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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems






Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Chipper Shredder that Troy-Bilt


Initially when the over-sized truck pulled up in the front of the house it caused me to question just how large was the machinery being delivered.

A couple of months prior Troy-Bilt made a generous offer that I could pick out anything from their catalog for under $1,000 if I would agree to use it and write a review on my blog.

They only asked that I let my readers know if I was pleased or not pleased. That sounded fair enough. It didn't take long to decide what Hoe and Shovel could put to good use right away. At the time the driveway and walkways were daily covered with fallen oak leaves like a thick brown carpet.

By the time that pretty red (a bonus in my mind)machine showed up on my doorstep we were more than ready to give it a good whirl. Leaves were bagged and ready to be shredded. Limbs were trimmed from the trees and a rather nice sized pile was set to be chipped.
Mr. Meems even got involved in the action with the promise of all that power flowing through all that torque eating up tree limbs. He read the manual, filled it with gas and oil and cranked her right up. No problem. As we got used to feeding the limbs through the designated shoot we added a bag of leaves to the back hopper to mix the two ingredients for our final outcome. No problem. The hopper made quick order of each bag of leaves shredding them into fine particles of yummy mulch in no time flat.

I cannot tell you how long I've wanted a leaf shredder in order to make better use of the wonderful leaves that fall freely each spring as new growth arrives on the oak trees. Oak leaves are my main source of mulch often placed right into the beds prior to composting.
But what if they could be shredded into fine particles, easily spread, and subsequently broken down into the soil for all the micro-organisms to grow! A finer mulching product would be so beneficial for tender new spring plants and favorite hardy shrubs alike. What could me more perfect to use as mulch for the veggie garden!

Oh, the sight, the smell, the feel of wheelbarrows full of that luscious mixture of oak branches and shredded brown leaves. It is like gold! All I could think when we were piling it up was ... "this is a very beautiful thing." Very exciting stuff.
We put our new red Troy-Bilt Chipper Shredder CS4325 through a rigorous first workout and it met the challenge. It exceeded my expectations actually. I can honestly say I am more than happy with the efficiency of its performance. It is simple enough for me to use all by myself as it transports easily on its 10" x 4" tires and cranks very smoothly.
What a great feeling to put those tree limbs back into the cycle of life in the garden rather than pile them up for the trash man. I know my plants are as happy as me about those gloriously fine chips and shreds of organic materials protecting their roots.

30 comments:

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Awesome. I want one...my father had a Troy-bilt tiller for many years, and it was just as great as the promotional literature said, all those years ago.

On a sideways note, I often wonder how come companies like Troy-bilt don't offer ME something like this to work with? (snif). I get so tired of seeing all the American freebie giveaways on blogs, promotions, etc, yet most aren't open to Canadians, even though the products are available here. Right now there are a whole whack of blogs holding contests for rainbarrels and other assorted items, but none are open to Canadians (or Alaskans or Hawaiians , either.)

Laurie said...

I want one too. It would be so handy. We are always wanting to cut down branches but hesitate because we don't know what to do with the wood. I would have a hey day with one of those. I'm envious.

Ami said...

Wow, with this one, now you become a professional gardener (not I don't feel you already have) :) I thought about that I needed something like this whenever I wanted to amend my soil to increase the drainage or make it more organic. This is it! Only this is a big investment for my small garden :) Now I want to be your neighbour!

islandgal246 said...

Golly Meems, Lucky you and well deserved for a worthy person. I have been looking at one of these for ages and dreaming of owing it one day. I was wondering how it would handle coconut branches and husks.

It is a pity that Troy Bilt won't do offers like these for gardeners worldwide.

Jodi I feel the same here too so you are not alone. Perhaps you need to contact the Canadian counterpart and make a suggestion.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

When the Mr gets outside to admire/use a new tool you know it is going to get a workout. I am glad it works for you. I have a little electric chipper. It works ok but it isn't very strong. Lucky you.

Cameron said...

