Make Garden Compost and Mulch With a Yard Chipper Shredder Machine

A good garden yard chipper/shredder machine can turn scrap brush and garden waste into great compost or mulch.

| September/October 1986

A good yard chipper/shredder can turn scrap brush and garden waste into great compost or mulch. 

Garden Help With a Yard Chipper/Shredder Machine

An ominous crack! during a gusty thunderstorm last week warned me that I'd have some work to do when the rain stopped. Sure enough, when the skies cleared, I saw that one-third of a 60-year-old Baldwin apple tree had toppled and now lay blocking the driveway. A couple of hours with a chain saw restored access, but then the rest of the cleanup loomed. I'd forgotten just how many branches an apple tree has!

In just a few hours more, though, all that trash wood was neatly lining a path in my garden, shredded and chipped into a fragrant wood mulch. The hero was a yard chipper/shredder, a multipurpose garden tool that turns outdoor calamities into horticultural silk purses.

Garden yard chippers/shredders are very versatile implements. I've used ours to shred leaves and green garden scraps for quick compost as well as to reduce our autumn leaves to a compact, finely ground material that rapidly mellows to superb leaf mold. And there's no better way of getting rid of cornstalks and other tough harvest wastes than by grinding them into a well-shredded mulch. (I've learned from bitter experience, though, that some materials just aren't appropriate for shredding. Bittersweet, for one; ivy, for another. I spent a whole summer rooting out a new patch of bittersweet before I learned not to shred that invasive grower.)

Commercial yard chipper/shredders fall into two basic categories: electric-powered and gasoline-powered. Basically, the electric units are ideal for smaller properties. They're light, quiet, and capable of chopping up most garden or yard trash. They do require a heavy-duty extension cord — no less than 14-gauge wire, and 12-gauge is better — and a circuit with a slow-blow fuse, since at start-up they can momentarily draw as much as 40 amps. Some electric shredder/chippers are less prone to blowing fuses than others. (The Kemp Samson model does particularly well in this regard.)

If your needs are modest but you've got a large property, you might want to look at the smaller gas-powered models. There's a voltage drop on long runs of extension cords, and some of the electrical models don't do well on the end of a 200-foot cord. People with really large properties and lots of trees and brush to contend with will need a 5- or 8-hp gas-powered shredder.

6/27/2007 7:59:54 AM

any idea where a ontario canada distributor of the old hand cranked rotocrop garden shredders are located? any idea if such a device or a similar one is being produced or sold by? our problem is that because of my a.b.i. and other injuries the use of a electric or gas one is out of the question. home depot and other regional hardware rentals have only the 10 h.p. units I cant drop green manuring agents into as they gum up when the material is fresh trimmed. thanks for any suggestions john la berge

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: September 14-16, 2018
Seven Springs, PA

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard