The Wood chippers are great machines. They turn a lot of yard debris into small chips, great for mulch or disposal. Maybe you’ve never used one before and are wondering what you can put into a wood chipper. We’re going to go through a list of common materials you can find in your backyard and home, and whether or not they can be chipped. 

As a safety reminder, when operating a wood chipper keep your hands, fingers, and clothing free from the machine’s teeth. A chipper will grab onto whatever comes in contact with the teeth, and will not let it go. Also, remember to wear the right protective equipment, including ear plugs, safety glasses and gloves.

Things you can put in a wood chipper


Things you can put in a wood chipper

So, what can you put in a tree wood chipper? For the most part, any plant products you can find in your backyard will be fine for a good quality wood chipper. Here is a list of materials you can put into your wood chipper without too much issue.

Small branches

Around your yard, especially after a good day of pruning, there will no doubt be a lot of small branches and sticks. These are all perfectly fine to be put into the wood chipper. The machine will barely notice them and they’ll be chipped up extremely quickly, so just be mindful of your hands when you do this. 

Tree limbs

Tree limbs and large branches will be perfectly fine for a wood chipper, so long as they fall within the diameter specs in the user manual. That’s how they’re designed to do after all. 

If you do have larger pieces of wood that don’t fit into the chipper, cut them up into smaller pieces with a chainsaw, and split them in half with an axe. Remember to turn the wood chipper off whilst not in use.  

Small shrubs

Small shrubs, so long as they’ve been broken down to a reasonable size will be no hassle for a wood chipper. Much like the small branches, they may be grabbed quickly, so just keep your fingers clear. 

Wet wood

For wet wood, it comes with a caveat. Some lower-powered electric wood chippers cannot be fed wet wood, as the wood can stretch and bend and block up the chipper blades. For the most part, a wood chipper with a reasonable amount of horsepower is going to be fine with it. If you’re unsure, either consult the manual or talk with us at Vermeer about the equipment’s specifics, and we can guide you in the right direction. 

Things you can’t put in a wood chipper


Now that you know what can go in a wood chipper, we’re going to list a few items you shouldn’t place into a chipper.


A small number of leaves will be fine. If they’re attached to a branch, and not in large amounts, then they’ll go through the chipper without any issue. But if you’re specifically trying to feed the machine solely leaves, it’s best to get a chipper with a shredding feature, or just a shredder. Shredders are better for leaves and won’t blunten or damage the equipment.


Pretty much the same as the leaves, you’ll need a shredder for grass clippings. Grass also holds a lot of liquid and can quickly block up and even break a wood chipper. 


You may have wondered whether you can put bamboo in a wood chipper, and unfortunately, you cannot. Bamboo is an extremely tough fibrous material that warps, splinters, and blocks up the chipper’s teeth. If you need to dispose of bamboo, do so in a green waste disposal bin.


Timber and lumber are especially bad for a wood chipper. It may sound odd, wood chippers should chip wood, but there are reasons. Pressure-treated lumber is so hard that the chipper blades will probably just break and jam with the first piece you put in. On top of that, not only is timber too dense, but treated timbers contain chemicals that are toxic to you and your plants. If you’re intending to use the chippings as a kind of mulch it will become toxic. 


Coconut shells tend to just explode into a million pieces when placed into a chipper. Flying projectiles are common with wood chippers, especially with coconut shells. On top of being a safety hazard, coconut can damage the chipper, so best not throw any into it. 


Pet waste and manure shouldn’t be placed into a chipper. Not only will it just smell bad, but it can also gum up the teeth, leading to a difficult job cleaning the whole thing. You’ll be finding new spots of manure in your chipper for weeks, with a smell that’ll hang around for just as long. There really is no need to put manure and pet waste into a chipper, cow manure for one is a good fertiliser on its own and doesn’t need further mulching up. Just let nature do its thing, and don’t shred the poo.


Foods, much like manure, don’t need to go in a chipper. All it will do is cause a big mess and attract a lot of flies. Just dispose of food waste in the appropriate bins. 

Get to chipping


We’ve explored several yard waste materials that can and cannot be put in a wood chipper. If you have a lot of clearing that needs doing at home, and you think a wood chipper will fit your needs, now is the time to get hold of one. At Vermeer WA & NT we have a wide range of wood chippers for sale that can be used for a variety of purposes. For any queries you can give us a call on (08) 9479 4994 or send us an email at


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