Manual Turf Cutter: Less Weeds, More Seeds

You know that old adage about too much of a good thing being bad? Well, using the same equation,...

You know that old adage about too much of a good thing being bad? Well, using the same equation, just imagine how bad too much of a bad thing is going to be, and now apply that to the army of weeds and moss slowly taking over your lawn.

Now, there is no straight-down-the-line answer as to how many weeds is too many but, as a general rule of (green) thumb, if your lawn has become more than 30% weeds then it’s probably time for you to clear the area. Yeah, we mean clear it completely. We mean getting rid of your turf and starting from scratch with a lovely bit of fresh seeding.

Of course, if you’re even slightly normal, then you’re going to be pretty hesitant about doing-over your lawn because, well, let’s be honest, the idea of getting rid of your old lawn and starting from zilch seems like oh so much work. Just the idea of getting your shovel out the shed and then repeatedly having to employ the “stomp it with your boot” method is exhausting.

Luckily for you, though, there is a little known tool in Keen Kevin’s shed that is absolutely incredible when it comes to creating lovely bare ground with relative ease. It’s called the turf cutter (or “sod kicker” if you’re an Americanophile) and, for those wondering, yes, you can get petrol-operated ones.

But we’re not going to talk about these, and that’s because they’re pretty self explanatory. Instead, we’re going to tell you about the manual turf stripper that Keen Kevin uses. Why? Because a) they’ll help you get more in touch with your lawn, b) you can make it part of that exercise routine you keep saying you’re going to start tomorrow and c) it’s super environmentally-friendly.


So, without further ado, here is everything you need to know about the manual turf cutter:


1. The Essential How-To Clear Your Turf Guide

Step 1: Mowing

Before you do anything, your first port of call should be your mower. But don’t just mow like you would normally. Instead, what you need to do is, drop the blades as low as they can possibly go and then mow the area of your lawn in question. That’s the trick.


Step 2: Watering

The night before you plan to remove all – or part – of your lawn, you should give it a right good watering. Trust us, this will make your turf cutting life so much easier; not just in terms of exertion, but because the water will help keep the strips of turf in tact, meaning it will be so much easier for you to move each ribbon, whether that mean relaying them elsewhere or just disposing of them.


Step 3: Cutting

Wherever you’re planning on starting is where you need to place the cutter (obviously). Once in place, hold the handles nice and tight and then kick the foot bar nice and firm. Voila, the blade will shoot beneath your lawn and start making a lovely neat cut about 2-3 inches deep. All you need to do is keep pushing forward until you want to stop. To make the lawn ribbons more manageable, just pull back slightly when you’re happy and then push forward again to start a new cut. It’s more simple than insulting Trump (oh, come on, he makes it so easy).


2. Okay, But, Seriously, What’s It Like To Use?

Anytime anyone talks about using anything manual over something with an engine, you’re going to be met with a raised eyebrow and the question, “what’s it like to use?” Of course, that’s a pretty tough question to answer because it’s kind of subjective. That said, according to those who’ve used turf cutters since the original Quail-made ones came out in 1953, they really are a dream.


“You put your boot-laden foot on the bar and push forward; it cuts and you roll it up. That’s all there is to it.”


If, however, you’re less fussy about how it works and more concerned about what the payoff is like, you can usually get 500 square feet of lawn done in about two and a bit hours, and that’s without you working so hard you have to stop n’ mop your brow every three-and-a-half minutes. “How is this possible?” We hear you splutter. Well, it’s because technique is way more important than strength, meaning the more you practise the more perfect you will become, until you’re so good you’re ready to enter your skills into the Turf Cutting World Championships (we don’t know if there is actually a world championship, but we’re betting someone has started it up).


3. The Best Bit Is The Running Cost

Just so you know, we’re not by any means trying to deter anyone from buying or hiring a turf cutter. No way. In fact, to prove this, here’s a link to a turf cutter you can hire from HSS. That said, there are some features that we absolutely love about the manual version.

  1. Apart from the satisfying sound of a blade slicing through moist turf, it’s virtually noise-free.
  2. There’s no need for petrol or diesel.
  3. Engine maintenance is cheaper than air,
  4. And winterising it means sticking it in the shed and leaving it there until you next want to use it.


Take all that into consideration and the manual turf cutter has to be a contender for the most eco-friendly, mother nature-loving piece of kit on the planet.

Of course, nothing is completely without maintenance, but even this is limited to a quick blade sharpen, and that probably won’t need to be done more than once a year (#winning).


4. Joe, You’ve Won Us Over; What’s The Best Manual Turf Cutter

Simple. The one Quail makes. It’s the best, and has been for over sixty years. Anything else? Nope. Cool. In that case, we’ll see you next week for some more priceless lawn care advice.


In the meantime, don’t forget to like our page and share our posts. It’s for the good of the planet.

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