Whilst tree chippers have been around for many years, they are becoming more popular as the trend toward recycling grows. These machines provide an environmentally positive alternative to burning or hauling off garden debris to landfill.
With a chipper, you can transform your debris into two useful products – compost and mulch. Both of these products can be used to protect your gardens, flowers, shrubs and trees, as well as provide them with much needed nutrients.
Be sure to ask yourself these questions before shopping:
1. What do you plan to chip or shred?
If you only need to shred leaves and small twigs that litter your lawn, driveway and other garden surfaces, a small electric tree chipper should be suitable. These machines are lightweight and less expensive than their petrol-powered counterparts. You will, however, be limited to using it within a few metres of an electrical outlet.
If you have regular pruning to complete and other larger garden debris to dispose of, you will probably find that a petrol-powered chipper will be more appropriate. These machines are quite heavy but are able to chew through all kinds of debris with relative ease. They can also be moved and used wherever needed, you just need to fill up the tank.
2. Do you need a petrol or an electric model?
We have already covered this question in the answer above, however, we feel it is important to note a few characteristics of both choices. An electric chipper will be more lightweight but less powerful, whilst a petrol-powered machine will be incredibly powerful but much heavier (making it harder to move around).
3. What and how much do you have to chip or shred?
It is important to determine whether you need to shred leaves and twigs for mulch or trees and large bushes to prune. The former will require a shredder-only unit or a small, electric model. The latter will require a larger shredder chipper that is capable of performing all functions. You may even require a commercially rated machine.
4. How big is your garden or property?
The size of your garden may actually dictate your choice in chipper. If you have a small area to work with, a stationary electric machine might be preferable (this means that you bring the debris to the unit). If you have a large property, a portable model might be preferable (this means that you push or tow the unit to where it is required).
5. What sort of budget do you have?
Unfortunately, tree chippers can prove to be expensive outdoor power products. Whilst smaller, electric models are the most affordable they are not capable of handling all sorts of projects. A larger, petrol-powered model, however, won’t come cheap. It is important to strike the perfect balance between cleaning up the garden and your budget.
It is of the utmost importance that you have asked yourself (and answered) each of the above questions before you start shopping for a tree chipper. This will not only ensure that you have made the right choice for your needs, it will ensure that you are not shopping outside of your means. Too often, inexperienced gardeners are swayed by tactics employed by sales representatives, which often results in them leaving with a chipper that is completely unsuitable for them.