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Are there any chippers that make nice coarse mulch?

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Forum topic by SlimPickins posted 06-10-2015 04:06 PM 717 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SlimPickins

121 posts in 1376 days


06-10-2015 04:06 PM

I was thinking about what to do with old branches that I cannot use in projects – making mulch seems like a good idea. But when I went to think about buying a Troybilt 5hp tecumseh, I looked at the output of the grind and it looks more like compost than wood chips.

Just curious if anyone knows of a good chipper that makes wood chips (not dime-size, at least quarter or larger), and does the Troybilt chipper-vac do this – does it need it’s blades changed?

I would really like coarse chips if possible but can I possibly get one for under $650.00 or am I dreaming?

-- If a bug can't eat it, it isn't good wood


12 replies so far

View Ron Ford's profile

Ron Ford

200 posts in 1194 days


#1 posted 06-10-2015 05:21 PM

It is generally not a good idea to use ground up branches, etc. for mulch. Mulch should be pretty much all bark. I have seen other folks use ground up waste wood and it kills the plants, especially vegetables.

Just my 2 cents worth.

-- Once in awhile I make something really great. Most days I just make sawdust.

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nailbanger2

1041 posts in 2605 days


#2 posted 06-10-2015 05:37 PM

Sorry, Ron, but I have to disagree with you on a couple of points. Mulch should not be bark because it will not absorb and hold water as well. This is important to keep the moisture available to the plants. Here in Fl. we use cypress almost exclusively and it works quite well. I know pine bark is sold as a substitute for mulch, but that is based on esthetics. The second point is mulch shouldn’t be around vegetables at all, although this is strictly my opinion from experience.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

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b2rtch

4822 posts in 2510 days


#3 posted 06-10-2015 05:41 PM

“It is generally not a good idea to use ground up branches” I agree, it robs nitrogen from the ground

-- Bert

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MrUnix

4209 posts in 1660 days


#4 posted 06-10-2015 05:54 PM

I have an old Craftsman mulching and bagging chipper-vacuum that was made by MTD… not sure if it’s recent enough to have actually been made by Troy-bilt (MTD bought them in 2001 IIRC), but it’s very similar to some of their units in design, so it’s possible. The chips it makes from branches aren’t all that big, but they are way too large for the compost bin (I have a large 3 bin composter as well, and try to compost about everything I can including dead animals!). A lot depends on what size the branches are that you are feeding into it… larger diameter branches make larger chips obviously. I use the resultant chips to cover the paths between beds in the garden and around the house, and a good 2-3” layer will easily last 2-3 years or more before breaking down enough to need a new layer. I have lots of red/white oak around my property, so that’s mostly what the chips are… I guess different woods would break down at a different rate and would depend on what you will be using.

I actually have the thing listed on CL right now, as I hardly use it but maybe once every couple of years – so it basically just sits in the garage taking up space that could be better used by stuff I do use!


(9HP 4 bushel self propelled w/6 forward and 2 reverse gears)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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Ron Ford

200 posts in 1194 days


#5 posted 06-10-2015 06:03 PM

Hi nailbanger2 – We can certainly agree to disagree, and I think that what is used as mulch varies widely from region to region. You use cypress, I have friends in the Carolinas who use pine straw. I work a few days at a week at a local hardware store/home center and we sell literally thousands of 3 c/f bags of shredded hardwood bark mulch every year. Also, my wife (the gardener) puts down 15 – 17 yards of the stuff in her gardens every spring.

Whatever works for you is the right answer, and I do agree that mulch should not be used around vegetables.

Ron

-- Once in awhile I make something really great. Most days I just make sawdust.

View hhhopks's profile

hhhopks

645 posts in 1839 days


#6 posted 06-10-2015 06:21 PM

It all depends on the definition of what is mulch. I used compose as much in my vegetable gardens.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

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SlimPickins

121 posts in 1376 days


#7 posted 06-10-2015 06:27 PM

Wow, I hadn’t realized that ground-up branches is NOT good to have in between the plants. I have been trying to use some of the branches to make baskets and gates and things – it’s just slow-going. I may have to use zinc-coated wire to make the baskets which I didn’t want to do as I would have rather had pure iron – too much zinc isn’t good for the garden either.

I guess I’ll just take some fresh-cut stuff and lay it down between the plants. It won’t decay until the plants are ready for harvest.

It’s not really necessary for me to mulch as the plants are getting big already and they will naturally shade the ground soon.

I’ll think of something – perhaps just take my time making stuff with the branches.

-- If a bug can't eat it, it isn't good wood

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2324 posts in 1758 days


#8 posted 06-10-2015 06:31 PM

I used to bag my grass clippings for a mulch around the vegetable plants. Not pretty but worked fine.

I have an MTD 5 HP chipper I bought 20 plus years ago at an Agway. You would think 5 hp is not enough but the flywheel in it is massive. If you keep your blades sharp you can increase your feed rate and get slightly larger chips. Listen to the engine and it will tell you when you’re going too fast. I usually spread that under the lilacs or forsythias. If you ever have an ice storm or hurricane you will be glad you have a way to get rid of all the branches. Anything over about an inch gets processed for the woodstove.

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SlimPickins

121 posts in 1376 days


#9 posted 06-10-2015 06:36 PM

Wow, I forgot about using straw – I went to by some last year but the guy said I had to wait until he gets some in. Where I live, noone has good straw. I need to make a long trip to get some real nice bales of straw – that should work.

And then just grind up the branches with the new used chipper and use it for whatever – mulch or compost. Maybe just don’t go overboard with it in between the vegetables. I wouldn’t expect it to decay too much in the first season, then just sweep it up and use it as compost the next year – maybe that might work????


Hi nailbanger2 – We can certainly agree to disagree, and I think that what is used as mulch varies widely from region to region. You use cypress, I have friends in the Carolinas who use pine straw. I work a few days at a week at a local hardware store/home center and we sell literally thousands of 3 c/f bags of shredded hardwood bark mulch every year. Also, my wife (the gardener) puts down 15 – 17 yards of the stuff in her gardens every spring.

Whatever works for you is the right answer, and I do agree that mulch should not be used around vegetables.

Ron

- Ron Ford


-- If a bug can't eat it, it isn't good wood

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mtenterprises

933 posts in 2154 days


#10 posted 06-11-2015 12:22 PM

I have had one of these for over 30 years, built better than a tank. I’ve chipped all kinds of things in it including plywood, 2×4s, hearing protectors. A bit expensive today but worth every penny. I actually have the 12P1100 model. There are 4 different screens available to make various size chips. As for using these chips in the garden I have had no problems, the finer the chips the faster it composts down so if you want walking paths you make big chips and if you want to make compost you make small chips. GREAT MACHINE MADE IN THE U.S.A.
MacKissic Mighty Mac Chipper Shredder

http://www.mackissic.com/HSC_12P.html

-- See pictures on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/44216106@N07/ And visit my Facebook page - facebook.com/MTEnterprises

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tomsteve

393 posts in 680 days


#11 posted 06-12-2015 02:36 PM

View nailbanger2's profile

nailbanger2

1041 posts in 2605 days


#12 posted 07-05-2015 07:53 PM

@ mtenterprises- how many ear protectors does it take to do your garden? (that brought a chuckle)

@ Ron Ford- you are absolutely right, all agriculture varies greatly from region to region. Our soil here is mostly sand, it obviously will take different treatments than in the Carolinas.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

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