So that's how we get the men to help out! BIG POWER TOOLS! :-)

I've could sure use one of those as I have stacks of limbs and culled plants in short piles around the edges of my woods, hoping they'll deteriorate-- eventually.

What a great offer for your review!

Randy Emmitt said...

Meems,

Great deal and glad it does a great job. I had a chipper about 12 years ago, not a Troybilt. It was a lot of work to make a small pile of mulch and hard to drag around the sloped yard here. It sat under a tarp for 2 years and became junk. I gave it to my lawn mower repair guy a few years ago. Back then it was $700 and all a waste of money.

compost in my shoe said...

I have been picking leaves up from other peoples front yards for years. I've been looking to get one of these to make the kind of mulch you talk about. Have to get me one of these!

Grace Peterson said...

Hi Meems Dear. I think I speak [write] for us all when I say, please tell us how you landed such a great deal. I had an email recently from a company that wanted me to use their product but write about it without letting on that it was a freebie. I said NO because it seemed dishonest but the way Troy-Bilt presented themselves to you is admirable indeed.

I'm salivating over that wheelbarrow full of gold!

Meems said...

Jodi,
Troy-bilt has been around a long time and they make a good product but for some reason I've never owned anything from them. I guess I didn't realize these product offers seem to be exclusive to the U.S.

Laurie,
Leaving piles of branches at curbside for pick-up has always made me cringe... wishing I could make use somehow of all that organic material. This has partly solved that problem. It will only handle under 3" in diameter. But that covers a great deal of the trimming we do.

Ami,
If we were neighbors we could have so much fun... not just with chippers shredders ... wouldn't that be great!

Helen,
I had my eye on a much smaller one that only shreds leaves. I'd heard how they take so long and you have to feed them slowly because they don't have much power. This beauty sucked those leaves through and chopped them in seconds. I'm wondering about the coconut husks... that would take some sturdy chewing wouldn't it! I've paid a pretty penny for coconut mulch in the past. Great stuff though.

Lisa,
I actually had my doubts as to the strength of a non-commercial chipper like this before receiving it. But ended up being very impressed with its power to grab the limbs through the shoot and spit them out in short order. The end result is perfectly sized pieces for mulching.

Cameron,
Once in a while a power tool will get them helping. :-) I have a huge pile of plant/tree debris at the back of our property where I most often will stack these sort of trimmings. It takes forever for them to breakdown. But honestly I couldn't garden without a place to put the trimmings. There really is too much to put out for the waste management.

This machine is going to put much of my yard waste to much better use.

Randy,
This one really exceeded my expectations. When I looked at that pile of limbs I imagined it taking me *many* hours to stand there and feed them all through the shoot. It actually seemed kind of daunting at the end of a long day in the garden. The chipper shredder worked much quicker than I thought and it didn't take long at all to get through all the limbs and leaves.

Compost,
Oh, how I know exactly what you mean. I could only have dreamed of a machine like this. I had my eye on a much lower-scale leaf shredder but so much happier this one came along.

Grace,
Troy-bilt contacted me by e-mail and explained they'd like for me review a product of my choice. One thing I appreciate so much about their communication is that up front they explained they'd like an HONEST review requesting truthful feedback about the product and disclosure that they offered my choice of product for free. Simple and forthright. I can work with that!

And those wheelbarrows full of GOLD... ooooohhhh... I can really work with that!

Island Rider said...

I gave my husband a chain saw and a pole saw for his birthday. He is quite happy and looks like some guy out of a horror movie. I think he might like a chipper for Christmas! LOL! You are right. Nothing like a power tool to get a man interested in yard work. Congrats on your award. You deserved it because you work so hard to make your yard a beautiful and ecological friendly place.

Sunita said...

I want one too! I've been on the lookout for a machine that'll do the shredding / chipping in my own garden but didn't find any. I was seriously beginning to wonder whether I'd have to resort to one of those old-fashioned meat grinders! This one looks so much better. And definitely more efficient.

garden girl said...

