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To shred or not to shred

There are pros and cons to shredders, and whether to shred or not to shred is a common dilemma. The problem generally seems to be that standard garden shredders are just not big and powerful enough for the job. This means that you would preferably go for the heavy duty kit, but this becomes prohibitively expensive.

Complaints about garden shredders include noise levels, that they are slow and labour intensive, they can cope with only small diameter branches, wet leafy materials bung up the blades, they use a lot of fuel and the blades regularly need sharpening. However the advantage of shredding woody material is that it will rot down much faster because of the increased surface area. Always mix woody shreddings with GREEN materials before composting as this will further speed up the breakdown, e.g. mix with equal quantities of grass. Don’t use freshly shredded woody material as a mulch, compost it first otherwise it may starve the underlying soil of nitrogen.

Instead of rushing out to buy a shredder you could stock pile your woody material and then hire an industrial shredder with an operator to do the job for you, this will save you time and money, especially if you share the equipment and cost with your neighbours. Alternatively, if you have the space, stack up the woody material to create a habitat pile. As it rots down over the years it will provide a habitat for a vast variety of mammals, reptiles, birds and insects.

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      © HDRA Consultants     Page updated December 1, 2023