The specification discloses an improved row cleaning apparatus to selectively clean away mulch from conservation tilled fields without cultivation of the soil. When mounted on a tractor-drawn planter unit, the cleaning action of the present invention improves depth control and planting speed of the planter unit and facilitates seed germination while retaining the mulch between crop rows for erosion control and yield enhancement. In its planter embodiment, the row cleaner disclosed herein comprises a pair of pointedly toothed wheels journaled for rotation about intersecting axes mounted on the planter unit ahead of the furrow opener. The toothed wheels are mounted with their teeth intermeshed above the soil surface and rotate in planes symmetrically inclined downwardly, outwardly, and forwardly of the direction of travel of the planter unit. The toothed wheels penetrate the soil ahead of the furrow opener to a depth sufficient for the forward motion of the planter unit to drive the wheels in rotation, thereby untangling and selectively clearing mulch from the path of the planter unit, yet not so deep as to substantially cultivate or otherwise disturb the soil. The advancing planter unit is thus presented with substantially bare, untilled soil.