When clearing large areas of land, a chipper shredder is a must. This tool can quickly turn piles of cut wood, leaves and plants into nutritious organic mulch or easily compostable material. Unless you're a professional landscaper, you will likely rent a chipper shredder. Most commercial shredders have similar specifications, but if you have a large area and lots of wood to clear, rent one with at least a 5 horsepower engine. Your job will go much more quickly and the machine will be less likely to jam.
Read the manufacturer's instructions carefully and talk with the dealer about operating the machine.
Spread plastic sheeting on the flat area where you will place the chipper shredder. The sheet should be large enough to collect the chipped and shredded plant material.
Place the chipper shredder in the center of the plastic sheet.
Gather the material to be chipped and shredded in a pile near the mouth of the shredder. Separate leaves, plants and small twigs into one pile and larger branches into another pile. Measure any large branches to be sure they aren't too big for your machine to handle.
Plug in the chipper or make sure it is filled with gasoline.
Put on safety gear. Safety goggles, sturdy gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy boots will help to protect you from debris that may fly out of the machine.
Turn the chipper shredder on.
Put the small leaves, twigs and plants into the leaf hopper section of the chipper shredder. It is usually the larger of the two openings on the machine, but read the manual to be sure. Do not put too much material in at one time or the shredder will jam. A few handfuls at a time is best.
Feed branches into the branch section of the chipper shredder. Do not force the branch in but all the chipper to draw it in. Otherwise, you might damage the blades.
Watch the growing pile underneath the chipper shredder. If it gets too high, it could interfere with the machine's shredding action. Bag or compost the material periodically if necessary.
Gather the chipped and shredded material. Use it as organic mulch or mix it into your compost pile.