• Home
  • Blog
  • How To Remove Rocks From Soil? 3 Best Methods To Try

How To Remove Rocks From Soil? 3 Best Methods To Try

Rocks on the soil will prevent the plant roots from accessing nutritional sources. Hence, gardeners have to deal with this issue before growing their plants. 

How to remove rocks from soil? Luckily, you have multiple methods to try, all of which are easy to follow.

This article will recommend three ways to remove rocks from soil. You can also learn how to choose the best tool for this project and extra tips to pull it off. 

So let’s dive in!  

How To Remove Rocks From Soil? 

The best solution for your case depends on how hard it is to remove the rocks from the soil. We will divide this task into three levels, from easiest to hardest. 

Method 1: Remove the rocks manually

Manual removal is the first level: Easy. You can choose this solution if the rocks are small and loose. 

The tools needed for this task are a shovel, a sifter, a container, and gardening gloves. After gathering all of them, please follow these steps to remove the rocks:

  • Dig about ten inches deep into the soil using the shovel. 
  • Fill the container with soil.
  • Put the sifter on the container.
  • Flip your container upside down while holding onto the sifter. 
  • The sifter will process the soil by keeping the rocks on its surface while letting the soil drop back on the ground. But you must ensure that the filter is small so tiny rocks won’t slide past. 
  • Get rid of the rocks on the sifter. 
  • Repeat those steps until there is no rock on the soil. 
You can use the sifter to remove the rocks manually

Method 2: Use simple machines

If you intend to work with rock-hard soil, manually removing the rocks won’t work. That’s why we commend this method as level 2. And here is how to do it:

  • Use a tiller to loosen up the area first. This tool will reduce the shoveling time significantly. 
  • After tilling, you can easily see the large stones. So pick them up and put them in the wheelbarrow.
  • Use a rake to sift the soil until there are not many rocks left. 
  • The rocks can still be on the soil because the rake can’t help eliminate all of them. In this case, you may repeat the steps from the first method, as the sifting screen will be helpful now. 
Use the tiller to loosen up the soil first

Method 3: Use a tractor

What if you have a large garden? The two above methods won’t help much. Instead, you need a tractor to clear your garden of rocks quickly. 

The instructions for removing rocks from soil using a tractor are as follows: 

  • Attach the plow to your tractor. 
  • Use the plow to loosen the soil. The rocks will then be easier to scoop up. 
  • After loosening the soil, use your tractor to scoop as much soil as possible. 
  • Sift the soil through the sifter. 
  • Remove the rocks left on the surface of the sifter. 
Use a tractor if the area is too large

The three methods above will help remove rocks from the soil. Then you may ask, “What to do with the removed rocks?” 

Gardeners don’t often throw them away. Instead, they clean those dirty rocks and use them to decorate their yards.  

What Is The Best Tool To Remove Rocks From Soil?

The best tool to remove rocks depends on which method you choose. But the following gear will be necessary for all.

Pointed shovel

You can use the shovel to pick and gather rocks. Then, scoop the rocks you collect and place them in the wheelbarrow. 

This tool is easy to use. It will help a lot when removing rocks from small areas. Remember to wear gloves when using the shovel to avoid blisters. 

Soil sifter

You need the sifter for all three methods. This tool comes in handy when dealing with stones scattered with the soil. 

Pre-made sifters are available in most hardware stores. But you can make one with expanded chain links. 


The wheelbarrow is familiar to gardeners. It can help you transfer the rocks safely and quickly. 

Garden rake

The rake is a simple yet powerful tool to remove rocks, pebbles, debris, and dead leaves from your garden. Hence, make sure you have one to clean up the area before growing your plants. 

Gardening gloves

Removing rocks from the soil is a straightforward project. However, there will be risks of scraps, cuts, and blisters. Thus, protect yourself by wearing gloves before starting.  

Choose the best tool for your project

Tips for Removing Rocks from Topsoil 

The three methods we recommend are enough to remove the rocks from the soil effectively. Yet, some extra tips below will help bring you an impressive outcome and avoid mishaps. 

Do not use a lawn mower

Lawn mowers are powerful grass-cutting machines. Hence, many people mistakenly use them to clear the rocks in their gardens. 

Unfortunately, rocks may destroy your lawn mower. Moreover, this machine will throw stones at high speeds, injuring people and animals. 

Dig the soil deeply

You may only focus on the topsoil when removing the rocks. Yet, those below the ground surface will prevent your plants from accessing nutrient sources. So you should focus on the underground instead. 

Start your project by digging about ten inches down the soil. This step will expose the hidden rocks, making it easier to remove them. 


You can easily remove rocks from the soil by hand or with tools. Remember to choose the right tool and method based on the difficulty level of your project. 

Hopefully, this article will help you clean up your garden effectively. Then, you are free to grow whichever plant you like.

If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading! 

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: