Inventor Jozef Beauprez - that is where the name "Jo Beau" comes from - built his first woodchipper in 1999. It was mounted onto a Walker ride-on mower. It worked so well that the 13hp M300 and 24hp M500 soon followed off the drawing board. Now the company exports throughout Europe and to the USA, Australia and New Zealand. So what is it about these chippers that have seen their popularity climb?
These are narrow-access machines, both less than 30in wide - perfect for getting down narrow paths, through gateways and into back gardens. The M500 is self-propelled, making it even easier to move around and effortless to ramp onto a trailer. The pneumatic-tyred wheels leave little if any damage to turf and castor wheels ensure manoeuvrability.
"They are very compact. It's an advantage to be able to get through a gateway and into a back garden - should prove useful for garden contractors and for the hire market," Taylor suggests.
The funnel on both Jo Beau units is quite wide, so they will take a certain amount of brashy material and save you some time on preparation. The double-sided blades can be turned to prolong life between sharpening.
It is only a short, dumpy discharge chute, so you need to line the machine up close to the trailer if you are collecting chippings.
In addition to the use of Honda engines, there are lots of sensible features on these machines. The M500 has a jerrycan strapped to the front. Although a regular fuel tank can be fitted if preferred, using the jerrycan means you can have several spare and there is no need to decant petrol over a hot engine.
Both chippers coped with the conifer well and produced a good chip. The main thing to remember about the Jo Beaus, however, is that they are chippers. And as chippers, they are good. We try to feed soft green waste through one but it quickly blocks. The material must be dry.
Engine: 13hp Honda/24hp two-cylinder Honda
Fuel type: Petrol/petrol?
Chipping system: Drum/drum
Number of blades: Two (reversible)/two (reversible)?
Anvil: One (four usable edges)/one (four usable edges)
Drum speed: 2,200rpm/2,400rpm?
Discharge chute: 270 degs rotation/270 degs rotation
Self drive: N/A/yes, hydrostatic
Tel: Vermeer UK - 01933 274403
Tested This Week
TS Industrie Super Premium 30DR
Bear Cat 5in chipper/shredder?
Jo Beau M300 and M500?
The Review Panel - Michael Olleson, garden maintenance, Waterperry Gardens, Oxford
David Taylor, gardener, Waterperry Gardens, Oxford
We all know that we should reduce, reuse and recycle, but when it comes to general organic waste material, which machines are up to the job? Generating a wide variety of green waste from its vast gardens and also its orchards,
Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire provided a perfect venue for our test.
We looked at the high-performance GreenMech EcoCombi and TS Industrie Super Premium - both designed to tackle 6in wood waste as well the wet, soggy and dirty green stuff from the herbaceous borders. We also investigated the American-built Bear Cat 5in chipper/shredder.
A high-end garden multi-shredder, the Viking GB460, was put through its paces with smaller woody material and a variety of herbaceous material. Finally, we looked at the Jo Beau chipper and the Eliet Major shredder.
Conditions on the day of the test were dry and sunny, although it was a little cool in the morning.