Best Shovel For Digging Up Roots

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Using the right tool for the right job will save you a lot of headache. The same goes for when you need to dig in an area with a lot of roots. Using a regular shovel will just make your life a lot more difficult. That’s why you need to get the best shovel for digging up roots.

If you have ever tried to dig out an invasive plant like bamboo before, then you know that a shovel for digging up roots will make the job way easier than trying to dig them up with a regular shovel. 

After reviewing countless shovels that are made for digging up roots, I have found that the Radius Garden Root Slayer is the best overall.

With a unique “O” shaped handle and serrated edges, it cuts through roots with ease. 

There really aren’t many options for shovels that are specifically designed for going through roots, and Radius Garden has two really good options. 

Radius Garden Root Slayer Shovel

Radius Garden 22011 Root Slayer Shovel, Red

The Radius Garden Root Slayer Shovel is the best shovel for digging up roots that we have found so far.

It has a great design and build, with a carbon tipped steel tip and red handle. The most unique thing about the root slayer is the “O” shaped handle. It is one of those features that you either love or hate, and we loved it. It feels much more ergonomic and intuitive to use, and after you get used to it, there is no going back to a traditional straight handle design. 

The serrated edges are really nice, and will help saw through any difficult roots. The shovel also has a flair on the top of the tip, which gives you enough space to put your foot on and really drive it into the ground. 

Now, there are some complaints of the metal tip bending, but this is mostly due to not using the tool correctly. Remember how I said you have to use the root tool for the job? 

You don’t want to use this shovel to pry anything out of the ground, that can cause it to bend. Instead, carefully drive it into the ground. If you have a large root or stump that needs to be removed, drive the shovel into the ground around the perimeter of the stump and slowly work it out of the ground. 

What we like

  • Design and build. Very sturdy
  • “O” Shaped handle
  • Serrated Edges
  • V-shaped cutting tip, helps to rip roots out of the ground
  • Good foot placement

What we don’t like

  • Plastic Handle, over time this can snap or bend
  • Price – It is one of the more expensive products on this list 
  • Weight, it is a little bit too heavy

Lil’ Digger Double Serrated Shovel

Lil' Digger 29" Heavy Duty Double Serrated Shovel

The Lil’ Digger is a great shovel for getting through roots and rocky soil. 

It is very similar in design to the Root Slayer. 

The main differences between this and the root slayer is the size and handle. If you prefer a more traditional shovel handle then this is definitely something to consider. It is a lot shorter than the Root Slayer, so if you are a taller person then this can definitely put some extra strain on your back. 

It also doesn’t have the same size flare on the shovel head so there isn’t as much space for your foot when you need to really drive it into the ground. 

Overall, it is still a great shovel for digging up roots,I love the narrow head design because it just slices through hard ground a lot easier than a regular shovel. 

What we like

  • Design and build, very sturdy and sleek. 
  • Serrated Edges

What we don’t like

  • Size, it is too small for me

Radius Garden Root Slayer Round Head

Radius Garden 22211 Root Slayer Round Head Shovel, Root Slayer Round Head Shovel, Red

This is another good option for a shovel that can dig up roots, and it is also made by the same company, Radius Garden. The design is noticeably different from the regular root slayer, with a “V” cut in the middle of the spade. The “V” cutout is sharpened and is supposed to help slice through roots.

It does work pretty well for slicing through roots, and the serrated edges on the sides also help a good bit with that. However, you shouldn’t try to use it as a regular shovel, it should specifically be used for getting through roots and when doing regular shovel work it doesn’t perform that well. 

The reason why this isn’t our top pick is because the shovel head is wider so if you have topsoil that has a good amount of clay like mine, then it is still a pain, and I prefer the more narrow design of the regular Root Slayer. 

What we like

  • Design and build. Very sturdy
  • “O” Shaped handle
  • Serrated Edges

What we don’t like

  • Plastic Handle, over time this can snap or bend just like the regular Root Slayer
  • Wide Shovel head, not great for tougher soil. 

Spear Head Spade Gardening Shovel

Spear Head Spade Gardening Shovel with Steel Reinforced Fiberglass Handle, Cushioned D-Grip and Sharp Hardened Steel Blade, Award Winning Spade, Model SHFD3 Red

The Spear Head Spade Gardening Shovel is another great choice for digging up roots. It has that similar design to the root slayer of a narrow, spear-like shovel head. 

There are a couple of key differences though. It does not have the serrated sides, which is a bit of a downside since you can’t saw through tougher roots, you have to really just slam the shovel into any roots you need to dig up and try to slice through it. 

It is still pretty effective for thinner roots as well as rocky or hard soil. 

What we like

  • Narrow shovel head
  • Design
  • Build

What we don’t like

  • Plastic Handle, over time this can snap or bend 
  • Lacking serrated edges
  • Regular Handle Design

How to pick a shovel for digging up roots

Here are a couple of things that you should consider when picking the shovel that you need to dig up roots. 

Size

If this is something you are going to be using often, then it is important to pick a shovel that is the right size. If you are a taller person then a shovel like the Lil’ Digger will definitely be too small. As someone who is fairly tall, using shovels that are too small can definitely make your back hurt after only a couple of minutes of use.

Handle

It is important to pick the correct handle of the shovel that you are going to be using often. 

The only good way to pick the right one is to try them in person, as this varies greatly from person to person. Personally, I prefer an O shaped handle like the one on the root slayer. 

Alternatives to a Root Digging Shovel

If you don’t want to spend the money on a root digging shovel or you just don’t dig up enough roots to justify the expense, there are some good alternatives.

One of the best alternatives is a root knife, like the Kings County Japanese Root Cutter

Kings County Tools Japanese Root Cutter and Weeder | 30-Degree Cutting Angle | 2-3/4" Stainless Steel Serrated Blade | Wooden Handle | 9” Length | Easy to Use Garden Tool

It has a unique curved blade that allows you to easily cut through almost any root. The blade is only 3.5 inches long, though, so it really only works if the roots you are cutting through are close to the surface. But the serrated edge is very sharp and the curved design helps a lot when cutting through thick roots.

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