A reciprocating saw is a mechanical saw that pushes and pulls the blade back and forth. The saws use blades rated for cutting through wood and even nails, so they are sturdy enough to cut roots. You can use a reciprocating saw to slice through roots if you are trying to dig out an old tree or shrub. The saw will even be sharp enough to cut through the soil, if your soil is not rocky.
Things You'll Need
Bimetal wood and nail blades
Expose the roots by digging out the soil around them with a shovel. If you are digging out a tree or shrub, dig a trench around the plant that is 12 inches from the base and circles the plant.
Put on safety goggles. Unlock the blade housing. Insert a bimetal wood and nail reciprocating saw blade into the blade housing. Click the lock back into place.
Click the safety off, if your saw comes with one. Hold the saw against the exposed roots and pull the trigger.
Press the saw into the roots as it cuts. Continue cutting until you cut all the way through the root. If the blade goes into the soil in order to completely cut the root, that is fine, as long as there are no rocks in the way.
Repeat the cutting with each root present.