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Wood Chipper Biotrituradora

Posts: 137
Location: Galicia, Spain Zone 9
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So I'm looking to buy a wood chipper and willing to spend up to 2500 euros.

I'm interested in woodchip gardening as in Back to Edenwebpage

I'm going to mainly chip branches and coppiced wood up to 5 inches/13cm thick, but a little less diameter would be fine.

I'm going to be sharing it and I don't have a tractor so I need it to chip independently and I need to be able to transport it in a van or a trailer in order to share with my friend.

Any suggestions on brands, types places to buy?

Posts: 1029
Location: Northern Italy
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Hi Jose,
I realize this might not be what you want to hear at the moment, but I would urge caution when considering this.

1. The "back to eden" technique, even for a small garden, uses a wood-waste recycling facility which has access to a big drum chipper (See in film at 15:30). This machine can make tons of woodchip in a few minutes. He then loads his truck up. His personal energy input into this strategy is about as easy as it gets, a few dollars worth of gas and he has his prime material for cultivation. Most chippers for private use, even the ones you can hitch to a truck, are much slower and will require much more energy on your part to get it done. Without access to free chip, this strategy is just not very energy efficient. The initial cover is I think 12-16 inches of chip. Over a typical garden or orchard that's around 200 square meters, that's a lot of chip. I would not like to be the person standing behind a chipper making all that chip. If you have a couple beds it might work. If you have a lot of space to cover, you might want to imagine what it will be like to actually reproduce a garden like that with a chipper.

2. Say it takes you a week or two to chip what he can load up in his car in a weekend. You might want to consider the wear and tear on the chipper and it's long term cost to you. When, not if, it breaks, do you have access to a mechanic who can do repairs cheaply? Can you do repairs?

3. I've said this in other posts, the back to eden strategy takes as a fundamental starting point access to very cheap or free wood chip. In some places this is possible, in others it is less possible. From what I can tell in Europe this isn't likely. Plus, if you or the place you are getting your chip from is dealing with little plastic pieces, wires attached to the trees, or urban trees that may be sucking up toxins, you also might want to consider what you're putting into your soil. It's one thing if your raw material is from a nearby woods that maybe you're getting paid to clear, or if you are collaborating with an arborist who has access to quality, clean tree material. It's another if you're working with a gardener who sends lots more pollution your way.

4. As you're in europe, you might want to look into the EU laws about stockpiling and transforming material that is considered a regulated waste. If the trees are your own, you might have a limit of what you can stockpile. If the trees are not your own, there could be fines or code violations that you may want to be informed about. You run the risk of being identified as operating an illegal waste reclamation facility, which can include jail time if you have a commercial activity. This is even more important if you are the one chipping and you go slow. Gardeners and neighbors might be happy to give you raw material, and if it's just a little it might be no big deal (depends on the local authorities and your neighbors), but when you start chipping lots of stuff it can get you into a bureaucratic mess rather easily.These things are getting more tightly controlled as time goes on.

5. You might spend less money, have a clearer conscious, and have to work less by going to a recycling center and paying for the chip at full price. Here it costs 15 euros for a 100 kilos. I could have purchased a lot more, worked a lot less, and not had to worry about getting in trouble with the law had I not gone the route of stockpiling and chipping myself.

6. If you have access to a friend's tractor, there are chipping elements you can attach to that. It's a flail mower I think in english, trinciatore in italian. We just had someone come and chip 100 meters of tree branches. It took 30 minutes and cost 150 euros. Yikes! Basically we needed to get rid of the mass of branches because we didn't want the neighbors to get angry and report the stockpiling to the authorities.

7. Your location, laws, authorities, and neighbors might be different. The above comments are pretty general, but come from a little experience in dealing with the stuff, and very protracted thinking about the use of wood chip in my context, which might be similar to yours.

Thanks for listening.
Jose Reymondez
Posts: 137
Location: Galicia, Spain Zone 9
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This is exactly the kind of info I needed, so complete, thanks so much!

Galicia actually produces almost more lumber than Italy and more than all of England, in just 30,000 suare kilometers, so Im going to look in to forestry companies that are already producing a lot and preferably uncontaminated of course.

If I could give you an apple I would!

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