How to Cut Tree Roots With A Chainsaw?

How to Cut Tree Roots With A Chainsaw

As much as tree roots are crucial, they can become obstacles as well, especially if the stump is decaying! In that case, you must cut them out. And using a chainsaw is the quickest way to do so. But how to cut tree roots with a chainsaw?

After digging holes and exposing the tree roots, making several diagonal cuts with a chainsaw will do the trick. And to make the process a hit, follow the preparation and safety tips as described.

How To Prepare For Cutting Tree Roots With A Chainsaw?

If you do not want to hire a professional to cut the tree roots, you must follow the DIY preparation notes listed below. It will reduce the chance of mishaps both for you and the tree –

How to Cut Tree Roots With A Chainsaw
  • Try to invest in the best chainsaw for stump removal, including a carbide-tipped chain that is sharp and lubricated.
  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt or t-shirt, and put on steel-toed boots and jeans to prevent the wood chips flying from the chainsaw from hurting you.
  • Keep the safety goggles, face shield, and hearing protection ready. 
  • You will need a wheelbarrow and a shovel to dig the soil and trash out the debris. 

How to Cut Tree Roots With a Chainsaw: Step-by-Step Process

Cutting tree roots with a chainsaw is a bit of a risky project, especially if you are not familiar with the know-how of chainsaw cutting. So, follow these steps carefully –

How to Cut Tree Roots With A Chainsaw

Step 1: Wear Protective Gears

Safety must be the first concern while cutting roots with chainsaws. So, wear safety goggles and hearing protection first. And make sure to put on safety pads around wrists, hands, and ankles. Because most chainsaw accidents occur on the legs and hands. 

Step 2: Expose the Tree Roots

With the assistance of a shovel, remove the dirt, debris, and soil around the tree root ball. It is better to dig several feet deeper to expose the roots. Pounding down the sharp objects and digging out the dirt from the roots is a must.

It allows the chainsaw to cut the stump and roots without any hindrance or rocks. Otherwise, dirt and rocks can damage the tool.

Step 3: Cut the Roots

Once the soil looks damp, start with the sawing process. Cut down the ground and reach the stump. Place the chainsaw bar against the bar and do diagonal cuts at various angles. For cutting large roots, feel free to use an old chain. 

Apply little stress while removing the roots to avoid any damage to the tree. Remove the cut debris piled up around.

Then resume the diagonal cuts. After repeating this step several times at several angles, there will be no excessive roots to cut. Pull off the cut roots and stump with levering tools or hands. Then dispose of them. 

What Are the Safety Tips for Cutting Roots With A Chainsaw?

Whether you are a pro at handling chainsaws, you must follow some safety measures. Because as much as removing roots with a saw is easy, one wrong angle can lead to fatal injury.

How to Cut Tree Roots With A Chainsaw

So, follow these tips to carry out the process:

  • Do not rush sawing with the tool. First, when the engine is not operating, find a proper angle and grip to hold the chainsaw.
  • While cutting the roots, do not change the angle. Shut down the chainsaw engine and then change the angles. It will prevent wrist and hand injuries. 
  • Never cut the stump at a horizontal or vertical angle. Otherwise, the debris or wood chunks can hit the blade, which can lead to kickbacks. 
  • Do not allow the chainsaw to contact the ground to prevent kickbacks. And try to reach the roots by starting to saw the stump from the top.
  • Lubricate the chainsaw blades before cutting.
  • Sharpen the blades before sawing the roots. Dull blades are risky to deal with. 
  • Start cutting the smaller roots first to reduce the efforts put in.

When Should You Cut Tree Roots With a Chainsaw?

The main reason to cut tree roots is to remove a tree stump. But in case you do not know when to consider taking on this DIY project, take a close look below –

How to Cut Tree Roots With A Chainsaw

1. Root Rots

Sometimes, the tree roots do not get access to much moisture and minerals. And it triggers them to rot. And these decayed roots can affect the stump and other nearby plants. 

To prevent the affected stump from growing fungi/bacteria, you must cut it down. Only a shovel is not enough to do. So, it is better to use the chainsaw to cut and loosen the roots to remove the stump. 

2. Infestation

If you are dealing with an infestation at home or yard, it is more likely that an old stump is lying around outside. Some termites live off the rotten stump and make it their habitat. 

So, to get rid of the insects and their germs, lift out the stump. And for that, you need to cut the roots loose first. 

3. Safety Hazards

For carrying out outdoor activities, especially sports, stumps can be dangerous. Because you can easily trip over it while playing. 

And tree stumps are dangerous obstacles for young kids. You can maintain your and their safety, by cutting down the stump.

4. For Yard Appeal and Maintenance 

Prospective home buyers can turn down a great deal if your yard has pesky stumps and roots. So, before selling your home, make sure to remove these unwanted parts. 

Weeds pile up around old stumps. And mowing around them is difficult. Once they are gone, yard maintenance becomes a little less tiring. 

What Are the Tree Roots or Stumps Removal Alternatives?

A chainsaw is not the only tool that aids in tree roots and stump removal. So, in case you do not want to use a traditional chainsaw, here are tree stump removal alternatives:

How to Cut Tree Roots With A Chainsaw

1. Digging

If you have a whole Sunday to spare, dig a hole around the stump with a shovel. Then, cut out the roots with a pruning saw and pull them out. 

Again remove soil around the stump. And try to loosen and lift it with a crowbar. 

2. Chemical Rotting

Drill several holes on top of the stump and make them two to three inches deeper. Then, from local stores, buy stump killer or Epsom salt and pour it over the holes. 

After pouring water on the holes, leave the chemical concentration to decompose the stump. It might take a month or a few weeks to do so. However, the chemical ingredient is not at all pet or environment safe. 

3. Burning

Wear plastic gloves and spray kerosene on top of the stump. Wait for the liquid to penetrate. 

Set the stump on fire. And once it burns down to ashes, it will be easier to remove its remaining roots. 

Note that these alternatives are time-consuming and can be a deadly miss if you take the wrong step. So, I’d suggest you cut the roots with a chainsaw. 

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q’s):

Can A Chainsaw Cut Tree Roots?

Yes, as long as the chainsaw blade is sharp enough, it can chop down the roots. And after that, you can remove the remaining roots easily with a shovel.

What Is the Best Tool To Remove Tree Roots and Stumps?

It depends on your preferences and removal method. For a quick DIY strategy, a chainsaw, shovel, and wheelbarrow are the perfect tools.

Is It Expensive to Cut Tree Root with A Chainsaw?

If you hire a professional or choose a DIY method, it does not cost much. It will only cost you around $100 bucks.


Before some rotten roots or stumps can affect healthy plants, it is better to get rid of the former. But basic gardening tools will take forever to do so. But chainsaws can save the day for you. And if you wonder how to cut tree roots with a chainsaw, follow the steps above. 

I’d highly suggest you carry out the DIY method with an expert or helper. It minimizes the chances of hazards. 

Md Biajid

Meet Mia Biajid, a passionate nature lover. Particularly, he has a deep-rooted connection to the plant. Mia loves to spend time exploring forests and uncovering the secrets held within trees. He always inspires others to appreciate and protect our precious part of the ecosystem.

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