There are a variety of reasons to why you may need to remove your old sod. Maybe you want to work on a garden instead, or plant a flower bed. It also may just be time to start over with new grass due to countless amounts of damage and stress. Regardless, Sod University features a guest blog on sod cutters from the marketing and sales team of CLASSEN®. Read on to find out why sod cutters are an extremely popular piece of equipment in the rental industry. It should be noted that removing sod is only a part of the new lawn process, however. Be sure to check out a gallery of images illustrating the process of removing sod from a lawn as well as a few recommended blogs that explain other steps in the new lawn process near the bottom of this blog.
By the marketing and sales team of CLASSEN®
A deep, thick carpet of lawn is an extremely appealing goal for most homeowners. Sometimes, however, sod must be removed for any number of reasons and that is when the importance of a good sod cutter is paramount. Sod cutters come in various forms and you can avoid back-breaking drudgery by choosing the best method for your job at the outset.
The Importance of Removing Sod Properly
First, it is important to understand the significance of removing sod properly. Removing sod can be incredibly difficult after grass has rooted. Sod cutters, a sod remover tool, remove the grass and a thin layer of dirt underneath so that when you go to lay the new sod, it is flat and even with other parts of your lawn. If you don’t remove the thin layer of dirt underneath and once you go to plant the new sod, the sod will be laid on top of the dirt you didn’t remove. The new grass will not be level with pre-existing parts of your lawn.
Avoid Back-Breaking Work
Sod cutters will also allow you to avoid back-breaking work with a shovel. However, you can use a shovel if you are only replacing sod for small spots. Use a flat-edged shovel with which you make repeated cuts into the turf until you can manually remove the pieces in sections. There are also “kick” sod cutters that both resemble a medieval torture device and leave your body feeling like you have been through one. They require significant force from your back and legs to drive a blade into and along the sod in order to create removable segments. This is an option best considered by the heartiest among us.
Automated vs. Walk-Behind Sod Cutters
When it comes to grass removal machines, the more commonly used tools are gas-powered sod cutters. These motorized sod cutters fall into two general categories: large automated harvesters and smaller walk-behind sod cutters. The automated harvesters are designed for industrial use and are used for sod farms to quickly and efficiently remove the sod from the ground with as little turf breakage as possible for easy rolling and transport.
This, however, is not what most homeowners or residential contractors needs, preferring the smaller walk-behind sod cutters. Small, of course, is a relative term and these machines are robust enough that the more popular models today feature hydrostatic drive for smooth-powered forward and reverse movement that allows the user to get the most done in the least amount of time. Check out the images below to see the differences between the large and small harvesters. A small, walk-behind sod remover is all you will need for your yard, but it is interesting to see how large farms manage to do the same sort of job on much larger pieces of land.
Photos from left to right: Brouwer 4000 large sod harvester and a walk behind sod cutter.
What is a Walk-Behind Sod Cutter?
An extremely popular piece of equipment in the rental industry, walk-behind sod cutters have been used for years to create and expand garden beds or remove diseased lawn for re-sodding. With an ability to cut almost three inches deep, these sod cutters remove all the grass, including roots, to assure there is no leftover, unwanted vegetation or potential for weed growth. Leading manufacturers are creating sod cutters that are much easier to turn and maneuver than older models, providing users the freedom to maneuver more easily to create the curves and contours they need. Powered, walk-behind sod cutters provide maneuverability to control with sod-cutting efficiency to make quick work of turf removal projects.
Photo Credit to Schiller Grounds Care, Inc. 2019
How to Use a Sod Cutter
Sod cutters are especially valuable for hardscaping projects. As more and more homeowners opt for patios and outdoor living spaces (at the expense of lawns), sod cutters are a relatively quick and easy way to remove unwanted grass and properly prepare the construction area. Modern backyards increasingly feature more concrete in an endless variety of dimensions. This is vastly different from generations past, where pride of homeownership was often equated with the condition of large expanses of flat, grassy acreage. Changes in taste or a simple desire to upgrade is leading to a boom in the hardscaping industry and as a result, a contractor’s reliance on a dependable sod cutter.
Contrary to the alternates mentioned earlier, a well powered sod cutter allows the tedious job of removing turf be done quickly and easily with more precision and maximum control. These work-saving machines include settings that allow the operator to establish depth and width parameters to match the job requirements—not to mention models that feature a choice of cutting blades, blade-angling capabilities and vibration-dampening technology. As with using any piece of outdoor power equipment and before starting any lawn project, make sure to wear sensible working gear, protective eyewear, ear protection and gloves. Putting the power of a walk-behind sod cutter to use in tackling such a labor-intensive chore makes sense by saving time and wear on your back.
To find out where you can rent a Classen Sod Cutter, visit the Classen website: https://www.classenturfcare.com/dealer-locator-2/ . If the sod cutting project requires a contractor, contact your landscape professional and inquire about their sod cutting services.
For more information on CLASSEN and their turf renovation products, please visit their website at www.classenturfcare.com
Check out a gallery of photos that illustrate the process of removing sod below.
Photo Credit: Lake Jem Farms
Removing sod is only a part of the new lawn process. Whether you use sod cutters or rototillers, the process of installing new sod closely follows. To continue reading about installing new sod, visit our How to Lay Sod blog.