10 Best Root Removal Tools And Cutting Machines

Tree root cutting and removal is a major practice in our society; farming and construction inclusive, and in any activity to be carried out on land. Clearing off forests also means cutting off the trees and removing their roots just to achieve this purpose.

As we all know, bush clearing or deforestation can be done using different tree removal methods; burning trees, or the use of heavy machines to cut such tree species.

These are methods applied for trees cutting not roots removal. Tree roots grow deeper into and wider within the soil. As a tree grows, the roots become bigger.

READ: Types of Root Killers

After cutting a tree, there is the need to remove the roots, so as not to cause any regrowth of leaves on the surface.

If a tree root is not removed, it may cause problems that hinder the use of land for agriculture or construction.

Machine And Tools For Cutting Tree Roots

When we cut trees down, the only way to guarantee complete removal is by disposing of the roots. The root is the source or the foundation – the living trust – of a tree. Removal of tree roots is the best way to complete the removal of any tree.

To complete the process requires special skills. These will be discussed below.

The removal of roots can be achieved using many tools. While some machines are popular, others remain largely untapped.

  • Burning The Roots

Is burning the best way to remove roots? Not really. Burning roots involves digging land first, before the burning process itself.

Here are easy ways to burn a tree’s root:

  • Use of Tires: 

The first thing to do is to locate the tree’s root. Purchase damaged tires and a little fuel. Do not disturb the fire, let it burn all the roots into ashes. Fortuitously, there will be no presence of roots again.

An advantage of employing this method is the long-burning process of tires. Tires burn for a long time, thereby increasing the chance of destroying all of the roots present within the soil.

This intense fire will also cause great destruction to other parts of roots that are not burned but damaged.

  • The Use of Fuel: 

Fuel like petrol, diesel, or kerosene can be used in this situation.

Locate the root in the ground, then pour fuel on every part of the root. After this is done, set the root on fire. The disadvantage here is that the fuel method may not burn as completely as that of a tire.

This burning method has an advantage, as it provides wood ash to the soil. Wood ashes are good for the land, and one can get the right quantity using this method.

This method reduces the cost of production, especially for farmers.

There are numerous disadvantages here which include the fact that the burning process may not be easy to control. The heavy fire from this method is lethal to plants and animals and also destroys soil microorganisms.

However, before any root removal is successful; there will always be a need for burning except when a machine is been used.

  • The Use of A Hand Tool

There are two types of hand tools.

  • Light hand tool: 

These tools include machetes, mattocks, and diggers; and using any of them takes a very long period before root is completely removed from the soil.

  • Heavy hand tool:  

This includes a chainsaw, crosscut saws, stump grinders.

These are powerful machines (mostly heavy) that can be used by hand. They are used by experts in falling trees and can also be used to cut off the roof from the ground.

Operating these pieces of equipment seems simple but surely requires expertise.

A disadvantage of using hand tools is that they require a lot of energy. Also, you’ll need lots of people to make the work easier and faster

  • The Use of Chemicals

These new times have opened our eyes to different practices that help people achieve their tasks.

For instance, scientists have been able to formulate appropriate portions of chemicals that can burn off roots or kill them within hours. This is now one of the easiest and fastest methods of root destruction ever known to man.

To achieve this, the following processes must be followed:

Use your machete to peel off the bank of the tree. Apply the chemical of your choice on the tree following the instructions made available to you. When applying this method to roots, you will have to trace the root to a reasonable end.

Peel off the back (although there is work to be done there), then apply the chemical round the root and wait for some days to allow the root to dry up and decay. This process is time-consuming as you will have to wait for several days.

Rather than wait, you can also set the roots on fire after two days (if you don’t have time).

Another option is to allow the root decay within days. After the root’s death, pluck off the ones that are showing on the surface using an ax or hand-heavy machine.

  • The Use of Heavy Machine

The use of heavy machines is the fastest way to remove tree roots.

This method is time-effective but costs more than the options discussed above. The driver drives in the heavy machine [commonly bulldozer] into the tree’s root and removes the root within minutes. This process is very easy and smooth.

The use of heavy machines may be time-effective, but there are some considerations attached.

For instance, heavy machinery can cause permanent damage to farms leading to soil compaction and poorer yields from farmlands. This is one issue you want to weigh in before settling for this particular root removal strategy.

Tools You Will Need To Cut Tree Roots

You’ll need a few tools to successfully cut tree roots. They are listed out below.


This is one of the most popular garden tools you will find. Its function is to dig up soil to free up the roots you want to cut.

Shovels come in different shapes and sizes. So the size of the shovel you will need will be dependent on the size of the roots you want to dig up. Also, the soil type and conditions will play a role in determining the shovel type you will need.

Garden Shears

When the roots have been exposed using the shovel, you will need a pair of sharp garden shears to do the rest.

Shears are similar to a pair of scissors, only that they are much larger. You can use them to cut up smaller roots. They are not suitable for cutting large roots (roots that are wider than an inch in diameter).

Once again, DO NOT cut roots that are too close to the tree!

A baby tree can survive being sheared, but only if the cutting point isn’t too close to the tree.


A backhoe has many features that aid in ripping off roots. They can also be used to pull out the stump too if that’s what you want. You can use the digging bucket to pull out large tree stumps and roots.

With the front loader bucket of the backhoe, you can as well remove smaller sized stumps and roots.

Root Grinder

If your mission is to pull out the tree as a whole, then you can use a stump grinder for the work.

A grinder works very fast and effectively. It grinds the roots into tiny pieces, which can be used as mulch on other parts of your garden. Mulch can prevent weeds from growing around the area where the root and stump have been removed.

A grinder is ideal of the roots you’re removing are large.


Saws can be used to cut off large sized roots. You can use a manual saw or a chainsaw for this. Although I prefer the chainsaw, as it is faster and would require less human energy.

Be careful when handling a chainsaw, since you’re cutting low to the ground. The blades are super sharp and can cause severe injuries.


An ax can do the work of a chainsaw. Once you’ve dug up the spaces and exposed the roots, you can chop away with the ax.

This will take longer than a chainsaw but might come in handy when cutting roots that are in tight positions.

These are the best tree root removal equipment and cutting tools.

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