Wear glasses and gloves - shredders occasionally chuck out bits of wood at
high speed, and the vibration is deadly when you shred rose bits! Also, *do* use
an ELCB (which stops the power supply if it detects a short to earth) anywhere
with tools outdoors.
From: Kay Easton
Ear protectors are essential for working with a shredder - the person
operating it is much closer than others in the same or adjacent gardens and has
the noise continuously for perhaps an hour or more.
Eye protectors and gloves are essential. Working in a hospital I have seen
too many silly injuries from this sort of thing. Also an RCD device is
essential. I have one of those small plug-in devices which I test from time to
time (using the built in button!).
[ELCB = Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker, RCD = Residual Current Detection.
I believe both serve the function of shutting off the power if a current drain
to earth is detected]
Shredders are brilliant for reducing the smaller bits of twig, wood and stuff
that you might normally tend to burn into a mulch instead - almost free (once you
have the shredder), and just as good as the expensive stuff like bark chippings.
We use all our shreddings as mulch, and don't bother to compost any - we get
lots of compost stuff anyway with horses all around us.
If you do compost woody bits, I suspect that you need to add nitrogen to the
heap in some way, since I think that composting such material is a nitrogen
From: Geoff Rowlands
We bought an ALKO H2200S about three years ago and it has proved very useful
in disposing of the brambles, ivy, sycamore, cupressus etc. It does not deal
with juicy stuff very well however; it clogs up.
I shred just about everything I can, as I believe that, with a larger surface
area to volume ratio, material composts more quickly. When I'm shredding just
woody stuff then I use it as a mulch but most goes straight onto the compost.
When 90% of the material on the heap is shredded it makes it much easier to turn
From: Donald M. Hancock
We rarely compost the shreddings, instead we use them as a general mulch
which keeps the weeds down admirably. The only thing we avoid is to mulch any
plants with their own shreddings in an effort to stop diseases from self-propagating.
Unless what you are shredding is VERY woody, you can compost them directly.
It takes longer (typically 2 years), but I compost 2-3 year old privet
clippings. Most woody shoots will compost quite well while they are still
sapwood, but they are broken down by fungi and not bacteria.
About 4 years ago I bought an ALKO H1300 electric shredder (made in Germany).
Can't remember the cost exactly but it was 120/130ukp. This will deal with all
the woody stuff up to say half inch (12mm.) diameter and works very well. The
1300 in the name is the wattage of the motor. There are less powerful shredders
available but I would not recommend them.
From: Dick Glover
I bought a Husqvarna (Finnish) electric one (K2000 EL) about two years ago
(Cost 210 UKP). It can cope with wood up to about 2.5 cm in diameter. but 'hard'
woods like apple are tough going, and really about 1.5 cm is their limit (and
mine - the vibration is awful).
You only need to buy a petrol one you have no mains electric power supply
available - electric needs virtually no maintenance apart from cleaning, whilst
a petrol one needs looking after as much as a lawn mower would. You need (IMHO)
a motor that is rated at about 2KW, less is too weak to handle much at all.
From: Donald M. Hancock
We have owned an ALLEN Goblin 1500 (1100W electric) shredder for five years now
and find it very useful. It will cope with broomstick sized GREEN wood if it is
taken slowly. I would not wish to have a lower powered one such as our neighbour
has, it is at least as noisy and it seems to take him all day to do what ours
can manage in an hour or so.
At present I own an Alko H2200 Electric which is fine, it is powerful enough
to shred 95% of the waste from my garden. Its disadvantages are that is is not
as powerful as a two-stroke petrol one I used a few years ago and with a big
garden you need a long, long lead to reach those places other shredders cannot
reach! It's also fairly tall and girlfriend (5'4") and my mother (5'2") find it
almost impossible to use unless they have something to stand on!
Its advantages are that you don't have to nip to the petrol station for its
fuel supply. It's a darn sight easier to start that the petrol versions (some of
them at least) and it's slightly (just) quieter.
From: Robin Davies
I have the Alko B3000 3.5hp 2 Stroke Petrol model. If you fail to get the
mixture ratio correct then the exhaust emissions are overpowering. It can be an
absolute pig to start as well. I think the electric version is better providing
you are near a power point and can accept the lower power rating.
From: Geoff Rowlands
The [ALKO H2200S] motor is mounted with its shaft vertical and so the
shreddings are flung out horizontally into the discharge shute which deflects
them downwards and where the juicy ones tend to stick. Some more recent machines
have the motor mounted at about 45 deg to the vertical and so the shreddings
should be helped out by gravity and so *may* not be so prone to clogging up.