Ever since I mentioned that we bought a tractor and that the first chore was to level our driveway, people have been asking for a video of the tractor in action.
Today is that day.
The problem: overgrown property. The chosen solution: a 6 foot rotary cutter (namely, a Bush Hog – BH16).
It was clear when we purchased our property that the land had been selectively cut for timber at some point. There were a lot of stumps and a lot of young growth trees.
You could easily walk a path that seemed to be where a vehicle had traveled before.
Thankfully, some older growth remained as well.
We maintained a good section of that path for a while with a heavy-duty “garden tractor”. However, the path proved too rugged for it and there were areas that quickly overgrew.
These areas would remain blocked from easy access for several years.
We have wanted to clear out a portion of our land for some time. We want it more open for pasture for animals. If we were to try and fence our property right now the only viable solution would be to use barbed wire stapled on to living trees.
That does not suit us.
There has been talk over the last 5 years of me going out, particularly in winter, and clearing out the land. It hasn’t happened yet.
However, now the tractor and rotary cutter can be used to clear out a large portion of underbrush, giving way to the larger trees that I will fell with a chainsaw.
And, the tractor can help move the fallen trees to better areas for use as well.
Even Bill Mollison talks of being fine with using a bulldozer, yet somehow I feel a little twang in me when I run over a huge patch of wildflowers with the rotary cutter. I know they will come back, but still.
That said, anything I destroyed by bush hogging it is somewhere else on the property. We have 7 acres and I am confident that I did not eradicate any singularly special habitat.
Using a Rotary Cutter
I did run in to some complications, all dealing with uneven land. The rotary cutter was set at about 1/2 height most of the time, yet still I would have an issue with it bottoming out.
I even killed the engine once doing that (see the video below), causing my wife to come running out to be sure I was okay – it made a pretty horrible “ka-thunk” when it did it. But all was well.
A suggestion: I had done this from the start, and it seemed to help. If I knew I was going over a tree I kept the box blade high, letting it cut the tree down from about a foot and a half off of the ground.
I would then make a second pass and lower the rotary cutter down on top of the stump slowly, letting it chip away at it.
I have certainly gained a new respect for the machine, and perhaps you will too if you watch the videos below.
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You can watch our video about Using a Rotary Cutter and the Results of Rotary Cutting by clicking the links or watching below: