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How to prepare for a wood chipper rental

There are all sorts of How To's about using a chipper, but what we've found is that the prep work you do before you rent the chipper can be as important as running the chipper itself, and deserving of it's own How To.
If you follow these steps, when the time comes to rent the chipper, you'll be ready to keep your rental time down, and make the work go as safely and smoothly as possible.
How to prepare for a wood chipper rental

Step 1: Plan where you'll be chipping -- and where you want the pile

Before addressing planning, we've got to mention one thing: Don't even think for a second of getting near a chipper without good ear and eye protection. Chippers are nasty powerful machines, and the wood chips fly not just out of the discharge chute as you'd expect, but snap and sizzle out of intake hopper. Small branches whip around uncontrollably, and eye protection is absolutely essential. Gloves and boots also are a must.
Now, back to planning . . . Granted, if you're using a trailered chipper and can't get the machine, say, into your backyard, there's not much you can do about where you chip and your chip pile ends up.
But if you have a choice, think about setting up an area where you'll do the bulk of the prep and chipping work, and won't mind if a big pile of chips lies around for a while. Even if you choose to blow the chips around by pointing the chute in different areas, think about where the chips may fall
It seems common sense to run the chipper where the limbs are -- it saves dragging branches around, for one thing But think about an optimal place for the chipper, for these reasons:
First -- Safety! Whether you're trimming, prepping or chipping, those limbs and branches scattered on the ground are there for one purpose: to trip you up. A separate chipping area makes for safer footing. But in either case, keep the ground around both primary work processes as clear as possible.
Second -- Depending on the size of your job, you may end up with a very large pile of wood chips. As mentioned before, position the pile where it won't bother you if it sits there for a while.
Third --You're going to want to prep the limbs so they don't get hung going out of the staging pile or into the chipper. Rather than leave limb piles here and there, consider dragging them to a central location for your pre-chipper prep work.
Step 1: Plan where you'll be chipping -- and where you want the pile
Step 1: Plan where you'll be chipping -- and where you want the pile

Step 2: Schedule your steps

For me, a chipping project takes place in three stages:
Weekend One -- Prep! The limbing of trees or hedges. Get out there with your loppers, pole saws chain saws and hand saws, and take that stuff down!
If there are large limbs or trunks, use chain saw to buck larger limbs or trunk into manageable pieces, from firewood-sized pieces too big to chip, to lengths that you reasonably dragging them to your prep/chip pile area.
Then, drag the trimmed limbs to your staging area. But before you making a pile, use use an axe, saw or loppers to remove large side-limbs, to make it easier to load all of the limbes in to the hopper of the chipper.
Weekend Two -- The chipping itself -- picking up the machine, running all of the limbs through the chipper, cleaning up the debris, re-filling the gas tank, and getting the chipper back to the rental yard.
Weekend Three -- Spreading wood chips if they're in a pile, or evening out chips you've spread by shooting them from the chute.
Step 2: Schedule your steps

Step 3: Organize the trimmed limbs

Once you rent the chipper, the work is incredibly easier if the larger end of the limb or branch is the first part to enter the chipper hopper, and you've cut away side branches can prevent the limb from getting all the way down the hopper to the .
Really, it's amazing how tangled up limbs and branches can get in a pile -- and how hard it can be to disentangle them.
So, rather than just throw limbs willy-nilly into a great big pile, stack them neatly like fire wood, so you can just pull all of the larger limb ends s straight into the hopper.
Because of prep work you did by trimming off side branches, there's much less resistance from tangled branches, and your chipper project will go slick as a whistle.
How to prepare for a wood chipper rental