Sod Cutter: A Quick How-to Guide
Preparing your lawn before installing sod is an important step in achieving the perfect lawn. This is where a sod cutter comes into play. A sod cutter is used when you want to clear away old grass to make way for your new sod. Sod has to be laid directly on the soil, so removing the old grass is a crucial step. Here is a step-by-step guide for the remaining steps for sod installation. There are a couple of different types of sod cutters, such as square edge or motorized sod cutters.
Square Edge Sod Cutter
This is the most basic variety of sod cutter available. It looks like a shovel, only it has a shorter handle and has square edges instead of rounded. This is a good method if you only have a small amount of sod to remove, as it does take some time and strength to use this method. This is also a great tool for edging your lawn.
To use, first start by wedging the cutter into the sod on an angle. This will make it easier to rip out the sod you are removing. Now use the cutter as you would typically use a shovel to remove the turf you do not want. I will emphasize again that you should only use this method if you are repairing small areas of your lawn as it is very time consuming and labor intensive. A downside to this method is that it is harder to be left with a flat surface, so more levelling may be required. Be sure to have more soil on hand to even out the area.
Motorized Sod Cutter
If you are planning on sodding a large area or your entire lawn, this is the easiest and most time efficient method of removing your old turf. Check your local hardware stores or garden centres to see where a sod cutter is available to rent. Most sod cutters do come with a user manual, so be sure to read it before using the sod cutter. Here is a quick overview of how to properly operate a motorized sod cutter.
Before using the cutter, ensure that you are aware of potential obstacles while operating the machine. This includes sprinkler heads, large rocks, well established tree roots as well as toys that your children or pets leave on the lawn. You don’t want to damage the machine so be please be aware! Your next step is to move the cutter onto the first patch of lawn you are removing and lower the blade. Start the engine and push the cutter forward a few feet. Shift the cutter back into neutral and check to see how deep the cut went. Adjust the depth if it cut too deeply, or not deep enough. Shift back into a low gear and continue to cut away your old sod. To make the cut turf easier to move, use a utility knife to make 5 foot lengths and roll it into rolls.
Each sod cutter is a bit different, so I cannot stress enough how important reading the user manual is! Sod cutting may seem like a lot of work, but when using the equipment correctly it will be a breeze! It will also help to grade the area, which is another of the steps required before installing your sod. Plan to do this ahead of time, as you should install your farm fresh sod within 6-12 hours of delivery.