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Using a Turf Cutter to strip off the surface of an old lawn

Turf CutterWith spring around the corner, your thoughts will be moving towards your garden and in particlar your lawn. If you have less than 20% actual turf grasses in your lawn, then you may need to strip off the old lawn's surface and start again. Stripping a lawn is hard work and the best option is to hire or borrow a turf cutter to perform the job with ease.

There are many Turf Cutters or Turf Strippers on the market and available from the local plant hire shop. The model showed in the picture is a professional model made by Groundsman Industries based in Ireland. They have some newer models available now but the existing machine will quickly strip an old lawn ahead of importing new soil and/or rotovating. View their models here.

Lawn Stripping

It is always important to make sure that you choose a cutting depth that is removing any thatch layer just underneath the old lawns's surface. Mowing the lawn beforehand will reduce the volume of material requiring rolling and lifting. After a little practice you can strip around 500 square metres an hour. A typical 200 square metre lawn will leave around 6 metric cubic tonnes of debris that will need to be disposed off via Hippo Bags or a Grab Lorry or Skip.

It is important that the operator is capable of moving in straight lines otherwise you will have a lot of thin missed strips to lift by hand! Cut the strips of turf in one metre or less lengths, roll up and dispose of. A bit like turfing in reverse. Always cut some headlands around the edges of the lawn first so that you do not end up working in the flower border.

Should you have a requirement for top soil or turf, take a look here

Should you think your lawn is worth saving take a look at an earlier post on Renovating a tired old lawn or if you need the professionals to come in and sort it for you visit The Lawn Company


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This is a question which I hope someone can answer. I am hoping to renovate sand slits on a rugby pitch. I need to remove 2" wide strips to a depth of appox 1" and then backfill with sand. Does anyone know of a turf cutter that has the ability to cut 2" wide strips. Or is there a model that could be modified to only cut 2" wide?

Reply - send this post over to where you may get some help. Not aware of one that will only do 2", but a hand tool for turf stripping - a Turf Slitter is in the Lawn Shop - see this link
We are professional Groundsmen and can relate to your task so unless you want to hire a Groundsman Industries Turf Cutter which will cut a little wider, they are very effective. Also ever though of spraying the area off in lines with Glyphosate than can be repaired and then re sanded and over seeded?

Good Luck

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