Boulder removal

chrisandkristinasMay 24, 2013

I have a 3/4 acre plot that's ridden with fieldstone and boulders. I've dug out just about everything I can by hand. There are a few dozen that are too large for me.

I dug some of them out with a rented mini excavator last year, but the machine compacted to soil so much and when I rototilled this year it was like breaking new ground. It was not fun!

What's the best way to go about getting them out without compacting the soil too much?

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Myhusband gave a smart-alecky but honest answer. Use the bucket to fluff up the soil afterward. I asked about using a bigger excavator with longer reach but he explained it would be a much heavier machine. He's been doing stump and rock removal at our place. If the compaction is so bad, perhaps you need to add a lot more things like chopped leaves, grass clippings, peat moss - whatever is available so it decomposes over the winter. Good luck. I bet it's going to be worth it once you are done.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 8:39AM
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I would think that it would call for a professional or a contractor job. Depending on the ordnances and laws of your city or state, you could drill into the boulder, and set off charges to break it apart. Although buying explosive charges today might not be easy.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 7:56PM
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I don't know if there is anyone in your area that works with steers, but a yoked pair of steers has incredible pulling power. Decide ahead of time where you want the boulders and they can haul them there. At agricultural fair around here they have pulling contests, so a RI or MA ag fair might be a good place to find someone with steers.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 8:58AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Also consider leaving a few boulders in strategic places. They make really nice accents in parts of the yard, and within a garden. You can create little micro-climates along the south side of a sunny clump of rocks. They hold heat and offer protection from wind. And rocks are effective at foiling voles.

If they were easier to move, I would put some in my gardens! I have a few small boulders here and there, and use tons of flat stepping stones throughout the gardens, a few are nearly 2 feet across.

My sister and BIL left a few when they excavated a large area of their property when they lived in NH years ago. One big boulder even had kind of a depression in the middle of the top of it. It used to collect water when it rained, and the birds used it as an unintentional bird bath.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 3:56AM
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