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Kostas

Chipper type, power and size for big palm leafs?

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Kostas

Hello :)

The past several months I have been starting to have too many and too big palm leafs to incorporate in the garden and manoeuvre around underplantings and its impractical to chop them up by hand, thus many have ended up mulching the property next door instead of mine. So, the need for a good chipper is becoming a reality if i want to use them all, which i definitely want to. This should also allow me to stop buying or cut down a lot on bought mulch which is pretty expensive here and rather enjoy the plentiful one the palms are making, plus the dead tree branches.

So, what is the chipper size and power i should aim for, and which type is the most suitable for handling even the biggest of palm leafs and petioles? I am saying the biggest as i do have Bismarckia and Borassus in definitely in the plans as well. It would be great it it could handle some tree branches as well. But machine size is always an issue and smaller is better when it comes to practicality in moving and storage, so the smallest or a medium sized one that could handle this job would probably be the preferable one.

I don't mind doing a little preparation if its not too difficult, but the need for a lot of preparation to process the palm leafs would be a put off to actually doing it, so i don't want that. I guess the petioles of large palm leafs may need splitting in the middle to fit. That is ok if its done relative easily but not ok if its too hard and need to do 15 such leafs at once for example.

I will very much appreciate your first hand experience and expertise on this matter

Thank you very much in advance! :)

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Kostas

Thank you very much for your reply and suggestion!

I only cut totally dead leafs and this only when I need to, otherwise I let them fall on their own when they are ready. So requiring them to be dry won't be a problem (unless it's the rainy season).

Won't the petioles of Bismarckia and bigger palms be too much for this one or too big for it's intake? It says it handles limbs up to 1 and 1/4 inch diameter. Have you found the bigger leafs to fit and to deal with them ok?

I am not sure if we have Brico here, but I could try to source them if they are particularly good

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Alicehunter2000

I think some people have said that chippers in general don't work very well for palm petioles due to their stringy nature. The strings get bound up in the cutting mechanism and causes it to seize up.

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Kostas

Yes, I have read this to be a problem, but a couple chipper designs are supposed to avoid that. Wanted to hear how things are in practice as well though

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empireo22

dried brown ones go through small ones. commercial chippers shred green fronds and dont skip a beat even if something got wrapped around all the other limbs and trunks they shred it will push through. I recommend that if you prune green fronds let them dry out before chipping.

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aussiearoids

You need a very strong high speed machine that cuts not hammer mills .. they had one at Cairns TAFE College for doing exactly what you describe .

Constant attention to blade sharpness is needed .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JE

cNq5nXvRA

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Alicehunter2000

If you find a good one that works good for less than $500 let us know .....I'm sure several of us might be interested in it.

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DoomsDave

I have a chipper shredder that will shred all but the very biggest hardest leaves, including Roystonea leafbases.

It has 10 HP, and makes these hay-like shreds. They're not the neat chips like you get with, say, olive branches.

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DoomsDave

Here are some pictures:

Here's the shredder. It's about a 5 feet (1.66 M) long overall.

post-208-0-05258600-1423195034_thumb.jpg

Here it is with the 30 CM long Shoe for scale.

post-208-0-29904600-1423195158_thumb.jpg

Here's a close up of the engine.

post-208-0-92246100-1423195223_thumb.jpg

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DoomsDave

Here's a closeup of the blade. It's a lot sharper than it looks. It's about 8 inches (20 CM) across.

post-208-0-66542000-1423195393_thumb.jpg

It's at the bottom of a big chute.

post-208-0-24197000-1423195466_thumb.jpg

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DoomsDave

Any questions, just ask!

I've had her (her name is Ellyn) for about 12 years. I've had to replace engines, blades, other parts, worth every penny.

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MattyB

I have the same design as Dave, 10hp. Mine bound up and it was a real pain to take it apart and get it untangled. I will not do palms in it. But dried Roystonea crown shafts actually shred up pretty good they aren't fibrous they chip. but any other palm no way man

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Josh-O

The ultimate toy .. seen these in action amazing at what they can do ... turning wilderness into a mulched area .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJxlK-_vUrs

that chipper shredder getter ridder ofer thingy is AWESOME!!!

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Josh-O

is there such a thing as a practical low cost easy to maintain chipper/shredder to mulch up palm fronds??

I'm also in the market to buy one my self.

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Kostas

Thank you very much for your replies and help! :)

I will only be passing dead, dried leafs through it. The machete seems useful for a quick bulk cutting, i will probably get one as well as the pruners/saw are too slow.

Michael, the first brand you mention should be available here. The current model is too big and heavy for my application though.

