A compost shredder creates rich, fertile, nutrient-packed compost to increase soil fertility in gardens. It grinds and shreds up a mixture of ingredients from food waste, organic materials, and decomposing plant waste, and, in many cases, the compost contains beneficial organisms such as worms. Worms move through the compost and create air pockets to keep the ground-up materials from being too wet and attract fungi into it. Making your compost with an electric chipper shredder from grass clippings and pruning trees as well as yard waste can save you quite a bit of money as you are recycling materials with electric shredders instead of needing to purchase pricey fertilizers and soil conditioners for great growth in your flower and vegetable gardens.
Types of Compost Shredder
There are three main types of compost shredders for processing your organic waste in a vertical crusher: the semi-wet material crusher, the hammer crusher, and the straw crusher.
Semi-wet Compost Shredder
The semi-wet compost shredder converts all organic waste into very uniform-sized pellets for an easy-to-use end product. This allows you to make commercial grade compost to use as a fertilizer in your garden or even on your lawn. Or, you may instead make granular organic compost to use as fertilizer as well. This type of composter can be used for all of your household organic waste, such as food scraps in the form of green waste, animal manure, and waste from your garden when you pull up the old plants before replanting them. You can also use your shrub trimmings and small tree trimmings in this model.
Hammer Crusher Composter
The hammer crusher composter is used to make organic fertilizer for larger-scale organic waste products. This type is generally used if you are producing a large amount of fertilizer or rich soil ingredients.
The straw crusher is used for agricultural and garden waste. It's specially designed to crush crop straw, grass, leaves, and small tree branches into very tiny pieces. Straw is rich in carbon, which is needed for the composting process to adjust the ratio of carbon to nitrogen and for the compost to break down much more quickly.
The Pros and Cons of Using a Shredder for Your Prunings
There are several pros of using a wood chipper shredder. Without enlisting the use of a shredder for composting, most homeowners or farmers will have a compost pile. The pile includes all organic items for making the compost into rich fertilizer and conditioning the soil. In a compost pile, you simply throw your plant waste, food scraps, and pruned limbs into the pile.
A compost pile should include some moisture for the items to break down. As food scraps age, they can be smelly, and when you add manure of any type to the pile, it can be a bit overwhelming and attract a lot of flies. Swarming flies make it a bit harder to add to the compost pile and turn it, so it dries out evenly. Compost piles are usually in the far corner of your land and out of sight for these reasons.
When you enlist the help of a shredder for all of your prunings, they are ground up into small pieces, which eliminate the smell and give a more uniform appearance to the compost. Smaller particles will biodegrade much faster than larger limbs so that you can have your end product of all-natural fertilizer much more quickly and with a lot less work. Often, your compost is ready to use in less than four months.
Shredding your materials will combine them together in the same proportions for each of the granules or pellets produced for a very well-balanced compost. It produces a higher quality because the nutrients don't sit and decay while leaching out the good nutrients into the ground.
Shredded compost also allows your compost to reach higher temperatures more easily, which translates into killing off any weed seeds that have found their way into the granules or pellets. This gives you a sterile product that will not produce an abundance of weeds germinating in your garden or lawn when used in soil management.
Shredders do have a few cons associated with them, so you need to decide if the pros outweigh the cons, and in most cases, they certainly do. Shredders are quite slow to use for their invaluable process. The inlet where you put your raw materials is quite small, so it takes some time to feed the materials into the chute. It's also made in this way, so you don't accidentally get your hands in there as a safety feature and includes a safety lock. Bushes with many small offshoots or branches may jam into the chute, but you may also need to remove the branches depending on the number of inches in diameter of them to feed them in the machine.
Compost shredders and wood chippers do jam up occasionally if you feed too many materials too quickly into the chute or you are using too many green materials and not enough dried brown materials like wood chips or woody material. The green stuff contains water in them, and when they are shredded, they can gum up the shredding mechanism so that it stops. You then need to use a wrench, remove the retaining bolt and clean the machine out before it begins working again. Most people only jam a compost shredder once and learn from the time-consuming mistake of how to correct their procedure.
Using a compost shredder dictates that you need gloves to protect your hands and safety goggles for eye protection, as well as sound-canceling earmuffs to protect your hearing. These are pretty standard personal protection items when dealing with any type of machinery, including an electric wood chipper.
How a Compost Shredder Machine Works
The newer types of compost shredders are vertical, with the chute opening upward. This makes it easier to feed your materials into it, especially if you are adding any type of manure to it by shovel fulls. The materials you add to the feed hopper enter into the body of the shredder when blades and chains are on the rotary shaft. The rotary shaft turns and pulverizes the organic waste. The size of your output materials is adjustable, so you can choose to have smaller or larger particles that exit the machine. This system is how the semi-wet crushers work.
