WHAT'S ON MY TRAILER: Deliberate Mowers and Hurricane-Force Blowers

Contractors discuss their use of Walker mowers for high-end lawns, and the biggest and baddest backpack blower from RedMax.

Known for their bagging capability, Walker mowers have impressed some Florida contractors by the way they can mulch.
Known for their bagging capability, Walker mowers have impressed some Florida contractors by the way they can mulch.

Contractor Larry Whitson had worked for other landscape maintenance companies before. He felt like he could do a better job if he started his own. So he did three years ago. Larry and his wife Vienna now co-own Your Lawn Your Way in Cape Coral, FL. Their customers are primarily homeowners with fancy yards.

"When we first started out three years ago, we were starving so we took any job we could get," Larry recalls. "Now we can pick and choose a bit. We started at the bottom and moved up. We only service high-end residential properties now."

To do so, the Whitsons rely on their Walker mower. Larry used to mow with mid-mount zero-turns from another well-known brand. But when he saw other area contractors running Walkers, he was overcome with curiosity. Now, three years later, he is overcome with brand loyalty.

"No mower can stripe like this one," Larry says. "The lawn looks like a baseball field when I'm done. It also does a good job of getting into tight places, so there's less trimming and cleanup involved. One other thing I like is that the deck pops up really easy, so we can change blades in the field without having to bring a jack along."

Another Cape Coral contractor, Margie Cue with Cue's Landscaping, has been using Walker mowers for the majority of her 26 years in business. She's now on her eighth one. "I like the floating deck because it won't scalp lawns," says Cue, who also caters to high-end residential clientele. "I used to buy a model with a grass catcher on it, but now I just use the mulching deck."

The same goes for Adam Torres of Executive Landscaping, also in Cape Coral. He has a Walker Model MB with a 42-inch mulching deck. "I use it on my properties that require a real meticulous look," Torres says. "We don't really need to catch clippings down here because the grass is so different. But the mulching deck on the Walker does a really good job. It mulches up the grass so nice and fine that you can't even tell the clippings were left behind."

Torres also likes the fact that the Walker mowers are sleek and compact, and aren't designed to mow at the speed of light. "Our high-end property owners like to see us going nice and slow, because then they feel like we're taking our time and doing a nice job," Torres adds.

Some properties, on the other hand, do call for a bigger, faster mower. Torres uses a Scag mid-mount on larger lawns that aren't in the best of shape and, thus, aren't owned by people who are overly concerned with appearance. Then, on properties with steep hills and slopes, Torres uses a Wright ZK stand-on mower. "Nothing holds slopes like my Wright," he relates.

There she blows

And nothing produces as much blowing force as the RedMax EBZ8500 Backpack Blower, according to Torres. "When I was shopping for a new blower a while back, my dealer (ABC Lawn Equipment) let me try out this RedMax," Torres tells. "The 8500 is like a hurricane, man. So I bought it, and I love it. I'll definitely buy another one unless another manufacturer comes out with something more powerful."

The EBZ8500 is actually a little too much blower for Margie Cue. "I'm also not so sure it is built right," Cue says. "When I start it up and hit the throttle, it pulls back to the left so hard I almost fall over. It's just really powerful. But I also have one of Echo's biggest blowers and it doesn't seem to do that; it just pulls straight back."

The Whitsons also use RedMax blowers. They have the next step down from the 8500, the EBZ7500. It, too, packs some wallop. "You can just stand on one side and blow off the entire driveway," Larry says. "Vienna needs to hold on with both hands, though, or she'll get blown straight back. But I really like it and have no problem running it."