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Experiences of garden shredders/mulchers

I'm recently retired, and spending a lot more time in the garden than I did before. As I do so, my ignorance is showing :)


Large garden, rural, lots of trees and shrubs which have grown into monsters over the last few years. (My wife is a keen gardener, but disabled and can't do any of the heavy stuff.) I am gradually cutting them all back, and as a result I have a lot of woody trash to dispose of. I usually put stuff in a disused pigsty and burn it once a year, but there's going to be too much for that - I have already filled it, and I have hardly started the cutting.


I'm thinking of getting a shredder or chipper to deal with the trash and smaller branches, say up to 1"/25mm. Larger stuff I can cut and dry and use on the woodburner. Has anyone got one of these devices and can recommend something? I can think of plenty of ways to use the chippings, so with the right machine I would have chippings and firewood, and no need to have a massive bonfire every summer. Budget is an issue - ideally around £100.


Related point: we compost all our kitchen waste, but we aren't very diligent about it. As a result, our compost after a year still has lemon/lime peel, half grapefruit skins and whole tea bags. We put the waste directly into the compost bins, and I occasionally chop and turn it with a spade, but the large 'bits' are hard to get rid of. I feel we should be cutting everything that goes in the compost into much smaller pieces to help it rot, but that sounds like a lot of work! I was wondering if some shredding device as described above would be any use for chomping up kitchen waste for composting.


I understand that finely-shredded woody material is good for a balanced compost, so combining these two would be ideal.


TL;DR - is there a machine which will shred small woody material up to 1" and also mulch kitchen waste for a better compost, or would I need two machines? I can find plenty of wood shredders online, but nothing for softer stuff like compost.


Thanks for reading, and sorry for the long post.
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Replies

  • gamstongamston Forumite
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    you sound a lot like me,
    I had an AL-KO H1300 for a long time just needed new blades every now and then, when the motor died I got a Bosch AXT 2200 (think that's the no) only lasted 2 years somethings gone wrong in the control mech's had it apart a few times but can't get it going
    found that moist stuff clogs up the shredder
    no help I know just saying what happens to me
    thinking about the screwfix Mac Alister MSHP2800D £100, but just seen they do cheap £60 thing
  • edited 16 June 2019 at 7:24AM
    unrecordingsunrecordings Forumite
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    edited 16 June 2019 at 7:24AM
    I've have the cheapy Titan shredder from Screwfix (probably exactly the same as the Mac Alister quoted above) - it's lasted about 4-5 years so far and been pretty good. Below is a photo of what it did to my old apple tree a couple of months ago

    Edit to add - Titan TTB353SHR - bought Jan 2015

    As for the compost, I tend to chop up woody stems in the kitchen, and I'll fish anything out of the compo that's outstayed its welcome, or go in there with some hedge shears if there's a layer of something to break up. I did try an OTT approach once but gave up on it - a cheap £5 student blender for macerating stuff prior to putting in the compo bin - but then you'd have to clean it out

    P1090098.JPG

    Why am I in this handcart and where are we going ?
  • tori.ktori.k Forumite
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    We also have a screwfix Titan, due to the layout of the houses here I wont burn anymore so it all but paid for itself in dump run money great bit of kit.
    Tbags wont compost due to plastic in them so you got to compost the leaves and bag casings to landfill kitchen food waste anything a bit hard or woody like sprout stalks I just tend to dice up before adding.
    Im now looking at DIY heat recovery from my compost bins for the pub shed, compost is an amazing thing :)
  • Tom99Tom99 Forumite
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    The sort I have is called a drum shredder I think. It crushes the material rather than using spinning blades to chop the material.
    On the whole its not very good, I would look for the blade type if I was buying again.
  • Oh_NoOh_No Forumite
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    FYI - Don't put tea bags in your compost. The reason they are still there a year later is because they are made of plastic. Either rip and empty the tea out or put it in the food collection bin as they will separate out those bits as part of the process.
  • Richard53Richard53 Forumite
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    Wow, really helpful replies, thank you all.

    I bit the bullet and bought the Mc Alister one from Screwfix (reduced to £100) and I have tried a couple of small branches with it. Seems just the job for the small stuff that isn't worth seasoning for the woodburner. I'll be busy putting through the last few days' slashing and pruning.

    Thanks for the info re the tea bags. I didn't know. Will put them in the food waste from now on. I'm also investigating a tumbler so I can fill that as I go and tumble it, and then add it to the proper compost when it's full. Apparently that helps the compost get a good heat going. Just adding a bit at a time like I do isn't the best idea.

    Thanks again folks.
    If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.
  • edited 19 June 2019 at 12:48PM
    EenymeenyEenymeeny Forumite
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    edited 19 June 2019 at 12:48PM
    Lots of helpful info on here thanks. I use a shredder we bought from Lidl a few years ago. Good for most things when trimming shrubs in the winter but struggles, understandably, with green willow.
    I'm hoping to eliminate the purchase of shredded bark for path top- ups in future.
    Just for information, although it isn't labelled as recyclable on the package, I find that Ringtons tea bags compost no bother. :)
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  • silverwhistlesilverwhistle Forumite
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    My solution for teabags is to use loose tea: I think my compost heap brandlings are probably caffeine addicted and much livelier as a result...!


    If you have a wood stove and can be bothered you could bundle up some of the smaller twigs as they make great kindling. Shove them in nets to dry or make small faggots tied with natural string and they get the fire going nicely once dried. .
  • Richard53Richard53 Forumite
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    My solution for teabags is to use loose tea: I think my compost heap brandlings are probably caffeine addicted and much livelier as a result...!


    If you have a wood stove and can be bothered you could bundle up some of the smaller twigs as they make great kindling. Shove them in nets to dry or make small faggots tied with natural string and they get the fire going nicely once dried. .

    I use twigs for kindling but never thought of tying them together. Good idea, thanks.
    If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.
  • Diana2014Diana2014 Forumite
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    I find that teabags will compost well if pulled apart before being added to the compost bin. The intact bags seem to have too much structural integrity and the worms can't get at the tealeaves inside, either!

    My old Al-Ko shredder used to bind badly when I used it to shred newly-cut branches and needed clearing out regularly. The cat hated the noise so, when the local council began regular garden waste collection including woody stems up to 2 inches thick, I stopped shredding at home.

    I beg a few bagsful of tree shreddings to compost from every tree surgeon who's using a shredder in the street, though - it suits them too, as there's less to take away. But that's the city dweller's solution....

    Dry twigs are still worth burning, if you have space for a bonfire or outdoor wood burner - because the cooled, freshly burnt ash is very good for feeding fruit trees.
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