In towns that require residents to bag their leaves the shredded leaves are easier to get into the bags saving time and they save a lot of bags saving money.
Wrongo! Proper fertilizing and aeration takes care of that. Been doing it for years and our grass rocks the hood. This little tool, however, is junk city. The first shredding it does before it leaves the box is the shredding of your Ben Franklin. Rake and burn…give the climate change freaks in your neighborhood a chance to squirm.
I’ve had a similar model for years. Mine will do small twigs. I put the shredded leaves into black lawn and leaf bags, drag them to the back of the yard where they’ll get sun, poke holes in the bags, and let them decompose. In about a year, the leaves have turned into rich, dark, wonderful leaf compost. It’s great for amending soil, and as a fertilizer. Be sure to check ph - depending on the leaves that go into the bags, you may have to balance the soil. I think this is a great tool - if neighbors bring me their leaves, I’ll shred them and keep them - that’s how much I love shredded leaf compost.
I used a similar leaf shredder two autumns ago, and graduated to a more powerful one because of the technical problems with this system.
The one I had was sold under the brand name “Worx” and was 13 amps.
First of all, ditch the cutting string that comes standard with this. Go to the hardware store and pick up .95 mil heavy duty string. The default string might work well for one or two bags of leaves before needing to be changed. The higher strength string will last longer (though not a lot longer – maybe 3 or 4 bags).
Second, don’t even bother trying to use this if your leaves are wet. The leaves will gum up the exit chutes and you’ll end up having to turn the machine off frequently to clear it up. The same will hold true if your leaves have a lot of twigs in it.
You’ll need to weed out any sticks thicker than your pinkie. It will just chew up the string.
Bottom line is this: if you don’t plan on using the resulting leaf mulch you get from this machine in your garden, its probably not worth the time or frustration to use this machine. You won’t be saving on leaf bags, because you can probably stuff as much unchopped leaves into a bag as you can stuff the same quantity of chopped leaves. So unless you’re planning on turning the resulting mulch into compost or mulch for your garden, just skip this.
Here’s a site that explains how to turn shredded leaves into “leaf mold” and why you’d want to do it. (but don’t believe the picture they show with the bucket underneath it. You need plastic bags because the wind of the rotating string would blow all the shredded leaves right out of that bucket.)
I looked into getting one of these (different brands/models) last year. I ended up making my own. I rake the leaves up and put them in a large plastic trash can and then use the weed wacker to break them up. Does the same thing for less money.
A lawnmower will do this more quickly.
The smaller you can break something down before tilling it in the soil, the better it will break down. Don’t really need to compost leaves, they breakdown quickly worked right into the soil.
Great video of this in action. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRJ4P8svGBk&feature=player_embedded
This thing ONLY recommended for chipping branches not shredding leaves. But got a decent rating for it.
Yes, there are advantages - I’ve used both types of machines to shred leaves. The leaf blower/sucker doesn’t shred as finely as this machine. I use a big plastic bucket under my machine and when the bucket fills, I spread the mulch on my garden. The leaf blower doesn’t hold too much and I was constantly stopping and emptying the thing (which was not as easy as dumping a bucket of shredded leaves). The leaf blower does come in handy when you don’t want to rake leaves out of flower beds, though, and I do use mine for that job.
Yes, the leaf shredder is gravity fed. I stand over it with my rake, and at times, use the end of the rake to swirl the leaves in there. It’s actually a fun job as long as you have some crisp autumn weather to enjoy while doing it.
I used to use my mulching push mower to suck them up into the bagging attachment and then dump the ground-up leaves into bags and take them to the city’s compost site. The last few years I’ve just mulched the leaves directly into my lawn and haven’t had any problems. Sometimes I have to make two passes with the mower – one perpendicular to the other – to get the leaves really finely shredded, but I’d rather do that than rake any day. I’ve never seen a scrap of leaf left in the spring and my grass looks lush and thick.
Also the “I hope that (clearly highly intelligent) guy doesn’t burn my house down” folks…
This thing is a joke.
even in the youtube video you can see that she has to shove one little scoop into the machine. for those of us who have more than one leaf in our yards that would be a pain in the…
leaves and twigs go together. i’m not a nature expert but from what i DO know about trees is that the leaves come from them and usually they grow on twigs? I think? I’m not really gonna start separating.
a mower or blower/mulcher works just fine. I’ve got 50 or so bags of leaves at the end of it all. I go nutso every year and splurge on those. It costs me like $25! I know. Crazy.
Same question … my blower garbage can attachment isn’t fazed by small twigs, acorns, etc that apparently will shred the weed whacker approach used by this machine. Can’t tell if the opening out the bottom is any larger than the blower intake tube, but needing to separate out twigs is a deal breaker.
Now, that’s the only reason I see to get one of these.
Similar to how this looks to work, you can also use your string trimmer. Put leaves in a cheap plastic can, cut a slot in the lid for the trimmer to fit in, place lid over leaves and trimmer head, and then go to town on the leaves. May not be as efficient as this but saves a lot of money considering you likely already have a trimmer and a cheap can is maybe $10.
Finally a way to deal with all of the sensitive financial documents and personally-identifiable information that I’ve been inexplicably printing on leaves for the past few years.
I’ve used one of these for years, and here are some things I’ve learned.
Twigs are not a big problem. Most will not damage the lines and will fall straight through. Every so often, you might need to remove a larger stick, but it hardly slows you down. My leaf vacuum has far more trouble with sticks jamming the narrow tube, and they are more difficult to remove. With this thing, you can see the problem and remove it immediately.
This machine is noisy and creates a ton of dust, so wear ear and eye protection. If you are sensitive to dust or have allergies, wear a mask, too.
Mulching goes very quickly if you buy a set of leaf scoops. Amazon has some for less than $9 (search “leaf scoops”). You wear them on your hands, allowing you to pick up huge piles and dump them into the machine. With scoops, I can use this machine to mulch quite a bit faster than I can with my leaf vacuum.
If you don’t have a ton of leaves, just use your lawn mower. My relatively small yard is surrounded by oaks, though, so mowing everything straight into the turf would overwhelm the grass.
Ditto what he said.
I have the similar Worx version. Also, if you’re used to compressing your leaves, for example collect them in a plastic barrel and stomp them down, you won’t get 12:1 reduction versus that density. But still a good 3:1 maybe.
In our community, we have to haul our leaves to a central drop point (or pay to have them hauled, but this is Woot where we try to save $$), so reducing the volume with this helps us avoid a lot of trips. I have the blower/vacuum type also, and prefer this for the reasons sparklecoogs gave.