31 Things You Should Know Before Renting A Bulldozer

This week has been a compilation of excitement, endurance, learning, work, and just plain exhaustion! We made our goal and in 7 days cleared 20 acres of cedar, roughly 3000+ cedar trees. We freed some beautiful oaks that were being suffocated.

I ask my wonderful-amazing-hardworking-clever-able to do any task you set before him-laughs in the face of something claiming to be to hard-tackle a project like no football player could ever imagine-make my dreams come true-husband, who had never driven a bulldozer before this project, to write down all the things he would have liked to know before he started.

This is his list. I think it’s awesome. Even if you never rent a dozer, you should read it. Just because.

These are in no particular order…

Things We Learned About Renting a Bulldozer:

1. Wear the seat belt! Bulldozers don’t have shocks.

2. After the tree is down, run over the branches to minimize pile sizes.

3. Try to stay moving forward. There are big blind spots

4. No tree is too big if you have root rippers.

5. Patience! You can’t indiscriminately run over stuff.


6. Sometimes it’ll seem like the trees are fighting back.

7. Get one with a brush grill on the blade.

8. A protective cage on the operators seat is a plus.

9. Don’t eat big meals before getting on one of these!!

10. Check and clear your tracks often.

11. No limbs or trees allowed atop the blade arm. If one gets behind
your blade, piece it off with a chain saw.

12. Approach all steep slopes at a right angle with the blade facing down hill.

13. Stop and size up groves of trees. Look for a way to work from the
inside or swipe the edges from the short side one tree at a time.

14. If you get frustrated, get off the machine for a few minutes. By
the fourth day, I was taking a short walk in the area I was working
about every hour or two.

15. If your tired, your concentration suffers and so will the quality
and safety you are trying to achieve.

16. How ever long you think the job will take, add 25% to that. I.E. 4
days will take 5.

17. Buy lots of tubes of grease. You’ll use at least 3/4 of a tube a day.

18. N-95 dust masks. Get the family pack!!! Bandana’s don’t work.

19. It’s not one bit like a video game, a mistake with one of these is
pretty permanent.

20. Ear plugs….. I said “EAR PLUGS!”

21. You’ll be rinsing dust out of places you didn’t know you had.

22. Consider how you are going to fuel this beast. A 55 gallon drum
and a siphon hose won’t cut it.The rental service might provide a
nurse trailer with it. A neighboring rancher with a pickup mounted
diesel tank may be willing to help you out.

23. When they drop it off, there are no stupid questions.

24. Either have on hand or know what fluids to get and where to get them.

25. Read the instructions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

26. Blow out the air filter every day.

27. Use the check list for the morning prep every time.
28. Even bulldozers have their limits.

29. If you’re not used to these machines, rest every few days. You’ll
know when you’ve reached your limit. Trade off with someone or budget
for those rest days.

30. Be sure to clarify everything in your lease agreement. Surprise
charges are typical when you’re not familiar with how these companies
are sometimes run or required to operate.

31. Get the “optional” insurance.


9 thoughts on “31 Things You Should Know Before Renting A Bulldozer

  1. Considering we are contemplating a month rental for all the clearing issues, I thank You and Hubby for this great list!

  2. You are most welcome ShellinTX. That 450 we rented should run in the range of 3500 to 4000 for 4 weeks and it used about 1.4 gallons per hour over the 56 hours we put on it for the week.

  3. Wow, great info. When we started on our land, we rented a backhoe with bucket. It was also a one month rental with which we dug the select fill for the foundation of our guesthouse (like you waiting on the main one). It was a great piece of machinery! Now That the guest house is built and about 3 acres of piney woods cleared by hand, we are looking at more potential pasture land and orchards, and the bulldozer is on the to rent list by Christmas.

  4. I totally identify with this list. Especially #1! It reminds me of my first experience on a dozer. I was climbing a steep hill and I didn’t realize those things don’t ease over the crest, they keep going up until 51% is over the top and then gravity takes over! It slammed down and Sir Isaac Newton’s theory on objects in motion was proven when I continued forward into the roll cage. After the stars quit twinkling in my eyes, I put my seat belt on.

    It really feels good to see so much get accomplished doesn’t it?

  5. Outstanding information. Just bought 75 acres of land overgrown with mesquite that needs to be cleared. Need to clear area for house and barn then clear fields for cattle/goats/horses. We are city folks becoming ranchers -Definitely Green Acres Folks. We are doing a lot of Reading and research. Natallia Texas

  6. I just came across your post and absolutely love it. We have bought a small (and old) Christmas Tree farm in Oregon. The trees are no longer actually Christmas Trees as they are all 12 – 20 feet tall and have had their boughs cut for wreaths and garland so many times they look like bristly toothpicks. And anywhere the old trees had been harvested they left the stumps in the ground (that is about 1000 – 1200 trees per acre). The stumps are not larger than 8in in diameter and the still standing trees are probably no larger than 10 inches in diameter. But I have rented a dozer and will begin following / experiencing your 31 points this weekend. I will provide a follow up when / if I get this completed.

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