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:
Sarah Noel
Written by
Sarah Noel
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tom Grupa

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.

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:

  • 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 $20 to $40 per acre on large properties and up to $1,600 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

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?