Chipper/Leave Shredder

Old 10-05-08, 05:19 AM
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Chipper/Leave Shredder

I need some advise from you on whether to get a chipper/leave shredder to convert leaves to mulch. I have a lot of large oak and maple trees on my lawn (50+) and concequently have a lot of branches and leaves, and I am considering to turn it into mulch to put under the trees and/or in flower beds. My question is first, can I use those leave mulch for this purpose, and second, should I get a shredder? I did some reading on the web and some people actually said a gas shredder is more troublesome to use than a push mower. I have both lawn tractor and push mower. Third, what brand or size of shredder to buy. I probably will rule out the electric type unless people on this forum really recommend it.

Any advise is helpful. Thanks a lot!
Old 10-05-08, 03:22 PM
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i have a chipper shredder and when it works it is great, unfortantly bought a cheep model and have had a lot of problems, used two different models of cub cadet for work and they worked very well and were very trouble free. i would get a quality 10 horse chipper/shredder and pay attention to the maint with that many trees.

life begins when the kids leave home and the dog dies
Old 10-13-08, 08:10 PM
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I am not sure how good a larger machine is, but I have had two five horse ones that were absolutely more trouble than they were worth. Sold one and gave the other away.
The machines that I had came with small bags that would fill up before I got started good. If you don't use the bagger, the leaves will be blown everywhere other than in a pile.
As an ardent gardener, I have mulched leaves for over ten years. I find that a good rider with a mulching deck will crush the leaves well and will not scatter them like a side discharge deck would. The shredded leaves from the mulching deck will decompose much faster.
Have successfully mulched approx 2000 bu of leaves over the last ten yrs. Tom
Old 04-26-09, 03:08 PM
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I haven't been shopping for yard equipment in a while, but always tried to buy the best quality I could afford, and when I was purchasing my stuff, I think I tried every possible type of equipment before settling on the stuff that I finally did buy and keep.

I have what is now an old 8 hp Craftsman chipper/shredder, and for dealing with woody matter, it has served me well. I would not bother putting leaves through it, though, because I feel there is too much effort expended to gather the leaves and run them through, then, in one form or another, gather them as they come out of the machine. If you use the bag that come with these machines, it fills up too fast, and once full, they are heavy and bulky to move around. Obviously, with leaves, if you don't use a bag, you'll spray them over a large area and just have to pick them up again. For all this work, you may be able to reduce a large quantity of leaves to 25% or 30% of their volume.

Sears used to sell a dedicated leaf shredder. I bought one and probably would have kept it, even though it cost a lot for a machine that absolutely could do nothing but pick up and shred leaves.

The good part about that machine was that it would reduce leaves in volume by factor of 8. It really did produce finely mulched leaves.

Unfortunately, it was slow to use. If you went too fast, it would skip right over the leaves.

What I finally settled on was a Lawn Boy push mower that came with a leaf shredding screen. If I collect leaves in one pass, it will reduce them to 25% of their volume, but, if I take the bag off and just run the mower through the leaves a couple of times, the leaves get shredded to as fine a mulch as that expensive dedicated machine from Sears.

BTW, the reason I took that Sears machine back was that it picked up a large stick that went right through the plastic deck - otherwise, I think I would be stuck with it.

I've always drooled over those Billy Goat machines. They look like they would make quick work of picking up leaves, but I don't know how finely they grind up a large collection, and, again, you are talking about spending a lot on a machine that is only useful for a couple of chores (picking up leaves or vacuuming your driveway.

. . . and that Goat is a big machine, too. Will take up a log of space in the garage.

I do love my old shredder for clearing branches (up to three inches), and twigs - we have a lot of trees and, over the course of a year, they produce all our winter firewood and can leave quite a collection of trashy stuff that's too small to burn.

. . . but for picking up leaves, I'd work on refining your technique with the mowers - perhaps the push mower to mulch and the rider to pick up, or whatever works best for you.

Good luck.

Old 04-26-09, 05:01 PM
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I have an acre and a half of aspen to deal with and find that what works best for me is a leaf blower and a 5 hp shredder like this:

Image courtesy of

I have found that with as many leaves as I get there is no way I could possibly mulch all of them.
The bag is much too small so what I wind up doing is blowing the leaves into several piles and then mulching them into a 7'x14' trailer with two foot sides.
It takes about two full loads to dispose of them.

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