Mulchers are simple machines that use fuel-driven engines or electric motors to break apart wood, grass and other organic rubbish into small, easily biodegradable pieces. If left to compost on its own, this same plant matter can take up to a year to break down.
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A mulching machine consists of a gas or electric-powered engine, varying sets of blades both small and large, an opening or hopper where organic material is placed, and a discharge chute from which the mulched materials are ejected. Mulching machines are usually adjustable-speed and some even have transmissions that allow gear selection for optimum performance. The machine is turned on prior to use. The blades are allowed sufficient time to reach their cutting speed. Organic refuse is inserted into the hopper end of the machine where it feeds down to the blades below. The blades chop the material into small pieces that are then ejected from the discharge chute.
The mulch created by mulching machines can be used as fertiliser or for decorative uses. Once shredded, the plants return nutrients and minerals into the soil from which they came, thereby nourishing living plants and supplying moisture. The positive effects of mulching extend to the community as more mulch translates to less landfill and trash to be collected, and fewer outdoor burning sites. Large, industrial-size mulching machines are designed to handle heavier materials including adult tree trunks and branches. The blades within these machines operate at a high rate of speed and are capable of tearing through wood and creating chips that can be used for decorative or gardening purposes.
Mulching Machine Maintenance
All inspection and maintenance of your mulching machine should be performed only when the machine is not running. Always allow enough time for the blades inside your mulching machine to stop spinning before you reach in or inspect it. Even though the machine is off the blades may still be moving. Regularly check the blades for dullness or damage which can occur during normal use. Hydraulic models may require hose adjustment or additional bracing with each use.
Many modern lawnmowers now come with a mulch option. When engaged, the mulch setting will cause cut grass to be cut once, then held and cut a second time before being released back onto the lawn. If your mulching needs do not go beyond lawn care, a mulching mower may be sufficient. If you plan to dispose of larger or more varied plant growth, you may require a mulching machine.
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- "Government Engineering"; Mechanical Mulchers Groom Trails Faster; July-August 2008
- Benton Clean Air Authority; Mulching Mower; August 2000