How much does forestry mulching cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does forestry mulching cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does forestry mulching cost?

$125 – $300average cost per hour
$400 – $800average cost per acre
$1,000 – $2,500average cost per day

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$125 – $300 average cost per hour

$400 – $800 average cost per acre

$1,000 – $2,500 average cost per day

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Sarah Noel
Written by
Sarah Noel
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Average forestry mulching cost

Forestry mulching costs $125 to $300 per hour, depending on the brush density and equipment type. Forestry mulching prices are $400 to $800 per acre or up to $2,000 per acre for high-density land clearing. A forestry mulcher machine costs $1,000 to $2,500 per day with an operator.

Get free estimates from yard grading companies near you.

Forestry mulching cost per hour

Forestry mulching cost per hour
Project Average cost per hour
Underbrush to small trees $125 – $200
Brush, trees, and grading $150 – $300
Underbrush to mature trees $200 – $275
Clearing heavy brush and large mature trees $300 – $400

*Prices include operator and equipment fees.

Forestry mulching cost per acre

Forestry mulching costs $400 to $800 per acre on average and up to $2,000 per acre for dense overgrowth. A skid steer forestry mulcher can mulch 1 to 3 acres per day, and large tractor mulchers clear up to 15 acres per day.

Forestry mulching cost per acre
Acres Average cost
1/4 acre $100 – $200
1/2 acre $200 – $400
3/4 acre $300 – $600
1 acre $400 – $800
2 acres $800 – $1,600
5 acres $2,000 – $4,000
10 acres $4,000 – $8,000

*Minimum fees are $400 to $600.

Forestry mulching prices by project

The following table shows forestry mulching prices by project:

Forestry mulching prices by project
Project Average cost
Clear ½ acre in residential area with skid steer $400 – $600
Clear 1 acre of brush and saplings $800 – $1,600
Clear 5 acres of underbrush and saplings $2,000 – $4,000
Clear 10 acres of invasive trees* $4,000 – $8,000

*With bulldozer, excavator, or mulching tractor

Mulchers are available as disc or drum types:

Get free estimates from yard grading companies near you.
  • Drum mulchers use a rotating drum with bladed teeth to make a fine mulch, and they grind stumps to the ground.

  • Disc mulchers have bladed teeth that rotate on a flat disc. They are faster than drum mulchers, but the mulch is not as fine, and stumps stay visible.

Forestry mulcher cost per day

A forestry mulcher costs $1,000 to $2,200 per day with an operator. A bulldozer or excavator with operator costs $1,200 to $2,500 per day and removes roots below ground. These machines offer the fastest land-clearing method.

Forestry mulcher cost per day
Machine Average cost per day Clearing use
Skid steer mulcher $1,000 – $1,600 Underbrush to small trees
Mulching tractor $1,600 – $2,200 Underbrush to mature trees
Bulldozer + mulching attachment $1,200 – $2,400 Brush, trees, and grading
Excavator + mulching attachment $1,200 – $2,500 Brush, trees, and grading

*Prices include operator fees.

Forestry mulcher machine clearing trees and brush.
Forestry mulcher machine clearing trees and brush.

Forestry mulching cost factors include:

  • Equipment ­– The size and type of mulcher will affect how many hours it takes to complete the job.

  • Labor – Rates change depending on location and the crew size.

  • Travel – Companies add transportation fees for moving equipment to the site, depending on their standard service areas.

  • Accessibility – Extra fees apply for removing fences to access the property.

  • Terrain – Different types of equipment are necessary to mulch on steep slopes, rocky terrain, and softer soils.

  • Mobilization fee – Some companies charge a $150 to $300 mobilization fee for setup.

  • Selective clearing – Mulching around many trees increases difficulty and costs.

  • Tree and brush density – Heavy overgrowth takes longer to mulch than light brush.

  • Stump removalTree stump removal costs $100 to $400 per stump on average depending on its size.

  • Mulch thickness – Operators make finer mulch by driving over an area multiple times, but it increases labor time.

  • Permit – Land clearing or land disturbance permits cost $100 to $500 on average. Prices depend on the lot size and local logging restrictions.

