You might see a garden shredder is an unnecessary indulgence, at least that’s what I used to think as I eyed them up online and shuffled around garden centre offerings.

It was only when I took the plunge (see my market research here) that I realised garden shredders are a god-send and now I can’t live without it!

Whether you buy one or not is really up to you, but I wanted to share with you 3 reasons why I can’t live without mine 🙂

3 Reasons Why Gardening Shredders Are Great

1) Tidiness

I’m an impatient gardener. I love watching seeds grow from tiny husks of nothing but I am not fond of long term mess. My hedge always needs cutting back. Now I have a shredder I do this regularly, but in the dark pre-shredder past I would turn the untidy hedge into an untidy clipping mountain that required disposal. Cutting the hedge was not an attractive option because it meant:

  • A trip to the tip which I hated because it messed up my car
  • Cutting the prunings up by hand so they would fit into the miniscule bags provided by the council’s green waste collection service
  • A bonfire which I wasn’t too keen on doing and would ruin my neighbour’s weekend

I used to avoid these options by allowing my hedge to become overgrown. Of course this led to shady areas above my expensive sun-loving roses, and blackberry brambles flailing around like fishing lines. It made the job very hard and time consuming but now’s it simple to prune and whizz it through the shredder in one day.

It’s good to leave some habitat for wildlife, but a temporary pile of hedge and tree clippings on the ground attracts hedgehogs, birds, foxes, insects, slow worms and grass snakes. You can’t blame them – it’s like a hotel for wild creatures. The problem comes when you eventually deal with the pile and they end up homeless or hurt. When wild animals have young this is extremely unfair. Shredding and bagging your prunings on the same day deals with all that.

But what to do with those bags of shredded prunings? The tip? No – mulch and compost.

2) Mulch and Compost

Mulch is wonderful stuff. I use my garden shredder to make mulch and bark chippings for my garden. Mulch is important because it provides these garden benefits:

  • Plant food as it breaks down
  • Suppresses weeds
  • Keeps in moisture
  • Prevents soil erosion
  • Habitats for insects
  • Deters slugs and snails
  • Keeps strawberries off the earth
  • Makes the beds and paths look tidy

Mulch or bark chippings can also speed up the process of composting. Put a hedge or shrub branch on your compost heap and it can take a year to rot down but if you shred it first the process is far quicker. This makes rapid compost and cuts down on smells. You’ll have lovely crumbly compost in half the time.

This leads to….

3) Saving Money

A garden shredder saves me spending out on mulches, compost, collection services and on one memorable occasion, paying a garden maintenance company to cut the hedge for me. My shredder has more than paid for itself over the years. In fact, the cost of my shredder was less than paying that gardener to cut the hedge and dispose of the clippings just one time.

With my shredded bark the compost heap is regularly fed with bite-sized pieces of plant that quickly make excellent compost, and my established border plants are regularly fed with free mulch. How much this would cost me in the garden centre I don’t know, but I use a lot of mulch and that isn’t cheap. I also avoid paying a fee to the council for green waste removal.

The same applies to my family members – they all bring their garden prunings to me or I take the shredder with me. We all save money, have tidy gardens and great locally produced mulch that’s free from bits of plastic.

I would thoroughly recommend a garden shredder if you have areas that need regular maintenance like hedges, trees and shrubs. The initial outlay is dwarfed in comparison to a life time freed from compost, mulch and gardener costs, plus you’ll have the satisfaction of a tidy garden with little effort. A garden shredder is money well spent.