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How to Use a Manual Sod Cutter

Whether you are making a new garden bed or renovating your old lawn, you need to first remove the existing sod. Digging out sod by hand using a shovel can turn into a labor-intensive project. You would then end up with hundreds of chunks of sod that you need to dispose of. Rather than do it the hard way, use a manual sod cutter to remove your sod. This tool lifts your sod up and allows you to roll it up for easy transportation and disposal.

Water your grass a day or so before you want to remove the sod. Water it until the soil is moist several inches into the ground. Test the soil by pushing a screwdriver into the ground. If it goes in easily, the soil is sufficiently moist.

Position the manual sod cutter at the beginning of where you want to remove the sod.

Kick the cross-bar that runs between the two handles while simultaneously pushing down on the handles to push the blade into the soil.

Push or kick the sod cutter forward to begin removing the sod. Keep steady pressure down on the handles to keep the blade in the ground. Continue until you reach the end of where you want the sod removed.

Lift the handles to pull the blade out of the soil. Roll the sod up and dispose it or lay it in an area of your lawn that needs to be repaired.

Move the sod cutter to the next area that you want to strip sod and repeat the above steps to remove another section of sod.

Manual Sod Cutter

Prepare the lawn the day before you cut the sod. Mow the lawn to reduce the weight and volume of the sod. Put on gardening gloves and work shoes, and place the sod cutter at one end of the area you want to cut. Set the blade 1 to 2 inches deep to cut the root layer, or set it to skim the soil surface for inch-thick thatch removal. Press down on the handles to force the horizontal blade into the soil.


Always make sure the soil is moist before removing the sod. It will be extremely hard to push the manual sod cutter through hard soil.

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