How To Shred Leaves Without A Shredder

Disturbed by the heap of leaves resting in your backyard because you lack a shredder? Read here to know how to shred your leaves without a shredder!

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Electric garden shredder is ideal for small shredding tasks

Electric garden shredder is ideal for small shredding tasks.

Is it possible to shred leaves without using a leaf shredder? Many people have actually asked this question and the truth is YES. It is possible to shred leaves without using a shredder and get the desired size of the leaf debris you want. Every gardener understands the importance of shredding or chopping fallen leaves into smaller pieces before converting them into mulch.

However, purchasing a shredder can be expensive for some gardeners. If you don’t have a shredder, you probably must have a few basic gardening tools. Here are some of the few alternative tools and manual methods you can use to shred leaves:

String Trimmer

A string trimmer is also known as a weed whip. It is a device used for trimming grass. It uses a monofilament line instead of a blade for cutting. Apart from cutting grasses, a string trimmer can also be used for shredding leaves.

A string trimmer operates by moving it around the ground surface

A string trimmer operates by moving it around the ground surface.

How To Shred Leaves Using a String Trimmer:

  • 1. Fill a big container with a heap of dried leaves.
  • 2. Place the string trimmer into the container with the dried leaves.
  • 3. Turn the trimmer on for a few minutes while pulling it up and down.
  • 4. The end results are very small and fine pieces of leaf debris which you can use for your mulching needs.

Lawn Mower

A lawn mower is a tool which uses more than one rotating blades to trim the grass. The mower design depicts the grass height to be cut. Mowers come in many types, and every mower is designed to a specific size and function. If you have a mower, this can be considered a cost-effective alternative. If your mower is fitted with a bag, this method becomes even more effective as the bag is used to collect the leaves or grass which can be put in one heap. So, the next time you plan to mow your lawn, think twice before you throw those grass clippings.

Moving the mower over the cut grass several times results in fine grass clippings

Moving the mower over the cut grass several times results in fine grass clippings.

How To Shred Leaves Using a Lawn Mower:

  • 1. Prepare the mower by ensuring the blade of the mower is sharp enough to cut coarse grass.
  • 2. Set the mower to three inches or 6 cm.
  • 3. Mow over the area covered with leaves or the heap of already raked leaves.
  • 4. Push the mower slowly over the grass or leaves, covering a distance of less than 2.5 cm to ensure the leaves are evenly shredded.
  • 5. Mow into stripes so that you cut the discharged stripe from the previous pass.
  • 6. Mow to and fro in circles in order to re-cut the already cut particles to obtain finer debris.

Wood Chipper

Another alternative way to shred leaves is using a wood chipper. A wood chipper is best known for cutting or chipping wood into small pieces. It uses blades that are fixed on a rotating disk. As the disk rotates, the blades slice the wood fed through the chipper. This alternative may be expensive and is preferable when large and tough leaves are to be shredded. It is also the best tool to use if you want to shred leaves with twigs and branches.

Use the wood chipper if you want to shred leaves with twigs and branches

Use the wood chipper if you want to shred leaves with twigs and branches.

How To Shred Leaves Using a Wood Chipper:

  • 1. A pile of leaves is inserted into the chippers hopper just like wood.
  • 2. Once the chipper is started the pile of leaves are then chopped into small pieces and exited through the chute of the chipper.

Manual Methods

Other than using the above-mentioned tools, one can also shred leaves manually. These alternatives may sometime take long and may sound a bit funny, but they work to get the desired results. Some of them include:

Gather the dried leaves in one place before you shred them

Gather the dried leaves in one place before you shred them.

  • If you are a poultry farmer, or you have a few poultry in your farmyard, you don’t need a shredder to do your work. Chicken can easily do this work for you. Just pile your dried leaves in an enclosed place and let the chicken in. They will have the leaves broken down just in very few days.
  • Since dry leaves crumble just easily, you can as well place them on your busy pathway and as you walk up and down the pathway, you will end up breaking the leaves with your feet. The end products are small pieces of dried leaves.
  • Another method which may just sound as crazy is jumping over the leaves in a pile. Pile up your dry leaves in one place and jump in the pile several times. As you jump into the pile, the leaves get broken easily as they are already dry.

The manual methods only work for dry leaves, and it also depends on the number of leaves you want to shred. These methods only apply to small volumes of leaves as large volumes can be cumbersome to work on.

Conclusion

With alternative gardening tools like a lawn mower, wood chipper, or a string trimmer, you can always shred the leaves and use them as your gardening mulch. No need to buy a leaf shredder if your budget doesn’t permit. However, if you have the budget, you always shred leaves from time to time, then we highly recommend you buy a leaves shredder specifically for this purpose. Remember, every gardening tool has its own purpose. Hence, using a lawn mower for the shredding task, which is not one of its functions, may damage the mower blade. Nevertheless, these alternative tools and the manual methods are actually an excellent substitute until you’ve bought a leaves shredder.

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Lucy M. Clark
 

Hi there! I’m Lucy, and I’m a self-confessed garden fanatic. Gardening has always been a passion of mine and will always be my favorite pastime. Now that I am married and have one adorable son, I have the time to write and share my personal experiences with other garden enthusiasts like me.

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