The Best Way to Remove Sod


Some gardeners look out at their lawns and think of all the extra vegetables they could potentially grow if there wasn't all that grass. Removing sod from a lawn takes several man-hours and a lot of muscle but is a simple task to accomplish when done properly. Digging is one of the most time-consuming methods, but it doesn't use harmful chemicals that could destroy future crops or sod.

Step 1

Water the sod to loosen the soil. Make the soil moist but not soggy, as soggy grass is heavy and will compact easily underfoot.

Step 2

Cut the sod using the edge of a sharp spade in parallel 1-foot strips. Make the strips continuous to ease removal.

Step 3

Run the edge of the spade underneath the parallel cuts to break apart roots holding the grass into place. Run the spade along the entire length of your sod strips.

Step 4

Roll up the sod into small, compact bundles. These pieces are heavy and will require a wheelbarrow to move out of the area.

Step 5

Add a 1- or 2-inch layer of compost to the top of the exposed soil and roll over it using a tiller to mix the organic material into the dirt. Removing sod takes away organic material from the topsoil, which must be replaced.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat-edge spade
  • Tiller
  • Work gloves
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Compost


  • Colorado State University Extension: Renovating the Home Lawn
  • University of Illinois Extension: Turf Removal
  • Fine Gardening: 4 Ways to Remove Sod
Keywords: remove sod, best way sod, lawn renovation

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.