The Secret to Digging Post Holes on Rocky Ground

Rocky ground can be a nuisance when trying to dig post holes for fence construction, sign building, or other projects. In some cases, it can be impossible to dig through rock with the wrong equipment. That is why preparation is key when trying to dig through rocky ground conditions. The secret to digging post holes is no secret at all. It all comes down to knowing the terrain you’re facing, and having the right equipment. Keep reading to learn more about the strategies you can use when drilling on rocky ground. 

Preparing to Dig

Before you begin, it is important to determine if there are any utility lines on your property. Call 811 to find out the location of any lines near the spot where you will be digging.


The right equipment can quite literally make or break your digging experience. That is why having the right tools on hand makes the process smoother and more efficient. You can use manual methods for digging your post holes if you face terrain with a few small rocks and loose dirt. Power equipment is a must if you’re working with difficult ground conditions though. Use a tractor, skid steer, backhoe, or another hydraulic machine with the right drilling equipment in that case. Your choice will depend on your budget, local availability, and ground conditions. If the job requires several post holes to be dug or you face hard rock, using a hydraulic machine will be by far your best solution. The TM-48 Belltec Digger or the Belltec Hydraulic Auger Drives are a great choice when paired with the right auger or puff drill.

The Belltec TM-48 Post Hole Digger mounted on a tractor
The TM-48 Belltec Digger


Take into account the auger you will be using with that equipment as well. There is a wide range of augers to choose from in different sizes and configurations. Rock augers have bullet-style teeth and boring heads that cut through rock. While a T-post bit has a solid steel shaft and a cutting head that pulverizes rock as it drills through. Choose the auger you need according to your ground condition and the size of the hole you will need for the job. Selecting the right auger will save you a lot of headaches and will prevent your equipment from breaking on you.

Belltec Rock Augers

Additional Tools

Other tools you may need to include in your list are shovels, a clam-shell digger, and a wheelbarrow for hauling off the debris to finish the job. These will depend on your choice of equipment and the job you are facing.

Digging Post Holes

Once your equipment and tools are ready, mark the spot where you will be digging your post holes. If using a PTO Powered Auger, like the TM-48 Belltec Digger, set your equipment at the spot where you will be digging. The auger should be above the area where you want the hole dug. If you are facing a lot of rock, there will be some resistance during the drilling process. With the right equipment, you should see the auger continue to drill through as it cuts through the rock. If you find a lot of dirt on the hole after drilling, add some water to the hole to pack that dirt together. Then place the auger back in the hole and turn it on to lift that dirt out easily. Don’t forget to remove loose rocks and dirt from the hole you dug using your shovel. Dig again and repeat this process until you reach the desired depth for your post hole.

Belltec Auger Drilling Through Rocky Ground

Final Thoughts

Digging post holes in rocky ground conditions is no easy task. With preparation and the right equipment, you can tackle this tough challenge confidently. Whether you are facing boulders or solid rock, the right equipment can make a world of difference. Here at Belltec, we have solutions that help you face the toughest drilling conditions out there. Our rock drilling products are designed to overcome hard rocks like limestone, concrete, and granite. To learn more about which Belltec drilling equipment can help you take on your next project, check out our product pages. You can also get in contact with our team of experts anytime to find the best solution for your needs.

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