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When pruning bushes/trees in our garden we get a lot of waste branches that (up to now) were just piled up in a gigantic pile. Last year we also discovered wood chip mulch (store bought) for spreading around the berry bushes and reducing weeds while providing nourishment for the bushes.

Now, a garden shredder is the obvious tool that could potentially solve both problems at once - we could shred the waste branches and make our own mulch for the bushes.

I'm researching various shredders now and I've gotten a bit confused about one aspect of them - the size of the chips that comes out. No matter what the make and model, wherever I've managed to get a close-up image of the end results it seems like the pieces are fairly large. Certainly much coarser than the stuff we bought at the store. Often small branches have even made it through unharmed. And this seems to be irrespective of the type (roller/impact) or fuel (electric/gas).

  • Are my expectations wrong (small chips require industrial machinery, not backyard tools)?
  • Or am I just looking at the wrong shredders?
  • Is it possible to get a garden shredder that produces fine chips, and if so what parameters should I look for?
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  • I wonder if there is a "Fargo" brand wood chipper.
    – Boba Fit
    Apr 13, 2023 at 15:29
  • @BobaFit - Huh?
    – Vilx-
    Apr 13, 2023 at 15:38
  • Reference to a famous scene in the movie "Fargo."
    – Boba Fit
    Apr 13, 2023 at 15:55
  • @BobaFit Ahh, ok :)
    – Vilx-
    Apr 13, 2023 at 16:01

2 Answers 2

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We used to have one a decade ago. Generally the thicker the branch it can take, the coarser the material output. I would suggest that you go for an inch or 25mm, certainly no wider than 40mm input tube.

Ours was 40mm, and the output was pretty good for mulching. The odd fine branch would come through. Also, the odd fine branch would jam it up.

We stopped using it after a while because it was totally unsatisfying to use. I would feed in what I felt was an enormous amount of branches and leaves. It would take a while, to feed in slowly (to avoid jamming). And after an hour or so, I would get half a barrow load out, which was not enough for anything. Admittedly I had a 10-acre section at that time. Basically, I did not feel it was value for money in terms of the time and petrol and capital layout.

Newer models may be a lot better.

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The tube I am referring to is the one on the side, where you feed in thicker branches without leaves. This was the brand we had, but it was easily 10-15 years older

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I think (merely from researching the various types, I have not personally had the better sort, they are expensive, relatively) that a hammer-mill type mechanism is better at producing consistently fine output, as opposed to the "chipper" or "shredder" guts with fixed blades, since the hammer mill keeps the material in the mill until it can pass through a screen (and may have various screen sizes for different output available.)

Practically speaking, I've become a fan of the large pile of brush, covered with manure, and waiting a few years. Quieter and much less fussy to feed. As you already have the large brush pile, just takes a few truckloads / trailerloads of manure.

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