how to cut big roots

We had a big, bad hurricane come through where I live, several months ago. I've got a whole bunch of big, tall pines and oaks that were blown down. Still involved cutting those things up.
Where the trees went over, there's big craters, with lots of broken, big root pieces sticking up. In order to fill the craters and smooth things over, every one of the roots has to be cut off below the surface before we put fill dirt in and smooth over.
This is tricky. To get to the roots for a clear cut, you just about always end up with dirt still close on one side or the other, or the root partially embedded at the only spot clear to make a cut below ground level. To make the cut with a chainsaw, it kills the blade rapidly, because, inevitably, you end up with some area of the chain blade down in the dirt, during some part of the cut.
Anyone know of any other way of cutting almost buried roots with any degree of efficiency?
I'm thinking maybe going to a sawzall might be a better answer, as it's easier to change blades, and I hope they would give me more cuts than the chain dulling cycles do.
I'm not sure there's any good answer to this problem.
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always
partially
degree
I usually shovel the dirt away (including using a hand trowel), blast it all clean with the hose, then use the chainsaw to cut the root just below ground level. The sawsall is a good alternative, but does not have the 'reach' of a chainsaw.
I just took out a pine tree last summer and it was a PITA.
(¯`·._.· £ãrrÿ ·._.·´¯)

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Roots usually cut fairly easy with an axe.

always
partially
degree
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I agree, a good sharp axe will cut it a couple inches below ground level quite easily.

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RB wrote:

Why not just get someone in there with a big stump grinder and make quick, short work of it?
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or get a back hoe or tractor in there and dig it out. ripping all the roots with a tractor or back hoe should make short work of everything.

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Dynamite is another option.

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I've used a sawzall in the past for this type of problem. Get a bunch of 12" blades and go to it. Call it your reciprocating axe. When a blade gets dull, discard it and get a fresh one. Sometimes, you don't even need to dig a hole, just work it through the soil.
--
Jim Sullivan
seattle, washington
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