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How to Use Sod Lifters

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A sod lifter is a tool used to remove strips of sod grass from a lawn. The cutting blade runs parallel to the ground 2 to 3 inches below the grass roots as it cuts. The handle of the sod lifter is pushed up and down and from side to side as it detaches the piece of sod. The heel of a work boot is used to kick the blade of the sod lifter into uncut soil. The cut sod is then rolled up and removed. Strips 12 to 18 inches wide and up to 4 feet in length are designated with cuts using a straight-edge shovel.

Mark a section a sod 12 to 18 inches wide and 2 to 4 feet long.

Hammer in stakes at each corner of the strip of sod.

Tie a string to one of the stakes and run it around the other stakes to outline the sod strip.

Cut 2 to 3 inches straight down just beneath the string using the straight-edge spade. Cut all the way around the strip by stepping down on the top of the blade with hard-heeled boots.

Put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands from blisters and insert the sod lifter to beneath the sod at one end of the strip. Push the blade into the soil to cut the sod from the ground. Move it from side-to-side with your hands and arms and kick on the backside of it with the heel of your boot.

Roll the sod like a carpet as it begins to separate from the earth. Continue cutting, lifting and rolling until the entire strip comes free.


Moisten the turf first to make cutting and removing the sod easier.

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