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How To Remove Rocks From Soil? 2 Methods!

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Many homeowners love their front yard having a luxurious garden and a beautiful flowerbed. The lush and natural vegetation with bright and colorful flowers are stunning.

However, if you are working in the garden preparing for the next flowering season, you may discover rocks in the yard.

The rocky soil can cause many problems in your garden, like damaging the garden tools and preventing the growth of deeply rooted plants. Also, they can become dangerous and easily harm someone.

The best thing is to remove these rocks from the garden soil before destroying the garden and the flowerbeds.

How To Remove Rocks From Soil

Tools and Equipments

Removing them from the soil is a tedious task, mainly if done by hand, given that the land is big. However, to have a healthy garden, it is crucial to separate the soil from the rocks. This can include removing them manually or using a machine.

Many garden equipment and tools can fasten the process and clear your garden successfully, and here are some of them.

1. Rototiller

The rototiller is a larger version of the cultivator. It has rotating tines, which can loosen and pierce the soil. By digging the ground 10-21 cm, it exposes large or small rocks found on the lower surface of the land.

You can rent or buy at the local hardware store. Never wear loose clothing or use safety goggles when operating this machine.

2. Pointed or scoop shovel

You can dig and remove medium or small rocks with the pointed shovel and move or scoop the stones with the scoop shovel. Also, there are versions for these short or long-handled blades, which you can choose.

3. Leaf rake or garden rake

Every garden has typically the leaf rake, which you can use to collect rocks and leaves without bending over. If you are dealing with larger stones or are in a hurry, you can use the garden rake with sturdy steel spikes available in various sizes.

4. Digging bar

The digging bar comes in various sizes and designed to help excavate and move rocks together with other unwanted objects.

5. Pick

If you find a large rock, which cannot be removed, you can use the pick to break it into different pieces.

6. Leaf blower

If the leaf blower is strong enough, it can be used to blow rocks into smaller and medium-sized from your garden.

7. Wheelbarrow or bucket

A bucket can be used to transport the rocks. Also, you can use a wheelbarrow to make the job more manageable if you want to move a huge rock.

8. Soil sifter

You can buy a soil sifter for the wheelbarrow or bucket with a screen or a net. This way, you will be sure that the soil is separated from the stones.

How To Remove Rocks From Soil Soil sifter

9. Lawn tractor attachment

You can buy or rent this attachment for the lawn tractor to remove rocks from the ground without any physical strain. This tool is then dragged across the soil when driving and picking up rocks in front of a metal tine.

10. Bucket attachments

The skid steer tractor with the bucket attachment can scoop up the rocky area, allowing you to pull offending rocks some feet away.

11. Grapple attachment

The grapple attachment can dog out rocks from the surface and transport them safely to a selected location. Buying or renting tractors can help you find the proper attachment for the rock removal project.

How to Remove Rocks From Soil Manually?

Removing rocks from the soil is quite simple and does not need many materials. Here are the steps on how to remove them manually.

  • Find the location of the rocks and divide the area according to the rocks’ size.
  • When removing smaller rocks, you take a shovel and dig a little deeper than the rock layer and scoop as much as possible into the shovel plate.
  • Place all the content scooped in a bucket and continue.
  • For large to medium-sized rocks, choose manual, as removing rocks with a shovel may need more effort than usual. Manually picking these rocks saves time and energy.
  • Remove the rocks from the larger areas, collect the soil, and then put them in one place.
  • Scrape the surface of the soil that has the rocks with the box scraper.
  • Scoop the piles with the front end loader and dump them onto the screen top edge. If the soil tumble across the screen, gravity filter it. Then the debris and rocks slide from above and fall from below.
  • Remove the rocks by scooping and spread the topsoil pile using the box scraper.
  • Go to the next pile and start over.
  • You can repeat this process until all rocks are removed.

How to Remove Rocks from Soil With The Machines?

Removing rocks manually can be effective, but it takes time and is tedious. If you want to do it without wasting energy and time, machines are preferred for this work. Here are the steps to follow.

  • Attach a plough to a tractor.
  • Use it to remove the entire top layer of soil.
  • When the soil is loose, the rocks become more visible and easier to remove.
  • Use the tractor and plough to collect all rocks in one place by dragging them at a storage point.
  • If this is done, use a net to separate the soil from the rocks.
  • Spread the soil, which has been filtered back to the field.
  • There are prefabricated equipment and machines that are specifically designed to do this job with ease.
  • This is because the large machines used to dig tube wells can be used to remove rocks. So, you use them in this case.

