What NOT To Put In A Wood Chipper – [Top 6 Items]

What not to put in a wood chipper?

It is more than a safety measure to stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines as it could mean that your wood chipper would run in optimal conditions for a longer period.

Your consumer-grade wood chipper is not made to withstand more than the common types of organic yard waste, which include grass clippings, branches, twigs, and leaves.

However, people get curious and tend to shred things that shouldn’t be put in a wood chipper. This would pose a danger to them and also the wood chipper.

These are the major things you should not put into a wood chipper to ensure it works better for a longer time.

Butcher waste

This is one of the components you should not think of placing in your wood chipper. This is because meat trimmings and waste are like pet and manure waste, which means that they are squishy enough to be tough to clean out of your wood chipper.

You could preferably opt to process these meat scraps into tinier bits as it would make for a good compost pile with sawdust.

The components you shouldn’t add to your compost pile include skin, fat, and meat. It will smell terrible in addition to increasing the risk of attracting rodents and other pests.

Golf balls

There would come a time where you will get the attractive idea of trying to shred the golf balls you have accumulated into tiny pieces for quick disposal. This is a temptation you should overcome.

Many golf balls come with a dense rubber core and have a cover made from either a hard resin called Surlyn or a rubber substance called Balata.

These materials are strong enough to withstand hits from a golf club, which means that they are too hard to be chipped with the regular consumer-grade wood chipper.

Coconut shells

Lignin and cellulose, which are the substances that are found in wood, are also found in coconut shells. These are the compounds that give wood its firm property.

They are also the reason why coconut shells are so sturdy that they don’t break when dropped from significant heights.

This is why it is not a good idea to gather your coconut shells and place them in your wood chipper, as it could put a lot of strain on the chipper.

Pressure-treated lumber

In previous times, a popular choice for lumber has always been wood that has been pressure-treated with a chemical called chromated copper arsenate, and this is because of the resistance it has to pests and rot.

However, studies showed that there are major concerns about the chromated copper arsenate as the toxic compound arsenic is found in it. Chromated copper arsenate has been listed as a cancer-causing agent by several states. This led to the stoppage of the production of CCA-treated wood by the lumber industry.

It is not a problem to touch pressure-treated wood, neither is there any recommendation to remove these wood structures. However, there is great cause for alarm if you swallow or inhale CCA, which you are at risk of doing when sawdust is flying out of your chipper.

What’s more, pressure-treated lumber is very dense and tough that you could damage your chipper when trying to shred it. Also, this damage would not be covered under warranty.

Palm branches and fronds

Palm branches are very durable, even if they are not as resistant as bamboo. The other problem with trying to chip palm branches is its leaves, which are called fronds.

These leaves are fibrous and stringy. When these palm fronds are placed into the wood chipper, the long fibers in them can cause significant damage.


With lots of fibers providing reinforcement as they run lengthwise along the stem, bamboo is regarded as one of the most durable natural materials available.

Bamboo can reach a Janka hardness rating of about 3000 when it’s treated and processed. This gives it additional durability, even more than some Brazilian woods or hardwoods.

Your average wood chipper is not designed to withstand and shred sturdy materials like bamboo. It doesn’t come as a surprise as to why you would want to toss sticks of bamboo inside your wood chipper as it is a fast-growing plant.

If you are faced with the kind of bamboo that grows through undergrown stems, it won’t be long before your garden or lawn is overrun with bamboo stalks, known as culms.

However, it is highly imperative that you fight the temptation to reduce these stalks to little pieces with your wood chipper.

Materials that you can chip with a wood chipper

These are the materials that you can comfortably put in your wood chipper without having to worry about causing any damage;

Sweet potatoes

Tree branches

Paper and newspapers


Wet wood