So, a good quality 10hp chipper should do the job without complaining too much and needed too much maintenance to be worth the trouble? I will try to go for a slightly bigger engine if the chipper dimensions do not increase much as i have to pass it through a door for storage, plus i don't want it take up too much space of be a problem to move around. A size like yours Dave seems a good fit for practicality and use if its robust enough as well.

How do you feed Bismarckia leafs and Roystonea crownshafts through it? Do they fit or do you have to prepare them in some manner first? Is it fast to process all the dead leafs you get through it, without jamming or needing maintenance too often?

Are the shreddings it produces from palm leafs good to use as mulch without causing more rot problems than course bark for example? I ask because they may hold more water or compact more? I don't know, i haven't seen or used them.

Thank you very much for offering to help with first hand experience Dave! :)

I will let you know what i get in the end and how well it works. I won't be getting it before Spring but i want to plan it and see what i can find here as well. Might be Fall till i get it, don't know, its in the short term plans though

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DoomsDave

I have the same design as Dave, 10hp. Mine bound up and it was a real pain to take it apart and get it untangled. I will not do palms in it. But dried Roystonea crown shafts actually shred up pretty good they aren't fibrous they chip. but any other palm no way man

Wow, you must have really tough leaves!

Ellyn hardly ever binds up, and when she does, it's usually a simple matter to unwind, then unbind. I only had to take apart once.

Definitely best with softer leaves, but I'm always surprised at what I can shove through.

The one thing she won't take is really hard, heavy dried Caryota, Syagrus or Dypsis leaf bases. That's as much of a function of being unable to get them into the chute.

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DoomsDave

is there such a thing as a practical low cost easy to maintain chipper/shredder to mulch up palm fronds??

I'm also in the market to buy one my self.

Mine's about as cheap as they come. I got it for $300 used back in 2002-2003. Worth every penny, if you have a lot of leaves.

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Phoenikakias

You're to young to start playing with a machete, to dangerous!

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Kostas

Thank you very much Dave! If its not able to process Syagrus and Caryota, i may need to opt for a little bigger one.

Phoenikakias,

I am not as young as i look! I am old enough to work, drive and do chemical synthesis at a pharmaceutical lab years now, and i am not old enough to handle a machete?!? Now thats funny! :)

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DoomsDave

You're to young to start playing with a machete, to dangerous!

None of us are ever old enough.

Too dangerous, yes

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MattyB

I have the same design as Dave, 10hp. Mine bound up and it was a real pain to take it apart and get it untangled. I will not do palms in it. But dried Roystonea crown shafts actually shred up pretty good they aren't fibrous they chip. but any other palm no way man

Wow, you must have really tough leaves!

Ellyn hardly ever binds up, and when she does, it's usually a simple matter to unwind, then unbind. I only had to take apart once.

Definitely best with softer leaves, but I'm always surprised at what I can shove through.

The one thing she won't take is really hard, heavy dried Caryota, Syagrus or Dypsis leaf bases. That's as much of a function of being unable to get them into the chute.

I think it was one long queen palm leaf that just got sucked in and the entire rachis and leaflets just went round and round like super tough string.

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Josh-O

Did you pull out the palm string a weave some queen baskets...lol

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DoomsDave

Here are the shreds produced by Ellyn

post-208-0-10425400-1423457502_thumb.jpg

Close up with my hand of doom

post-208-0-26121100-1423457607_thumb.jpg

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RGM

I have 2 & 1/2 acres or 1 hectare in S.E. Queensland, Australia and several hundred palm trees of several varieties. I thoroughly investigated all the types of mulchers/shredder/chippers available and found 99% were totally and completely useless, especially electric models or mechanical ones of low horsepower. I should add most dealers/suppliers would happily recommend or state their particular model would mulch/chip any type of wood or palm frond without thought or knowledge, even when the accompanying literature supplied advised not to be used for palm fronds. I found the only type of action that works is a flailing hammer variety with multiple rotating blades and with an engine around 12 h.p. I bought a Millers Fall Shredder/chipper with a heavy duty 13 h.p. petrol motor and with four wheels so that it can be towed. Palm fronds are very quickly and finely mulched as long as the sheath of the palm frond is removed beforehand because they are inclined to jam the machine and so I chop these off and burn them. The alternative is to place them in the rubbish bin, if allowed, or to bury them in damp/wet compost bin to degrade. The main hopper takes all types of vegetation with a thickness of an inch or 3 cm, but I would not particularly  recommend dried hardwoods, and the side chipper takes branches to around 3 inches or 7 cm. I would not recommend large fronds are forced through the side chipper as these can clog the rotating hammer shaft and seize the bearings through overheating - simply cut them up to 1 yard or 1 meter lengths and feed them through the main hopper.

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