Wood Chippers and Your Small Farm

Wood Chippers and Your Small Farm

The addition of landscaping, ground prep, and land clearing equipment to our inventory lends itself well to winter blog topics. We know that our customers have plenty to do to keep their small farms running in every season. The non-growing season on a farm is an especially perfect time to catch up on land maintenance tasks like brush clearing and dealing with trees and limbs that may have fallen during the stormy summer months. And what implement is most likely at the center of any of these winter farm chores? The wood chipper.

What is a wood chipper?

A wood chipper is an implement used to reduce tree trunks, logs, branches and other wood matter to chips–which is then most often used for mulch. Wood chippers come in electric, gas-powered, and PTO driven models. Electric models are only useful for chipping very small limbs and leaves. Gas-powered models include their own motors, while PTO powered models are connected to a tractor’s PTO. Here at Tractor Tools Direct, we carry a version of the latter, the Ibex TS4 3 Point PTO Chipper.

The chips produced by a wood chipper can be used as a source of fuel for biomass furnaces, for animal bedding, or as mulch for gardens, orchards, playgrounds, trails, and more. Chipping is an environmentally friendly alternative to brush burning and is especially popular in areas where burning is illegal.

How to use a wood chipper – safely!

First, your outdoor work area should be level and free of holes and debris that might cause tripping. The person using the chipper should avoid wearing loose clothing that could become caught in the machine. Safety glasses, gloves, durable shoes, and hearing protection should always be worn.

Before using any piece of machinery it is absolutely imperative to read its accompanying safety manual. Every chipper varies and will have different specifications for material size and density that it can handle. A link to the manual for our Ibex TS4 3 Point PTO Chipper can be found on this page.

There are several general tips for the use of any wood chipper. First, be sure to adjust the chute to the area you want the resulting chips to be thrown. Also, if possible, position the chipper downwind to reduce the blowing of dust and shavings into your work area. Longer branches and limbs will be easier to feed, but use loppers to take off perpendicular side branches that may prevent the limb from feeding into the hopper. Feed the wood into the hopper blunt end first. This allows the machine to grab the material more completely and efficiently. The wood should be fed loosely and at the rate suggested by the manufacturer. Also, alternating green and dead material will help to keep the knives of the chipper better lubricated.

Be sure to keep your full attention on the job. Never get too close to the machine, being sure to use a long stick or board to push material into the hopper. If clogging occurs, turn off the machine and consult your manual for the best way to clear the obstruction.

What CAN go in a wood chipper – and what SHOULD NOT!

Safe for chipping:

  • Wood – dry or wet
  • Branches
  • Acorns and other smallish tree nuts
  • Pinecones
  • Grass
  • Leaves

Not safe for chipping:

  • Obviously items that are NOT plant material–rocks, metal, leather, plastic
  • Wood with heavy sap or resin
  • Pressure-treated lumber
  • Long vines
  • Palm branches or fronds
  • Animal matter–carion, manure etc.

While here at Tractor Tools Direct we specialize in haying equipment, we realize that there is so much more work to be done on a small farm than baling hay. Check out our lines of landscaping and gardening equipment here and keep that compact tractor of yours busy in all seasons and in all facets of your farm’s operation. And be sure to give us a call at 260-225-3429 if you’d like to talk to one of our customer service representatives about bringing every possible acre of your small farm into productivity with an implement from Tractor Tools Direct!


Dec 1st 2023 Marti Goodwin

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