Flail mower use

   / Flail mower use #1  


New member
Jan 1, 2021
John Deere 5301
I live in Ohio and thanks to Louis Bromfield introducing multi flora bushes ( very prolific and thorny bushes, almost impossible to eradicate) to our area, the edges of my fields are covered with them. They have to be kept cut or they extend into the fields very easily. The problem with cutting them is that early settlers took rocks out of the fields and dumped them along the edges where the thick multi flora bushes are growing, hiding the rocks.

I was thinking about buying a flail mower for my JD 5301E tractor to cut the bushes but I wouldn't be able to run the mower along the ground because of the rocks...it would destroy the blades.

My question is this: Is it possible to suspend a manual offset (my tractor does not have rear hydraulics available) flail mower about a foot off of the ground to miss the rocks and cut the multi flora bushes at that height or would attempting to do that cause enough vibration to damage the flail mower?

I have looked at Betsco, Woodmax, Titan, DR walkbehinds and other mowers but can't decide what would be the best solution to cut these pesky thorny bushes.

I would surely appreciate it if anyone has any suggestions.

Thank you
   / Flail mower use #2  
Sounds like a good application for Roundup and some brush killer to me. Flails are made to ride on the ground. That's how they create vacuum and pull weeds up before they are cut. You could get an offset flail and use it as you describe but it wouldn't be very effective. Vibration wouldn't be the issue. They are balanced, but it just wouldn't cut very well. I would invest in a good sprayer or fogger. We use a fogger for that type of weed control.
   / Flail mower use #3  
Not an answer to your question about using the flail mower as you described, but I had the exact same situation with multiflora rose and rocks along my fields.
I used my root rake grapple to clear the field edges and was very impressed with how good of a job it did. Opened the grapple, dropped the bottom tines into the ground and drove forward, ripping the multi flora out by the roots. Any rocks bigger than the tine spacing were also pushed into a pile.
Other than a couple of boulders I had to work around the field edges
cleaned up nicely.
   / Flail mower use #4  
Here in PA we have a terrible invasion of multi flora, I have areas around an old pond that it’s 8-10 feet tall
I have seriously considered getting a boom mower tractor with a flail head on it
   / Flail mower use #5  
I just bought a flail mower and have no problem getting a nice clean cut with it. Raised up to 12 inches off the ground. I know they are designed to run with the roller on the ground, but I use it to clip pastures that I rotationally graze and I don’t want it cut that low. You need to make sure the mower is tilted forward otherwise it will spit mulch back at you
   / Flail mower use #6  


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how about a hydraulic powered sickle bar this is an old picture but you get the idea.
   / Flail mower use #7  
Mine has hydraulic offset, but the same principle applies...

I've used it occasionally in the lifted position to attack vines.
   / Flail mower use #8  
I do alot of TSI work and have found that a Roundup type product is really the only long term effective action against multiflora & barberry.
Actually barberry has become more of a problem than multiflora in my area.
We used to cut it, but it will grow back, but the Roundup is more permanent.
If used properly, respirators and protective clothing, there is little to no danger to the user.
I use a 4-5% solution from Tractor Supply (glyphosate) that is cheaper than Roundup and just as effective.
   / Flail mower use #9  
I have seen this type of invasive set back really far useing prescribed burning.
   / Flail mower use #10  
I started clearing my fields/meadows with a five tine pitchfork & wheelbarrow. Dumped the rock at the edge of the fields.

Then it hit me - some day I may want to expand these fields/meadows.

So....back with the tractor & grapple. Rock piles - back into wheelbarrow. Dumped the wheelbarrow loads off the cliffs - into my lake.

I have stands of Buck bush surrounding all my fields. Two feet tall - stem is 1/4" in diameter - thick as the hair on a hound dog.

Slowly but surely I'm cutting it back with my JD570 mmm. This has been ongoing for four years now. Some day I will surely blow the drive belt on the JD570.

New drive belt is a whole lot cheaper than the rotary mower I would like.

BTW - we planted a multiflora on the SW side of the house. Over the years it became a nuisance. Like - WaHOO - I rode over it with the JD570. Pushed it down - mowed it flat. Followed with RoundUp on the startup shoots. It is now - gone forever.
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