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How to Cut Sod – Essential Tips & Techniques for Perfect Lawns (2023)

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Welcome! Sod cutting is a great way to give your lawn the perfect look, but it can be intimidating if you don’t know what you’re doing. Believe it or not, over 85% of people believe they need more knowledge on how to cut sod correctly.

In this article, we’ll cover everything from types of sod cutters and techniques for removing grass/sod, all the way through additional tips for perfecting your lawn repair project.

Key Takeaways

how to cut sod

  • Proper preparation and equipment selection are essential for successful sod cutting.
  • Reusing removed sod and watering the area beforehand can make the process easier.
  • Different sod cutter widths are available, and expert advice can help in choosing the best one for the job.
  • Sod cutting requires patience and effort, and there is a learning curve involved in mastering the technique.

Types of Sod Cutters

Types of Sod Cutters
You have several options for sod cutters, with 18 and 24 inches being the most common – so make sure to familiarize yourself with your choice before starting your project!

You’ll need gloves as you work and should take care when cutting grass at the roots.

When creating a flower bed or getting rid of low spots, remember that grass roots don’t penetrate beyond 1-2 inches of soil so try not to remove too much earth along with it.

Expert advice is always helpful; Ron Schefler from Ryan can provide insight into different cutting widths which may be best for different projects depending on soil depth or other factors.

Finally, if you’re filling in low spots in the lawn then pieces of removed sod can come in handy!

Prepare the Area Before Cutting

Prepare the Area Before Cutting
Before you begin cutting the sod, it’s important to prepare the area. First, select a sod cutter that is appropriate for your project and familiarize yourself with how it works. Water the area ahead of time to make things go more smoothly and help you achieve an even cut.

It’s also helpful to create a layout before getting started so that you know exactly where each piece will fit into your garden design or flower bed plan.

Ron Schefler from Ryan can give insight into different types of sod cutters based on soil depth or other factors. This way, he’ll be able to tell if 18 inches is too much for root removal in certain areas or if 24 might be better suited depending on water level requirements.

Lastly, try not to remove too much earth along with your grass as roots don’t penetrate beyond 1-2 inches of soil.

To ensure successful turf renovation projects, select an appropriate type/width of sod cutter, water the area before starting, plan out a layout beforehand, make sure not to remove too much soil when lifting up pads, familiarize yourself with any advice offered by an expert like Ron Schefler at Ryan regarding different methods available for root removal depending on water levels and other factors like soil depth, and consider using alternative methods such as shovels which may work just fine in some cases!

How to Use a Sod Cutter

How to Use a Sod Cutter
Sod cutting can be tricky, but with the right knowledge and tools, it doesn’t have to be. Ron Schefler from Ryan is an expert in this field who knows all about different sod cutter widths and how to roll up the sod after each pass.

Cutting Widths

When it comes to sod cutting, the width of your cutter really matters – so make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row before starting! Watering the area beforehand helps ensure an even depth for each cut and pad size.

When lifting up grass pads, be careful not to take too much soil as roots don’t penetrate beyond 1-2 inches. The most common sizes are 18 and 24 inches wide, but use a shovel if needed when creating a vegetable garden or flower bed.

Severing the leading edge is key; practice with technique until you get comfortable cutting in straight lines at any desired depth of cut!

Roll Up Sod After Each Pass

After each pass, roll up the sod for organizational ease. Proper widths and severing of grass roots are key to successful installation.

Ron Schefler’s Expertise

Gain invaluable insight from Ron Schefler, Ryan’s Senior Product Manager, on how to easily and effectively remove grass/sod with a simple garden shovel. Using his operator manual for the right equipment and his watering tips for proper sod cutting, Schefler’s top tips include: 1) Familiarizing yourself with the type of sod cutter; 2) Cutting into manageable pieces; 3) Rolling up after each pass.

Tips for Removing Grass/Sod

Tips for Removing Grass/Sod
You can easily remove grass or sod from your lawn or garden with the proper layout and cutting technique. To do so, you’ll need a few simple tools like a D-handled flat spade, leather work gloves, a wheelbarrow, and knee pads (optional).

Once you’ve removed the sod pieces, why not reuse them to fill in any low spots in your yard? It will save time and money! With these tips at hand, along with some patience and practice on your part, removing grass or sod will be easy as pie.

Layout and Cutting Technique

Planning the layout and cutting technique for your turf renovation project is key to success. Cutting widths, grass roots, and soil depth are crucial steps when tackling this daunting task. It is important to wear work gloves and use a wheelbarrow to assist you during the busiest seasons.

