How to adjust pull behind bush hog? With a pull behind bush hog, you can quickly trim weeds around your property and buildings that would ordinarily exact a heavy toll on your riding lawnmower.
In truth, bush hogs (also known as “rotary cutters” or “brush hogs”) are no doubt the most formidable implement when it comes to dense plant growth- they whack through overgrown grass and weeds fiercely and are a wonderful tool to have.
However, it’s important to always ensure your tow-behind brush cutter is adjusted the right way for the best results.
Whether you pull it with your ATV/UTV or garden tractor, here is how to adjust pull behind bush hog for improved cutting performance, higher efficiency, and prolonged blade life.
How to adjust pull behind bush hog
For the most part, these types of rotary mowers attach to your tractor using the 3-point hitch and are driven through the power take-off (PTO).
That said, some bush hogs attach to the rear of your towing vehicle via the draw bar.
First, we will look at how to adjust bush hogs that attach to a 3-point hitch.
Keep in mind that a couple of adjustments may need to be made prior to beginning actual field operation, depending on the bush hog brand you own (refer to your owner’s manual for specifications).
How to adjust pull behind bush hog attached on three-point hitch
A. Adjusting the mower cutting height
A properly set cutting height ensures an efficient and safe cutting operation- the cut will be more uniform, the clippings distribute more evenly, there’s reduced power requirement, etc.
Follow these steps to set the proper cutting height on your bush hog (standard 3 point quick hitch types):
- Park your tractor and bush hog on level ground.
- Using the three-point hitch control lever, position the front of the bush hog with its side skids 1 inch less (off the ground) than your desired cut height. For example, if you want to make a 3” cut, the skids should be positioned 2 inches from the ground.
- Follow the above example to determine and set the three-point control lever stop at your decided position.
- Shut off the tractor and proceed to remove the key.
- Next, level the bush hog deck from the front to rear- simply extend or retract the 3-point top link as necessary.
- Now level the rotary mower side-to-side by manipulating the length of 1 lower lift arm- shorten or extend it appropriately to level the deck from side-to-side.
- You then need to block up the bush hog securely at this height.
- Next, remove the bolts that secure the tailwheel beam to position and let the tailwheel rest at the ground level.
- Your next step is aligning the tailwheel beam between the nearest set(s) of holes in the beam support brackets. Once done, re-install the support bolts on either side of the beam and tighten each bolt and nut.
- Extend your tractor’s top three-point link in such a way that the front of the deck will rise 2 to 2-1/2 inches before the tail-wheel leaves the ground when lifting the bush hog. This allows the rotary mower to accurately follow the contour when cutting on uneven terrain.
If the hydraulic 3-point lift is unable to maintain the set height or requires you to constantly pre-adjust the cut height, consider installing optional check chains.
B. Adjusting the Deck Pitch
The next thing to adjust is the deck pitch.
Now, for the best results, the deck of your bush hog should be adjusted so that the front is approximately ¾-inch lower than the rear.
Operating the implement at this pitch helps it to cut grass and other vegetation only once. As a result, the tractor will not be overworked.
On the other hand, if your aim is to have the equipment mulch grass or other crop material more efficiently, adjust it so the deck forward will be about ¾ inches higher than the rear.
At this pitch, the cutter cuts the grass twice, resulting in a more even cut and better distribution of cut material.
To make the above modifications, you just need to adjust the 3-point hitch until the blade’s cutting edge is the inches mentioned above lower/higher than at the back.
How to adjust pull behind bush hog – draw bar mounted bush hogs
On draw bar units (these typically cut larger widths), the cutting height is adjusted as outlined below:
- Start by parking your tractor and bush hog on level ground.
- Using the tail-wheel ratchet jack (or hydraulic cylinder), position the bush hog so the skid shoes will be 1 inch less off the surface than your desired final cutting height. For instance, if you desire a 3” cut, elevate or lower the implement until you bring the skid shoes 2 inches, off the ground.
- If you’re using the hydraulic cylinder to make the adjustment, consider placing stroke control spacers on the hydraulic shaft- this will help it to maintain the set cutting height on any occasion the implement is raised and lowered.
- Next, adjust the bush hog’s leveling rod to have the forward of the bush hog roughly ¾-inches lower than the back.
- Lastly, adjust any tractor-equipped lower link check chain along with sway blocks or guide blocks to keep the hitch and bush hog from swaying from side-to-side.
In most cases, the deck pitch must also be adjusted to the specification explained earlier for drawbar-mounted bush hogs. If unsure, consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
Wrapping it up
Avoid setting very low cutting height as the implement may keep striking the ground (with the blades) resulting in shock loads that can potentially damage the mower in the end.
Also, ensure the mower is correctly attached to the tractor/ATV/UTV at all times- it is certainly the first step to getting the best out of your bush hog when clearing thick vegetation.