Green @ Home: Renting a Wood Chipper

Green @ Home: Renting a Wood Chipper

Jul 24, 2008

Name: Shayna

Location: Oakland

A while back, we mentioned our backyard makeover and working with a wood chipper. It may not be the most perfect or simplest of green moves, but we're listing our time with the wood chipper on our green scorecard. Why? Because it allowed us to reincorporate dead branches and trees back into our yard while providing our plants with a nice thick (and native!) layer of water-saving mulch. You had some queries about the process and we thought we'd share our experience. See below the jump for our tips...

posted originally from: AT:San Francisco

First off, the size of the shredder depends on what you'll be chipping. We were working with everything from yard scraps to full on tree trunks (albeit skinny ones...). We rented the chipper twice, started with the 6" shredder (too small) and then happily upgraded to the 9" shredder.

When we mentioned that we were renting a chipper, the first comment out of every person's mouth was, "Have you seen Fargo?". And yes, we did had concerns about the safety. What it comes down to is basic safety that you would use for operating any type of power tool. Here are our tips:

  • Wear your safety gear. We mean it. Ear plugs, goggles and gloves (short) and don't wear loose clothing.

  • Listen to the operating instructions and DO NOT be afraid to ask for a second, third or fiftieth demonstration.

  • Never work alone.

  • Pay attention to what you're doing and don't cut corners.

  • It helps to have spend a day or two before getting your branches, etc ready to go in order to best maximize the rental period.

  • Invite your friends to help; it's really really hard work. The more the merrier. Ply them with beer (after the shredding is done please) and sandwiches.
  • We find that the scariest part of work with big machines and tools is not being familiar with the equipment. Take your time and you'll be surprised how comfortable you become.

    We rented from United Rentals in Oakland and paid $250 for 24 hours and shared it with our neighbors. It sounds a bit pricey, but it was an incredibly worthwhile investment. We had some problems with the shredder jamming (however tempting, DON'T stick your hands in to investigate!!!). When we complained, we were given an extra day for free. Not bad...

    Now we have more mulch than we could ever hope for. We've mulched around our plants, used it to cover pathways and most recently we've been using it to prepare areas for future planting.



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