Home>Discussions>YARD & GARDEN>Best Way To Chop/Grind Vines
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JC
Best Way To Chop/Grind Vines

Hi,

Seattle...

I have a small compost heap that should be a LARGE compost heap, but I have a problem: we have TONS of vines and small bushes. Honeysuckle, jasmine, g****s, camellia, tomatoes, rhododendrons, etc.

Normally, I run the smaller ones over with a lawn mower, but that's not very efficient... plus it gets fouled with many of the larger ones.

I have an electric 'chipper' that works -fine- for sticks but is -useless- for anything flexible... which is 90% of what we have.

SO: Is there any relatively inexpensive machine you can recommend which will reliably grind/chop the above plant material. If we could find one, we'd never have to purchase compost -again-.

Discovery Channel style thought :D MACHETE? I have a crappy Harbor Freight one that doesn't work at all, but I was thinking if there was one that was -scalpel- sharp, perhaps I could cut them down to 12" segments easily and -then- run them down with the lawnmower.

Ideas?

TIA,

---JC

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Best Way To Chop/Grind Vines

We use a much larger commercial chipper. pick up a hornets nest of vines with the bottom end of a larger tree branch then run the whole thing through the chipper.

keith3267
Re: Best Way To Chop/Grind Vines

Actually a hatchet works better than a machete. But even that is a lot of manual labor. You can also use hedge clippers, manual or electric, to cut up the vines. An electric hedge clipper (or gas) works best when you remove the vines by starting at the outside of the vines and working your way in a foot (or inch) at a time. Once the vines have been cut out, it is harder to do.

JC
Re: Best Way To Chop/Grind Vines

Boy, you got that right. I tried an electric hedge trimmer on the pile of vines that are already on the pile and... no soap.

I don't have a hatchet, but one job for today is to try and sharpen my cheap machete and see if -that- helps at all.

I'm kinda surprised that no one has developed a (relatively) inexpensive machine to do this... there are so many blackberries and vines out here in the NW.

Thanks!

---JC

keith3267 wrote:

Once the vines have been cut out, it is harder to do.

keith3267
Re: Best Way To Chop/Grind Vines

a long time ago, I saw a setup in an Organic Gardening magazine I believe where a guy mounted a manual hedge trimmer to a saw horse (or old table or bench, this was a long time ago) using U-bolts. It was mounted so that the moving handle worked in a vertical plane. Then he could hold the vines in one hand and chop with the other like he was using a paper cutter. Maybe an old paper cutter would work just as well.

A. Spruce
Re: Best Way To Chop/Grind Vines
suntower wrote:

Boy, you got that right. I tried an electric hedge trimmer on the pile of vines that are already on the pile and... no soap.

Use the hedge clippers while it's still attached to the plant. It will take a little longer to take the plant out, but ultimately save you time and energy to try to mulch it up later.

When I take out the garden each year I use hand clippers to cut the tomatoes into about 6" pieces. That help them to break down faster and you don't have the interlocking mess you do with longer vines. The larger portions of the stalks I usually toss into the green recycle bin for the city to pick up. With your lighter vines like the honeysuckle, use the hedge clippers to take them down, again 6" pieces or so will be sufficient.

suntower wrote:

I'm kinda surprised that no one has developed a (relatively) inexpensive machine to do this... there are so many blackberries and vines out here in the NW.

NEVER NEVER NEVER mulch blackberry vines or other invasives. Black berries will germinate from pieces as small as one inch, and they're a bugger to get rid of once they start taking a hold. Just imagine spreading mulched blackberry vines across your garden and then having berry starts popping up everywhere! :eek:

If you have berry vines, the best thing you can do is either burn them or haul them to the dump. If you have green waste recycling in your city, then let them have it. They have the means to grind and compost such things into oblivion and you won't have any worries of spreading the nasty things.

Lastly, the only good blackberry is a DEAD blackberry! :D

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Best Way To Chop/Grind Vines

There are machines to do this;

Gravely and Brush Hog.

Fencepost
Re: Best Way To Chop/Grind Vines
suntower wrote:

I'm kinda surprised that no one has developed a (relatively) inexpensive machine to do this... there are so many blackberries and vines out here in the NW.

I'm saving up to buy one of these.

ordjen
Re: Best Way To Chop/Grind Vines

Spruce,
You are right about invasive nature of blackberries. I have them growing right outside my back fence on the several open acres back there. They are constantly sneaking under the fence. There is a blackberry specific chemical spray that will kill them. I now spray about ten feet in back of the fence to hold them at bay!

My worst nightmare is accidentally losing my balance and falling backward into a blackberry bramble. Those thorns are absolutely vicious! :(

JC
Re: Best Way To Chop/Grind Vines

Thanks. I can't spray them. I understand the 'invasive' aspect for sure. In the -future- I'll try to develop some 'protocol' for cutting -before- piling, but right now I've got a PILE to deal with. So far, I'm macheting/weed-whacking/mowing on the occasional dry day.

---JC

A. Spruce
Re: Best Way To Chop/Grind Vines

You could just burn them. I used to do that back on the ranch, I'd dig a small burn pit and then toss the vines in as I cut them. There is a certain satisfaction to listening to them crackle and pop and knowing they'll never be a bother again! :D

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