Necessary Tools and Materials

To complete the task effectively, you will require a flat garden spade with a d-handle, work gloves made of leather, a wheelbarrow, and knee pads. Before using the cutter, acquaint yourself with the various types of sod and the preparation required for the area.

Choose the tool width based on the size of the project, as well as Schefler’s expert advice for achieving success. Keep in mind the irrigation line or dog fencing requirements when selecting pad sizes, which should be 1-1.

5 times the length of the shovel blade. Although this method is one of the quickest, do not overlook the importance of enhancing your garden afterwards.

Reusing Removed Sod

Once you have removed the sod, do not throw it away – reuse it to fill low spots in your yard or even give it away to friends and neighbors! Keep moisture levels consistent for efficient grass removal.

Cut straight strips of grass that are 1-1.5 times the length of a shovel blade, ensuring good control over large areas. Then, carefully remove native plants while scooping up about an inch or two of soil with each pad.

Additional Tips for Sod Cutting

Additional Tips for Sod Cutting
You can make the sod cutting process go more smoothly by taking a few extra steps. Start by watering the area before you begin so that your blades will have an easier time slicing through. Cut each piece of sod into 1-1.5 lengths of a shovel blade for ideal pad sizes and work backward to switch up your movements and reduce fatigue in the long run.

Watering the Area

Before starting, water the area to help things go more smoothly. The watering depth will depend on the soil preparation and grass types. To ensure an effective cutting technique, use a forward direction when slicing through the sod with your spade.

If needed, refer to an illustrated guide for assistance in removing entire sections of sod from the sides of the strip.

Ideal Pad Sizes

Get the perfect sod cut by creating pads of ideal size – roughly 1-1.5 lengths of your shovel blade! For best results, invest in a mower selection that is appropriate for soil preparation and make sure to water the grass beforehand.

Severing roots from their full swing is made easier with this method; different widths can be accommodated too! The easiest way to remove clear sod is by lifting up the first pad and cutting or severing at its root.

Working Backwards

Try switching up your sod cutting approach by working backwards – it can save time and labor costs! Make multiple passes over the project site, especially for harder grass types. Soil depth may also affect resistance. It takes a bit of gumption, but starting from the far side of the area is one way to tackle one of the hardest jobs in lawn care.

With practice and patience, though, working backwards can become second nature – giving you greater mastery over an otherwise difficult job while also making things safer overall!

Using Sod Cutting for Lawn Repair

Using Sod Cutting for Lawn Repair
Using your sod cutter, you can easily repair low spots in the lawn and make a big difference with just a little bit of effort! Start by watering the grass to ensure that it’s moist when you begin.

Choose one of the common cutting widths, 18 or 24 inches, which is best for most projects. This will help keep your work organized as well as get rid of any grass roots that may have penetrated more than 1-2 inches into the soil.

As you go along each side of your strip, cut pads out at around 1-1/2 lengths from shovel blade size until all are done. This ensures an even result throughout! You’ll be able to roll up each pad after every pass for easy transport and storage later on too.

The great thing about using this method is that there’s minimal digging required, so it won’t take much time or energy. Not only does it provide excellent results, but it also helps reduce strain while doing so.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best type of sod cutter for my project?

The best type of sod cutter for your project depends on its size and scope. Consider a wider width, such as 18 or 24 inches, to cover larger areas quickly. Before starting, familiarize yourself with the sod cutter and water the area beforehand for smoother results.

How long should I water the area before using a sod cutter?

Water the area for at least an hour before using a sod cutter to ensure it is properly moistened and ready for cutting.

Is a wheelbarrow necessary when removing grass/sod?

A wheelbarrow is a helpful tool when removing grass/sod, allowing you to easily transport the removed pieces away from your work area.

What is the best way to transport the sod once it has been cut?

Once you have cut the sod, the best way to transport it is by using a wheelbarrow. Make sure you roll up each piece of sod and place them in the wheelbarrow for easy transportation. Wear gloves and use caution when lifting pieces into the wheelbarrow to avoid injury.

How long do the roots typically penetrate the soil?

Grass roots typically penetrate up to 1-2 inches of soil. Use gloves and a shovel to cut through the sod carefully and remove it for transport.


In conclusion, cutting sod is an essential part of lawn renovation and restoration. With the correct tools and techniques, you can easily and efficiently cut and remove sod for any project. It is important to be familiar with the sod cutter, prepare the area before cutting, and cut the sod into manageable pieces.

Removing grass and sod can be done with a shovel and the right technique. It is also important to water the area, cut pads in ideal sizes, and work backwards. With the right advice and tips, you can easily and quickly cut and remove sod to repair your lawn.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.