Use the wrong tools and you are sure to increase your frustration and fatigue. Though clearing land isn't rocket science, taking a moment to consider the best hand tools for the job can make your day a whole lot easier. Regardless of why you are clearing an area, it is important to know which tools to use when–whether you're breaking up rock-hard soil, cutting down shrubs or clearing tumble weeds.
Clearing brush is often the first order of business when clearing land. For soft grasses and reeds, a sharp sickle mounted to a pole and used in a side-to-side motion will work sufficiently. For denser growth such as vines, a brush clearing machete is best. This variation on the standard machete is essentially a multi-tool with double-sided blades for slicing and hacking as well as a hooked end blade for especially thick foliage.
Trees and Shrubs
Remove high-reaching shrubs as well as small tree branches with a lopper. A lopper utilizes two curved, scissor-like blades attached to long handles that provide increased leverage–sometimes up to six feet in length. Low lying shrub and tree branches can be cut with a smaller-handled lopper. A pruning saw can be used for especially thick branches. A bow saw can be used to cut trunks of very small trees and shrubs if complete removal is necessary.
Use a combination of tools to dislodge fully or partially submerged rocks. Dig around the rock using a shovel with a spade end as it can also be used to leverage the rock from its position once surrounding soil has been removed. For rock that is set in hard packed soil, use of a mattock or pick ax can be used to break up the soil. For larger rocks, a 5-to-6-foot steel pry bar that has a 3-inch spade on one end can be used.
Finish clearing by using a mattock or pick ax to hack and remove existing root systems. A hoe can be used to clear an area of shallow growth vegetation. Employ a heavy duty, steel rake to further loosen soil and to remove smaller rocks and debris. A loop hoe can be used afterward to aerate soil and to cut up any leftover weeds still remaining.