Can a Post Hole Digger Cut Through Roots? (Let’s Dig In)

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Are you planning to dig post holes in your yard? Do you have a lot of large, gnarly roots from trees or bushes in the way?

If so, then this blog post is for you! We’ll answer the question: will a post-hole digger go through roots?

Keep reading to find out.

Large lush green backyard with numerous trees and shubbery

Basics: What Is a Post Hole Digger?

A post-hole digger is a common tool used to dig holes in the ground. It is composed of two parts: a handle and a blade.

The handle is usually made of wood, metal, or plastic, while the blade is generally made of steel or iron.

Post-hole diggers are most commonly used for digging holes for fence posts, but they can also be used to create holes for other purposes such as planting trees and shrubs.

However, when it comes to cutting through roots, they are not always the best option.

What Types of Roots Can Post Hole Diggers Cut Through?

Post-hole diggers are most effective in making small holes through soft earth and are not made to cut through hard roots.

Depending on the size and type of root, there are several different ways to approach the issue of digging through them.

Soft roots, such as those from grass or weeds, can usually be cut through with a digger without much issue.

Harder roots, such as those from trees or shrubs, can be more difficult to get through but can still be done with the right tool and technique.

Taproots, which are long and grow straight down into the ground, can also be cut through with a post-hole digger but may require more effort than other types of roots.

Finally, root balls which are thick clusters of roots may require additional tools such as an axe or mattock to break up before a tool like a digger can be used.

Soft Roots

Soft roots are usually easy to cut through with a post-hole digger. Smaller roots can be cut through with the auger, while larger roots may require the use of a digging bar or mattock.

It is important to ensure that the auger is in good condition and sharp before attempting to cut through any roots.

Make sure to wear protective gear and take extra caution when digging near roots. If the root is too large, it may be best to move the post location or remove the root by hand.

Hard Roots

Hard roots can typically be difficult to cut through, even with a post-hole digger.

Post-hole diggers can cut through some hard roots, but it is difficult and time-consuming.

Augers can sometimes be used to dig through tree roots, but they need to be used carefully with the right size bit.

If you hit a large root, it could break the end of the drill and someone could get hurt.

If you need to install a fence post and there are roots in the way, you may have to either change the post’s location or remove the roots by hand.


Taproots can be especially difficult to cut through with a post-hole digger.

Taproots are the main root of a tree, and they typically grow deep into the ground and can be wider than other roots.

While an auger might be able to cut through some of these roots, it is not recommended as it could cause serious damage to the auger and the post-hole digger.

The best way to cut through taproots is to use a mattock or digging bar. These tools are designed for heavy-duty digging and can easily make short work of taproots.

It is important to be careful when using a mattock or digging bar, as the force used can cause injuries if not properly handled.

Root Balls

Root balls are a combination of roots, dirt, and whatever else the tree has taken in.

These can be very difficult for a post-hole digger to cut through, as the spinning motion of the tool is not enough to break the materials apart.

If you are trying to dig a post hole through root balls, it is best to use an alternate tool such as a mattock or digging bar.

This will allow you to break up the root ball and make it easier to dig through.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Post Hole Digger?

Post-hole diggers are ideal for digging holes for fence posts, trees, and other landscaping projects.

Not only are they easy to use and affordable, but they also provide many benefits.

For starters, they can provide a fast and efficient way to dig holes in the ground without having to manually cut through roots.

They can also help reduce the risk of injury since you don’t have to use manual tools to cut through roots.

In addition, post-hole diggers are also easy to transport since they are lightweight yet effective.

Lastly, they can easily last for years with proper maintenance.

How to Use a Post Hole Digger to Cut Through Roots

Using a post-hole digger to cut through roots is not an easy job. It requires the right tool for the job and patience.

The first step is to prepare the area for digging. Make sure there are no roots larger than the post hole digger that could jam the drill.

Select an auger that is the correct size for the job and make sure it is securely attached to the post hole digger’s drill bit.

