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How to use a garden shredder

Date posted: 8 March 2015

One of the best ways to reduce garden rubbish is shredding.  Hiring a garden shredder or chipper seems like the perfect solution, especially if you have grasses, bushes, bamboo, and trees (that grow amazingly fast and need regular trimming to look nice) in your garden. 

Garden shredders come in several types, shapes, prices, and sizes. Generally, with a stronger motor, the better the shredding action. 

Types of garden shredders

A garden shredder is a machine that uses an internal combustion engine (petrol or natural gas) and reduces timber into matchsticks that could then be used as mulch for your garden. There are 3 main types of shredders:

1.  High-Torque Roller

They are much preferred for residential use and are driven with a low-speed electric motor. Being very quiet and dust-free, it makes sense that they grow in popularity day by day. Some of them, come with an anti-jamming feature and are self-feeding.  

2. Disc

This design produces more uniform chips in size and shape, but is less energy-efficient than the drum (description follows). However, it is a type of shredder that is most used by commercial tree caring companies nowadays. Industrial-grade shredders usually require 4,000-5,000 horsepower and come with discs that are as large as 160 inches (diameter) while consumer-grade disc shredders carry discs with a diameter of up to 18 inches. 

3.  Drum

Drum shredders are the newest types of chippers and consist of a large steel drum spinning towards the output chute, powered by a motor. The drum also draws the material through as it shreds it, and you may hear this type of chipper mentioned as a “chuck-and-duck” shredder, because of the instant high speed it gets once the wood comes into contact with the drum. 

It is a type of shredder that requires constant attention by the operator, is too loud, produces chips that are large, and turns thin materials into slivers. Finally, since the drum is driven by the engine, it is highly likely large pieces of wood get stuck in the drum and stall the engine. Newer models though come equipped with Auto-Feed features that eliminate the pre-mentioned issue, and handle materials with a larger diameter. 

Using the shredder

After you insert the branches into the shredder, feeding is automatic. You will see the branch being slowly pulled into the blades and as the blades turn more branch will be pulled in, and end up chopped.

Once you are done, the waste is easily disposed of, especially if you are using redder waste baskets that help keep things tidy!

Saftey Tips

  • Always wear a safety mask, googles, and gloves, when using the garden shredder. 
  • If you are using a noisy model, it is advised to use ear defenders, as well. 
  • Avoid feeding the shredder with excessive size of wood to reduce the risk of blunt trauma. 
  • Feed material into the chipper using a long pole or twig, so your hands are within a safe distance from the blades. 
  • Do not wear baggy clothes, loose belts, and items that hang, when using the garden shredder. They may get caught in the machine. 


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