What you need to know about Garden Shredders
A Garden Shredder is a sensible piece of equipment to have around if your gardening work regularly produces large quantities of difficult to dispose of wood & leaf trimmings. Garden Shredders reduce garden waste into smaller, manageable quantities, which can be transported more easily to disposal facilities, or composted. Some home gardeners also use shredded material to insulate growing plants, for mulching, & for creating wood-chip pathways. Furthermore, shredded green waste can be resown into gardens & lawns to improve soil fertility. Using a Garden Shredder is therefore a much less hazardous & more environmentally friendly method of disposal than a bonfire. Garden Shredders tend to be Corded & Electrically Powered
, though for people whose disposal needs will exceed those of the ordinary domestic gardener, Petrol Powered Shredders
are available. Shredders come in three varieties: Impact Shredders
, Roller Shredders
& Turbine Cutter Shredders
. Find out which is right for your garden below. Impact Shredders
are the less expensive option. They use rapidly spinning blades to chop material into small fragments, producing a finer & more readily compostable end product than Roller Shredders. They also work more quickly than the alternative, & are lighter, so easier to relocate if this is a priority. The slicing action of Impact Shredders chops through fibrous material more effectively, & does not press out sap, which can otherwise lead to clogging.Roller Shredders
use a rolling drum to crush material against a fixed plate, drawing material into the machine without the effort of manual feeding. They are sometimes known as Quiet Shredders, as they operate much less noisily, & may therefore be preferred in crowded urban areas. Roller Shredders are the better option for shredding wood & branches. Moreover, as they lack blades to be blunted, parts will seldom require replacing.Turbine Cutter Shredders
combine the benefits of Impact and Roller Shredders. They use a turbine with attached blades to both drawn in and chop material, operating more quietly than Impact Shredders. They are able to shred both green and woody materials effectively. The only disadvantage associated with Turbine Cutter Shredders is their higher price.
Safety when using your Garden Shredder
Your Garden Shredder will have a maximum cutting diameter, specified in the instruction manual. Do not feed branches into the shredder which exceed this value in width. Ensure that stones or other hard objects are not allowed to enter the hopper (the feed shoot). These will damage your machine, & may be expelled from the hopper at speed, with the potential to cause injury. Under no circumstances place hands or any other body part into the feed shoot unless you are certain that the machine is safely powered down & disconnected. When using corded equipment outdoors, plug through an RCD adaptor
to safeguard yourself against electrocution. RCD adaptors will cut off power from the mains in the event of an earth current fault.
Maintaining your Garden Shredder
When not in use, garden shredders should be stored in a dry & sheltered environment. The blades on Impact Shredders will require filing with a Sharpener
to maintain their cutting action. They will also require replacement on an annual basis. Look for a model with reversible blades if you are discouraged by the costs of replacement. Treating the blades with GT85
will protect them from rusting, as will cleaning the machine of trimmings following use. With Roller Shredders a decrease in performance is probably an indication that the cutting roller needs to be tightened. This will return it to its original position closer to the plate.