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I'm going to be moving large quantities of arborist wood chips this summer, and am wondering if it would be worth the investment to get a 10 tine pitchfork as the 4 tine is too wide to hold wood chips, and snow shovels are hard to pile the wood chips on?

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I've moved tons of woodchips in my life and you have a couple of options:

  • If the chips are on concrete or relatively smooth gravel, my go-to tool is a feed scoop like this one: https://www.qcsupply.com/340071-aluminum-scoop-shovel-w-d-handle.html (you can also get these with a longer, non-D, handle for better leverage). The scoop is lightweight, won't suffer from UV damage, and has a great carrying capacity. If the chips are wet, then you do have to watch the amount you scoop due to their weight.
  • If the chips are in a pile on grass or gravel, then I usually go with a fork, either garden or silage (like this one): https://www.qcsupply.com/corona-10tine-ensilage-fork-dhandle.html. Like the scoop, this also has a large carrying capacity. You can also use it with a compost pile, if you have one constructed as a heap.

Which tool you use also depends on a couple of other factors:

In general, it's easier to move wet chips with a fork because they clump together; conversely, it's generally more efficient to move dry chips with a scoop, because dry chips fall through the tines of the fork.

On the other hand, chips from fallen trees are often easier to fork than scoop, due to the tangles caused by twigs and small branches that pass through the chipper.

Honestly, though, you should have both tools if, as you say, you'll be moving a lot of chips. Some piles of chips (or even parts of the same pile) are easier to move with a scoop, others with a fork. My recommendation is, if you can, to cover the chips to keep them as dry as possible because they'll be a lot lighter that way.

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  • the feed shovel is a snow shovel in MN Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 17:38
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    Our snow shovels in Wisconsin are just a little smaller, and of plastic; the feed shovels tend to take too heavy of a load. That's not to say that I haven't used my feed shovel for snow on occasion, mind you. :)
    – Jurp
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 1:11
  • The grain shovels are a lot more useful than the plastic ones, as they last a lot longer. @Jurp on a side note do you know of any meat farms that are taking apprentices in the grassfed movement this summer? Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 3:45
  • I don't know of any farms personally, but if you don't mind west-central Wisconsin, you could try the Viroqua/La Farge area (just southwest of La Crosse). There is an organic/grassfed movement there, with smaller farms and a large, well-known cooperative.
    – Jurp
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 9:42

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