Lawn Care Tips: Troubleshooting Common Sod Cutter Problems

As a homeowner with a sod lawn you have undoubtedly spent a lot of time, energy, and money planning, installing, and perfecting you lawn.

As a homeowner with a sod lawn you have undoubtedly spent a lot of time, energy, and money planning, installing, and perfecting your lawn. It is important that you know the proper maintenance procedures for your sod so that all your initial blood, sweat, tears, and dollars are not wasted. Cutting sod is done both for maintenance purposes, much like mowing a lawn, and for landscape alterations. Here we will discuss cutting for the purpose of landscape design. Removing turf in preparation for a new flowerbed or a vegetable garden can be a challenge for most people, particularly if they are not equipped with the proper tools or if they do not know the most efficient and logical way to complete the task.

There are three basic ways of cutting sod. The first relies on a tool that most people have lying around the house; the square ended shovel. This diverse tool is good for sod cutting as long as the blade is nice and sharp. If you plan on using the square ended shovel you must sharpen the blade with a file before you start cutting. Prior to cutting, however, you will need to outline the area you wish to remove. Using extension cords or rope is recommended, particularly if the shape you have in mind does not have straight edges. With the sharpened blade you will first need to score the outer edges of the area you intend of removing. Use the blade to cut into the lawn roughly three to four inches down. This scoring process will enable you to get the right angle when you use the shovel to remove the sod. Once the entire outline is prepped, use the shovel to scrape the top of the sod off.

Some people opt to use a specifically designed sod-cutter instead of the square ended shovel. This tool is designed solely to cut sod. It is essentially a shovel shaped like a horseshoe crap. The shape enables the tool to slice through sod with very little resistance and the curve, or tang, allows the gardener to work in a semi-upright position. This reduction of strain on the back lends to the tool's popularity among laborers and everyday gardeners.



Professional landscapers rely on more heavy duty equipment to do their sod cutting. Sod cutting machines are most popular among landscapers; however, a homeowner may rent the piece of equipment from most landscaping companies or garden agencies. The machine uses a back-and-forth motion to cut through the sod and the user can adjust how many inches he or she would like to take off with the turn of a nozzle. While the machine produces exact and quick results, the machine is heavy and awkward to maneuver when compared with the hand tools described above. If you have a large area of sod to unearth the professional machine will complete the task the quickest; however, a smaller job might benefit from the use of a more easily-handled tool such as the square-ended shovel or the sod-cutting shovel.

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