Hey, does any one here have their own chipper? I'm wondering how
practical they are. I don't have a real big yard but I have 4 big pine
trees that seem to loose some limbs every winter from wind, ice, or
snow. This year it was ice. I also have fruit trees that I prune every year.
Every year, I haul away at least 2 heaping pickup loads of branches. I
pay (not much) to leave them at the brush and leaves section of the
local land fill. I live in town and can't get away burning very much, so
that's not an option.
Every year as I stuff my truck full and pile it high, I think to myself,
"If I had a chipper, I could be making mulch instead throwing all this
away". This week we happened to be where there is a Lowes store. They
had one model of chipper for sale. It was a Troy Built that can take up
to 3 inch limbs. I figured 3 inches was pretty minimal because the pine
limbs tend to go bigger than that. They wanted over $800 for the thing,
which is really more than I can justify spending.
So... do I have any other options or should I just keep hauling the stuff?
I have one and they are worth having. I have about 200 trees. Get at
least a 8 HP unit. The models that can drop the shoot are very handy
for raking leaves. Don't expect it to eat a 3" diameter limb with
ease--they don't! Use ear protection.
Consider checking a tool rental place. You may be able to rent a
pretty hefty chipper unit. It could be a 'try before you buy' thing.
Or, you might decide to stick to renting so you can let someone else
do the storage and maintainence.
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)
Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
That thought did cross my mind. There is a place in the next town over
that rents equipment. They MAY have one. Other than that, the next
possible place would probably be 75 miles away. It's not like having one
of my own that I could pull out when ever I needed it. I'll have to
think about it. Of course, I'm wishing there was one that actually
worked but only cost about $400. Oh well.
My recommendation is if you are not going to use it at least once a
month for at least an hour, don't bother. If they sit the gas goes bad
and the engine needs to be tuned - the spark plug cleaned, etc. I find I
spend at least two hours every spring getting mine ready to go. I would
suggest that 10 HP is the minimum to have a useful one for chipping, if
you just have little stuff and leaves, a smaller one will work, but that
will mean anything over 1/2 inch will be fireplace material or have to
go out with the trash or burned.
Mine is a 12 HP unit, I have more than 200 trees on my 2.5 acres,
including an orchard of more than 30 fruit trees. I still do not use it
enough to make it worth the original purchase. I end up not dragging it
out after storms and when I am dealing with a single tree. Most of my
bigger stuff ends up in the burn pile anyway.
I have had it for more than 10 years and while I like having it, I doubt
that the original purchase would have been worth it, if I had not bought
it at a going out of business sale.
For leaves a compost pile is much more useful and adding grass clipping
to the old leaves accelerates the composting, so in the spring when the
grass grows like crazy and want mulch completely with the mower, we add
grass to the leaves and by fall we have some pretty useful compost.
For the rest, I admit the hassle of getting it out of the barn, fueling
the chipper, running it, and then draining the tank and the lines makes
it less than interesting, accept for my spring and fall clean up days.
Rental is always a good idea, you can rent a 50 HP from most Home Depots
with rentals on a week day for a reasonable price and they will handle
the 4 inch stuff that the smaller ones will not. If you are willing to
create a pile of the larger stuff and then chip it once a year - this is
a useful thing to think about. Remember your pile in the winter will be
rabbit habitat - so if you want more rabbits and small animals in the
area chip in the spring, if not, chip in the fall.
my 2 cents, your milage will vary greatly, since your habits are not
I bought a 10 hp model because of the same motivation you mentioned. If I
had it to do over again, I would have passed on it. It's not the size of
the limb it will take, it's whether it will accept anything that isn't
perfectly straight. My chipper would do well with broomsticks and bamboo
poles, but it's a hassle to cut up live oak that has twists and bends in it,
which won't fit into the chute.
The other consideration is that if you only use it once or twice a year,
soon you're going to go out and find out it won't start because the engine
seals are dried out, or the carburetor needs work from lack of use. Unless
you can do your own maintenance and carburetor rebuild, a gas-powered
homeowner-quality chipper can get expensive to keep operable, just from
Everyone I know who ever put out $700 or more for a smallish wood chipper
from Lowe's or Ace hardware regretted spending the money either because it
got used too seldom to justify having it in the way, or the machine just
wasn't up to the task expected of it. Might be happier with a higher-end
chipper but then you're talking about a WAY bigger price and a storage
space not generally practical for home owners.
I've wanted one really bad but get such disappointed reports on the
"affordable" (but still pricy) ones that I've settled for renting one once
I sometimes find myself wishing I'd gotten the lawnmower model that had an
"up to one inch" built-in chipper. The blades go dull fast using a chipper
feature, but I do now suspect it would've taken care of most of my needs
since anything bigger than around a half-inch I save for winter evenings
in front of the fireplace anyway.
-paghat the ratgirl
visit my temperate gardening website:
Thanks to everyone who answered. I guess I'm convinced that I'll have to
live without a chipper. Just too much money for too little machine. You
saved me a lot of time figuring this out on my own and possibly a lot of
money if I bought one before I figured it out! This is why I asked.
They show up on Craig's list pretty regularly relatively cheap, I bet also
in places like Little Nickle. And a trip to the same guy who tunes the
lawnmower isn't very expensive to get one's used machine in works-like-new
I think people sell their mini-tillers not from dissatisfaction, but
because they belatedly realize they couldn't use them all that often. A
small garden especially, once it's well-plowed and well-planted, you can
never tear through it again without damaging roots of everything. If you
know that there will be fresh areas to plow at intervals, or plots for
annuals or veggies that'll really need a full turning for future re-use,
probably wouldn't sell the mini-tiller & it would be a good long-term
investment. Otherwise, might as well be from the garden equipment rental
for the few times ever needed.
-paghat the ratgirl
visit my temperate gardening website:
On Tue, 15 Apr 2008 11:43:58 -0700, email@example.com
After having a chipper/shredder and mini roto-tiller for 15 years I
could not do without. Both are time savers. I could turn the soil
with a shovel--2 days work, or use a tiller for an hour. Mulch can be
delivered and you can pay to haul away yard debris, so spending $800
on a shredder makes sense. Like compost, when you make your own you
know what's in it!
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