FAQ: DR Field and Brush Mowers
How does a brush mower differ from a lawn mower?
A brush mower is a stronger version of a walk-behind lawn mower. It uses a powerful engine and heavy blade to whack through thick grass, brush, and saplings. Brush mowers have a higher deck height and all-terrain tires to travel over rocks and stumps that would stop a standard mower. Since they are heavier than lawn mowers, they are also self-propelled.
A walk-behind brush mower should be used for cutting anything too dense for a standard lawn mower. They are particularly helpful for cutting new paths/trails, maintaining overgrown fields and hills, or creating a perimeter that doesn’t need weekly mowing but gives open views without saplings.
What types of materials can I use the DR Field and Brush Mower on?
Depending on model, the DR can be used on 4-6’ tall grass, 6-8’ tall weeds, and 2-3” diameter saplings. This includes sage brush, buckthorn, bamboo, tumbleweed, wild berry thickets, honeysuckle, grapevines, thorn bushes, ivy, large pinecones, tuffs of grass created from wildlife, you name it!
What’s the difference between a gear drive vs. hydrostatic transmission?
DR’s Professional Series uses a gear drive transmission. This allows you to lock in your ground speed, leaving your hands free to steer the machine across uneven terrain instead of fussing with throttle controls. With 3 forward gears and 1 reverse, you can choose a fixed pace that's right for you.
DR’s Commercial XD Series features hydrostatic transmissions. This gives you a variable speed that’s adjusted with a single high-to-low control lever and no clutch to depress. Just squeeze the hand lever to move forward or push the thumb lever to go backwards. Action is pressure sensitive, so you set the speed.
What does Power Steering mean?
Most of DR’s Professional Series feature Power Steering to quickly turn these heavy machines. Each wheel has a hand-operated disc brake, so when you squeeze a brake, the mower will pivot around that wheel. This makes steering around obstacles or turning 180° effortless!
Alternatively, the Commercial XD Series utilizes Hydrostatic Drive to make turning easier but through a very different mechanism. In addition to the fully variable speed control, two independent hydrostatic wheel drives provide a zero-degree turning radius and virtually effortless maneuverability.
What’s the difference between a pivoting and fixed deck?
A pivoting brush deck moves laterally as you mow and follows the contours of uneven ground. This minimizes scalping and keeps the machine’s weight on its wheels for greater traction. All DR models except for the PREMIER use a pivoting deck. If your property is uneven, it’s better to invest in a pivoting deck.
A fixed brush deck doesn’t move along with the ground’s contours. It provides stability in deep, flat vegetation. While the PREMIER’s deck doesn’t pivot, the blades are still belt driven. When the unit encounters solid objects like a rock or stump, the belt will slip, helping to prevent damage to the spindle.
What kind of blade does this use? How easy is it to sharpen?
All Professional Series models come with a standard Multi-Purpose Blade, which is ideal for primarily field and weed mowing. If you will be cutting mostly brush and thicker materials, consider adding a Heavy-Duty Brush Blade. Its extra weight creates greater momentum as the blade spins, making it easier to cut tough material. It’s sharp on both sides and can be reversed for a fresh edge. All Commercial XD models use this Heavy-Duty Blade.
Removing and sharpening the blade is the same process as a lawn mower. Use a block of wood to keep the blade from rotating and an impact wrench/breaker bar to remove the blade nut and take the blade off. Sharpen the blade and be sure to properly balance it afterwards to avoid wearing out the spindle bearings.
What happens if I hit rocks, gopher hills, or badger mounds?
The DR is designed for rough terrain. The blades are very durable and tackle jobs that include running into unseen obstacles. It’s also equipped with a belt-drive system that allows the belt to slip when striking an object, reducing the possibility of damage to the blade spindle and protecting the engine.
The DR has a fixed 3.5-4” cutting height (depending on model), which is high enough to clear most stumps, rocks, and animal mounds. The pivoting deck mentioned above helps to avoid objects by moving from side to side and following the ground’s contours.
For areas that could have many obstacles, consider adding the DR Bladeless Mowing Attachment. It’s used for mowing lighter grass and weed-covered areas where you might not want to take a steel-bladed mower.
Hitting a rock or stump can potentially damage the blade or blade spindle, so it's best to avoid rocky situations whenever you can. If possible, pick up bigger rocks and other obstacles before using the DR Field and Brush Mower.
Can the DR be used on hills?
All DR Field and Brush Mowers can be taken on inclines up to 20°. Both the PRO and PREMIER 26 10.5 HP models use splash lubricated engines and are better for smaller slopes.
If your terrain is very hilly, we recommend upgrading to one of DR’s higher horsepower models. These utilize full pressure oil and fuel pumps in order to operate in steep areas without risk of oil or fuel starvation. They also come with Power Steering for ease of turning at the end of a row.
We have a few safety tips for using any DR Field and Brush Mower on hills:
- When possible, mow across the face of the slope rather than up and down and use extreme caution when changing direction.
- Never operate near drop-offs, ditches, or embankments.
- Never operate on wet hills or anywhere with a risk of slipping.
- Always wear thick-soled boots with solid traction.
Can I use the DR on more than just brush?
DR designed their self-propelled brush mowers with a unique coupling system that makes it easy to add versatile attachments. The DR’s brush mowing deck can be swapped with any of their optional PTO attachments: a finish mower, snow thrower, chipper, or grader/snow blade. It's like owning 5 machines in 1 and turns your brush mower into a 4-season workhorse!
All attachments can be added in minutes without using lots of tools. Just slide off the brush deck, insert an attachment onto the power unit shaft, slip the belt over the attachment’s drive pulley, and lock the attachment in place with a pin. Attachments are compatible with all models except the PREMIER model and Commercial XD Series.
Is there an electric start option?
The PREMIER, PRO 26 10.5 HP, and XD26 models are available in manual start and all larger models were designed with electric start for ease of use. The 9-amp battery recharges while operating for instant starts.
What protective equipment do I need while using this?
The DR Field and Brush Mower is a high-powered machine and operators should always use proper protection. At a minimum, wear safety glasses, gloves, long pants, and ear plugs/muffs. We also highly recommend wearing thick-soled boots because it’s possible for sharp stumps to cut through a regular sneaker sole.
If you live in an area prone to bees, you might even consider wearing a bee suit. All it takes is running over a wasp nest once to realize this is no joke!
Is any assembly required?
The DR only requires minimal assembly. It will take about 10 minutes to attach the deck and brush bar, connect the battery wire (for electric-starting models), add oil and gas to the engine, and you'll be ready to go!
After this, breaking in the steering brake and PTO clutch are very important steps to ensure optimal performance. This entails applying/releasing the brakes at various distances and engaging/disengaging the PTO clutch for several-second intervals. Please refer to the Owner’s Manual for further information.
Are there accessories available?
In addition to DR’s interchangeable attachments, you can add some accessories to make the most out of your investment. Check out DR’s protective covers, maintenance kits, extra blades, head light kits, tire chains, and more!
Anything else I should know?
You'll find a wealth of information on DR Field and Brush Mowers by shopping our site. One important note: we have focused here on the self-propelled models. However, if you own an ATV or UTV and want to press it into service, check out our Tow-Behind Brush Mowers. And check back with us for new products and accessories as we update our product offerings weekly! You can also sign up for new product alerts and we'll send them right to your inbox!
Last updated: 7/20/2022