A Beginner’s Guide on How to Bush Hog With a Tractor (2023 Update)

If you’re looking for a fun and cost-effective way to clear land, bush-hogging with a tractor is the perfect solution.

You don’t need special skills or expensive equipment; all that’s needed is a tractor and the right attachments. This guide will provide an all-in-one resource to help you understand what’s required, knowledge of safety precautions, and strategies for getting started with bush-hogging your land this year!

Keep reading if you are ready to learn how to effectively use a tractor as a tool for cutting down grass, tall weeds, small trees, and shrubs!

Take away key points:

  • A brush hog is a rotary mower, attached to a three-point hitch and perfect for cutting thick grass on uneven terrain.
  • A brush hog works fine in dealing with farm low grass as well as with high grass and weeds.
  • Inspect the pasture, woods or field you plan to bush hog, and remove any large or sharp objects like rocks, tree stumps, or debris.
  • Adjust the bush hog to the desired cutting height in the cutting deck. It is ideal, to begin with, a higher cutting height and gradually lower it until the desired level is achieved. Make sure all the parts are securely connected.
  • For a rotary mower, you can either use a three-point hitch or a drawbar.

Tractor preparation: what to do before attaching your bush hog

Before you can begin cutting with your bush hog tractor, it’s important to make sure it’s prepared for the task.

Here are some steps you’ll need to follow before attaching your rotary cutter bush hog:

Check your oil, fuel, and hydraulic fluid levels: Make sure all fluids are topped off according to the manufacturer’s instructions before you begin cutting.

Inspect the tractor: Look for any loose or damaged parts and address them before attaching the brush hog. Pay particular attention to the PTO (power take-off) shaft, which connects the tractor to the brush hog. Verify that the PTO has the correct rotation speed for your brush hog.

Smooth out the terrain: it would also be helpful to remove any debris from the area. This would help minimize any damage that can be caused by the debris.

Prepare the area: It’s important to make sure there is enough space and that there are no obstacles for the tractor to maneuver around. Ensure that there are no underground wires or pipes, or a tree stump as these can cause serious damage during brush hogging. While cutting, watch out where the roll bar goes.

Adjust tire pressure: Prior to rotary cutter brush hogging, make sure that your tire pressure matches the manufacturer’s recommended specifications.

Attaching and adjusting your bush hog

Now that you’ve prepared your tractor, it’s time to attach your bush hog. Follow these steps for a successful attachment:

1. Position the bush hog

Move your brush hog into position behind your tractor, making sure that it lines up with the PTO shaft. Ensure that the tractor and brush hog is on level ground.

Reverse the tractor toward the bush hog. The bush-three-point rod connectors should be near the tractor’s three-point hitch arms. The lever bracket’s “Position Control” part holds the three-point hitch up and down lever.

When you turn off the engine, the three-point hitch won’t descend. Start the tractor in first gear and switch it off. For safety, place wheel chocks in front of and behind both rear wheels.

2. Connect the PTO shaft

Connect the tractor’s PTO shaft to the input shaft on the brush hog. Make sure the PTO shaft is properly seated and securely attached and that the locking mechanisms are engaged so you can safely engage the PTO.

Connect the bush-left hitch pin to the tractor’s left hitch arm. Use a rubber mallet to tap the arm onto the left hitch pin. Attach the arm to the hitch pin by inserting a retention pin through the hole.

Connect the bush hog’s right hitch pin to the tractor’s right three-point hitch arm. Use a rubber mallet to tap the arm onto the hitch pin. A retaining pin holds the arm to the pin.Make sure all of the parts are securely connected.

3. Adjust the height

Your bush hog will need to be adjusted so that it is level and close to the ground but not so low that it will be damaged by rocks or other debris.

If your rotary cutter bush hog has adjustable skids or wheels, adjust them so that they are at the appropriate height for your terrain. Otherwise, you should adjust the cutting deck in accordance to the grass length.

4. Adjust the blade angle

Ensure that the blade angle is properly aligned; this would enable efficient cutting.

If necessary, adjust the angle of the blades so that they are perpendicular to the ground. Check that the blades are on both sides and are firmly attached.

5. Check the safety chains

Attach the safety chains to the tractor’s three-point hitch. These chains help keep the bush hog attached to the tractor in case of failure of the main PTO connection.

Safety precaution guidelines for bush hogging

Wear appropriate clothing: Make sure your clothing fits properly and is light and comfortable. Wear sturdy work boots and long pants to protect your legs. Gloves, a hat and safety glasses are also recommended.

Never allow passengers: Always ensure that you are the only person on the farm tractor while bush-hogging. Your passengers can be injured from debris and moving parts, or even utility wires so you need to be alert of safety precaution.

Check for obstacles: Make sure that the area you will be working on is free from obstacles. Look out for trees, rocks, and other debris that could be hidden among the grasses.

Bush hogging tips for optimal results

When bush hogging with your tractor, you want to get the job done as efficiently as possible while also producing optimal results.

