Bush Hogging vs. Finish Mowing

As a part of the changes to Elwoh Solutions in 2017, specifically to the point of diversifying service offerings to include physical property services, the introduction of large scale capable tractor bush hogging and finish mowing is now being offered.

The initial extent of the operation is of course not the largest out there, but it should be sufficient to adequately target any small, medium, or large scale mowing needs in the service area.

The Equipment of Choice

In prior years, there was a form of this offering; however, being the first iteration and experimentation of the service, there were many impediments encountered throughout the endeavor — ranging from low equipment power and capabilities to generally navigating terrain inefficiently.

See the review blog posting of the John Deere 3520 for land clearing for a more in-depth review of the equipment and our usage.

Following-up and iterating from the past experience, in 2017 the pursuit of mowing operations will be performed by a John Deere 4066R tractor; still a compact utility tractor by definition, it does, however, provide a larger and more robust frame, and significantly more powerful engine (boasting a 65.9 gross horsepower) as compared to the earlier tractor.

What’s the Difference?

While both services have a closely related ending result, which is that of producing a “mowed” area that would be lower than it was in its original state, there are major fundamental differences and limitations of each.

Bush Hogging

Common as the first step to clearing land, followed by finish mowing — bush hogging is purely the act of aggressively and roughly clearing an area that would typically contain high or thick overgrowth of weeds, grass, and bushes, or saplings and small trees.

A rotary cutter is an implement that is purpose built for rough clearing, typically built to handle a certain amount of abuse, as is common with clearing land of saplings and thick grass.

The important factors that enable the rotary cutter to tackle the tough circumstances it endures are the mechanics of the blades.  Multiple blades are affixed in a hinged manner (as opposed to rigidly mounted on a finish/grooming mower) so that they can independently swing back and inward if they come in contact with an object that they can not “cut.”

In addition to the mounting of the blades, they are of a thicker material allowing them to withstand the punishment of rocks; they are also not sharpened to have the same edge geometry that typical lawn mower or finish mower blades have.  The blades of a rotary cutter are rounded on edge, and are otherwise dull — as the primary result of clearing grass and saplings isn’t to “cut” them in the traditional sense, but rather beat or roughly tear them with the mere force of the swinging blades.

These factors combine to create an implement that excels at bringing down densely overgrown areas with thicker vegetation and saplings, but at the cost of resulting in a very rough presentation.

Finish Mowing

As the name implies, this type of mowing is for final, finished quality, low standing grass.  Capable of producing the “yard” type of result we are all familiar.

The grooming mower, differing from the above rotary cutter such that the mechanics utilize multiple rigidly affixed blades which are sharpened in a manner so that they can cleanly cut through grass, which leaves a smooth and clean cut acceptable for a “yard” type of presentation.

The thinner blades with a more aggressively sharpened edge geometry do not fare well with contact against solid or hard surfaces, such as rocks.  Also, the mechanics of the blade drive will cause sudden halting of revolution when contacting a non-frangible object, unlike the rotary cutter.

In Conclusion, TL;DR

Using a rotary cutter works well when you need to clear an area of thick and tall overgrowth or saplings, and aren’t worried about final cut quality.  When a finished final cut or otherwise presentable “lawn” type cut is desired, a finish/grooming mower is the most useful implement.

If you’re looking for rough bush hogging or clean finish mowing — check out the Ag Services, Custom Mowing offerings of Elwoh Solutions.

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