How to Dispose of Sod (7 Easy Ways)

No one likes a pile of sod just lying around in their new backyard.

There are several environmentally friendly options to dispose of sod depending on your landscaping needs.

Some of these methods, such as composting, can benefit your garden, whereas others will help you save some big bucks.

The best way to reuse old sod is to compost it. Old sod is an excellent fertilizer. You can also use it to revitalize other portions of your yard, build up low spots or create garden beds foundations.

If you run out of options to dispose of old sod, the best thing to do is to relocate it, give it away, or dispose of it with other green waste that you generate.

How to Dispose of Sod in 7 Ways

When thinking of disposing of old sod, the first question that comes to mind is how to get rid of it?

To be honest, there are several ways to dispose of sod.

Some might even benefit your garden! Take a look:  

1. Make Sod Compost

Composting sod is a very common practice. It produces a highly fertile material that you can use to create planting mixes for your garden.

Since sod makes excellent compost, you can combine it as an additive in an already-established compost pile or create a separate sod compost pile.

To build a compost pile using old sod, follow these instructions:

  • Step 1: Choose a sheltered space in your garden or backyard.
  • Step 2: Spread a wooden or cardboard garden base.
  • Step 3: Pile sod on the base, keeping the grass side down and roots facing up.
  • Step 4: Use a spray bottle to make each layer of sod wet as you build your pile.
  • Step 5: As you create the pile, remember to coat nitrogen-rich fertilizer on each layer of sod. This will speed up the decomposition process.
  • Step 6: Once you have created the pile, cover it with black plastic.
  • Step 7: Weigh down the plastic with a heavy object to keep air and light away.
  • Step 8: Let the pile sit for six months at least to allow the sod to decompose and turn into rich compost fertilizer.

Composting method is the best way to turn unwanted sod into a natural, free, nutrient-rich fertilizer that will nourish your soil and improve its structure. You can then spread this fertilizer in your garden.

Oregon State University suggests making sod compost piles of at least one cubic yard in size (3 feet wide, 3 feet long and 3 feet tall) for better quality fertilizer.

If you want to add sod to an existing compost pile or compost bin, here’s what you should do:

  • Step 1: Layer the pile with shredded paper/newspapers, straw, sawdust, dried leaves or other brown materials.
  • Step 2: If you feel the sod is dying or already dead, add extra green materials, such as manure, grass clippings, coffee grounds or kitchen scraps.
  • Step 2: Add a generous amount of nitrogen-rich fertilizer to the compost pile.
  • Step 4: Once you have built your pile or added everything to a compost bin, cover the pile or bin with a black tarp and weigh the edges down with bricks.
  • Step 5: Let the sod sit for six months and decompose into garden-ready compost.

2. Create a Base for Your Garden

If having several sod piles in your garden covered with tarp doesn’t suit your aesthetics, you can try transforming your sod into garden beds.

For example, you can use the old leftover sod to build a new flower bed or vegetable garden.

All you have to do to create a sod base is lay a sheet of sod upside down until it reaches the desired height. Then, cover it with two to three inches of topsoil and add three to four layers of mulch.

Once the base is covered with mulch and soil, plant your flowers or vegetables directly into the dirt.

As your plants grow, the underlying sod layer will decompose and produce a fertilizer full of nutrients that will strengthen the roots of your plants.

By creating a base for your garden using sod, you can increase its height to allow better drainage. You can even make a tall, raised bed. It’s truly a great way to remove an ugly sod pile and put it to good use.

3.  Fix the Low Spots

Do you have any low or boggy spots in your garden or backyard? You better take care of them! These areas can easily flood and breed insects which can cause plant diseases.

Old sod is perfect for leveling out any problem areas in your garden or yard. Filling low spots up with sod can help you improve the outlook of your garden and the quality of your plants.

All you need to do is simply lay the sod roots up in the low area. The roots will keep the sod intact as time passes, grass decays, and soil settles.

4. Relocate the Sod

Every yard or garden has some weak patches or straggling sections of grass. The best way to fix them up is with old sod! You can use leftover old sod and relocate it to weak areas in your garden.

For example, if you have removed some sod from your backyard to create space for a patio, consider relocating the removed sod to your front garden where the grass is patchy, yellowed or thinning out.

Keep in mind that the best chance of sod surviving relocation is to move, place and water it within twenty-four hours after removal. Just make sure to keep the sod moist at all times.

5. Consider Alternative Lawn Removal Methods

Suppose you want to add new sod to your garden or pour in concrete in your yard where old grass once grew. In this case, you need to remove old sod before you proceed.

However, the good news is that you might not need to cut old sod in all cases.

For example, if you wish to transform your yard with landscaping or plant a garden where the grass is currently growing, you don’t have to cut sod. Here’s what you can do instead:

  • Spray the grass with a glyphosate-based plant killer.
  • Cover the grass with clear plastic to solarize it.
  • Till your lawn to kill existing grass.

The methods mentioned above are easier than dealing with piles and piles of cut sod. You won’t have to buy or rent a machine to remove old sod, and you’ll save yourself money and effort in the long run.

6. Dispose of Sod as Green Waste

If you genuinely have no other options to reuse or get rid of sod, you can dispose of it as green waste. You must follow the guidelines set by your local waste disposal authorities for green waste disposal.

Remember that sod is not very easy to dispose of as green waste. However, you can make it lighter and easier to dispose of by shaking pieces to remove as much soil as you can.

Shaking sod pieces before disposal will allow you to get rid of more sod at once without overloading your green waste trash bins.

7. Give It Away for Free or Sell It

Lastly, if you still have leftover sod you don’t know what to do with it, give it away for free. One person’s old sod might be another person’s treasure!

Advertising that you have free sod pickup is the easiest way to get rid of it. An enterprising homeowner or composter can greatly benefit from your unwanted sod.

The best part about giving sod away is that you won’t have to spend hours doing back-breaking work of moving piles and mounds by hand.

Websites like Craigslist and Nextdoor can easily advertise to the people in your community that you have unwanted sod. You might end up finding a neighbor who could use some sod in their garden.

If your lawn is healthy, we suggest you grab this opportunity to make some money. We recommend waiting until your garden or yard is at least a year old and at least two inches tall before you cut the sod.

You can easily find potential buyers by posting classified ads online. When you find someone willing to purchase, only then remove the sod from your garden, or the roots will dry out.

A Tip:

To remove sod from your garden before disposing of it, the best tool you can use is a motorized sod cutter.

A sod cutter can remove 2 to 2.5 centimeters of topsoil along with the grass when used correctly. It can remove enough grass and root material to create space for new sod or concrete.

Final Words

Stacking heavy, bulky sheets of grass in your garden or backyard can ruin the aesthetic of your space.

Before you remove sod, you must consider ways to dispose of it quickly or use it to add benefits to your garden.

If you found this article helpful, let us know in the comments below. Happy gardening!

Other articles you may also like: