Rough Cut Mower 101
A rough cut mower is not your standard lawn mower. The difference is in the name. Rough cut mowers are not designed to finish your grass. Their job is to literally take on the rough stuff. You might also see them called brush mowers or field mowers, which is an apt description. Rough cut mowers are designed to take down woody materials and brush up to 3” in diameter.
How do they work?
Unlike your typical lawn mower, which moves three blades at high speed, rough cut mowers uses a lower speed and more power. There is often only one blade. It looks blunt, but it's tough enough take down small trees. The blade often rotates more slowly than a lawn mower, but it requires a lot of horsepower.
Rough cut mowers can be towed behind a tractor or pushed from behind like a typical lawn mower.
When would I use one?
The slow powerful blades of the tow behind rough cut mower are for taking down brush, grasses and woody material. Unlike your regular lawn mower, a rough cut mower can even take down some small trees. A good fit for a rough cut mower is clearing a field. They can also be helpful for getting rid of certain bushes, like blackberries and saplings. It's often much easier to use the rough cut mower to chop down the bush rather then using a weed wacker or any handheld device.
A rough cut mower can handle rougher terrain than your lawn mower. Many of them are even designed to bounce off rocks and stumps without damage to the system.
What will my lawn look like?
Rough cut mowers are designed for brush. If you are mowing down a blackberry bush, the finished product will be some woody debris material. It should be fairly easy to clear this by hand. However, rough cut mowers do not provide a precise finish know as "finish cut". Not all the blackberry bushes will be chopped down at the exact same length. If you want to finish the area with a precise cut, you'll have to switch to a finish cut or lawn mower.
Rough cut mowers, also known as atv mowers, tow behind mowers, pull behind mowers or brush hogs that attach to tractors, are designed to clear fields of brush. They tend to be heavier than lawn mowers. Sometimes they can weigh up to 300 lbs. These heavy systems can be pulled from behind like a ATV, lawn mower or pulled by a tractor.
The blades on a trail cutter aren't like a regular style mower where they rotate in a circle. Instead, they are equipped with two very hardened steel blades that swing back and forth, like a pendulum. These blades can shred and tackle branches up to 3" thick! Most of the machines are equipped with a articulating hitch so trail cutters can be offset to the left or right of your ATV or what ever you have towing the rough cut mower. This is a nice feature when cutting through thick brush. It's also very useful when trail mowing under low hanging trees or in ditches or uneven ground.