How To Remove Rocks From Soil Using Machine and Manual Process?

Those associated with gardens or lawns no matter in professional or personal level can relate to the problem working with rocky soil. For your yard or lawn rocks can create a hazardous situation. The presence or rocks in a place means a threat to the equipments used for tilling or any other purpose.

The deep rooted plants cannot grow properly due to rocks and if you like to create a new one the result will be the same. So it is very important to have proper knowledge on how to remove rocks from soil. The following methods will help you to understand how you can do this work in best and easiest way.

Why Are Rocks In Soil?

Rocks are something that is made naturally due to some natural phenomenon. Especially in extreme cold places where the temperature fall down to freeze anything can found rocks that was not there.

This miraculous appearance of rocks will always surprise you. In the East-Coast area of USA this naturally generated rocks are known as “New England potatoes!”

The soil water become solid and thus it expand to push upward. With the thaws of ground the rock area will automatically fill with darts and after repeating this process again and again the rocks appear in the rock magically.

These rocks can cause serious damages not only to your plant growth but also your garden equipments like tillers and cultivators.

While working in the garden the rocks can flung out and hurt you. Sometime the over-crowding of rocks makes the plants die due to get hamper of the natural growth by the soil. So it is very important to be aware of the rocks in the soil.

Types of Rocks / Gravel Found in Soil

​There are four types of rocks can be seen in the soil and they are described below:

Large Rocks

In the mountain and foothill areas these types of big blocks of rocks are noticeable. In mountain valleys the soils are very fertile and easy growing. If your land is in such places then be aware of the rocks and remove them before any further work.

Medium-Sized Rocks

In terms of big rocks the medium sized rocks are hard to found but after 8-12 inch till they appears. Try to clear them out with the help of shovel and tiller. After turning the soil surface use hands to find out the medium sized stones and add some nutrients before bedding.

Smaller Rocks

To saturate the ground evenly the garden or lawn needs to water in an appropriate manner but the smaller rocks hiders the process to done correctly. So they need to be removed with rakes or by hands though it will take time.


The pebbles and tiny rocks usually don’t make any difference to your gardening but if you don’t want them to irritate then you can clear them out. You can use a shifter to remove the small pebbles; the rakes are also useful in this matter.

Why Should Rocks Be Removed From Soil?

In one sense the rocks are dead and they directly don’t affect any plants but if there are lots of them then it might be a serious concern. On the rocks nothing can grow or any plants cannot spread their roots through the rocks.

The rocks also occupy the soil area for growing and thus the vegetative area becomes minimized. The plants become space less of necessary soil they need to grow up and slowly they lead to death by the time.

Thus the rocks indirectly affect the plants or grasses in your lawn or garden. As the plants cannot reach the underground water source they look skinny and unhealthy.  

At the same time they are deprived of natural minerals and vitamins from the soil surface and thus the growth of the plants became too slow and unpleasant.

In terms of few crops like potatoes and beetroots are impossible to grow in rocky soil as they need clear ground for their plantation. These are the major reasons your soil must be free of rocks to have a healthy and fast growing garden or lawn.

List of Rock Removal Tools

There are several available tools in the market to remove the rocks from your yard or garden bed among these are the most common and used equipments:

  • Rototiller: This unique tool is very effective to break up dirt so that the soils can lose and the large rocks can be revealed easily.
  • Cultivator: This machine can be used for both huge and medium rock revelations. You can even get them in rent.
  • Garden rake: To gather the gavels or small stones a rake is a must need tool.
  • Gardening gloves: Another important thing you must have during removing rocks is a pair of garden gloves

Apart from these according to the soil consistency Pointed shovel, Wheelbarrow and Soil sifter maybe needed.

How To Remove Rocks From Soil Manually

To maintain the health and nutrition factor of your garden you should remove rocks from the dirt with utmost attention. This is obviously a tiresome and long timed job to do but after you get the finished product the result will be satisfactory.

To remove the rocks from your garden manually you need a shovel, a bucket, and a screen or net to separate rocks from the dirt.

Follow the below instructions for manual rocks removal from your soil:

  • Build a wood frame to support the screen and expand the screen with metal or chain link fence and place it about two feet above the surface.
  • According to the rock sizes you must divide the area into several parts for best potential outcome.
  • Now assemble your equipment according to the kinds of rocks you want to remove from your garden soil.
  • At the time of small stone collection you should have dig a bit deeper to confirm there are big blocks or not. It will save your time and effort.
  • If you find a big rock instead of using shovel use your hand and pluck it out from there.
  • For small rocks scoop the soil in the apex of the screen.
  • Tip one edge to allow the rocks slide down and the soil through the net.
  • Now use a spade to remove the debris and rocks from the bottom.
  • Take a box scraper to free the topsoil from rocks.
  • Unless you remove all the rocks by rototiller from the soil keep doing this process.

If you use a machine to remove soil from a huge area likely a tractor is obviously a very cost efficient method.

On the other hand if you do this manually it may need hard labor and a huge amount of time by using tools like plough, spade and shovel. If you use a machine still you need to do some manual work.

How To Remove Rocks From Soil By Using Machines?

Using a machine instead of hand labor is obviously a great idea as it saves time and hard tiresome work. Manual rock removing is cost saving but it takes too much time and physical labor. It is awfully boring too.

So as you have a great option available why wasting energy. It is obviously preferred to use a machine for rock removing from your garden.

The Necessary Materials Required

  • A Tractor
  • To unravel soil use a Plough or any similar tool
  • To Separate rocks use a net or screen

How to remove rocks from soil by using a machine a step by step guideline:

  • At first you need to attach the plough to the tractor head and make this very carefully as it is very important.
  • Now start the tractor to unravel the area of the ground topsoil you want to remove rocks with the help of the tractor.
  • This is important to loosen the soil so that the inside rocks can be visible clearly.
  • A clear visibility will make it easier to remove the soil from the garden of lawn.
  • You should use the tractor attached plough to drag all the rocks on the soil to the dumping area or collection area where they will be stored.
  • Now as you collected all the darts now use the net to separate the pebbles and darts.
  • Finally the filtered soil must be spread over the lawn.

You will find readymade specially designed machines to perform such works effortlessly but you have to choose according to your need.


Making your garden soil free from rocks both manual and automatic system works but one takes time and energy and another saves money and time.

For small yards or gardens manual rock removing is more effective but for big areas machines are mandatory. So it depends on you and land size that what process you should choose, manual or machine?