Understanding Tractor Mower Options

There are a wide variety of tractor mowers available to you for various uses.


You may want to simply manicure your lawn, manage over-grown fields, or even cut hay. You may even have other needs.


So, what is the best mower option for you?


Tractor Power and Motor Size


First, we need to discuss tractor power and motor size.


The amount of tractor power you need will be determined by three things at a minimum:


1. Type of mower

2. Grass heaviness

3. Size of mower


You will need a more powerful tractor if you have thick/long vegetation, wet grass, or a larger mower.


Mower manufacturers will recommend a specific tractor power requirement based on use. Some recommend specific mowers for certain tractors. You can learn more by consulting with your local tractor dealer or the manufacturer.


Time to take a deep dive into mower options.


Rotary Mowers


Rotary mowers feature one or more blades rotating perpendicular to the surface being cut.


The spinning blades tear and cut the vegetation.


Rotary mowers are mounted behind or below the tractor frame. Heavy-duty rotary mowers are sometimes referred to as “Bush Hogs.” Bush Hog is also the brand name of an equipment manufacturer that makes heavy-duty rotary mowers.


Finishing mowers are a specific type of rotary mower.


They will provide you with a well-groomed grass field.


Finishing mowers use a lower cutting height than typical rotary mowers. They also may be equipped with discharge chutes or bagging systems to control the disposal of the cut grass.


Reel Mowers

Reel mowers were the first mower design.

They produce a very fine cut due to the scissor action of the blades. Reel mowers use a series of blades, mounted in a cylindrical shape to cut grass against the stationary blade.


Reel mowers are frequently used on sports fields, golf courses, and other locations requiring a high-quality grass finish.


Gangs of reel mowers are pulled by tractors to cut very large areas. They can be powered from the tractor’s PTO or ground-driven and simply towed.


Flail Mowers


Flail mowers use a series of metal knives (flails) or chains that are mounted to a fast-rotating shaft.


These mowers throw little debris. This makes them a good option when doing municipal or roadside work near vehicles and other people.



Flail mowers can also be equipped with special flails, allowing them to handle thick and wet vegetation --- including tree limbs and crop debris.


Sickle Mowers


Sickle tractor mowers feature a long bar of cutting teeth.


These teeth move laterally across a set of stationary guard plates. The reciprocating action cuts the grass in a similar movement to an electric razor.



Sickle mowers have a long history. They date back to horse-drawn models that were powered by ground wheels.


Mower Safety


Before we end our discussion, it is important to understand a major mower safety feature called an Over Running Clutch on the power-takeoff “PTO.”


An over-running clutch is a mechanical device, allowing the PTO shaft to be driven by the tractor --- but not the implement.


Without an overrun clutch, the inertia of the spinning mower blades may push the tractor forward after the operator has depressed to clutch to stop.


This inertia can result in a major accident. Many operators have crashed into garage doors, buildings, trees, and people.


If you need any further help or have any questions about mower options, tractors, or anything else, please contact your dealer, local mechanic, or call us at 602-734-9944. Please ask about our current new and used tractor supply.