Using A Chainsaw On Roots – Everything You Need To Know

Is using a chainsaw on roots OK?

Yes, chainsaws are powerful enough to cut through roots and the chain is very unlikely to be knocked off by the dirt. However, cutting through dirt will quickly dull the chain and it’s not recommended to use a chainsaw to directly cut roots from a tree. 

Instead, cutting the roots with a manual saw and then picking up the remains with a tool such as a shovel or a pickax is recommended. Although, this will take more time.

For a more detailed answer, keep reading…

Is a chainsaw strong enough to cut through roots?

A chainsaw is more than capable of cutting through roots. The roots of a tree won’t be as big as the trunk of a tree. As long as your chainsaw bar is bigger than the roots, it won’t have an issue cutting through.

Typically, the roots of a tree are very soft. Unless you’re trying to cut through a large tree that’s been there for decades. If that’s the case, your chainsaw will be putting in more work. However, the typical chainsaw will still be capable of cutting through the thicker, older roots.

Can I use an electric chainsaw to cut through roots?

Yes, an electric chainsaw will be capable of cutting through tree roots. The roots are a soft part of the tree and you don’t need a lot of power to saw through the roots.

Should I rent or buy a chainsaw?
Using a chainsaw for trenching
Using a chainsaw at night

How do I cut through the roots with a chainsaw properly?

When using a chainsaw to cut through roots, you have to be prepared for your chain to get blunted quickly. Make sure you have a portable chainsaw sharpener with you, even a spare chain will work.

Be prepared for your chain to be blunted quickly. By the end of the task, you may have to throw that chain away or even have to go through another chain. So doing this task will cost you extra.

However, if you’re doing this as a job, it can be profitable. Just be prepared to throw away at least one chain. 

Warning: Your bar may even bend depending on how you’re cutting.

If you’re shoving the bar into the ground and running the chainsaw, it could bend the bar if you’re moving it around whilst in the dirt.

I would recommend you dig up as much of the tree as possible, get as much dirt off the roots as you can. If you’ve got a pressure washer, this can make the task much easier. It’s an easy way to clear much of the dirt away.

You should cut through roots with your chainsaw if you value time over money. If you don’t mind risking your chainsaw, then fine, go for it.


Yes, using a chainsaw to cut roots is OK. As long as you’re OK with the chain being blunted beyond repair. It’s more time over money. If you’re OK with spending the extra time to save your chainsaw, you should use a shovel or pickaxe to dig up the roots.

Hope you found what you were looking for in this guide.

Happy sawing!

– Adam