removal immediately after. Have contractors divide up the lumber for you, for example, and bring it to a yard for sale. If you're renting a tree shear while clearing the land, talk to the rental company about recommended contractors.

Fill in Stump Holes

If you have to remove stumps from trees, even thin ones, you need to fill in the holes left behind. Stump holes can catch your foot as you're walking around the land, resulting in injury. Water can also collect in the holes, creating stagnant ponds (if the soil has become saturated) that promote mosquito breeding.

Replace Topsoil

Once you've cleared the main brush and trees aboveground and removed stumps, you have to start repairing the soil. Removing swathes of plants can destroy the fertile top layer of the soil through three routes:

  • Removal -- the topsoil sticks to the tree and brush roots.
  • Erosion -- wind and rain can carry the topsoil away once all of the plant life is gone.
  • Upheaval -- the topsoil is moved around and basically tossed into different parts of the land as stumps are removed. While this doesn't completely remove all topsoil, it does expose areas of rockier ground and make successful planting more difficult unless you redistribute topsoil.

If you want to arrange for land to be cleared, tidied up, and repaired quickly, talk to the company from which you're renting your clearing equipment. The staff there should know  who you can call, or they could offer the services themselves.