Grinding plants is a technique based on reducing yard waste by crushing it using a grinder. These wastes are mainly made up of dead leaves, branches, grass clippings and kitchen organic waste. The grinding is done with an electrical or heat engine grinder. The use of the resulting product has many environmental and economic advantages.

Grinding plants provides a ground vegetable mass, which, when incorporated in compost helps to enrich the soil and to fight against weeds. Spreading it on a flower bed can limit water evaporation during heat waves while providing effective soil protection against frost. To promote this green waste management technique, incentives are taken in certain French municipalities. To this end, residents are encouraged to form associations in order to acquire a grinder of which the cost will be subsidized up to 50%. It is also possible to use a professional grinder service, provided one has a minimum amount of 70 cubic feet (2 cubic meters) of green waste to dispose of.

General information about plant grinding

Grinding plants is an operation that involves chopping kitchen waste using a grinder. This is a new technique that provides you with a healthy and environmentally friendly product to be used as compost in your garden. Grinding is an economical solution to put your vegetable waste to good use. Its basic ingredients consist of vegetable and fruit peelings from the kitchen, but also your garden’s green waste such as weeds, twigs and dead leaves. Grinding with a heat engine grinder offers the advantage of saving time by offering a ground quality product rich in carbon and nitrogen. The grinding technique is a form of restitution of the soil’s nutrients. These are obtained from perennials cuttings, hedge trimming or weeding operations.

The technique for grinding plants

The grinding principle is based on the introduction of twigs and branches into a hopper, which is itself provided with a device for shredding and reducing garden waste. The size of the removed chips varies depending on the available mechanism. The initial volume can be reduced 6 to 12 times its original size. Grinding plants on small areas is done with an electrical grinder. Waste is cut with a pre-grinding blade before being crushed. Waste from larger areas can be treated with a grinder that operates with an internal combustion engine equipped with a protective flap to avoid injury in the event of flying debris. Accepted branch diameter is variable and depends on the type of grinder: One inch (25 mm) for electrical models and 2 inches (50 mm) for thermal models. Besides the protective gear such as gloves, essential materials to have include an extension cord, a watering can, a wheelbarrow and a pitchfork. To treat stems of large diameters, there are models that have a secondary side hopper to facilitate their insertion into the machine. Grinders equipped with an automated system can suck up the branches to help you save time and carry out your work in the safest manner possible.

Some practical tips to take into consideration

Waste must be dry to ensure a better quality grinding. The presence of gravel and pebbles can wear down your grinder. For that reason, one must also check that the pile of vegetable waste to be treated does not contain either one. For your safety, it is advised to wear protective goggles and gardening gloves. Similarly, it is better to install the grinder away from your home or that of your neighbours because the engine produces noise pollution. To this end, wearing a noise-reducing helmet during the procedure is recommended for your hearing comfort. Think of your neighbours by only operating your grinder at reasonable hours. For milling products of good quality, only use healthy vegetable waste that is free of diseased leaves or stained branches. To request professional help at home, it is advised to make enquiries beforehand and to set up an appointment. It is also recommended to check with neighbours for other possible applicants, as to limit the grinder’s displacement within a given area. Furthermore, the operation must be carried out in the presence of the resident who provided a signed authorization for intervention.

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Published in Garden maintenance by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011