Next, use a hammer or mattock to loosen up the soil around the root before inserting the auger into the soil.

This will help reduce the strain on your arms and wrists when you are drilling through the root.

Finally, slowly apply pressure to the auger while turning it, making sure to stop if you feel any resistance or if you encounter a large root.

Preparing the Area for Post Hole Digging

Before attempting to dig a post hole with a post-hole digger, it is important to prepare the area.

Make sure to identify any roots that may be in the way and determine how far away they are from the intended post hole.

If the roots are too close, you may want to consider changing the location of the post hole or removing the roots with an alternative tool.

If you decide to remove the roots with a post-hole digger, make sure to clear any debris or other obstacles that may be in the way.

This will help ensure that you are able to safely and effectively dig your post hole without damaging the roots or your post hole digger.

Choosing the Right Digging Tool for the Job

When it comes to choosing the right digging tool for the job, it is important to consider the type of root you are dealing with.

Soft roots can be easily dug out with a post-hole digger, while hard roots and taproots may require something stronger.

For root balls, a shovel or mattock is often the best option. It is also important to ensure that you are using the right size post-hole digger for the job.

A larger post-hole digger will be able to cut through bigger roots, while a smaller one may struggle.

In addition, make sure that your post-hole digger is in good working condition before use.

Regularly inspect and maintain your post-hole digger to ensure it is up to the task of cutting through roots.

Tips for Safely Operating a Post Hole Digger

When using a post-hole digger to cut through roots, it is important to follow safety guidelines.

Always wear safety gear, such as gloves and goggles, to protect yourself.

Additionally, be aware of your surroundings and make sure you have plenty of space to work without any obstacles or obstacles that could be hazards.

Keep your arms and legs away from the auger and never reach into the hole while it is running.

Finally, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use only recommended parts and accessories with your post-hole digger.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you are safely operating your post-hole digger and cutting through roots with ease.

Maintaining Your Post Hole Digger for Longer Use

Maintaining your post-hole digger is essential for its longevity and continued effectiveness. Regularly inspect the blades for damage.

If necessary, sharpen them to ensure that they’ll cut through roots efficiently. Clean the blades after each use to prevent rust and corrosion from building up.

Ensure that all moving parts are properly lubricated, and check for any loose or damaged parts.

When storing the post-hole digger, keep it in a dry place to prevent rust and corrosion.

If possible, hang it up on a wall or store it in a toolbox or cabinet.

Common Problems When Digging with a Post Hole Digger

Digging holes with a post-hole digger can be a time-consuming and difficult task, especially when you encounter roots from a tree.

While augers can dig through tree roots, they are not without risks. If you hit a big root that jams the auger, someone is going to get hurt.

Even if you manage to avoid that, you will still face several other common problems when using a post-hole digger to cut through roots.

For instance, the post-hole digger may be unable to penetrate the root, leaving you with the laborious task of chopping it out by hand.

Additionally, if the roots are too large, it can be difficult to remove them from the auger bit without damaging it.

To avoid these problems, it is important to get the right digging tool for the job and to use it safely and correctly.

How Can I Use a Post Hole Digger to Cut Through Roots if I Rent One?

Looking to tackle stubborn roots with ease? Rent post hole digger now and effortlessly cut through tough roots. The powerful machine makes quick work of digging holes and can help you easily slice through roots to get your job done faster.

Alternatives to Post Hole Diggers for Cutting Roots

If a post-hole digger is not the right tool for the job, what are the alternatives? There are several tools that can help you cut through roots and other tough objects when digging a post hole.

A chainsaw is one such tool as it can make quick work of even the toughest roots.

You can also use a spade or mattock to chop away at the roots, although this requires a lot of effort.

If you are dealing with taproots or root balls, an asphalt cutter or ratchet cutter might be helpful.

These tools are specially designed to cut through hard material. As with all tools, it’s important to read the instructions and practice proper safety precautions when using any of these tools.