Flail Mower Flail mower rotation

   / Flail mower rotation #1  


Veteran Member
Dec 25, 2005
Coal City IL
Ford 1900 FWD Kubota F2100E
Do most flail mowers rotate the same direction and is that in the opposite direction the wheels are rotating going forward. I did a search but there were so many results it would take two weeks to read them and maby not find the answer.
   / Flail mower rotation #2  
Don't know about "most" but typically mulchers cut forward and mowers cut backward (same direction as wheel rotation). Forward rotation requires a slower travel speed to get a good cut along with the mulching action in my experience. It also helps to open the rear discharge flap (if equipped) to improve mowing speed. Also, some mowers can have their cutting direction reversed depending on your needs. I prefer rotation in the same direction as wheel travel myself, but then I don't mow lawns.
   / Flail mower rotation #3  
I have a alamo sh88 and the blades rotate with the direction of forward travel, don't know about other brands
   / Flail mower rotation #4  
I suppose there may be some variation in rotation between brands but for a good cut with a flail mower, it should move the flails back to front. Or opposite forward wheel rotation. This moves the flails down and forward into the brush or grass against forward travel. I know mine will cut much better traveling forward than backing up under a tree or manuvering in reverse.

   / Flail mower rotation #5  
Ken, so the cuttings get thrown in front of itself ?

And then get recut and recut till they disappear ?
   / Flail mower rotation
  • Thread Starter
Ther are 2 things I am trying to decide befors purchacing a flail. Will a forward rotating (same dir. as wheels) or rev. rotation lift the weeds better after the tires have knocked it down. I am thinking a forward rotation would. But on a forward rotation what keeps the mower from shooting projectiles out the back. Everyone says flails are safer because they don't.
   / Flail mower rotation #7  
Ken, so the cuttings get thrown in front of itself ?

And then get recut and recut till they disappear ?

Actually, no. Clippings seem to get cut multiple times but I think it's the multiple line of flails that are cutting the higher parts of the grass followed the lower line as the tractor moves forward. On tall grass/weeds, it gets laid over and chopped up. The clippings simply ride up over inside the drum and get laid down behind the flail. The only time I've noticed anything "shooting out" is when I drive over the dirt driveway. The dust is blown from the front of flail and under the tractor. Nothing blows out the sides or back. During normal cutting, the grass is spread out behind the mower and there's no clumping like on a rotary mower.

And the best part about a flail mower is that it doesn't seem to mater if the grass is wet. You could mow in the rain if you wanted. I sure can't do that with the rotary. That thing would clog up and stall. Not to mention the wet piles of clippings. When I cut high grass with the rotary, it seems to bunch up and roll out of the back. The only way to spread it out is to run over it again. That's not necessary with the flail mower.
   / Flail mower rotation #8  
I own both types. My Jacobsen cuts reverse (opposite the wheel direction). It cuts like a fine golf course mower, but will bog down and clog up on high grass. My Ford flail cuts forward (same as wheel direction) without binding up in tall grass. The Ford cut is rougher but can handle tall weeds. Depends on the usage, weekly cutting with reverse or monthly cutting with forward. Neither mower will throw anything. Not recommended for heavy brush and branches, the rotor bearings can shatter or the rotor can get bent. A well balanced rotor has minimal vibration.
   / Flail mower rotation #9  
Here's a crude drawing of my flail mower action. There's four segments on a central shaft. Each segment has eight flails. Each flail is offset about 2" from the one in front of it. This means that each flail is making a fresh cut. If you look at the picture above, you'll notice that the cutter is over-driven. I forget the exact size of the pulleys but I recall it being about 2.9:1. At 540 pto speed, that puts the cutter shaft turning around 1566 rpm. When it's cutting, it sounds like a buzzing noise.


I have both cutters too. The flail will make a cleaner cut and it doesn't have a problem with 3-4' green Johnson grass or 4' dried Blood Weed. So "tall grass" is relative to the viewer. It makes short work of small brush up to about 1" and it doesn't throw chips all over the place. (Great for those seedling Mesquites around here.)

Both have a place around here but after one use of a rotary, the flail mower gets all the maintenance duty. And if we ever get any rain, I may use it again--This year! :eek:
   / Flail mower rotation #10  
Does anyone see any reason why a Caroni 1900 couldn't be spun in reverse rotation and be pushed on the front of a tractor rather than being pulled in its' factory rotation??