5 Shovels For Digging Up Roots And Why They Rock

  • Time to read: 6 min.

Why Is Digging Up Roots So Important?

Unwanted plant roots can be a real pain if you’re a gardener. They can invade your flower beds, crowd out your other plants, and mess things up.

Did you know that roots can damage your foundation, sidewalks, and driveways? Therefore, root removal is vital for the health of your trees and the safety of your home.

Before you can remove unwanted roots, you need to find them, and that’s where a good shovel comes in. The right shovel will make it easier to locate the roots so you can get rid of them once and for all.

How To Choose The Best Shovel For Roots?

When choosing a shovel for roots, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

First, consider the size of the job. A small hand shovel will do the trick if you only deal with a few small roots. However, if you’re dealing with large roots or many of them, you’ll need a bigger shovel.

Second, think about the type of soil you are digging into. If you’re dealing with hard clay soil, you’ll need a different shovel than working with loose sand.

Third, consider the space you have to move in. Are you in tight quarters, or can you swing your arms around freely? How much space you have is important to know when you are considering the shovel to use. A longer handle will provide more leverage when digging, which is excellent, but getting that leverage in a tight space is impossible. Hence, a shorter handled shovel is better in a tight space as you can maneuver.

The Shovel Features You Should Look For

No matter what size or type of shovel you choose, there are a few features that all the best shovels for root removal have in common.

Look for a sharp blade, as this will make it easier to dig through tough roots. Next on the list is a shovel with a serrated edge. A serrated edge will help you cut through roots more easily. Lastly, look for a sturdy handle with a comfortable grip. A sturdy handle will give you more leverage and make it easier to dig through tough soil, and a comfortable grip will make it easier to use your shovel for extended periods.

How To Use A Shovel To Dig Up Roots: Step By Step Guide

Now that you know what to look for in a shovel let’s look at how to use it to dig up roots.

Step 1: Locate the Roots

The first step is to locate the unwanted roots, which can be tricky, especially if the roots are deep underground. However, a good shovel will make it a little easier. Start by digging a hole around the base of the plant or tree. If you see any large roots sticking out of the ground, try to dig them up as best you can.

Step 2: Digging Up the Roots

Once you’ve exposed as many roots as possible, it’s time to start digging. Begin by using the shovel to cut through the roots. Be careful not to hit the trunk with the shovel, or you may damage the plant or tree. Once you’ve cut around the tree or bush, use your hands to pull as many roots as possible. As you remove the roots, the tree, plant, or bush may begin to tilt, letting you know that the roots are loose from the ground. Keep digging until all of the roots are removed.

Step 3: Cleaning Up the Site

Once the roots are cut, it’s time to clean up the site. First, use the shovel to scoop up any remaining dirt and debris, and then dispose of it in a trash can. Finally, use a hose to clean off the area around the plant or tree.

What Is The Best Way To Break Apart Roots?

If you’re having trouble removing roots, you may want to try breaking them apart with a mattock or a pickaxe. Our guide on pick axes Choose The Right Pickaxe For Your Needs will give you great information on pick axes.

Choose the Right Pickaxe for Your N...

If using a pickaxe it’s essential not to damage the plant or tree trunk as this will allow disease and critters to kill the plant or tree.

Considerations To Make When Buying A Shovel For Digging Up Tree Roots

There are a few important considerations to make when buying a shovel for digging up roots.

The first is the size of the shovel. It is essential to choose a big enough shovel to dig up the roots easily. What roots are you removing? Using a small shovel for a plant or small bush will require a smaller shovel than eliminating the roots of a tree.

The second consideration is the type of soil you have. Choosing a shovel with a sharp blade and a serrated edge is important to make it easy to penetrate hard soils or clay. Sandy or loose soils will benefit from having a shovel with a serrated edge; however, a good spade may also be sufficient.

The third consideration is the grip. Choose a shovel that fits your hands and has a comfortable grip to make it easy to use for extended periods. Our hands are needed to function, so any comfort available to assist is always a good thing.

The fourth consideration is the price. It is important to choose an affordable shovel without sacrificing quality. The most expensive shovel is not necessarily the best one. The best root shovel is the one that meets all of the criteria of your soil type, what roots you are removing, and your budget.

Lastly, it is vital to consider the weight and design of the shovel. It is important to choose a lightweight shovel that is easy to use. When the shovel is too heavy, you will not use it; however, it will make a great wall hanging in your garage.

Removing roots can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be with the right tools. A good shovel is essential for digging up roots, and with the right features, it can make the job a lot easier.

If you’re having trouble removing roots, try using one of the shovels listed below. They’re all durable and long-lasting, and they’ll make short work of those pesky roots!

The 5 Best Shovels For Digging Roots


Radius Garden 22311 Root Slayer Nomad, Root Slayer Nomad, Red Works great cutting through sod and digs a nice hole for metal detecting.  It will not cut super thick roots, but it will cut through thinner roots, the type of roots that prevent you from making any progress. It is light weight and the height from the shovel tip to handle is 40 inches so you are not bending over each time you dig and have great leverage.

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Radius Garden 16211 Root Slayer Soil Knife, Red This carbon steel knife is ideal for gardeners and metal detecting. It easily penetrates clay soils a rocky areas. Got dandelions, honeysuckle, or burdock invading your property? Well this knife will quickly cut them down.

Lil’ Digger 29″ Heavy Duty Double Serrated Shovel This shovel makes makes cutting through roots up to 2″ in diameter simple. It makes quick work when digging through wet clay. The blade is narrow so getting into those tight spots become easy.

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Big’R Digger 39″ Heavy Duty Double Serrated Shovel is Lil’Digger 29 inch cousin.The larger shovel allos for greter leverage in getting rid of weed roots. The handle is made from fiberglass which means the shovel will be lighter to carry. Great for getting the roots of weeds or grasses cleared from your garden.

Spear Head Spade Gardening Shovel with Two Cushioned Grips, Fiberglass Handle with Carbon Manganese Steel Blade, Award Winning Spade, 58″ Long Handle, Yellowor Digging, Heavy Duty Garden Spade Shovel 41-Inch

The spear head shovel head is wide at the top and narrows down from there allowing you to get into any tight space. It’s great for digging hard soil, clay or rocky covers over dirt and sand.

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