A garden shredder is useful for reducing the amount of garden waste that you have – it can cut this down by up to 75%! However, once you have your shredded material, what can you actually do with it? Here are a few ideas:
1. Adding Garden Shredder Waste to a Compost Heap
The most common way to use garden shredder waste is to add it to a compost heap. Granted, you could do this with the waste itself, saving yourself from having to shred it in the first place, but shredded material has a much larger surface area. This accelerates the decomposition process, meaning that you’ll end up with finished, usable compost much faster.
On the other hand, adding large and woody materials directly to your compost heap could mean that you’ll be waiting a few years before this breaks down. You may also find that larger pieces don’t fit into smaller compost bins.
Just like when you’re adding anything else to a compost heap, make sure that your shredded waste consists of a mix of “browns” and “greens”, meaning both carbon-based materials, such as branches and twigs, and nitrogen-rich green materials, such as leaves and weeds. This will result in a better-balanced compost.
Don’t pack your shredded waste in either – good air circulation is an important part of the decomposition process.
2. Using Garden Shredder Waste to Mulch Trees & Plants
Mulching your plants offers so many benefits – it’ll suppress weeds, improve soil structure and quality, boost moisture levels, protect from harsh weather, and even offer a slow-releasing source of nutrients. Even better, garden shredder waste makes an amazing mulch!
However, before you go dumping your shredded material around your plants, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, don’t put shredded material from conifers or evergreens around your plants – they often contain toxins that can inhibit growth. These are better added to a compost heap, or left in a pile on their own to mature for three to four months – this is long enough to break down any harmful toxins.
If you’ve been shredding invasive weed roots, these shouldn’t be used as a mulch either – they’ll end up rooting in your beds. Finally, if you’ve been shredding thorny materials, such as brambles or roses, then these are best used somewhere away from your plants too. Even when shredded, they’ll still be sharp on your fingers, making it difficult to weed around and care for your plants.
3. Using Garden Shredder Waste to Mulch Paths
If you like the mulch idea but have garden shredder waste that isn’t suitable to be placed around your plants, consider using it to mulch paths instead. You can either mulch existing paths around your garden, or use the shredded waste to create some new paths.
4. Disposing of Your Garden Shredder Waste
Garden shredder waste really does have the potential to improve the health and productivity of your garden. However, if you really don’t have any space in your compost bins and all of your plants are already well-mulched, you always have the option of taking your shredded material to a garden waste disposal site, where it will then be commercially composted.