Do you spend hours on lawn care and hundreds of dollars on lawn care equipment, but your lawn still has bare patches and looks thin? 

Well, sometimes, the only solution is to revamp your lawn by removing sod from that portion and building something else in its place.

Planting a new lawn will bring your landscape design to life and create a healthier ecosystem.

Learning how to remove sod from the yard needs some amount of patience and grit, but the results will be nothing short of wonderful.

In the last blog, we discussed what is sod. So, today, we will explain how to remove sod with methods that need a pair of gloves and easily available tools.

Top 3 Reasons For Sod Removal 

A list of the top three reasons for sod removal

Before you learn to remove sod, let’s look at the reasons that can bring sod removal into consideration.

  • Homeowners can utilize a portion of their lawn elsewhere on their property by sod removal. 
  • They can build a garden bed, footpath, or pond in the yard. 
  • Reuse the healthy grass in another area and expose the fertile soil for a garden revamp.

To dive into the complex world of lawn care, read our blog on Lawn Care Schedule: Bring Out the Green Side All Year-Round.

How To Remove Sod: Tried and Tested Methods 

An infographics on the four methods of how to remove sod

Here are the four ways to learn how to remove sod to give your lawn a fresher look.

1. How to Remove Sod by Hand 

If you are searching for how to remove sod by hand, follow these steps:

Introduce Moisture: Thoroughly watering the area a few days before you proceed with sod removal, making the soil manageable. 

Overwatering would make the process more difficult; you just need it to be moist. That will allow the soil to hold together without being too heavy to move.

Cut into the Sod: Make a perimeter cut around the grass you want to remove with a sharp spade, shovel, or edger. Next, trim the sod into one-foot-square or one-foot-by-two-foot strips. 

That will facilitate handling and sod removal. It is sufficient to dig a few inches below the surface; you only need to break through the top layer of soil. 

Pull the Sod Apart: Dig under one end of each piece and use a pitchfork or spade to pierce the grass roots beneath it. 

Leave behind any loose dirt before replacing the pre-cut section on the ground. In this way, you will save yourself from the extra effort that will go into the transportation.

Roll the sod: If the length of your sod is long, roll it up. Place the pieces of sod on a wheelbarrow or near the area where you want to move the sod.

2. Sod Removal By Solarization 

This method of how to remove sod involves retaining solar heat beneath the plastic sheeting covering the sod you wish to get rid of. 

For sod removal with solarization, the region must be exposed to the sun for six to eight hours daily. 

The heat and steam kill the grass and roots in the top three to four inches of soil.  

To keep the plastic from moving, the entire area must be securely covered with plastic. 

The best solution is to buy ultraviolet (UV) resistant plastic.  

Standard plastic sheeting will also work, but you need to check and change if it deteriorates in the sun.

For the process to advance without any problem, ensure the area marked for sod removal is fully covered. 

Although this procedure doesn’t require heavy machinery, you must wait for the right time as it works only in the summer. 

This technique is less successful at eliminating brown and patchy lawns when the winter hits hard. 

Also, the runoff water does not contaminate the soil. It destroys microorganisms that cause plant diseases, nematodes, weed seeds, and weed seedlings in the upper three to four inches of the soil.  

The good bacteria and fungi in the soil are also killed during solarization.

Nevertheless, their colonies regrow after some time. 

3. Use a Square-Edge Sod Cutter

If you are looking for a way to remove sod without investing a lot of money, this is a great option.

A landscaper spade, also known as a square-edge sod cutter, resembles a shovel with four square edges and is a great sod removal tool.

If you have a large area of lawn, this method may take a long time and exhaustive labour.

Therefore, use it for sod removal only if the area is small.

Here are the steps to learn how to remove sod with a sod cutter:

  • Insert the cutter at an angle, about three inches deep, using your foot.
  • Move the cutter horizontally while making a cut into the ground.
  • Again, in this method of how to remove sod, you can only work on small sections.
  • Using your cutter, lift them away.
  • Lastly, even out the ground.

Learn More: Fall Lawn Care: Complete Checklist for a Well-Maintained Lawn.

4. Tilling For Sod Removal 

Whether you want to figure out how to remove grass for sod or want to plant something else immediately after you are done, this is the right method.

Before tilling, you can add organic matter to the sod by forking or shovelling compost. 

While you need some hard work to break up the sod with a tiller, the engine of the tiller does the majority of the work. 

Once the bed has been tilled, take out and get rid of the excess grass.

To till the lawn for sod removal, read the following tips:

  • Mark the area with a straight line you want to remove.
  • Clear the obstacles that may come in the way.
  • To avoid tiller damage, remove the roots and rocks.
  • Cover the area with compost.
  • Loosen the soil from the corners.
  • Move ahead with the tiller in a linear direction.

Related Blog: Natural Solutions for an Attractive Lawn: Organic Lawn Care 101.


How to remove grass before laying sod?

Remove debris from the area, till the soil, grade it, use fertilizer, and level the surface.

How to measure the area that needs sod removal?

Use a tape measure to calculate the area.

How long does solarization take to complete?

The process takes six to eight weeks.


That was our recommendation on how to remove sod by hand, solarization, sod cutter, and tilling.

With these methods, you can clear up your lawn in an efficient way for a makeover.

However, if you wish to avoid delays, environmental concerns, and back-breaking efforts, contact Falcons Landscaping.