  • SurveyingLand surveying costs $70 to $140 per acre on large properties of 50 to 100 acres or more and up to $1,000 per acre on smaller lots.

  • Levelling – The cost to level or regrade a yard is $0.40 to $2.00 per square foot on average.

Forestry mulcher cost to buy

Buying a residential forestry mulcher costs $600 to $3,500 for freestanding gas models or $100 to $200 for electric mulchers. Residential mulchers are good for small jobs but can't handle dense overgrowth. Buying a forestry mulcher tractor attachment costs $2,100 to $5,000 for larger jobs.

Buying a commercial forestry mulcher attachment costs $10,000 to $40,000+.

Residential forestry mulcher cost to buy
Mulcher type Average unit price
Electric freestanding chipper & mulcher $100 – $200
Gas-powered freestanding chipper & mulcher $600 – $3,500
Mulching riding lawn mower / garden tractor $1,500 – $3,600
Flail mulcher tractor attachment (for 15+ HP tractors only) $2,100 – $5,000

Get free estimates from yard grading companies near you.

When buying a mulcher for residential use:

  • Consider the cutting width on mobile mulchers. Wider mulchers cover more ground in less time but can be more difficult to maneuver.

  • Freestanding mulchers have motors with 6 to 14 horsepower on average. The size of the feed-loading chutes varies from 3 inches to 6 inches wide.

Forestry mulching FAQs

What is forestry mulching?

Forestry mulching is a land-clearing method with one operator-driven machine that grinds down all vegetation. The layer of mulch it produces decomposes to improve the soil.

How does a forestry mulcher work?

A forestry mulcher works by using rotating-blade teeth to:

  • Grind all brush and stumps

  • Fell trees and their debris

  • Mulch tree trunks

  • Spread a layer of new mulch across the ground

  • Clear land of all growth

What do I do after forestry mulching?

What you do after forestry mulching depends on the property plans.

Common activities after forestry mulching include:

  • Mowing regrowth with a bush hog or flail mower

  • Applying a selective herbicide to kill weeds

  • Excavating for a homesite

  • Allowing the mulch to decompose

  • Tilling the mulch into the topsoil

  • Planting clover as a ground cover to attract deer

  • Moving livestock to graze on regrowth

  • Growing grass or other ground cover to crowd out weeds

What are the benefits of forestry mulching?

The benefits of forestry mulching are:

  • Lower labor and equipment costs than other land-clearing methods

  • No permit requirements in most states

  • Ability to mulch on most terrain types

  • No brush and tree debris removal costs

  • Erosion prevention

  • Reduced fire risk

  • Decreased soil acidity

  • Minimizes the tick and pest population

  • Invasive plant destruction

  • Improved soil fertility

  • Undamaged topsoil

  • Land is ready for immediate use

Getting quotes from forestry mulching services

Before hiring a forestry mulching service near you, be sure to:

  • Get three detailed estimates for comparison.

  • Only hire licensed, insured, and bonded companies.

  • Read online company reviews from Google and HomeGuide.

  • Check if their crew has a licensed timber operator or certified arborist.

  • Ask to see a portfolio or a reference list.

  • Choose companies with more than 5 years of experience.

  • Get the estimate and contract in writing before hiring.

  • Beware of low bids that may signal low-quality work.

  • Wait for the company to complete the job before making the final payment.

Questions to ask

  • How long have you been mulching forested land?

  • What’s your hourly rate?

  • Is there a minimum fee or mobilization fee?

  • Do I live outside your normal service area, and would travel fees apply?

  • Are there any other fees I should know about?

  • Can I select some trees to keep?

  • What are the biggest trees you can mulch?

  • Do you offer stump removal?

  • How many acres can you complete in one day?

  • What type of equipment do you use?

  • Will you need to remove fencing to access the site?

  • What size will the mulch be?

  • Do I need a permit for this job?

  • Should I do anything to prep for forestry mulching?

  • How do you reduce the risks of fire hazards and other safety issues?

  • Is there going to be more than one person onsite?

  • What happens in the event of property damage?