Chipper Shredder

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by Durgan, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Brantford,Ontario, Canada
    Chipper Shredder Caveats and Information

    Recently I have been researching the Home Garden Chipper Shredders. I have read many posts throughout the internet, and have arrived at the conclusion many people have the wrong concept about these units. Since I have had one for seven years I will present my experience with these units.

    The unit is a pull start, and it has never failed me on the first pull. I would have preferred a 110 Volt starter like on snowblower, but these are not available. Side chute as opposed to under machine exhaust is essential, or it will be necessary to remove the debris often, which is a hassle.

    Any chipper Shredder will work if due care is taken. But small units simply take more time to feed, and eventually end up being too frustrating to use. There are units that will do almost anything, and they are large and expensive. For the Home Garden a 10 HP unit with side exhaust is more than adequate if used properly, and the price will be less than $1000.00.

    Recently sales brochures have been babbling about CC, cubic centimeter, when referrring to engine size, instead of HP. Rating small engines in CC is salesman bafflegab, since the criteria is HP, and there is no meaningful correlation between CC and HP.

    Mine is a 10 HP MTD Yard Machine. It disposes of my waste from a garden of just less than half an acre. It is touted to handle branches up to 2 inches. I never use it for large branches, only all the spend vegetation from the garden.

    When I first got the unit, I thought I had been stiffened, but by determining exactly what it could do, I finally learned how to utilize the machine to its potential. The unit is a marvel if used correctly.

    First I removed the secondary screen to prevent jamming. This makes the chunks larger than with the screen in place, but still sufficiently small to be composted.

    I never put large branches through the side chute designed for this purpose, since I consider large branches around 2 inches to be too hard on the unit. I removed this side chute and blocked it off. Any branches around one inch I put into the main chute, but large tree branches are not what I use this unit for. I use it to disposed of plant vegetation.

    Never, Never, do I put dry wood through the chipper. All vegetation must have some green to give the machine a chance to do its job. I have read where people are complaining about vibration etc. when they try to put dry branches through. The manufactures are at fault here in some cases, because they present the machine as if it can do anything, which is simply not the case.

    I put corn stalks , sunflower stalks, brussel sprout stalks and caster bean stalks without effort, but they cannot be dry and hard. Leaves do nothing except get blown through. Leaves should be chopped to nothing with a lawnmower, when dry, and if this is not possible, send them to the dump, since they are not worth composting, due to the hassle, and the small amount of useful material in them.

    Vines from various plants have to be fed in carefully a bit at a time. I have a wooden block and a machette to chop into smaller pieces before inserting into the hopper chute. I use a board to gently move stuff down the shute in some cases.

    People want to take a wheelbarrow full of vegetation, and throw it into the hopper. This is not possible with a small 10m HP machine. Don't use a small unit when a rock crusher is required. It takes a bit of time and effort to chop, but these units do a good job if utilized with some common sense. The chipper shredder is one of my most valuable garden tools.

    Here are a few pictures of my chipping, shredding and composting efforts. Pictures are annotated. 26 October 2007 Sod Busting 23 March 2007 Zone 5. 2 July 2006 Operating the shredder. 24 July 2006 Turning compost bin over. 30 October 2007

    Last edited: Oct 30, 2007
  2. Karalyn

    Karalyn Active Member

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    Boise, Idaho USA
    I think that shredder would be a very helpful garden tool for me! It would save my hands from all the cutting I do. ;)

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