Site clearing refers to clearing the land from vegetation in preparations for growing food forests, orchards and gardens.
The scope and size of the site clearing project depends on the current succession stage and type of vegetation growing. Young trees, shrubs, vines of the early succession will be relatively easy to clear, while heavily forested areas with bigger trees are much harder to deal with.
This guide outlines the practical strategy of clearing your land from a permaculture perspective without the use of heavy machinery. Creating a blank canvas with heavy machinery (e.g. bulldozers) and removing the topsoil, stumps and roots from the ground while compacting the soil is affecting the soil in a negative way. It leads to loss of organic matter and soil biology, and can cause erosion issues. If you can help it avoid doing this.
For some commercial food growing projects and construction sites this might be appropriate way to clear the land, but in all other cases leaving the topsoil intact and woody material in the ground and on-site is much more advantageous.
That said, land clearing probably won’t be quick and easy DIY project that you can accomplish in a day, it will take time, effort and know-how. Especially if the terrain shape is challenging..
You could do a lot of things on your own, but you might also want to look for outside help with the project. If you decide to hire a contractor to take care of some aspects of the land clearing for you, use the strategy outlined below to navigate the best outcome for your land.
Note: you don’t want to clear any land that’s steeper than 12% to be able to cultivate food forests, orchards, garden unless you’re planning on using an appropriate erosion prevention systems, such as terraces.
What you’ll need?
Tools & Equipment:
- Reciprocating saw
- String Trimmer/Weed Wacker
- Pruning Tools (Shears, saws, and loppers)
- Truck / tractor
- Epsom salt
- Fungal compost
Now that clearing stage is done, you’ll need to continually manage the regrowth until you are ready to cultivate the cleared area. Otherwise the forest will simply reclaim the area back.
All of the plants you cut back will grow back in some capacity so you need to mow it down to keep the area in the current succession stage.
- Curated Youtube Videos on the Subject (note: click the ‘playlist’ button in the top right corner of the video below to browse other videos)
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hi, the link leads to a not found page.
Yes, they removed the doc. But I was able to create a PDF from my local file. I’ve updated the link.
Hi William, I also get an error of the PDF from your site. Thanks for looking into this –
Hey Juanita, I was making some changes to my Gdrive where doc. was uploaded. It’s fixed now.