While bush hogging — sometimes referred to as brush hogging, rotary cutting, or rough-cut mowing — may sound like a foreign concept to many people, it’s sometimes necessary in order to clear overgrown land.
When thick vegetation proves to be too much even for a riding lawn mower, bush-hogging steps up to the plate. Bush hogging clears bushes, tall grass, saplings, weeds, and other plant life with the use of heavy-duty rotating blades. This method of clearing allows overgrown areas of land to be developed for farming, recreation, and many other uses. It’s also good for undeveloped empty lots or any large property with a yard that’s been neglected for a long time.
What is a Bush Hog?
Bush Hog, Inc. is a manufacturer of rotary cutters, finishing mowers, landscape tools, and tractor-mounted implements used in the agricultural market. According to the company’s website, “The ‘Bush Hog’ brand is associated with rotary cutters and the act of cutting itself, having invented the brush mower over a half-century ago, and is often used as a generic term to describe a rotary cutter or the cutting of a field.”
The blades of a bush hog are different from standard mowers, which have fixed blades. A bush hog has blades that are not rigidly attached to the drive like a lawnmower blade but are on hinges. This allows the blades to move and shift, so they can glide easier over uneven land and rocks. Using centrifugal force, the blades can move inward, backward and forward again to provide a clean cut.
A bush hog attaches to a tractor by means of the tractor’s power take-off (PTO) shaft, which transfers horsepower from the tractor to the implement. Obviously, this is not a piece of household lawn maintenance equipment, and there are good reasons why the only times you may have seen it used have been on the side of roads by landscape maintenance crews or on a farm.
What Jobs are a Bush Hog Used For?
Bush hogging is appropriate for clearing land of heavy vegetation — such as thick, overgrown grass, bushes, saplings and tall, dense weeds. It can cut down grass that has reached over 25 inches in height and saplings that are 1 inch in diameter or less. Bush hogging is a preferred method to other types of tree removal (i.e., bulldozing) as it avoids agitating the ground through invasive root extraction and environmental disruption.
Granted, this is a service that the average city or suburban homeowner isn’t likely to need on a regular basis. However, you may encounter one of the following situations in which it’s clear that a standard mower and yard tools literally won’t cut it:
- You’ve bought or inherited a house with a long-neglected yard. Fans of house-flipping cable TV shows have seen this type of backyard jungle.
- You have a piece of property that you want to use for recreation or light agriculture.
- You’ve bought a vacant lot adjacent to your home.
- You own a vacant lot in an area that’s now experiencing home construction and want to be a “good neighbor” by keeping your property clear and mowed. Not only does an overgrown lot look bad, it can bring down the property value of nearby homes, as well as be a breeding ground for vermin — thereby creating a health hazard.
Those who live on a multi-acre property, farm or ranch may have other reasons for bush hogging:
- You want to use part of your land for a new or different purpose — such as expanding an area for crops, clearing an area for recreation (ball field, deck, etc.), or beekeeping.
- Clearing land for building or assembling an outbuilding.
- Performing grounds maintenance at the start of a new season.
By clearing out unwanted vegetation, bush hogging allows nutrient-rich soil to nourish the plants you do want, encouraging a healthy ecosystem that attracts beneficial insects and birds. How frequently you bush hog depends on the area you’re maintaining and what you intend to use it for.
- Pastures and hunting grounds: Every 6-12 months.
- Saplings that grow quickly: Every 3-6 months.
- Land that needs to be cleared: Clear initially and then go back over it.
Why You Should Hire a Pro Instead of DIY
While we do sometimes offer instructions for performing some landscaping and yard care projects yourself, this is not one of those times. Bush hogging is hazardous for the inexperienced. The experts at United Family Lawn Care offer this warning:
“… we highly recommend that you do not attempt to operate this machinery on your own even if you own a tractor. Chances are if you are like most people you do not have a tractor on your property. You may have heard about attachments for the ATV or riding lawnmower but we also do not recommend these because they can be unsafe.
“This process should be left to a professional. They have the training needed to operate this equipment in a safe and effective manner. These services should only be performed by professionals. They have the proper equipment and training to operate the bush hogger. They will also make sure that the land is cleared out completely and all of the tall grass or weeds are leveled.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! As for bush hogging, there’s no one better in Central Florida to call than Daniel’s Lawn Service & Pressure Washing! Our experienced professionals can handle any land clearing job quickly, efficiently and safely! Our land clearing services also include tree removal and tree stump removal.