Field Notes from Toro
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Feature:

Taking all comers

MowerZ Master® riders handle all types of terrain while still providing a nice, even cut without leaving the riders exhausted.

Zero-turn riding mowers make demanding jobs look easy, and Toro’s Z Master® series is no exception. The machines can mow all types of terrain while still providing a nice, even cut without leaving the operators exhausted. Take a seat and enjoy the ride!

IN THE MOUNTAINS. In between the Ouachita Mountains and a 1,940-acre lake are 68 campsites in constant need of landscape management. Richard Boyes, superintendent at Lake Catherine State Park in Hot Springs, Ark., has nearly 150 acres to mow on a rotating schedule.

Working around trees, cabins and even the main entrance sign, Boyes finds a zero-turn machine like those in the Z Master Z580-D diesel series makes the job much easier.

“It’s not lawn-type mowing (that we do). It’s wood-type mowing,” he says. “We have very little flat ground.”

The Z Master works well in those difficult-to-reach locations.

“We use it in certain areas,” Boyes says. “It’s easier to get around trees, large rocks and stumps. In places like that, it works really handy.”

Boyes says the three to five operators who are out mowing at any given time during the season have to be careful going over the bumpy grounds, but the mower can handle it if they pace themselves.

“You have to be cautious and go slow with (the machine),” he says. “All our guys like how well the Z Master mower works.”

PASSING THE TIME … AND THE GAS STATION. Adam Horowitz, owner of Green Lion Lawn Care in Freehold, N.J., has three diesel-powered mowers in the Z Master Z580-D series. He says he enjoys using the Z580 series because his customer base is mostly residential, and the machines make nice lines on properties without being gas-guzzlers.

“The diesels are really efficient on gas,” Horowitz says. “It saves us from stopping at the gas station every day.”

Horowitz bought into the series in the fall of 2009, and in the short amount of in-season time found that the mowers increased productivity immensely.

“They’re strong machines,” he says. “They make the day go quicker when you’re on a lawn with thick, high grass.”

LOWERING COSTS. When Flowerbomb Landscaping first arrived in Central Florida in the early ’90s, owner Rick Baker says it was one of the first companies to try out Toro machines. Last summer, the crew increased its fleet and purchased two Z Master Z500 series mowers with 60-inch decks.

Now with one full season of use under its belt, Flowerbomb is pleased with the Z Masters.

“We would recommend it for every landscape company,” Baker says. “They handle better. They’re dependable, low maintenance and durable.”

Baker says there is not a lot of repair work with the Toro machines. Flowerbomb does mostly belt and cable replacements, but otherwise, the Z Masters are durable.

“On some (previous) walk-behinds, the decks used to get full of sand” and need repairs, he says. “We’ve been very satisfied with Toro products. They’re great machines. We adjust them once in awhile, but overall we like them.”

While Flowerbomb likes the lower repair costs, Complete Landsculpture in Dallas went with the Z500 series to reduce labor costs.

“My guys aren’t as tired at the end of the day,” says Jay Moore, maintenance division manager, of his more than 70 employees. “We’re getting them to do more, and they’re not worn out from walking behind a machine all day.”

The mowers’ wide decks and zero-turn radius help move jobs along quickly, and Moore says the local dealers make sure Complete Landsculpture has what the company needs by way of parts and repairs.

“They’re great at speed, ease of use and the care you get from your supplier is great,” he says.