How to Cut Sod

Sod is a great way to quickly and easily improve the appearance of your lawn. It can also be a bit tricky to cut, especially if you’ve never done it before. Cutting your own sod might sound scary, but it’s not. In this guide, we’ll put you through the process, step-by-step, so you can cut like a pro.

What are the reasons for cutting sod?

There are a few reasons you might need to cut sod. Maybe you’re trying to install a new sprinkler system and need to make some cuts for the pipes. Or maybe you’re just trying to give your lawn a fresh start by removing old, dead grass. Either way, cutting sod is a relatively easy task that anyone can do with the right tools and instructions.

Factors to consider before cutting your sod

Cutting sod is a great way to get a green lawn quickly and professionally. But if you’re not careful, you can end up with a yard full of dead grass in no time. Here are some factors to consider before cutting your sod:

Soil conditions

Sod does best in well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter and a pH between 6 and 7. If you want to test your soil, take samples from several locations around the lawn and have them tested for fertility and pH at a reputable lab.

Before cutting, take a soil test. You can buy a kit at your local home improvement store and follow the instructions included. Or you can contact your local cooperative extension office for help.

These kits are often free, and the results will tell you what you need to do to get your soil ready for sod, such as adding nutrients or adjusting the pH level.

Soil fertility

If your soil tests indicate that it needs fertilizer, add the recommended amount of nitrogen fertilizer at least one month before installing sod. The area should be disked or rototilled after fertilizing, but never apply fertilizer after it has been seeded or sodded, since excess nitrogen can burn tender new roots.

Do not fertilize again until the new grass has grown to a height of at least 3 inches (7.5 cm).


Sod must be kept moist at all times until it takes root. If it dries out or hot weather sets in before it takes root, the sod may die. Check the moisture level on the underside of the sod daily. It should still be damp when installed and watered properly. If it’s dry, don’t install it until you can water it again.

Getting enough water after cutting sod is important for its growth. It’s best to plan on cutting your sod right before it rains or when rain is expected soon. If you can’t plan on having rain soon after cutting your sod, make sure you water it thoroughly until it dries out and becomes established.


If possible, delay installation until cooler weather arrives. Sod roots more easily in lower temperatures than in hot weather. If you have no choice but to install sod during hot weather, make sure your soil is well-prepared so that it holds moisture, and water the sod twice a day until it takes root. You’ll want to avoid common mistakes when installing sod

Weather conditions

The ideal time of year to cut sod is during the fall or spring months when the outside temperature is not too hot or too cold. The ideal temperature is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

What do I need to cut sod?

The most important thing you’ll need is a sharp sod cutter. You can find these at most hardware stores or online. A sod cutter will make quick work of cutting through thick grass and soil, so it’s definitely worth investing in one if you plan on doing any sort of sod work in the future.

You’ll also need a few other tools to get the job done, including

  • Shovel/spade
  • Rake
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Garden trowel
  • Knife or scissors
  • String
  • Measuring tape

Having these on hand will make it much easier to remove the sod once it’s been cut.

How do I cut sod?

Now that you have all the necessary tools, it’s time to get down to business.

Step 1: Mark out the area

The first thing you need to do is mark out the area where you’ll be cutting. This can be done with string or flags so you have a clear idea of where to make your cuts.

Use the square-point shovel to outline the area where you want to cut the sod. Mark a straight line along one edge with a straightedge or board. This will guide your cuts.

Step 2: Cut the sod

Once you have your area marked out, it’s time to start cutting. Start at one end of the marked-out area and slowly push the sod cutter along, following the line you made in step one. Try to keep the cutter as level as possible to avoid making uneven cuts.

As you cut, the sod will come up in long strips. Place these strips in a wheelbarrow or on a tarp so they can be transported to another location.

Step 3: Remove the sod

Now that all the sod has been cut, it’s time to remove it from the ground. You can do this by gently lifting each strip of sod and setting it aside. If the sod is particularly stubborn, you can use a spade or a garden trowel to loosen it before lifting.

Simply roll up each strip as you cut it and place it on a level surface so it doesn’t bend or break apart while you’re cutting more sections of sod.

If you have leftover sod, don’t leave it lying around on your lawn or it will die from lack of water and nutrients within two or three weeks.

Once all the sod has been removed, you’ll be left with an exposed area of soil. This is now ready for whatever you had planned, whether it’s planting new grass seed or installing a sprinkler system.

Safety considerations for cutting sod

When cutting sod, be sure to take some safety precautions.

  • First, be aware of your surroundings and make sure that there are no obstacles in your way.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands from sharp blades.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself on the blades.

With these safety considerations in mind, you should be able to safely cut sod without any problems.

Caring for your sod cutter

After you’re done cutting sod, it’s important to take care of your tools so they’ll be in good condition for the next time.

  • Clean the blade of your cutter with soap and water to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Dry it off completely and then oil the blade to prevent rusting.
  • Store the cutter in a dry, safe place until you need it again.


Frequently Asked Questions


How do you manually cut sod?

There are a few ways that you can manually cut sod. The most common way is with a spade or shovel. You will want to make sure that you have a sharp blade on your spade or shovel so that it will be easier to cut through the sod. Another way that you can cut sod is with a rototiller. This can be helpful if you have a lot of sod to remove.

What is the best time of year to cut sod?

The best time of year to cut sod is in the spring or fall. This is because the grass will be dormant and will not grow as quickly.

Can I use a lawn mower to cut my sod?

Yes, you can use a lawn mower to cut your sod. However, you will want to make sure that you have a sharp blade on your lawn mower. Otherwise, it will not cut through the sod as easily.

What should I do with my sod once I have cut it?

Once you have cut your sod, you can use it to start a new lawn or patch up an existing one. You will want to make sure that you lay the sod down as soon as possible so that it does not dry out.

Do I need to water my sod?

Yes, you should water your sod regularly. This will help ensure that your sod stays healthy and grows properly. How often you need to water your sod will depend on the weather and the type of sod that you have. Be sure to check with your local nursery or garden center for more specific watering instructions.

How do you cut sod from the ground?

Cutting sod from the ground is a process that can be done a few different ways. The most common and probably easiest way to cut sod is with a spade or shovel. You will want to make sure that you have a sharp blade on your spade or shovel so that it will be easier to cut through the sod. Another way that you can cut sod is with a rototiller. This can be helpful if you have a lot of sod to remove.


Now that you know how to cut sod, you can get started on your gardening project! Be sure to use sharp tools and take care when handling the sod so you don’t damage it. With a little practice, you’ll be able to cut perfect pieces of sod for your garden.