Brushcutting Tips

brush cutting tips

Sometimes, growth can be too thick for a mower to handle, but it’s also not widespread enough to need cutting with a tractor-operated brush hog. Billy Goat’s walk-behind brushcutters are designed to fill in the gap between this equipment, providing serious cutting power in a walk-behind package. These tips will help you get the most out of these machines so you can clear land with ease.

How does a Brushcutter Differ from a Mower?

At first glance, a walk-behind brushcutter just looks like a beefed-up walk behind mower. In some cases, that may be true: some manufacturers just take a basic mower design and add a thicker blade and a tougher drive system. However, with a Billy Goat brushcutter, you get a deck that is essentially a miniaturized brush hog. This changes the overall design of the mower and how it should be used.

The blade is shaped like a mower blade, but it’s much thicker to cut through thick weeds and small trees. The surrounding deck is built to deflect debris so it won’t mulch or vacuum grass straight to be cut by the blade. This leaves a rougher cut than a finish mower. Cut materials exit out of the back of the deck, so mowing direction is less important; this lets you mow over inclines based on which approach will keep the machine stable.

The blade isn’t driven directly by the motor. To get a better weight balance, the engine is placed directly over the axle. The motor shaft extends into the axle and has a clutch to engage the drive pulley. When engaged, a belt transfers power to the deck. If you hit something with a blade, the impact is taken up by the belt and bearings instead of bending the motor shaft, much like the drive system on a snowblower. This also allows Billy Goat to use a floating deck design on some models so the blade can closely follow uneven terrain.

Brushcutting takes place on all kinds of terrain, so the drive system is built to cope with extreme conditions. This includes a low center of gravity and wide platform to handle steel slopes, multiple drive gears, and even hydrostatic drives to get the right travel speed, and, in some models, an electronic locking differential to prevent wheel slip.

All that power makes brushcutters heavy with Billy Goat’s latest models weighing in at around 350 lbs. To make steering more manageable, the handles use a plow design for more leverage.

Before Mowing

Before you cut, walk through the area and remove any obstacles including rocks, tools, branches and loose fence wire. You probably won’t get everything, but a little preparation can make a big difference both for the protection of the brushcutter and for your own safety.

While you’re less likely to be hit by debris using a walk-behind brushcutter than a hand-held unit, it’s still a good idea to wear clothing and eye protection. Non-slip shoes are also important since wet, freshly cut stems can be extremely slippery, especially on inclines.

Deck Height

Brushcutters are intended for mowing of rough ground cover, leaving finish mowing to a traditional mower as needed. If you’re mowing in an area you’ve never cut before, start with a pass at a high deck height so you can avoid most hidden obstacles. Inspect the ground again and remove these obstacles before making a closer pass.

Blade Care

Like a regular mower blade, the blade on your brushcutter needs to be kept sharp for maximum cutting performance. While you might not care if the tips of grass get ripped by a dull blade, it takes more energy to tear grass than to cut it, hampering the mower’s performance.

Striking rocks is almost inevitable, and these impacts can take chunks out of the blade surface. While it’s possible to sharpen the blade while still mounted on the deck, it’s better to remove the blade so it can be balanced before being put back into use. Never use a blade that is cracked, bent or out of balance. It’s a good idea to have a spare blade on hand in case a major impact damages your current blade.

A Fully Functioning Brushcutter is a Safe, Effective Brushcutter

When you need parts for your Billy Goat brushcutter, visit We’re a certified dealer for Billy Goat as well as Briggs & Stratton and Honda Small Engines so we can provide you with all the parts you need to keep your equipment in top condition. Our site makes finding the right part easy by integrating factory parts diagrams and descriptions, and we can ship your order anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.

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