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Tools for Cutting Brush

By Ian Farquharson ; Updated September 21, 2017
Cutting overgrown brush may require a few different tools.

An open area can quickly become overwhelmed with dense brush if left unattended, and clearing this can take a great deal of effort. A variety of plants can invade an area, with grass, weeds, vines and small bushes some of the common examples. Tools for cutting brush can make clearing an area an easier job, and there are a few options available to suit different plant types.

Manual Cutting Blades

Manual cutting blades come in a variety of styles, and have a use in clearing underbrush and lighter brush material. Short-handled blades include machetes, which have long, straight steel blades with a sharpened edge. Cutting hooks have a curved blade, and can feature a shorter or longer handle depending on the reach required. Long-handled tools include weed cutters, which have double-edged metal cutting blades set at right angles to the handle, and are used by sweeping them from side-to-side across the ground.

Heavy-Duty Manual Tools

Brush that has grown over a longer of period of time can have plants with thicker woody stems, as well as dried-out and dead wood. This type of material requires cutting with heavy-duty tools; manual equipment which can do the job includes lopping shears. These typically feature straight or hooked cutting blades, with long handles providing the leverage to enable them to cut through thicker stems. A pruning saw can also do the job. This has a short metal cutting blade with teeth, with the shorter length making them easier to wield in denser brush.

Machine Powered Tools

Common styles of machine powered tools which are carried include string trimmers and chainsaws. String trimmers have a rotating cutting wire set on the end of a long metal shaft, with a gas engine usually providing the power. A shoulder strap helps carry the machine, and handles on the shaft enable the operator to swing the tool from side to side to clear underbrush. Chainsaws can have electric or gasoline powered motors. This tool has a use in clearing both lighter and heavier brush, with the blade capable of cutting through any thickness of plant material.

Walk-Behind Brush Cutters

To clear larger areas, a walk-behind brush mower can provide a more efficient option. These typically have rotary cutting blades spinning at high speed, powered by a gas engine. The engine and blades are set on a wheeled deck and frame, with handles providing the means of controlling the speed and direction of the machine. They typically have the power to enable them to clear dense underbrush of varying length.

Towed Brush Cutters

Other options for clearing larger areas include towed brush mowers or brush hogs, and these require less physical effort on the part of the operator. This type of machine also features a rotary cutting blade set on a wheeled deck and frame, although the design enables you to attach to the rear of a suitable vehicle for towing. Used more commonly for commercial operations, this style of brush clearing machine comes in different sizes. Smaller models can clear lighter brush, while heavy-duty models have the power to deal with denser brush.


About the Author


Ian Farquharson has worked as a freelance writer since 2008. He has written for individual clients, as well as various online publications, and brings sports and travel expertise to eHow. He has a Bachelor of Engineering in civil engineering from Dundee College of Technology.