The hammer crusher composter has a hammer, a baffle, and a screen in it. The hammer crushes the materials with a very high impact, and when the particles are small enough, they go through the openings in the screen. The particles that are too large to go through the screen keep getting crushed until they reach a small enough size to go through the screen. This type of composter is generally used for large fertilizer output.
As the name implies, the straw crusher version of a composter is designed for grinding up straw. It uses a crusher knife to chop up the straw into small pieces of compost. The straw can be old bedding for farm animals or straw from a crop.
All types of electric wood chippers use a discharge chute for the output of the product.
Where Can You Use a SEEC Compost Shredder Machine?
A SEEC compost shredder machine is an invaluable tool for farms of all sizes, commercial operations, and household use as well as for large branches and small branches. There are several models within each type of crusher from which to choose. Homeowners would most likely choose one of the smaller ones to handle their waste products, and farmers with animals or large crops would most likely use one of the larger models to accommodate their materials.
Anyone with even a few chickens or rabbits, a horse, or a cow can benefit from a compost shredder. The smaller farm animals have waste that needs to be disposed of in order to keep their areas clean. You can put your chicken and rabbit waste into the shredder with other materials and make your own fertile compost for your household use. Cows and horses can create quite a bit of waste. An added use is to put the wasted bedding and stall materials along with the manure into the shredder to combine it all in one step.
Homeowners with a garden and trees or bushes of any sort can benefit from a shredder to quickly make their compost ready for use. Any greens from the garden after picking the vegetables along with mulch, hay, or straw in combination with prunings from trees and shrubs can all go safely in a shredder.
Anyone with any type of lawn can benefit from using compost as a soil conditioner for fertile and lush green growth.
Uses of Compost Shredder
You can use a compost shredder for any type of organic materials to grind them up and make your own fertilizer of sorts, so you are recycling scraps and other items that have no use into an inexpensive and very fertile product.
You can use your finished compost in many different ways, even if you have a lawn and a few flower beds or trees as a homeowner. It's a great soil amendment for adding nutrients to your soil with an organic and all-natural product. You can add this to your small home vegetable garden to feed the soil over the course of many months. It's not a fertilizer, so to say so, it can't burn any of your vegetables as actual fertilizer does when it's applied too heavily, making a garden compost shredder very valuable to you.
It can be used in the place of specialty potting soils for all of your potted plants that you have both indoors and outdoors. Or you can use it as a soil conditioner and add about half compost to half of a commercial potting soil if you wish. It will improve the soil to make it fluffy and encourage a good root system as well as great plant growth.
You can also use compost as mulch around trees, shrubs, and in flower beds to feed the vegetation naturally over many months, while its all-natural ingredients do their job to make the soil fertile. It will also protect the roots of any plants conserve moisture, so you need to apply less irrigation, and it maintains your desired temperatures for good growth habits. It's important to note that you shouldn't place mulch or compost on the trunk of a tree or shrub, but you should instead leave a few inches near the trunk for air to circulate.
You can use your compost to work into soil before planting new plants, seeds, or seedlings in any area. If you don't have a lot of compost to add to your garden, you can side dress the rows of plants, vegetables, shrubs, or flowers.
If you have bare spots in your lawn, you can apply a thin layer of compost to the spots to prevent soil compaction and introduce valuable nutrients to the soil. You can actually condition your entire lawn with compost by sprinkling it on in a thin layer and working it into the grass, so it reaches the soil underneath it.
Landscapers can greatly increase their profit margin by composting organic waste with large chipper shredders or a commercial chipper shredder. Most landscapers bag the grass clippings in a collection bag when mowing both residential and commercial properties. They also remove all of the pruned limbs from trees and bushes after the pruning process and any other yard debris. Landscapers may also plant seasonal flower beds to beautify a home or property and remove the spent flowers from the previous season of growing. All of these items are removed from properties, and they can create rich fertile compost to be used in new flower beds and gardens at no cost to them. Using the waste products allows them to recycle them into "black gold," as compost material is called by many for all of its beneficial nutrients.
It's of the utmost importance that you understand the ratio of items you put in your electric compost shredders for the best breakdown of organic products. Many people simply refer to it as a ratio of browns to greens, but that isn't as straightforward as it sounds. The ratio is actually based on carbon and nitrogen in the products you add to your compost, and you also need ventilation and moisture for it to decompose properly.
