Sod cutting is an essential part of removing a lawn. It is also important in making pathways. Sod cutting is cutting turf in the soil to separate the grass and portion of soil held by its root structure (the sod) from the ground. This is a hard and tedious process that requires a special tool called a sod cutter.
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Knowing More About Sod Cutter
A sod cutter is a very effective tool. Whether you are removing sod or turf to start a garden, repair drainage, or move the location of your turf, a sod cutter will likely save you money and time and improve the precision of your work.
Sod, or turf, is made up of grass, the dirt bound to the grass by the roots. Sod cutters are useful tools for projects like installing paths or swimming pools, changing the layout of a yard, accessing drainage pipes, or edging lawns.
Types of Sod Cutters
You can find various styles of sod cutters available on the market, and they may be manual or mechanical.
Manual sod cutters are human-powered and human-guided. These sod cutters are mostly composed of two handles attached to the metal blade affixed to a roller. To operate, you push the cutter to move it across the ground, exerting much effort. The roller makes it possible for the cutter to glide on the ground to make work easier.
Some manual sod cutters are simply a shovel with a pointed edge. The pointed edge is placed into the ground and plunged downward to cut the sod. The process is repeated until the desired chunk of sod has been cut. Other manual sod cutters have a long, curved, serrated blade that you can rock back and forth in a straight line. The tool loosens the sod, making it easier to pull up.
Gas-powered or Kick Sod Cutter
While a manual sod cutter might be fine for small jobs, such as creating a small garden patch or trimming the grass along the edge of a path, a gas-powered sod cutter or a kick sod cutter is really the only way to go for a large job.
Since mechanical sod cutters are powered by gas, they are more expensive and heavier than manual cutters. They can also be adjusted so that you can choose the size and depth of the sod. Their size and weight make them less portable than manual cutters.
But they are more preferred by commercial landscapers than by just hobbyists because they make work faster. Although heavy to be operated, mechanical sod cutters can cut more sods more than manual. The engine’s power drives the blade into the ground and moves the cutter forward. All you need to do is to guide and control its direction.
The gas-powered sod cutter has four wheels and several blades and looks a lot like a lawnmower or tiller. The blades cut the sod in a straight line as the operator pushes it. It offers far more precision than the manual sod cutters and will accomplish the task in a much shorter period of time.
There are also several accessories for gas-powered sod cutters that can make the job even easier. You can get different blade attachments that can be used for dethatching or edging and even get blades that will cut a larger section of sod.
Perhaps the most useful accessory is the sod roller. Usually, after you cut your sod, you have to manually roll it up to be transported, especially if you have cut a large section of sod. The sod roller will roll and bundle the sod for you, cutting back on your physical labor.
Safety and Sod Cutters
Like all gardening equipment, extreme care should be observed while using the sod cutter. Severe injury can result from careless handling. So it is always wise to read the manual before operating one or, better, ask for expert advice from veterans. It is also a must that one should wear shoes when operating a sod cutter.
How Does A Sod Cutter Operate?
Sod cutter makes sod cutting easier. It is specially designed to cut through your ground with a minimum effort to make your sod-cutting job faster. It also gives you cleaner results as they separate grass and roots off from your ground better than shovels.
It has a blade or blades, depending upon the type, which does the cutting. It is levered under the turf to lift it, and as the sod cutter goes forward, the sod is separated from the ground. It is then rolled after the process, or you can roll it along with sod cutting.
Learn How to Use a Sod Cutter
Learning how to use a sod cutter is very important if you have never used a sod cutter before. Not knowing how to use a sod cutter could be dangerous.
Also, if you do not know how to use a sod cutter, you will likely end up cutting crooked lines and decapitating your sprinkler heads. The instructions that I can give you on how to use a sod cutter are as follows:
One, make sure that you know how to turn the machine on and off. Typically, they are pole starts. To turn them on, you’re going to want to have the choke on, and then after it starts turning, you’re going to want to move the choke to run.
You’re probably going to want to have the machine turned on to get into your truck. You will probably want to have it turned on and in reverse gear to take it out. Make sure before you move a sod cutter on pavement or in and out of your truck that the blades are up.
When you start cutting the lawn, it is a good idea to start on one edge and slowly work your way to the other edge as you make long passes over your lawn. Plan out your route with a sod cutter before you start heading with it. Make sure to mark your sprinkler heads so that you do not tear them out.
Once you have the sod cutter into position, lower the blade. As you lower them, they will start to engage, and they will start to cut away at the sod. It is an excellent idea to go slow, especially for the first two or three passes.
Most sod cutters allow you to shift gears. You can go forward slow, forward medium, or forward fast. You can also go backward slow.
When you get to the end of a row, you should pop the blades out of the lawn, turn the machine around and reposition it before putting the blades back down.
The height on your blades should be ½ to ¾ inches. If you are planning on reusing the sod, you are removing it, and you should try for a depth of 1 to 1 ½ inch.
Please note that different types of grass need different depths. It is probably best to test out an area of 3 feet to see whether or not you are shallow enough. The advantage of going shallow is that it makes it a lot lighter when you start having to haul it away.
I like to use the 18-inch sod cutter much better than the 12-inch cutter. It makes the cuts a lot more level, and I think the 18-inch cutter is easier when trying to learn how to use a sod cutter.
Rent or Buy A Sod Cutter?
Some people would think that they do not use the sod cutter very often. They may waste money buying the sod cutter but only use it once and keep it in storage to accumulate dust.
Choosing a sod cutter over a sod cutter purchase comes down to your particular needs for the machine, particularly if you are looking into gas-powered sod cutters. You can usually rent a sod cutter for between $70 and $85 a day.
If you have a specific project that will only take a few days to complete, then renting is most certainly the way to go. If, however, you have a project that may take several weeks to complete, or you plan to use the sod cutter regularly, then you may want to purchase one. They can range from $35 for a basic manual model to $1200 for a gas-powered model.
Whether you decide to rent or purchase your sod cutter, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration.
First, consider the operating controls. Particularly if you plan to buy, you want to make sure that the controls are easy to use and have easy access to the levers that control the height of the cut, the throttle, and the drive clutch. You should be able to adjust these easily.
Next, consider transportation. Gas-powered sod cutters are large and cumbersome and can be difficult to transport from place to place. If your project requires sod cutting in several different locations, then you may want to consider renting or purchasing a lightweight sod cutter or a small utility trailer that will make transporting it easier.
Finally, determine which, if any, accessories you will need to complete your project. To find sod cutter rentals, check with home and garden or do-it-yourself stores for rental options. Be sure to get clear safety and operating instructions before you take your sod cutter home. Safety precautions will include gloves, protective goggles, and protective earwear.