Once the Pitchfork is equipped, a square outline will appear on the ground showing the patch that the cursor is hovering over, along with a prompt. Right-clicking will dig up the outlined terrain, leaving a barren patch in its place. Turf items can only be placed on this sort of barren terrain.
The Pitchfork has 200 uses, which means that each time it digs up a turf, it will lose 0.5% durability. It can also be used as a weapon which deals 17 damage but suffers higher durability loss per hit (4%).
A Turf's instant availability and decent fuel value, coupled with the Pitchfork's high durability and speed, makes Turfs one of the easiest options for fueling Campfires and Fire Pits. Turfs are not renewable, however.
It previously cost 30 Science Points to craft and had a value of 1-10 Science Points depending on its durability.
There is data in the game files for a "Golden Pitchfork". There is also a string that refers to it in-game as a "Snazzy Pitchfork". It was never implemented, but it may have been similar to the other golden tools.
The player is able to dig the special glowing turf found in the Ruins. However, it will not drop the turf as an item, preventing the player from collecting it.
Pitchfork as seen in the poster for the Progress! update.