"Toro? Don't they make mowers?" Goulbourne says what is on everyone's mind as we await the arrival of the STX-26. Can a company that has such a strong name in grass-cutting and golf course equipment produce a machine to take out tough stumps? We are pleasantly surprised.
The STX-26 is built in America. Noting that some stump grinders are overcomplicated, Toro designed this machine to be easy to use - and it certainly is. The controls are similar to those on the Toro Dingo TX. We are talking two simple levers. One is for left/right traction control along with forward, reverse and turn. The other is for sweep, lift/lower and engagement of the grinder head.
"I like the controls. They are very smooth and easy to master. If I was in the market for removing stumps in gardens, I would consider this one, relative to price," says Jane.
Goulbourne agrees: "I really like the controls. It's a manoeuvrable machine and when you get used it you should be able to hold the head wheel joystick and operate the controls to move it at the same time."
To help productivity, the STX-26 has a tracking transport speed exceeding 4mph. Even more impressive is the zero-turn capability - just as you would expect from Toro. It is a real help when moving the machine into position.
Mud and inclines are not problems. The unit's low centre of gravity and large footprint combine to give increased stability when tracking across wet and soft ground or working on sloping ground. Dimensions also mean this grinder fits through a standard 36in (91cm) gateway and neatly into a van.
The head is hydraulically driven, eliminating the need to tighten belts or replace cogged pulleys and clutches. This eliminates shock loading to the engine caused by belt slippage. The head is also offset, giving a clear view of the cutting operation as the arm makes its 119cm arc.
"It is nice to be able to stand over the machine and see the wheel working," Jane comments.
We like a lot of features about the STX-26 but there is one we would change. This grinder is powered by a petrol engine. "Get rid of the engine and give it a diesel," Jane suggests.
"It would be less noisy and less expensive to run. But Americans like their gas, don't they?"
Engine 26hp Kawasaki 730V twin cylinder
Cutting wheel 19in (48.26cm) diameter, 0.75in (19mm) thick, with 12 green teeth
Cutting depth 12.5in (31.75cm) below ground
Cutting height 35in (88.9cm) above ground
Sweep 47in (119cm)
Hydraulic flow 13.5gpm hydraulic flow to head
List price £11,700 + VAT
Tel Toro - 01279 603020
Tested This Issue
Carlton SP7015 TRX
The Review Panel
Dan Goulbourne, trainee arborist, Westonbirt Arboretum
Andrew Jane, operations support officer, Westonbirt Arboretum