Should I Remove Stones From Soil In Your Yard? (+ How To Do It )

Whether you are entirely new to gardening or you’ve been working the soil for years, one of your unanswered questions is likely to be: “Should I Remove Stones From Soil?”

Stones or rocks appear in soil because the earth naturally pushes them up to the surface as the garden itself shifts.

Though this is natural, you should remove some of these stones from the soil in order to free up space, improve the overall structure of the soil, and increase the possibilities of use in the soil itself. 

In this article, you will learn why soil can sometimes be full of rocks. You will also learn why it may be beneficial to remove those stones from the soil in your garden.

Finally, I will give you a brief guide on how to get rid of the stones so your garden can be as healthy and easy to work as possible! With so much to cover, let’s begin right away.

Removing stones from soil

Why Are There Stones in the Soil?

If you head out to your garden, armed with gloves, tools, and new seeds, you may be disconcerted to find yourself running into stones.

After all, if you laid down the soil yourself, the odds are you picked a spot that seemed relatively free of stones.

Stones cannot exactly get up and move on their own, so the question is, “Why are there stones in the soil?”

The answer may sound strange, but it is the truth: the earth naturally shifts, and stones that were once under the surface and invisible to the eye can be pushed up above and into soil.

This is especially true when it comes to gardens, because root systems often contribute to this movement.

Now that we know why stones can appear, seemingly out of nowhere, in a plot of soil, let’s talk about whether or not anything should be done about it.

Should I Remove Stones From My Soil?

Stones will not necessarily kill your garden or cause harm to your plants, in general. However, there are quite a few good reasons to get rid of stones in the soil, no matter how unpleasant the task may seem. We’ll list these reasons below:

Rocks Block Roots

Although one or two stones will be easily surmounted by healthy root systems, many can become a problem.

Roots may have a hard time reaching low enough or far enough to provide nutrients to plants from the soil. For this reason, you’ll want to remove stones from soil whenever possible.

Rocks Take Up Space

In a similar vein to the reason mentioned above, rocks simply take up prime real estate in a garden’s soil.

They can make it difficult not only for root systems to spread, but for an entire plant to grow healthily.

Rocks Limit Usability

In addition to stunting plant growth, rocks make it harder for you, the gardener, to get the most out of your soil.

You may find everything from planting, to re-planting, to weeding more difficult with these hard, blunt objects in the way.

How to Remove Stones From Soil

Now that we’ve established the ways stones can rise into soil from the earth below, as well as the reasons behind removing them, let’s go over how to remove them!

1. Use tools

Using a rake or a tiller is sometimes advisable if you have a large plot of soil.

Use the rake and tiller to move the soil out of the way more efficiently, digging down and extracting the rocks more easily.

2. Have a Wheelbarrow Handy

If you’ve only got one or two stones in your soil, it can be tempting to simply pick them up and toss them away when they are small.

However, sometimes larger rocks, and many of them, can plague your garden. A wheelbarrow will come in handy when it’s time to carry these away from the garden space.

3. Use Your Hands

In order to protect your hands from the harsh textures of the stones, we recommend wearing gardening gloves.

This way, you can sift through the soil with your own fingers and find the rocks, and even get a better grip on them, without risking a tear or cut to your skin.


To sum it all up, the answer to the question “Should I remove stones from soil?” is undoubtedly: yes, stones should be removed from soil whenever possible. Stones can cause a garden’s growth to be stunted.

Even if plants can reach their full size, their root systems may be handicapped by stones in the soil.

To get rid of stones, we established that sifting through the soil with a tiller, rake, or one’s carefully gloved hands are usually the best methods.

With a wheelbarrow nearby to carry the stones away carefully, you’ll have no trouble getting the stones out of your soil!

Nadine is a passionate gardening writer sharing practical tips, innovative ideas, and valuable insights on plant and soil care, In her spare time, she tries to convince her plants to grow by singing them catchy tunes.

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