Remove sod by digging it up, tilling it, using solarization or applying herbicide. Using a shovel to dig up the sod is good for quick and clean removal; however, if the removal area is relatively large, then this can be extremely labor intensive and tiring. Additionally, digging up the sod with a shovel usually removes the top layer of organic matter and nutrients, which reduces the quality of the soil.
Using a till to remove old sod is less labor intensive; however, old sod that has never been broken up before requires a more heavy duty and powerful tiller to remove it. Removing the loose sod pieces from the soil after using the tiller prevents the introduction of fungus into the underlying soil.
Solarization is the least strenuous and most natural means of removing old sod. Use a piece of heavy-duty black plastic or newspapers, and cover the entirety of the sod that you want to remove. This prevents sunlight from reaching the grass and kills it so that it is easy to remove.
Herbicide is a quick and easy way to kill sod. There are many herbicidal products for use on all different types of grasses. Follow the manufacturer's directions on the label when using any herbicidal product. Do not use herbicides when rain is in the forecast.