What is the Difference Between a Slasher and a Mulcher Attachment?

Are you looking to clear a grassy or overgrown block? Choosing the proper attachment is key to making the process as quick and efficient as possible. At Orange Hire, we have several earthmoving attachments that are ideal for land clearing and vegetation management. From slashers and mulchers to rotary axes, picking the right attachment can help you to save time and money.

Read on to learn more about the difference between slashers, mulchers and rotary axes and how to choose the best attachment for your job.

What is a slasher?

As the name suggests, a slasher attachment is ideal for slashing light to moderately dense vegetation, like grass, weeds and low-ground shrubs. They’re often used for general landscaping duties, like clearing fence lines and creating fire breaks. 

They work similarly to lawnmowers and are not suitable for cutting down trees or for mulching branches.

Many slashers are adjustable, so the blades can be set at different levels to achieve the desired cutting height based on the terrain and vegetation density. Thanks to this level of ground clearance, slashers are able to easily manoeuvre over hidden rocks and uneven ground without getting stuck. 

Slashers are generally equipped with one or more horizontally mounted blades that rotate at high speed to cut through vegetation at or near ground level. Because of this, they create a long line of heaped organic material, known as windrows that might need additional cleanup if you’re after a more polished finish. If the debris is left on the ground, it can cause the grass underneath to die resulting in brown patches.  

Slashers are typically designed to be attached to tractors or skid steer loaders. They’re often connected to the rear of the tractor or the front of a skid steer using a three-point hitch or quick-attach system. 

Good quality slashers come with safety features such as guards or deflectors to prevent debris from flying outward during operation, reducing the risk of injury to the operator and others nearby.

What is a mulcher?

mulcher is used to clear and manage vegetation. Mulchers are designed for more intensive land-clearing tasks than slashers, so they can easily handle dense vegetation, shrubs, small trees, brush and other tough materials. 

Unlike a slasher, a mulcher uses a rotary drum that’s fitted with durable steel teeth that shred and mulch vegetation into fine debris. This means that the mulch is evenly distributed across the ground, unlike a slasher that leaves windrows across the area. Because of this, a mulcher tends to create an evenly distributed mulch byproduct that decomposes quickly to create a cleaner finish.  

Mulchers are designed to be attached to heavy machinery like  Track loaders (posi tracks) or excavators. They are often connected using a hydraulic quick-attach system, depending on the specific type of machine.

Track loaders that are using mulching attachments need to ensure the loaders are fitted with the appropriate safety features such as shatterproof glass to protect the operator.

Our attachments can mulch up to 229mm diameter trees or brush.

Mulchers are ideal for land restoration and preparation by reducing vegetation into mulch, which helps to improve soil quality, reduce erosion and assist with the regrowth of new vegetation.

What is a rotary axe?

If you’re in the process of trying to decide which attachment would be best for clearing vegetation, chances are you’ve also come across a rotary axe. While a rotary axe shares some similarities with slashers the mechanism of the rotary axe sets this attachment apart from the others, making it a stronger and more versatile piece of equipment for clearing vegetation.

Rotary axe attachment is a robust piece of equipment. They can cut down trees up to 180mm in diameter making them ideal for clearing thick overgrowth, heavy brush and small trees while navigating rough and uneven terrain.  

The way this attachment works is all in the name. The rotary axe is fitted with multiple alternating bevels across a rotating drum, which allows it to deliver vigorous axe-like cuts that strike vegetation at different angles. Because of this, rotary axes are often used for heavy-duty clearing jobs in rough terrain, like forestry mulching, clearing overgrown fields and ground preparation.

Much like slashers, rotary axes tend to leave a trail of cut vegetation on the ground, so this might require additional cleanup after cutting.

Which attachment should I choose?

When it comes to picking the right attachment for the job, there are a few key factors that are worth considering.

Does your equipment support the attachment?

First things first, is your equipment actually capable of actually operating the attachment? Ultimately, this will depend on the capacity of your machine’s engine. Smaller machines are generally limited to smaller attachments, whereas larger machines are better equipped to handle larger attachments. 

At Orange Hire, we have a huge range of earthmoving products available for dry hire. So if your equipment can’t handle the attachment, we’re sure to have a machine that can.

How big is the job?

The next factor to consider is the job at hand. Are you just looking to clear a small section of tall grass or do you need to process an extensive block that’s covered in shrubs, roots and stumps? 

Here’s how the different types of equipment stack up against each other:

  • Slasher: Slashers are commonly used to maintain grassy areas, roadside vegetation and clear light brush in agricultural and landscaping settings.
  • Mulcher: Mulchers are ideal for slightly more intensive land clearing, forestry operations, wildfire prevention and vegetation management tasks, especially where dense and challenging vegetation needs to be processed into mulch.
  • Rotary axe: Rotary axes are often used for heavy-duty land clearing tasks in rough terrain, like clearing trails, shredding branches and preparing sites for construction projects. While rotary axes are ideal for clearing dense vegetation and small trees across rough, uneven terrain, these attachments tend to leave larger debris that might require additional cleanup.

What type of finish would you like?

Slashers, mulchers and rotary axes all produce a different finish once the job’s done. Both slashers and rotary axes leave shredded debris on the ground that might need to be cleaned up after the cutting is done. On the other hand, mulchers create finely shredded mulch from processed vegetation, which can be left on the ground to fertilise and rejuvenate the land. Mulchers also produce a more manicured finish if the final look is important for your clearing project.  

Still not sure which attachment would be best for your job? The team at Orange Hire is on hand to provide expert advice and tailored equipment solutions. Whether you’re just after the attachment or you’re in need of the attachment and the machine to go with it, you can trust Orange Hire to deliver the best quality gear at affordable prices.