Things You'll Need
Closed toed shoes
A garden tiller is a lawn and garden tool that loosens soil and chops up weeds, roots or any plants present on the soil surface. Garden tillers come in manual and motorized varieties, with various levels of horsepower. For cutting roots, you will need a motorized tiller with a 3 to 8 horsepower motor. The larger the roots you need to cut, the higher the horsepower you will need.
Set the tiller to its most shallow setting. Put on protective goggles and gloves, as well as closed-toed shoes and long pants.
Dig up any sod covering the area where the roots are located. Pull up any thick weeds that may clog the tines of the garden tiller.
Pull the rip cord to start the tiller, if it is gas powered. If it is electrically powered, plug it into an extension cord and turn it on according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Begin walking slowly across the area where the roots are, allowing the tiller to pull you along. Using the tiller on a shallow setting for a first pass will break up any soil covering the roots, making them easier to cut once you get to their depth.
Set the tiller to a lower setting once you break up the soil above the roots. Walk the tiller over the area where the roots are, moving slowly and allowing the tiller to pull you along as it cuts up the roots. For larger roots, you may want to make another pass at the same setting to chop them up further.
Always call your local utility company before tilling to make sure you are not going to damage any utility lines.