03. June 2020

Using a Garden Shredder

Want to get rid of the old branches and twigs in your garden usefully? Why not get a garden shredder!

Woodchips in a garden shredder.

My ugly old branches and twigs turned into smaller more manageable pieces with the help of my new garden shredder.


I recently decided to do a little spring-cleaning in my new cottage garden on Oak Hill. This seemed like the next natural step after taking down three trees and pruning my fruit trees in winter. Since then, a few large piles of twigs and brushwood have been sticking around (pun intended) on my lawn. This became more than an aesthetic problem when I wanted to start mowing of course. So, I gathered my family and went to get my favorite purchase last year. My garden shredder!


More about useful tools: Soilblocker – Starting seeds without pots


A grey and green garden shredder.

This is what the garden shredder looks like. It even has wheels, so it's easy to move around. It's not that heavy either!


A brand new gardening tool

I bought my first garden shredder/wood chipper many years ago. Mainly out of curiosity at that point, so I got a cheap one online. Quite simply constructed and not too efficient. It makes a lot of noise too, and you have to push the twigs toward the knife.

This is the main reason why we didn't use the garden shredder very often, and instead just tried it out for fun.

But then, I had an epiphany last year. We went to visit my parents on Styrsö outside the coast of Gothenburg and my mother Ulla showed me her new woodchips around her little cottage Lindås. She was so proud of the project, since she made it herself. I know that my mother is really good at saving any old twigs or plant parts that can be useful in the future, but I have actually never seen her use a garden shredder before. So, I was naturally surprised when she excitedly fluttered away to the shed. And there it was, the brand new shredder!


Garden shredder with rollers

I was so impressed with it that I decided to get the very same brand. This particular model had been discontinued though and I went for a newer one instead. It's called Ryobi 3000W and it cost me around 370 dollars (341 euros or 3600 Swedish crowns.) This is a roller shredder which crushes the twigs to little woodchips. It has a harder time breaking down wiry twigs and fresh material than dry plant parts though.


A bunch of branches on a wheelbarrow, ready for the garden shredder.

The garden shredder can even deal with these thicker branches. All of these ugly old sticks will turn into woodchips I can use in the garden.


I'm actually a little surprised by how much I like this garden shredder. This might just be my favorite electric gardening tool so far! Last year, I used it for sunflowers, corn plants and an old bush. And now, I got to make plenty of little woodchips from twigs and branches from my old trees. I'm so impressed with it!


Read more: Guide to Using Woodchips in the Garden


The great thing about this type of shredder with rollers, is that it kind of grabs hold of the branch and feeds it down into the machine. I don't have to do any work other than change the direction of the twigs when needed. It's so easy to work with!


En man stoppar ner pinnar i en kompostkvarn.

Putting the sticks in the garden shredder almost feels like a meditative process.


Närbild på händer som trycker ner pinnar i kompostkvarnen.

All sizes can be shredded, as long as the twigs fit in the machine.


Using woodchips

Even a small garden produces a lot of material that we might not know what to do with. Here on Oak Hill, we don't really have enough space to make a fire and burn the plant material. And there's nowhere to store it before I can start using it for my beds either. But now, I can just run it through the garden shredder and use it in my garden at once instead.

The woodchips I get from my machine are actually a lot nicer than the ones I get from the saw mill. I think they are going to decompose faster too, and I can use them for plenty of things in my garden.


More about woodchips: My Woodchip Garden Paths


My first thought was to use the woodchips for the little pathways here in my garden. After all, I keep creating new ones and I always need more woodchips around. We shredded a lot of dry twigs recently, which I mainly want to use for my pathways.

Närbild på träflis.

I got two large big bags filled with woodchips after using the garden shredder this weekend. It's easier to shred dry material, fresh twigs are often just flattened instead.


The plant material I get from the kitchen garden (or any woodchips from fresh twigs), is used as mulch right on my beds. I know that fresh woodchips can start to absorb a bit too much nitrogen from the soil. But I'm actually not worried about that. I use both diluted urine and grass clippings as fertilizer and this provides the soil with enough nitrogen. You can read more about woodchips and soil health here on the blog!


Sara Suggests: Tools for Growing Indoors


You can always store your woodchips in large bags for a while, if you don't know what to do with them yet. Or put them in your compost for that matter.


En hand håller en näve träflis.

Turning trash into treasure!


I'm so excited to have my own garden shredder around! It's so fun to shred the larger branches, and I'm happy that I can use smaller twigs and other plant parts in my garden too.

So, if you don't have one already, get a garden shredder!
/Sara Bäckmo

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