Composting involves microbes that degrade your organic matter in the compost bin or pile. They actually need the correct balance of carbon and nitrogen nutrients to exist with a ratio of 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. The faster the microbes grow with the correct balance of these nutrients, the faster your compost processing happens. Your compost pile will heat up to desirable temperatures to make the process even faster.
Green products such as grass clippings and leaves of all types as well as garden plants, all have high levels of nitrogen. But, when the items start to decay, they turn brown and dry up. At this point, the nitrogen level is very low. Wood and straw have low levels of nitrogen. So what about animal manure? It looks brown in color, but in fact, it is considered a green item in the world of composting because it is high in nitrogen. Alfalfa hay is also brown, but it is high in nitrogen.
If you are using a compost shredder, you most likely want to get rid of an eyesore of waste products and speed up the process. You can still compost all of your organics without the correct ratio of carbon to nitrogen, but it will delay the finished process by quite a long time. Sticking to the correct ratio will enable you to quickly reap the benefits of your fertile product.
Most homeowners and small gardeners who use a leaf shredder for compost have more brown items, such as the items you collect in the fall, most of which are dead leaves that fall off trees on your lawn. Too many browns will make your compost degrade very slowly because there isn't enough nitrogen to balance out all the carbon in the leaves and pruned limbs. You can actually add a handful of Urea or nitrogen fertilizer to your compost pile to help balance it out and start it cooking--if you will, at a higher temperature. If you instead want to go the organic route, you can add some fresh chicken or rabbit manure to your compost heap. If your compost starts to stink, you have too much nitrogen in it and need to add some more brown products to it that are low in nitrogen.
Some examples of browns or items with low nitrogen are pine needles, fall leaves that are dry, twigs, bark, and tree branches, as well as pruned limbs from any tree or shrub. Straw and hay have low nitrogen as well as sawdust, dry corn stalks, or any other brown garden matter, cotton fabric, dryer lint, and corrugated cardboard without wax or slick coating. All types of paper are considered browns or low in nitrogen, including newspaper, printer paper, napkins, paper plates, and coffee filters. It's a valid point to notice that used coffee grounds are high in nitrogen and are considered a green item in the wonderful world of composting.
Some examples of greens or products high in nitrogen content include fresh grass clippings, used tea bags, vegetable and fruit scraps from the kitchen, and limbs that are still alive when they are pruned from annual perennial plants, trees, and shrubs. You can put annual weeds in your compost pile as a high nitrogen product, but make sure they haven't set seeds on them yet, or your compost will grow weeds in it. Eggshells and seaweed are also nitrogen-rich products for your compost pile. Animal manure is the best nitrogen-rich product to add to your compost in the form of sheep, chicken, rabbit, horse, and cow manure, but don't add cat or dog manure to it.
Using the right ratio of carbon to nitrogen helps optimize microbial activity to speed up your process. Turning your compost heap pretty often will expose some of the browns and greens that aren't decomposed yet, and it makes them release moisture and heat, so the items break down very quickly. This is called "hot composting."
Some items that you should not put in your compost or compost shredder include fish and meat scraps. Even though they are ground up small, the smell will attract animals to your compost, such as rats, mice, raccoons, foxes, and cats, and they will make a real mess of your compost pile. The smell of rotting meat and fish is very offensive to people too. Don't add your ashes from your barbeque charcoal to the compost pile, either. It has too much sulfur in it and will make your end product too acidic, which in turn will harm your plants instead of helping them.
Another important point is that you need to know how to tell when your compost is ready for use. When the process is finished in a short time, thanks to your compost shredder and the right balance of nutrients, you need to feel and smell the product you have created. Pick up a handful of compost and look at it. It should be very dark in color and look black without any green in it. Squish the compost in your hands and it should be light, crumbly, and very fine. Smell the compost. It should smell like earth or fine loam soil, and it shouldn't have any chunks of anything in it. If your compost meets all of these criteria, it is ready for use.
If you use compost in your garden, which is nutrient-rich, and you use it consistently, you may not even ever have the need to use any type of fertilizer to grow lovely veggies and flowers. Your own homemade compost will be loaded with many ingredients for good growth, whereas commercial fertilizers can use only one to three ingredients in most cases. If you are just starting to add compost to your garden, it may take a while if you have poor quality soil for it to reach a very healthy and productive state.
Whether you are composting for a farm or your homestead, electric chipper shredders can make the process of creating your own fantastically fertile compost much faster, so you can reap the benefits of your labor. Lomi kitchen composters by Pela are the cream of the crop and the best kitchen composter on the market in that they function very well and are very reliable for a superior product that will last for many years. You can choose from a walk-behind chipper shredder, gas shredders, electric models, and one that will attach to your lawn tractor with a tow bar.