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Chipper Shredder Idea

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Steiner, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. Steiner

    Steiner LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 408

    Ok so I wanted to voice this idea here for any criticism to help me decide.

    I run a small design build operation and I remove lots of old plants, debris, as well as spring and fall cleanups. I have a large dump trailer and most of the time take it to my local mulch yard for about 15-30 dollars a tip depending on the amount of stumps and size of the trailer. Yesterday I pulled a half a trailer of cut down maiden grass, browned out hosts, and a few small 2" limbs from pruning and a fall cleanup.

    I have a 40'x60' area behind my property which I own and will sometimes dump the debris there if I miss the yard being open. The problem is I don't want to trash up this area and have to have it cleaned out later at a large expense.

    My Idea:

    Buy a small 8-12 hp debris chipper shredder that can handle limbs and debris up to 2.5 inches and chip what I bring home and let it naturally turn into compost which I can use on my jobs or sell depending on volume. I would obviously buy a used machine on craigslist since I see them almost daily as homeowners buy them and dump them the next year to see if I would like it.

    So my questions are as follows:

    1. Does anyone else do this and what machine size do you have? Do you compost and sell any of it?

    2. Is it cost effective and time effective as you use fuel to chip/shred material?

    3. Is it simply more economical to drop the debris at the local mulch place and pick up the compost? Am I making more work for myself? County sells great compost for about 16 yard but it is almost 40 minutes away to dump site.

    4. What is your advice?

    Thanks again

  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    Probably would take too much time and effort using a small chipper/shredder to create your compost.

    So figure the time/expense in processing the debris, which is time away from doing other work.

    If you had a small tub grinder, then I could see the amount of time in processing would be much shorter.

  3. DiyDave

    DiyDave LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,695

    Unless you have a lot of time on your hands, it will not be cost effective. That small of horsepower equipment does not work out very well, IMHO. Even with a tractor mounted shredder, you still have to feed the crap into it.
  4. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    That machine you posted a picture of...I had one, works fine with pine and green hardwood...not much else after that. It's slow, way underpowered and will vibrate your hands to death. Th pto of the engine on it does not have ball bearings supporting that heavy flywheel that jams all the time.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. recycledsole

    recycledsole LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD
    Posts: 3,233

    If i was going to do this, i would invest in a large size chipper, like up to 8" or 12" logs. probably a lot more expensive, but those machines are so difficult to use. you have to feed the sticks in one by one and they get clogged real easy. if i had the land and was getting alot of debris id probably get a large chipper
    good luck
  6. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,201

    Way tooo much effort and that chipper is worthless. You have to irrigate the piles and constantly turn them and run them back thru the chipper. It isn't even worth doing as a hobby.
  7. mtdenyer

    mtdenyer LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Small chippers are junk. Put $100 bucks in a new engine for an old IH chipper my dad had. It's a 5hp and can barely shred thick twigs. Your better off dumping the leaves and rotating them with a pitch for or a tractor loader. Wet the pile. If you don't rotate it it won't compost. Also keep an eye on the heat. I've seen compost piles catch fire.
  8. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    One thing I've done this year is to use my leaf loader to load perennial grasses, hostas, and other plant material.

    It actually works extremely well. The one material I've had issues with is Russian sage. Just fed it too fast and it clogged the hose a couple of times.

    My loader is also set on the tongue of my trailer and the hose I's fairly flat to the ground, so ultimately I have a good path to the loader.

    That and I also load all the plant debris with my hands to not overload the loader, along with not clogging the hose.

    It really chopped up the material good, and goes to a local organic farm for composting.

  9. GravelyWalker

    GravelyWalker LawnSite Member
    Posts: 86

    I have had this idea as well. As far as chipping branches into mulch, I think I can be worth it with the right equipment. I started this year keeping all the leaves from leaf removal and composting them over winter. I estimate i will get close to 3-4 yards of compost. Will most likely keep it and use it on my yard/garden but getting a bigger set up would enable me to sell the compost as well
  10. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 17,002

    Why not buy a towable shreder off ebay, and chip the stuff at the job site.

    Those small units wont do what your wanting then to do

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