Hi Meems, I just knew you'd love it as much as we love ours! I'm looking forward to shredding leaves with it in the fall. We already have a new wood pile started, and it will grow substantially once I prune the dead wood out of our cedars.

Dave said...

I want one of these. I like the idea of it taking on the bigger stuff and turning it into small particles. You didn't mention how loud it is. Do I need to get ear plugs when I run the shredder? How about dust? Do I need a dust mask as well?
Thanks for the hands-on review.

Tricia said...

MEEMS: I hope you do not mind me calling you that as I see others doing, after all I do not know you except I totally think I do by reading your blog. Your yard and gardens are awesome to those of us that do not have an speck of green in their entire body but I am willing to learn and try and hope to learn a lot of good things by reading things that others who have mastered the gardening THANG, sooooo begins my learning experience. I have started my own blog but sadly do not know how to get people to view it or if in fact anyone would be interested.. You can look if you want
http://liveoakgardening.blogspot.com/

You seem to be the master of garden blogging so I have a few questions:
1) How long have you been blogging?
2) How do you attract others to your site
3) How did Troy Bilt know to contact you
4) What did you do with all the leaves before BIG RED arrived in that big truck

I will keep reading and learning from YOU

Rhonda said...

Do you put your oak leaves through it also? I keep reading that shredded oak leaves are better (faster) in compost than non-shredded.

I knew you were excited about your shredder but didn't realize it was freebie for you. Good for you. Your blog and garden are such a good example for so many that it makes sense for you to test their machinery and to advertise for them.

sanddune said...

What a fantastic parlay you achieved. Great job!I can understand why they wanted to be associated with your garden as it is so diverse and attractive.Now if you can just get them to spring for a shed to store that bad boy in ...

Jan (VA Zone 7A) said...

This sounds so impressive, Meems. I enjoyed reading your review and can only add the same questions that Dave had, re: noise level and dust. We have a lot of oak trees as well and this would be a most welcome piece of equipment here, although I don't see us paying $800 for it. You have one of the most beautiful, helpful blogs that I've read and I just want to compliment you on such a great accomplishment. It's been a while since I've stopped by and I hate to admit that I'd 'forgotten' you, but with so darn many great garden bloggers out there it gets overwhelming trying to keep up with people, ya know?! I enjoyed looking through your blog today!

Floridagirl said...

Now that looks like a fun garden toy! Back a long, long time ago, when I had a gazillion oak trees on the tiniest lot, I longed for such a treasure. Being poor like I was, I would just pile the leaves into huge heaps, then take out the bottom stuff every couple of months. The piles were ever-producing ;) but never seemed to shrink. Loved that black gold at the bottom! These days I own half an oak tree and borrow some overhanging branches from another. Now the leaves just go on the beds whole.

Lola said...

Congratulations Meems. I'm so glad that you have found something that will help you in your garden. Mulch is very important & this will help in that department.
I am always in awe of your gardens. Very pretty.

marmee said...

meems,

this is such a great blessing for you and mr. meems. what fun it must be too. this will make such use of all those leaves and branches you have.
where are you going to store such a big thing though? can it be left outside? i love the idea of getting instant gold like that. i might have to let dh read this particular blog and see if it turns his head!
i am so happy for you to have gotten this opportunity. congrats.
love and hugs.

NanaK said...

Wow. As an owner of MANY oak trees I know how much this piece of equipment must be appreciated. I've always wanted to just rent one but never have. Seeing one that will actually stand up to the task and not be too huge to move about is very interesting to me. Using up those limbs trimmed from the oaks and other shrubs would really be a good addition to the "garden gold" indeed.

Gail said...

First I want a nice outbuilding, then I can get this wonderful toy to use! I feel the same way about what the city calls "garden waste". I would love to grind it to a nice mulch~I love that this one can do leaves and branches and mix them together! gail

ChrisC said...

All I can say is I have chipper envy.I have wanted one of those for years!Maybe if Jon knows it takes gas and has lots of power,he'll get me one.

Tricia said...

