10 Tips for garden shredders

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Even in autumn and winter there is still much to do in the garden - the beds are winterized, shrubs and trees cut. Garden shredders are the hard-working "brownies" and shred the clippings from shrubs to valuable mulch for path and compost.

1. Ideal compost ingredient

What was created in the garden should also stay there, is the motto of the organic gardener. With shredded material from branches, twigs and other garden waste, you reintroduce nutrients that have been removed from the plants in the growth phase. What comes out of the shredder is very well suited for composting, because the shredded shrub is decomposed quite quickly to high-quality humus and at the same time ensures a good ventilation of the compost. You can usually bring the "black gold" to your crops next year as a natural fertilizer. In addition, organic material stores carbon dioxide in the soil and thus improves the climate balance.

2. Rotary knife or roller?

Chopper with rotating knife

Chopper with rotating roller

The model Viking "GE 355" works with a rotating knife (left), while the model Viking "GE 35 L" crushes the waste with a rotating roller (right)

Knife choppers work with fast rotating blades and up to 4000 revolutions per minute. When shredding branches up to 35 millimeters in diameter, the knife rotates clockwise on the Viking "GE 355" model. For soft material, the direction of rotation is reversed, so that other blades are used. Rollers, also known as silent shredders, provide a lower noise level (eg Viking "GE 35 L"). The clippings are crushed in a slowly rotating roller. The wood fibers are broken up and can be composted so well.

3. To avoid injury

Chopping with protective equipment

Working gloves and goggles are a must when handling the shredder

Working gloves and goggles should always be worn when working with the shredder. With bare hands one has hurt oneself at the coarse clippings of hedges and shrubs quickly. Thorns and spines can be found not only in woody and rose cut. Even fruit stands of perennials often have small barbs. Always wear goggles when chopping and hold on to long branches when filling, as they can easily knock out. If the blades of a knife chopper break down hard wood, it will be very loud, so hearing protection is recommended for these devices.
If a roller shredder is clogged, you can reverse the direction of rotation of the roller with a switch and get the cutting unit usually free again. If that is not enough you have to remove the blockage by hand - always pull the plug first before you reach into the hopper. In the case of a knife chopper, blockages can usually only be eliminated by opening the device - even in this case you must first remove the device from the mains. Before operating a shredder, always read the user manual with the safety instructions that are important for the respective device.

4. Green waste as a mulch layer

Green waste as a mulch layer

Clippings with a high foliage content are well suited for mulching

Crushed shredded material with a high proportion of leaves and stems is ideal for mulching beds in the ornamental garden. However, snails can be attracted depending on the starting material. The mulch reduces evaporation - this saves casting inserts. The soil organisms are protected from heat and drought and thus are active up to the top layer. When the mulch layer is decomposed, nutrients are released. Apply the layer about three to five centimeters thick.

5. Garden paths of shredded wood

HĂ€chselgut as Wegbelag

Fresh shredded material can be used as a natural roadway

Why buy expensive bark mulch, if you have free shredded material? As a decking for garden paths, the rough material is ideal. It usually smells fresher than bark mulch. With the scattered paths in the kitchen garden and in natural garden areas you can quickly gain access to the flower beds. Such byways are well accessible even after rainy periods, because the permeable material dries quickly. It should be a ten-centimeter thick layer for paths. If you want to sprinkle woody shredded material directly around the plants as mulch material, you should first fertilize the soil. Soil organisms bind a lot of nitrogen when they decompose fresh wood. As a result, they compete with the plants for the growth nutrient. The best mulching material is provided by knife choppers, as the thin chopped wood chips do not decompose as quickly as the broken branch pieces from the roll chopper.

6. MehrzweckhÀchsler are all-rounders

Choppers from Bosch

Turbine-Cut System

The "AXT 25 TC" model from Bosch uses the so-called "turbine cut system"

A combination of roll chopper and knife chipper offer equipment with special cutting technology, which varies depending on the manufacturer. The "Turbine-Cut-System" (AXT 25 TC, Bosch) works like a quiet shredder with a slow roller, but has very sharp cutting edges. Soft material is not only squeezed but also cut. This green waste with lots of foliage run through blockade. The large opening facilitates filling. The clippings are fed by themselves. This saves the exhausting work of re-stuffing. Per hour you can chop up to 230 kilograms of cutting material. The turbine shredder manages branches with diameters of up to 45 millimeters. Other all-round shredders with corresponding cut functions are also at branch sizes around 40 millimeters.

7. A question of the starting material

To find your way around the wide assortment, ask yourself the simple question: Which material do I want to shred? Above all hard hard, woody materials such as the clippings of fruit trees and flowering shrubs, roll chippers are ideal. They break up medium branches and twigs, but are less suitable for fibrous plant parts such as blackberry berries. For soft plant material you are better served with a knife chopper. He cuts large amounts of foliage or bushy greenery with branched branches. He also optimally processes voluminous garden waste such as perennials or vegetable remains. With combi devices, it makes sense to pre-sort the cut material according to the thickness. So you do not have to constantly switch between two functions.

8. Care and maintenance

Clean chipper

After work, you should clean your shredder

Run the shredder free and make sure that there is no material left in the hopper. Then disconnect the power supply and unfold the hopper in the case of knife choppers. You can sweep the interior of the funnel with the hand brush after exposure and, if necessary, wipe it with a damp cloth. The cutting unit is also freed of debris with a hand brush and sprayed with an oil-based maintenance spray before wintering. This dissolves plant juices and protects against rust. With knife choppers the knives must be renewed with frequent use approximately once per season, since the chopping power decreases very strongly with blunt knives. In an emergency, you can also deburr the old knives with a file and then reuse them. The cutting unit of the roller chopper is largely maintenance-free. You just have to readjust the counter plate with the adjusting screw a little, if the branches are not cut through properly.

9. Electric or gasoline engine?

For garden shredders there are great price and quality differences. The performance classes range from AC (220 volts), high power (380 volts), to gasoline powered garden choppers. In normal ornamental gardens one usually comes out with an AC device. Hobby fruit growers or gardeners with very large land, however, are better served with a power or gasoline device. The latter is not necessarily more powerful - it usually has even less torque than a powerful electric motor. The advantage is that you do not need a power connection. Battery shredders are not yet available because the energy requirements of the devices is too high.

10. Some things can also be done by hand

Silver Willow (Salix alba)

The soft wood of the silver willow (Salix alba) can also be quickly shredded with pruning shears

Whether a shredder makes sense depends on the size of your garden and how often you use it. If only a hedgecut occurs once or twice a year, some prefer to drive to the HĂ€ckselplatz of GrĂŒngutannahme. Thin branches and soft wood such as willow can be crushed quickly to compost with a secateurs or a cleaver. Nice compromise: Shredders are often shared in allotment gardens. Ask neighbors or friends what they think of the idea of ​​a shredder sharing. The specialist dealer also offers rental equipment for daily rent.


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