Why Are Rocks Removed from The Soil?

They interfere with a green life – Rocks can prevent the plant roots from penetrating deep into the soil. As a result, they cannot get the nutrients and water they require to thrive.

Also, they can block the space of the plants and cause the soil to become hard after some time.

They damage the cutting blade – If you drive the mower over the rocks, small pieces of stones can penetrate the blades and dent the blades or damage various parts of the mower.

Also, it could dull the mower blades, which make it pull the grass rather than mowing it. This can affect the view of the lawn and make it vulnerable to sun or pests damage.

It can hurt someone – If the stone gets into a mower, it can fly off to one end and injure someone or cause damage.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Removing Rocks from The Soil

1. Remove the rocks before you plant anything

Removing the rocks in the area that has already been planted, several bushes, shrubs, or flowers can be hard to work and drain out more money.

Remember that rocks kill the plants by taking up space. Also, they block the nutrients and water that plants require.

2. Check outside the surface

As you loosen the soil, dig 25 to 30 centimeters into the ground. Typically, there is a high probability that the rocks are hiding under the top layer of the soil.

Just because you cannot easily see the rocks on the ground, it does not mean that they do not exist. Ensure you remove these rocks effectively.

3. Check the fabric of the landscape

Have you inherited the house or bought it from another family? In any case, it is necessary to check whether the previous owners have placed the landscape fabric or geotextile cloth under the gravel.

Essentially, this type of fabric prevents weed growth. You can lift it to use machines and tools or remove it. While it kills weeds in the garden, it also suffocates the soil and valuable insects and worms.

Also, landscaping fabric can show signs of deterioration. Given that the material has holes, it will not prevent the weeds from growing. A shovel and wheelbarrow are effective when removing the fabric from the landscape.

4. Do not use a lawnmower

The use of a lawnmower is not recommended for this type of work. Using it to remove rocks from soil can make the lawnmower break, which will be a waste of time.

If the mower is not destroyed, other people may be injured. A lawnmower can go through the rocks into the air at a very high speed, which can hit your family, small animals, or random strangers. Be very careful if you decide to do this work.


Removing rocks from the soil is the crucial step when growing plants that require clear ground. Removing them manually is always preferable for small areas because it can give reasonably good results compared to using automated machines.

The large areas should be done with the devices because doing it manually can be impossible.

If you start with the smaller areas, the soil must first be loosened with a shovel. In the case of large or medium rocks, they can be collected and picked up directly.

Smaller rocks must be separated using strainers or nets. This helps to filter the smaller rocks and soil separately. When you follow these steps, you will certainly on which method to use, either manually or using a machine.

Nouhad Ghazal

Sunday 9th of May 2021

I want how to make grass without herb, and to be always green

Hoang Quang

Monday 24th of May 2021

Hi Nouhad,

These things can help your grass green without herb • Water the grass early in the morning when there is less evaporation. This allows more water to reach the root structures for less waste. Also, watering in the morning naturally dries the grass throughout the day, reducing disease risk.

• Mow only a third of the height of the grass each time you cut to avoid overloading the blade of grass. Cutting a small amount will leave the grass blade sufficient to continue growing and maintaining the green color.

• As the natural source of nitrogen, leave the grass clippings to fertilize it. Mulch the lawnmowers and cut the clips into smaller pieces to not leave the big clumps in a yard or clog the lawn.

• Remove weeds from the roots as soon as they appear. Manual weeding eliminates the need for the use of chemicals and prevents unwanted weeds from overtaking the grass.

• Dethatch the grass layer from the lawn at least 1 cm. Use a lawnmower, dethatching rake, or a dethatching machine to remove the organic debris layer to build upon the lawn.

• Aerate the grass annually or more frequently, as required, to correct the compacted soil. The aeration tool helps to loosen the soil so that air and water can reach the roots. The grass will grow better and remain healthy and green.

• Sow after aeration to make the grass thicken and create dense green grass. Sprinkle about 1/4 inch of the compost on the grasses to cover their seeds. Then, gently rake the lawn to disperse the seeds and compost evenly.