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Updated: Sep 15, 2023

What is it? And why you may need one.

If you produce or acquire brush, logs or stumps, sooner of later you will have to do something with all that woody material. Sure, you can leave it to rot naturally in the back 40 and look at it for the next 20 years as it attracts snakes and varmints. Or, you can burn it, risking the fire getting out of control, while adding toxic smoke into the air. That's if you are even allowed to burn the pile legally. Lastly, you can load the vegetative debris into dumpsters or trailers and haul it off; always underestimating the number of loads it'll be.

Thats where a horizontal grinder comes to save the day or the project! This machine is simply a beast.

CBI 5800 Horizontal Grinder producing mulch

How they work

They are very simple - a large engine, ranging from 650-1,200 horse power turns a massive steel drum, covered in carbide tips (or bits). The mill spins at a high rate of speed , the tips impact the feedstock, in turn, grinding and shredding any woody material into a consistent mulch. There is an infeed trough that is filled with the material to be ground that feeds into the mill, once ground the mulch/ grindings are discharged out via conveyor into a pile. Horizontal grinders are typically loaded with an excavator or wheel loader, depending on the material to be ground.

Horizontal Grinder vs. Tub Grinder

As the name implies, a Tub Grinder produces a similar end result, the only difference is there is a large rotating "tub" that is loaded with woody material. While they are great for stumps - long logs, branches, tree tops or laps will not fit easily into the tub and will require additional processing. In general, Tub Grinders are becoming outdated and horizontal grinders are taking their place. The main reason for this is SAFETY. Unless the tub is constantly filled with material, woody projectiles will fly out hundreds of feet emitting from the spinning mill in the tub. It is not uncommon to see Tub Grinders banned from many commercial or government vegetative debris grinding or land clearing projects in Virginia.

vermeer tub grinder mulching stumps

Horizontal Grinder vs. Whole Tree Chipper

While a grinder and chipper process woody material in similar ways, the "drum" is very different producing two different end products - grindings/ mulch and wood chips.

Blunt, carbide tips in grinders stand up to contaminated material well, such as dirt or small rocks in stumps, and nails in pallets. Chippers on the other hand have sharpened steel knives that chip logs and tree tops much more efficiently compared to grinders. Unfortunately, the knives will be damaged from any dirt, rocks or metal.

bandit 3590 tracked whole tree chipper chipping logs
Our Bandit 3590 Whole Tree Chipper

What we run

We own and operate what we feel is the "Cadillac" of Horizontal Grinders - A CBI 5800 on steel tracks. It packs a punch with a nearly 800 Horse Power CAT motor. With tracks, we can access terrain that wheeled units would only dream of. The infeed opening is large enough for stumps and logs while the machine as a whole is "compact". Weighing in at 70 thousand pounds it is easy to mobilize to most jobsites and maneuver in tight areas. The CBI is a proven leader in grinders and continues to impress us and clients constantly with its production and reliability!

Production rates vary widely depending on the material to be ground, (brush vs. stumps) but on average, our skilled operators can produce a few hundred yards of mulch/ grindings an hour or roughly 1-2 acres of clearing debris can be ground in one day.

rotobec loading horizontal grinder with brush, debris pile


Pricing may vary depending on location, duration and material to be ground, but on average we charge $7,500 per 8 hour day. This rate includes the CBI 5800 with an operator for 8 hours of grinding time, as well as an excavator to load the horizontal grinder and a service truck to assist with the daily maintenance. There may be an additional mobilization charge depending on location from our shop and access difficulty.

Kenworth T800 wide hood lowboy tractor talbert wide load

Need to get rid of the mulch?

We can help you there too. Our 100 cubic yard capacity "walking floor" trailers can move mulch, grindings or chips in a hurry. We are able to load directly from the belt on the CBI or can fill the trailer with excavators.

black peterbilt 389 walking floor trailer


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