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Lazer Z vs. Turf Tracer


LawnSite Member
I have had several prospective clients ask if I can use a walk behind mower instead of a rider. They keep telling me that the heavier rider is leaving ruts. I am finding a fair amount of residential clients are willing to pay the extra fees for me to use a walk behind versus a rider (takes longer).

I am thinking of upgrading to a Turf Tracer, 60 inch, 23hp. Do you have any thoughts on the PSI on this unit versus a traditional Lazer Z?


Manufacturer / Sponsor

There is a weight advantage on a walk behind vs. a riding mower. The difference however on the lawn is often more perception than reality.

Technically no machine will place more pressure on the ground than air pressure in the drive tires. If a tire has 18 psi it can not leave more than 18 psi of pressure on the ground. If it has 10 psi it can't leave more than 10 psi on the ground.

Once in a while there is a perception that the rider is leaving ruts when it may not be. Often in the customers eyes the riding mower is looked at as a piece of heavy commercial or industrial equipment. A walk behind is looked at as a lawnmower. Then when the customer sees the pattern in the lawn left by the drive tires he/she assumes these are ruts. In reality this are often nothing more than a "stripe" pattern caused by the drive tires laying down the already cut grass.

You can combat this several ways. First you can add the striping roller which makes the pattern in the lawn more uniform, you can change your cutting patterns, switch to a walk behind and in many cases you can also adjust your tire pressure. Depending upon the drive tire (they're all a little bit different from machine to machine) you can often end up with a "square" shoulder where the tread meets the side wall. This is a bad thing in terms of traction, turf damage and the perception of rutting. Just make sure you have enough tire pressure to "crown" the tire. You don't want the tire to look flat from shoulder to shoulder when looking at the machine from behind. Generally you won't need to go over about 16-18 psi.