Copious leaves and pine needles are a mixed blessing. While on the trees, they are gorgeous; once they fall, it is hard to keep up with the vast amount of garden waste they generate. Autumn is synonymous with raking and bagging leaves. Using a leaf blower or burning leaves are other options. Using a leaf shredder is more environmentally friendly.
Break Down Waxy Leaves
Leaves with a waxy exterior take significantly longer to break down and turn into beneficial soil-enhancing compost. Homeowners with a number of magnolias, laurels, oaks, hollies and pines in their landscape are sure to benefit from the mechanical leaf breakdown a leaf shredder provides. Combine shredded waxy leaves with nitrogen-rich grass clippings or other organic matter for quick breakdown in a compost bin.
Make Seasonal Mulch
Rather than composting leaves in a bin, a leaf shredder quickly turns numerous bags of seasonal leaves into seasonally available mulch. This eliminates the cost of buying bags or bark and other mulch materials. Since shredded leaves are sufficiently porous to let oxygen and also water enter into the soil, the material does not harm the plants. As natural decomposition breaks down the shredded leaves, they become compost and benefit the soil and plants.
Eliminate Air Pollution
Gas-powered leaf blowers, in addition to significantly contributing to the amount of particle matter in the air, also emit as much carbon monoxide per hour as 26 new cars (1999 or 2000 model years). Backyard burning of leaves releases numerous particles into the air, but it also generates carbon monoxide and a carcinogenic hydrocarbon.
Useful for Any Yard
Varying sizes and features make leaf shredders useful for any yard size. Some models mount to a table or trash receptacle, while others are mounted on wheels, which make them easy to transport to any corner of the landscape. There are gas-powered models and the more environmentally friendly electric types.