MEEMS thanks for the comment on my blog, you were the first YIPEEEE. Now you have that new toy, I want to send ALL my oak leaves and branches to you. I have 22 Live Oak trees on 2 1/4 acres and come the end of the year I am hoping to add another 2 1/4 acres to it which also has Oak trees.

Is it ok to mix your mulch? We are surrounded by Pine tree farms and they harvest the needles for Mulch. I just go over and help myself when I need mulch. Can I mix Pine Needles and Oak leaves together?

Meems said...

Island Rider,
We were down your way yesterday... beautiful beach night! This machine does help propel us further into making the most of what we already have. It is a treasure for sure.

Sunita,
You've got me grinning... a meat grinder might actually be what you need for all your fish fertilizer!

Garden Girl,
You are going to LOVE what this machine does to leaves. Super fast too. What a thrill!

Dave,
Good questions. It is fairly loud. We didn't feel the need for earplugs... but now I wonder if the neighbors might have. :-) I LOVED the sound of those limbs being chewed and spit out ... but I'm weird like that. The dust was noticeable. We started out with the machine closer to the garage and noticed the car being covered with the dust. Once we moved it out into the driveway next to the yard it wasn't a problem at all. A face mask might be useful for folks with sensitivities though.

Tricia,
You have more of a green thumb than you give yourself credit for. Anyone who wants to learn gardening has something green going on. :-) starting your own blog will help you track your progress and it kind of forces you to do more than make stabs at gardening. When you write about it you will find yourself doing research and wanting to learn more. Your acreage sounds divine. What a great way to start!
I've answered some of your questions on your pretty new blog.
Here's the rest:
**I've been blogging for almost three years.
**Troy-bilt sent me an e-mail with their offer.
**I used all my oak leaves (as well as bags & bags from my oldest son) as mulch directly in my beds.
**Absolutely you can mix mulches... any organic materials can be mixed. Some need to age ~ like manures ~ but pine needles and oak leaves make a wonderfully acidic mix!

Rhonda,
Believe me, it was a thrill to get that machine as a freebie. I wouldn't have it if not for that. YES... it shreds leaves in a jiffy. Beautifully. I mixed the leaves and the oak limbs alternating between the two so the bag of mulch would be a luscious mix of the two. It turned out perfect. Shredded leaves definitely break down faster and don't mat as readily either.

Meems said...

Sanddune,
My biggest gardening wish is for a potting shed that would be large enough to store equipment and serve as a place to do my cuttings and seedlings and such. Someday...

Jan,
You are so right about there being so many great blogs about gardening. I don't even pretend to keep up with half of them I wish I could. I'd rather be in the garden. So no worries if you miss me for a while... I completely understand. I'm happy liked stopping by today. Always good to see your smiling face and happy voice.

FG,
Your methods of composting leaves is exactly how I've done it for years. Those piles are where all my grass clippings go as well. Hey, it works!

Lola,
It is a machine that will get lots of use for years to come I'm certain. Thank you.

Marmee,
what? Have you taken up thinking like me? :-) Believe me, consideration for storage was thought out before the choice was made. Being that the lawn has been reduced in size so much over the past 2 years we gave away our riding mower. That made room for the chipper/shredder in the garage. You guys could get so much use out of this tool... it is a great asset to anyone with trees.

Oh, Gail,
The outcome of leaves and limbs blended together in a fine mulch is absolutely HEAVENLY! I can understand the need for a place to store first. Most important to think about.

Chris,
It is a remarkable little machine. The power might be enough to urge Lawn Boy to get you one. It couldn't hurt to try.

Meems said...

NanaK,
Last year I came within inches of buying a leaf shredder. I had determined to wait but to get one this spring. When Troy-bilt notified me of their offer I had no idea there were machines like this that would do both limbs and leaves. It truly is a great addition ... you could definitely use one with all your trees.

Grumpy Gardener said...

Wow, Meems, what a deal! I've wanted one of these ever since I watched "Fargo."

Meems said...

Grumpy,
I'm pretty sure that's when I first started wanting one, too... speaking of power!


September 2010

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