Here are some tips to help you achieve your goal:

Drive at an appropriate speed: Use a speed that is comfortable for you and your environment, and that allows you to complete the job efficiently. However, be sure not to drive too quickly, which can damage your equipment and produce suboptimal results.

Work in dry conditions: Where possible, work in dry conditions. Wet and tall grass often results in clumping, and can put a strain on the machine, leading to damaged equipment.

Avoid debris: If you come across any visible and moveable debris or rocks, manually clear them. Attempting to mow around or over them could result in equipment damage or even injury.

Finishing up: Detaching your bush hog and tractor maintenance

After you’re done bush hogging, you’ll need to take the brush hog off your tractor and do some maintenance on it.

Make sure you shut off the equipment, detach the PTO shaft, inspect the brush hog for signs of wear and damage, clean the equipment, add fuel and oil if necessary, and store the equipment in a safe location.

Detaching a brush hog from a tractor is a fairly straightforward process that involves several steps. First, shut off the tractor engine and wait for all motion to come to a complete stop.

Next, remove the PTO shaft from the tractor’s power take-off. This can usually be accomplished by gently pulling the shaft away from the tractor until it slides free. Make sure to handle the PTO shaft carefully, as it can be heavy and awkward to carry.

Once you have successfully detached the bush hog, it’s important to perform regular maintenance to keep your equipment in top working condition.


How many HP tractor do I need to run a bush hog?

The amount of horsepower (HP) you need to run a bush hog depends on several factors, such as the size of the rotary cutter bush hog, the level of resistance of the grass, and the terrain.

As a general rule, you will need a tractor with at least 20-25 HP for a small to medium-sized bush hog rotary cutter.

For larger bush hogs or for tougher terrain or thicker grasses, you may need a tractor with more horsepower.

How to put a bush hog on a tractor?

Putting a brush hog on a tractor is simple and straightforward.

First, park your tractor in an open, level area and make sure that the tractor is off and all motion has stopped.

Next, line up the PTO output on the tractor with the input opening on the rotary cutter bush hog, making sure that both are aligned correctly. Then, slide the PTO shaft into place until it locks securely into position.

Finally, if necessary, adjust the angle of attack for your rotary cutter bush hog.

Can you bush hog in the winter?

Bush hogging can be done in the winter, though there are a few things to consider.

First and foremost, make sure that the ground is not frozen solid or dangerously icy. A bush hog can be pulled over the frozen ground, but it risks damaging the blades and creating ruts in the land.

Can you bush hog with a skid steer?

Yes, it is possible to bush hog with a skid steer.

Bush hogging with a skid steer involves attaching the bush hog to the machine’s three-point hitch, which then allows the operator to control the bush hog from inside the cab of the skid steer.

Can you bush hog with a finish mower?

Yes, it is possible to use a finish mower to rotary cutter bush hog.

Finish mowers are designed with an adjustable cutting height, making them perfect for trimming and clearing thick brushes.

How to remove bush hog from tractor?

First, engage the parking brake on your tractor and lower the three-point hitch so that it is flush with the ground.

Next, unlatch the rotary cutter bush hog from its attachment points and lower it to the ground.

Finally, use a ratchet wrench or other appropriate tool to loosen any remaining bolts or pins connecting it to the tractor before releasing them completely.

What size bush hog for a 50 HP tractor?

A 50-horsepower tractor can easily manage a bush hog with up to 7 feet of cutting width. However, if you plan to use your bush hog on rougher terrain or steep inclines, it’s recommended that you choose a model with slightly less cutting width and weight.

What is the best tractor for bush hogging?

The best tractor for bush hogging will depend on your specific needs and budget.

For jobs that require more power and dependability, a compact or utility tractor with 30–55 horsepower is a good choice.

For lighter jobs such as mowing fields and meadows, smaller models in the 18-30 horsepower range should be sufficient.

How to remove PTO shaft from bush hog?

Before commencing, make sure to disconnect the tractor’s power supply and then remove any guards or covers that are preventing access.

Then, use a wrench to loosen the yoke on the rear end of the bush hog before the engage the PTO shaft.

To completely remove the shaft, disconnect any hydraulic hoses attached to it, and then use an opposing wrench on either side of the bearing housing to unscrew it.


Brush hogging with a tractor is an enjoyable and cost-effective way to maintain your land and even some small tree saplings. It is a less daunting task as you work your way up with it!

By selecting the right tractor for your needs and budget and taking the time to disconnect and remove the PTO shaft safely, you can ensure your bush hogging will be successful.

With some care and patience, you can ensure that your grass and meadows remain nice and even without doing any major damage to the land or machinery.

Photo of author

Ben Bareja

Ben Bareja, the owner-founder-webmaster of CropsReview.com. This website was conceptualized primarily to serve as an e-library for reference purposes on the principles and practices in crop science, including basic botany. Read more here

Leave a Comment