How to Use a Garden Shredder in 4 Easy Steps

how to use a garden shredder

Last Updated on June 11, 2021

A garden shredder is an excellent gardening tool that helps keep your lawn, ground, and outdoor areas clean and tidy. These machines can break down brown material like branches and twigs and green material like leaves and grass. They shred the material into manageable sizes to be easily disposed of or used as compost. In this guide, we look at how to use a garden shredder effectively and tips for safe usage.

What Is a Garden Shredder – A Brief Introduction

First, let’s look at the tool itself. A garden shredder is a tool used for shredding garden material. It can be both dry material and damp material. Depending on the model, they can tackle anything from thicker branches and twigs to piles of leaves, grass cuttings, and even vegetable food waste.

A shredder essentially has a main housing, an input opening, and an output area. The housing contains the motor and the shredding mechanism – usually a series of rotating blades. The input area is where you feed the material. It feeds through the internal housing and is shredded by the blades. The resulting mulch is then fed out through the output area – either onto the ground or into an attached collection basket.

How to Use a Garden Shredder – A Step-by-Step Guide

Garden shredders are pretty straightforward to use. They can be potentially dangerous. However, once you understand the basic process and safety protocols, you should be able to use one without issue. The following is a simple 4-step guide on how to use a garden shredder:

Step 1: Safety First

As mentioned, these tools can be dangerous. You are working with moving blades that spin at high revolutions. If you get your hands or hair trapped, the result could be deadly. Also, these devices are relatively noisy.

Therefore, safety is vital. We advise wearing ear defenders, protective gloves, and eye protection. The ear defenders ensure you aren’t deafened from the noise. The gloves protect your hands as you feed the material. Finally, protective goggles will protect your eyes from any material that could fly up out of the shredder. Don’t underestimate the importance of safety gear when using these devices!

Step 2: Preparation

Next, you must prepare the tool and the material. Make sure that you have plugged the shredder in and that the power cable is not obstructed in any way. Also, make sure that it can’t pose a trip hazard.

Before turning the device on, you should check that the input area is clean and that you have your collection method in place. Some shredders have an attached collection basket. Others spit the mulch directly onto the floor. If so, we advise having a plastic collection bin, or even a compost bin positioned to collect the waste. It will help reduce any required cleaning afterwards.

Step 3: Using the Shredder

It’s now time to use the shredder. You must be careful when using these tools. First, turn the device on. Depending on the model, the shredder blades may start rotating immediately. Others may only rotate when the material makes contact.

The basic process is that you feed the material into the input area until the blades take hold. Most devices will have an automatic feeding process. As soon as the material is gripped by the blades, you can release your grip, and it should feed through. Do not push the plants and twigs down – you could get tangled in the blades and cause yourself a serious injury.

You may be able also to adjust the speed or power settings. If so, you may want to adjust the settings depending on what type of material you are shredding. For example, branches and twigs may require more power or a slower setting to shred effectively.

Step 4: Removing the Waste

Whilst you are shredding, keep an eye on the collection bin. You may need to empty it as you work regularly. If you do, first make sure that the machine is turned off, and the blades have stopped. Only then can you disconnect or move the collection bin.

Also, by regularly emptying the collection bin, you can keep on top of the process. Condensed mulch and weeds weigh a surprising amount! When finished, you may need to finally sweep the area if any stray material littered the ground. After that, it’s a simple case of storing your shredder and either placing the mulch in a bin or using it for other purposes that we have described below.

Tips for Garden Shredders

As you can see, there isn’t much to the usage of a machine shredder. Once you have done the process several times, you will fly through your shredding and get the job done in no time at all. To help make your shredding less time consuming, we have finished with a handful of helpful tips:

Plan Ahead for Storage and Disposal

When using a roller shredder, you must plan ahead. It’s no good using the machine and then realizing you don’t have anywhere to put the material once it is shredded! Before even starting the work, make sure you have a dedicated area to dispose of the green material. It could be a compost heap or a garden waste bin.

Also, think about where you will store the shredder. These are not the smallest of tools, and you will need a decent amount of space to house one. A garden shed or garage could easily accommodate this machine, but you must make sure you have space before buying one.

Think About How You Could Use the Shredded Materials

Another fantastic thing about using garden shredders is that you can utilize the shredded material in various ways! Primary use is for composting. The typical materials you will shred, like plants, leaves, grass, and branches, all make fantastic compost.

Instead of simply throwing them away, you could create a compost heap or place them in a compost bin. That compost material can then be used to fertilize your soil, flower displays, and vegetable patch!

Next, you can also utilize any wood chippings. Frequently you will use quiet shredders for chopping woody material. Depending on how fine the machine chops the stuff, you could use it as actual wood chippings. For example, you may have a small area of your garden that you want to cover with something. Instead of buying expensive gravel, simply use the wood chippings – it’s cost-effective and looks great.

Shred Regular and Often to Reduce the Workload

As with most gardening work and housework, the key is to keep on top of it! If you rarely do any pruning or tidying in your garden, it can soon become messy. As a result, this will make it difficult and time-consuming when you finally get round to the whole thing!

Therefore, it is far better to use your shredders often. Store your shredder in an easy-to-access area where you store your garden equipment. You can then easily get it out and use it once a fortnight, for example. If you keep on top of the shredding, you will reduce your overall workload. Removing the garden waste will also be easier.

Garden Shredder FAQs

What Can You Shred in Impact Shredders?

An impact shredder or garden shredder is a versatile tool. You can shred a whole host of materials, including – branches, grass, twigs, logs, bamboo, leaves, and even food waste like vegetable peelings! Basically, any gardening materials that are not too large and durable.

What Is the Difference Between a Mulcher and a Shredder?

A shredder is generally better suited to heavy-impact items like branches, twigs, and bamboo. Alternatively, a mulcher is generally used for lighter materials like leaves. Also, a mulcher will create a finer mixture and break the items down into smaller matter.

Are Shredders Noisy?

In most instances, yes! The process that makes impact shredders work can be noisy. You essentially have blades that are breaking and grinding material – this is obviously going to be loud!

Start Shredding

We hope you have benefited from this guide on how to use a garden shredder. These are highly useful tools that can help keep your garden clean and free from mess. The grass clippings, plant material, and chippings can also be useful in your garden – instead of just making your lawn a mess! You should now have a clear idea of using this device and how it can transform your garden.

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