8 Best Mulchers | March 2017

Facing a pile of leaves in your back garden? No problem. You can easily turn them into useful mulch with one of these garden mulchers, shredders and chippers. We've included some affordable models with smaller capacities for those with minimal landscaping through to heftier machines that can destroy branches up to 3" thick. Skip to the best mulcher on Amazon.
8 Best Mulchers | March 2017


Overall Rank: 5
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 2
Best Inexpensive
★★★★★
8
The Worx WG430 has a unique bladeless design that uses nylon strings for shredding leaves, but that means it can't handle thick branches. It's a basic and reliable option considering the affordable price, and has an 11:1 mulch ratio.
7
The Snow Joe SDJ616 has a good material reduction ratio, meaning high quality mulch you can use all around your yard and garden. It features an easy-to-read control dial, and mulches up to 12 gallons of leaves per minute.
6
The Flowtron LE-900 can be fitted with a bag or placed directly over a bin or trashcan for simple mulch collection. It weighs just 17 lbs, so it can be picked up and carried around, but the motor isn't very powerful.
5
The Eco-Shredder ES1600 boasts a 14 amp electric motor that powers through branches, debris, and leaves, making as much mulch as you need. It has 2 rear wheels, so it moves easily, while front legs keep it firmly in place during use.
  • extra blades included
  • quiet and clean operation
  • blades need to be sharpened often
Brand Eco-Shredder
Model ES1600
Weight 70.9 pounds
4
The Worx WG509 TriVac is a blower, vacuum, and mulcher all in one handy piece of equipment. It will help get yard work done faster, and its compact size allows it to be easily stored when you are finished.
  • quick conversion from blower to vacuum
  • well balanced and easy to maneuver
  • variable blow speed for maximum control
Brand Worx
Model WG509
Weight 12.3 pounds
3
If you're serious about making mulch, then consider the Earthquake 14627. It's a professional grade machine that has a 20:1 waste reduction ratio by using heavy-duty chipping knives and hammers.
  • patented dual triangular hammers
  • chips and shreds material up to 3" thick
  • high-performance viper engine
Brand Earthquake
Model 14267
Weight 125 pounds
2
The LawnMaster FD1501 will make short work of any branches, brambles, and leaves with its powerful 15-amp motor. It comes with a push stick to help you shove stubborn branches and leaves into the unit safely.
  • wheeled for easy mobility
  • includes collection bag
  • safe for the environment
Brand LawnMaster
Model FD1501
Weight 29.8 pounds
1
The Patriot CSV-2515 has a top located, extra large hopper that can easily handle huge piles of leaves or branches other mulchers can't touch. It tears through branches up to 2.5" in diameter, and turns on with the flip of a switch.
  • low maintenance electric motor
  • doesn't produce any smoke or fumes
  • plugs into standard 110v outlets
Brand Patriot
Model CSV-2515
Weight 126 pounds

The Benefits Of Using a Mulcher

Mulches are typically layers of loose material or coverings that are placed over the top of cultivated soil. Mulch is not a requirement of gardening, but it is highly advantageous at every stage. There are many benefits of creating your own mulch using a mulcher. Using a mulcher reduces the cost of mulch, and drastically simplifies the process of yard work.

There is also a sharp decrease in yard waste when using a mulcher. Cleaning fallen leaves from trees can be an annual nuisance. Alternatively, many people choose to turn those fallen leaves into beneficial soil amendments by putting them through a mulcher to create ground cover. Twigs, sticks, and small branches from trimmed trees can also be added to many mulchers. This creates heavy wood chips in addition to lighter ground foliage, which can be very beneficial to the garden. Tree-based mulches such as these create healthy soil and encourage plant growth in many ways.

Most people who use mulchers notice an immediate increase in the health of their yard. Mulch also saves time spent pulling weeds, as weeds have a more difficult time seeding in loose, rough foliage. Even weeds that successfully seed have very weak root systems, and are easily pulled up. A healthy layer of mulch will also reduce water bills in the summer, as soil loses much less waterthrough evaporation when it is covered by mulch.

Mulch will also improve the texture of the soil. Soil which loses water rapidly tends to compact, making it very hard for roots to break through. This can inhibit the growth of many plants. Keeping a layer of mulch on top of the soil around plants keeps the underlying soil fluffy and moist. This allows roots to easily spread out, and directly translates to happier, healthier plants.

The Basics Of Using Mulch

Once all the yard waste has been turned into mulch, it is important to understand how to use that mulch to provide the most benefit to the yard. It is vital not to place mulch directly against tree bases or plants. If mulch is placed directly on a plant or tree, it promotes water retention, which can be problematic. Excess moisture from mulch can be the perfect breeding ground for crown rot and other types of wood decay. Mulch piled around plants can also serve as the perfect place for nesting rodents who feed on stems and roots from these plants.

It is also important to understand mulch thickness. A layer of mulch that is too thin will not provide adequate protection, and will dry out too fast to provide the soil much benefit. Mulch that is applied to thickly can be a problem as well. A wood derived mulch may provide the natural habitat for certain fungi to thrive, which will dry out the wood and keep it from retaining moisture. This thick layer of mulch also damages the soil by keeping it too moist. Soil which is consistently moist and is never allowed to dry out is prone to create root rot in many species. A mulcher can easily create a layer of mulch one to three inches thick in any yard, which is the ideal depth.

Understanding soil microorganisms is also important when first using a mulcher. Before adding a heavily wood-based mulch to the top of the soil, consider adding a source of nitrogen. It is as simple as running grass clippings through a mulcher and distributing them evenly throughout the yard. The microorganisms which help decompose wood based mulches also consume a lot of nitrogen, which plants need to grow. This can cause nitrogen deficiencies if left unchecked.

Organic Mulch Versus Inorganic Mulch

There are two different types of mulch, organic and inorganic. Organic mulch is derived from natural materials like grass clippings, fallen leaves, twigs, and other plant matter. These mulches break down over time. As organic mulches decompose, they add valuable nutrients to the soil around them. They also add microorganisms to the soil, which greatly benefit the health of both the plant and soil. Nitrifying bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi are two examples which can only be provided by the addition of organic materials to the soil. As the levels of these beneficial microbes rise, those that cause plant disease are inhibited.

A well-mulched garden is the perfect home for earthworms as well. Earthworms are one of the more important factors in plant health. They digest organic matter and create nitrogen in the soil. Their movements also help aerate the soil and keep it moist. Earthworms only exist in organic soils, and their presence increases plant production over time.

Inorganic mulches include things like chunks of rubber, stones, landscaping fabrics, and plastic particles. They can be purchased from any hardware store, and can be painted any color to match the desired landscape. Inorganic mulches usually take more time to install and require extra irrigation, as water is not absorbed by any inorganic mulch. Some inorganic mulches are designed to confuse bugs or simply keep the soil from heating up and help with evaporation. They provide little benefit to the soil or plants otherwise.



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Last updated: 03/28/2017 | Authorship Information

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