There are several different types of sod cutters, but at the end of the day, they all do the same thing: cut grass at the roots allowing you to remove entire sections of sod. The type of sod cutter you choose to use depends on entirely on what you wish to accomplish. If you want to remove your grass, either because you are replacing it with something like a pool, deck or patio, or you simply want to place down brand new sod, you need a sod cutter.
Classen is one of the well-known manufacturers of sod cutters, and its SC-18HD model is one of its best machines. It features an 18 inch width cutting blade, and makes an outstanding 20 cutting strokes per second and 1,200 per minute. Its 8 inch cutting stroke is about 50% longer than other competitive models, and the blade is placed at the center of the machine which ensures a more level and consistent cut. You can either purchase or rent this sod cutter from your local Home Depot.
If you are removing only a small section of grass, you can use a square edge sod cutter (essentially a shovel) or a kick sod cutter. For larger areas, however, you’ll want to use a motorized sod cutter. Before you start, plot out the area of grass you want to remove, and remove any obstacles such as rocks, plants, or lawn furniture or fixtures. Make sure the machine is oiled and gassed, and give the owner’s manual a read before you start. Put the sod cutter into neutral, raise the blade, and push the machine to the edge of the area where you wish to start. Lower the blade and start the engine. After a few feet, you may want to stop to double check how deep the cut is and adjust the level of the blade accordingly. Once you have finished one row, you may want to roll up the strips of sod to make it easier to see where you have already cut.
Safety Procedures & Guidelines
Whenever you use any type of heavy machinery, there are several important safety procedures you should always follow. Before you begin removing sod, make sure the area is clear of any obstacles, such as plants or large rocks. Also be aware of any potential hazards before you begin, such as changes in terrain. You should also double check that the machine has new oil and gas before you start. While operating the sod cutter, make sure the area is clear, and no children or pets get in the way. If the cutter gets jammed, make sure you turn it off before you attempt to fix it.
Pros & Cons
There are multiple advantages and disadvantages to using either a manual sod cutter or a motorized sod cutter. Manual sod cutters are excellent for small areas.
They are less expensive than renting a motorized sod cutter, and are much less of a safety risk. Some people are much more comfortable using manual tools, such as a shovel (which is a type of manual sod cutter) than working a machine. Manual tools don’t need to be constantly refilled with gas either, which is another advantage. For large areas, however, a motorized sod cutter is best, because it may take you an extremely long time using only a manual sod cutter. It is also a bit easier on your body when using a motorized sod cutter, although it may be heavy to push.