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What is a sod? – Tips for correct processing

What is a sod? – Tips for correct processing

Sod is a common term in gardening parlance. The word gives beginners a headache. The expression puts worry lines on the forehead of advanced hobby gardeners. This guide puts an end to all uncertainty.

Read an in-depth explanation of the term here. Common procedures with turf are no longer hidden from you here.

What is sod? – Define

Turf is the name for the closed growth of grass, moss, and herbs on the ground, the coherent growth of which forms a complete plant cover. A few centimeters below a turf, the lush soil life pulsates.

The plant cover provides earthworms, beetles, and other organisms with valuable protection against adverse weather conditions or predators. Furthermore, a turf acts as a natural bulwark against erosion and rock weathering.

Remove or repair turf – 5 methods.

Notwithstanding its many roles in nature, turf is not always desirable or a cause for complaint. The following table lists five common methods of dealing with a layer of grass:

method material requirements
remove Spade, shovel, wheelbarrow
peeling Sod cutter, mini-excavator, or shovel
mill and dig Garden tiller,  Spade, sieve
dig up Spade, sieve
repair scarifiers, rakes, lawnmowers

How and with which tool you implement the processing methods correctly is explained in the following instructions in a practical and comprehensible manner.

Remove turf – step-by-step instructions

There are many reasons why it can make sense to remove the sod. Everyday occasions include creating a lawn or building a garden house, a pond, or sauna. The most cost-effective method dispenses with mechanical assistance and only requires a spade, elbow grease, and time. The following instructions explain step by step how to remove a sod properly:

  1. the best time is in late autumn
  2. Mark and cut off area
  3. Prick the green area with a spade 10-15 cm (4-5.8 inches) deep in a checkerboard pattern
  4. raise the earth slightly with each spade ( tilt the spade handle backwards)
  5. Lift the pieces with a shovel and place them in the wheelbarrow

You can also separate well-loosened turf segments from the subsoil with your hands and place them in the wheelbarrow. In practice, sections measuring 30 x 30 centimeters (11.7 x 11.7 inches) have proven their worth.

Peel off the turf 

Don’t feel like some sweaty digging? Then use a special device to remove the turf. A lawn peeler or sod cutter pulls the green vegetation off the ground with machine power. You can rent the device inexpensively in hardware stores, garden centers, or construction machinery rental companies.

 This is how you peel off an old turf in an exemplary manner:

  1. Mow the area very short
  2. Align sod cutters straight, parallel to the outside edge of the turf
  3. Put on protective goggles, set the cutting depth, start and lift the device
  4. Lower the device with the rotating blades into the turf
  5. Peeling machine straight ahead over the turf run in lanes
  6. important: cut edges lie close together
  7. Switch off the device and set it aside
  8. Put on gloves
  9. Roll up cut grass strips

Depending on the depth of cut and lane length, the grass rolls’ disposal requires a helping hand or a mini excavator.

Milling, sieving, and digging up the turf

Peeling off a sod always raises the question: where to put the rolls of grass? You can avoid this problem by milling and digging up the green area. A tiller acts as a machine-powered tiller. The turf is shredded and can be worked into the ground.

It is advisable to clean the soil of root weeds and stones using a throw-through sieve in connection with digging. Here’s how to do it professionally:

  1. the best time is in autumn or early spring
  2. Mow or scythe green areas as short as possible
  3. Put on safety goggles sturdy shoes and start the tiller
  4. Mill the turf lengthways and crossways
  5. Dig the soil two spades deep and 20 cm (7.8 inches) wide across the bed surface
  6. Throw the excavated material through a close-meshed, openable throw-through sieve
  7. fill the cleaned excavation from the second furrow into the first trench
  8. use sifted soil from the first furrow for last-ditch

To clear a small area of ​​turf, prior tilling is not necessary. Break up the sod with the spade and dig the soil into furrows. With the sieve, you can clean the soil of all kinds of impurities.

Repair mossy sod

Removing a turf involves a deep, destructive intrusion into the soil life beneath. Hobby gardeners who are close to nature strive to repair the offending green area. The plan has the best chance of success for a moss-covered lawn.

For this purpose, moss and weeds are combed out with a scarifier. The motorized device works with rotating rollers that scratch the turf. That is how it goes:

  1. Rent a scarifier at a hardware store
  2. Mow the lawn 2 cm (0.78) deep
  3. scarify lengthwise and crosswise
  4. Sweep off moss and weeds with a rake
  5. mow again

You can edit small lawn areas manually. You can do this with a hand scarifier that you pull through the moss-covered turf.

You then subject the scarified turf to a revitalization program. First, the green area should regenerate for about 14 days. In dry conditions, regular sprinkling promotes the recovery process.

Then fertilize the area with slow-release lawn fertilizer or finely sieved compost. Larger gaps in the green can be closed quickly by spreading a thin layer of humus with lawn seeds and watering repeatedly.

Reuse old turf 

Nothing is wasted in the natural garden. This also applies to a sod that you remove, for example, to create a vegetable patch. The most important prerequisite for successful recycling is good to satisfactory condition. Reusing a sod goes like this:

  1. Prepare the new green area with permeable subsoil and finely crumbly soil
  2. enrich the top layer of soil with a mixture of sieved compost and sand
  3. mow old turf to a blade height of 3-4 cm ( 1.17 – 1.56 inches)
  4. deep stabbing in transportable grass bricks
  5. layout densely on the prepared surface, roll and penetrating blast

Please fill in the seams with a mix of humus, soil, sand, and grass seed. For the turf to grow at the new location, regular irrigation is important in the following weeks.

frequently asked Questions

What to do with old turf? How and where can I dispose of the peeled sod?

You can dispose of it with your elbow grease and free of charge by turning over the sods, shredding them with a spade, and letting them rot in a separate pile. New humus is created that you can use in the garden. Farmers sometimes allow peeled turf to be spread on fallow fields upon request in rural areas.

The regional recycling center accepts grass sods that have been removed for a price. If you don’t shy away from the costs, hire a disposal company to drop off a container on your property and pick it up again.

I removed the turf for my new raised bed. Can I use removed sod for the filling?

If a raised bed is built on a lawn, the turf should be removed. Of course, the organic material is far too valuable to dispose of. First, layout a stable vole grid on the ground. As a lower layer, you now stack thick branches and twigs up to a height of 30 to 40 centimeters (11-15 inches), covered with some garden soil.

Now is a good time to incorporate stripped sod into the raised bed fill. Mix the turf with chopped straw, grass clippings, and similar garden waste until a 20-centimeter (7.8 inches) thick layer is formed. Further layers of manure, rotted leaves, coarse compost, and fine compost follow.

I studied horticulture at the University of Guelph and in my free time I plant everything that has roots on a piece of land. The topic of self-sufficiency and seasonal nutrition is particularly close to my heart. Favorite fruit: quince, corner, and blueberry Favorite vegetables: peas, tomatoes, and garlic