Before beginning unit excavations in grassy areas the sod needs to be removed. A skim shovel (a flat ended shovel with the end sharpened) is used to cut the sod around the perimeter of the unit. Then strips the width of a shovel are cut across the unit. The strips can then be loosened by inserting either a skim shovel or trowel under the sod and rolling it. The rolls of sod are put aside and are replaced one the excavation is over and the unit has been backfilled.