Cutting a few surface roots of a tree

In running my sprinkler system I came across some tree roots that has basically twisted around under and over my 1" PVC pipe. I am trying to untangle them but it's impossible. The roots are fifteen feet away from the center of the tree and I want to cut the roots away to free the pipe so I can work on it.
The problem is I am not sure what is the best way to cut these roots there are two pieces about 2" in diameter so it's pretty thick. I tried using a recipicating saw but the angle is such that it's real difficult and the blade would strike the pipe when fully extended.
I tried a handsaw and same problem could not extend back and forth without striking the pipe or other parts of the roots. About the only thing I think would work would be a mini-hack saw but that will not go far with that size root.
I do have a 4.5" angle grinder but I only have metal or masonry blades, no wood blades and I don't think they make one. Could a grinder with metal blade work in this case? It seems that it should.
Thanks,
MC
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if the roots are in the drip line of the tree, basically under its branches you risk killing the tree, or weakening its base and iot can blow over in a storm.....
is it worth the risk? trees add great value to homes.
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It's outside of the drip line of the tree, and it's one root out of hundreds I can see, so it should not be a problem, plus it's only 1 foot from the house so I need to cut it.
MC
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I know it's not my tree, and I certainly can't see the situation from here, but I'm pretty confident in saying that cutting a couple of 2 inch surface roots are not going to weaken it's base to the extent that it will blow over in a storm.
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wrote:

It's over 15 feet from the tree, outside of the drip line, it's one foot from the house exterior wall in one direction and one foot from the concrete driveway in another. In any case I will cut the root even without the irrigation line.
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Consider the source...
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Can't you dig back a little farther from the pipe so you don't hit it?
The grinder will probably burn through wood as much as cut it, but I don't see that being a problem.
Or you could get one of these:
http://www.surplusandoutdoors.com/ishop/877/shopscr819.html
or these:
http://www.unbelievable-saw.com /
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wrote:

It's hard to describe, the tree root comes to the pipe and then when above and below it at the same time, hence engulfing it and when I dig back it's also roots. The other two sides of the pipe I cannot dig back because one side is the exterior wall of the house, the other side is the concrete driveway. It's in a real tricky angle and that's why the recipricating saw did not work.
Your "chain" saw may work if I can dig deep to get under the root on the outside, but even if I cut that out, I still need to "free" the pipe from the hugging portion of the root. That's why I need something light and manuveurable to cut that off. I thought of a Rotozip with a cutoff wheel too but that would probably just break.
Thanks,
MC
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Others have expressed concern for the health of the tree but, since you have already done your best to cut the root(s) in question, it's a moot point.
It would have been far easier to cut the sprinkler line, pull it from the root tangle, then repair the pipe. You might still consider doing so. Good luck.
--
:)
JR

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wrote:

Thanks,
I have considered that as well, cut the pipe and pull it. However, given the situation, after I pulled the pipe, I would have to cut the root tangle away to use that same space for the pipe repair. The pipe run is an existing run alongside a concrete driveway, and roots are everywhere so there is no room to re-route.
I might try cutting the pipe and pull it out, that may free up some room for me to cut the root away, then I redo the pipe again, in the end the result is the same, I was trying to avoid messing with the pipe, but if it takes a long time to go around the pipe, it might be easier to fix it later.
There is no danger to the health of the tree, it's far away from the trunk.
MC
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MC-
I have cut roots on dozens of trees over the last 40+ years (sometimes substantially) and never had a tree die that I didn't want to die.
We don't get hurricane winds but we do get 60mph quite often and the area loses a fair number of trees in Oct or Feb.
Tree are pretty resilient organisms, I wouldn't worry unless the volume of root mass "disconnected" is subtantial wrt to the total mass
As to the best way to cut the roots.....if the area is cleaned out (hose jetted & drained) use a chain saw otherwise you risk dulling the chain, which I hate because I'm not very skilled at chain sharpening.
more work but very dirt tolerant, a hatchet or a large axe depending on swing access.
cheers Bob
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With a 12" blade in my reciprocating saw, I can cut just about any tree root. The longer blade allows some "flex" to come in at odd angles, and gives me a bit better visibility on the area I'm working on.
Is there some way you can just cut back further away from the pipe to avoid damaging it?
If not, try to avoid the pipe while cutting, and simply replace it afterwards if you do damage it. Just be sure to turn the water off while you're cutting. :)
Or, abandon that line entirely and run a new line. Sounds like an easier approach to me.
If you really need surgical precision to get that root out, how about a small hatchet, or an old chisel and a hammer, a pocket knife, or a hand file, or a dremel tool with a grinding wheel.
There are a lot of ways to deal with that root, it really depends on how careful you need to be, and much time you want to spend on it... :)
Anthony
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MiamiCuse wrote:

oak roots are a bit tough. I can cut a young palm that diameter in a couple of minutes. Or, chisel out most of the mass of the root and finish up with something more delicate, like a dremel tool. I've spent too much time with sprinklers and fire ants :o)
With a root that size in that confined spot, it might be a good idea to take out the root closer to the tree because pruning roots often causes more growth from the cut.
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I have a 6 foot chiesel-pointed-solid-iron-wrecking-bar that I often use to cut tree roots in a narrow hole. I just "spear" the root and that heavy heavy bar chisel point cuts right through as easily as it can cut off a toe. Or you can grinder sharpen a clam-shell type hold digger and spear the root with that too, but its lighter so you will be chopping a lot. (Its hard to swing a hatchett into a narrrow hole). The tree will probably have a growth spurt in the spring (seriously).
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This probably won't help your situation, but....,
When I was having an asphalt driveway replaced and widened about a year ago, I need to remove roots from a nearby tree that were going under the old driveway. What I did was have a tree stump removal person use the stump removal machine to cut a 15-foot long ditch parallel to the driveway. The cutter just cut off all roots along that line leaving a 2 or 3 inch wide ditch. Then when the driveway people removed the old driveway, all of the roots on the driveway side of the ditch came out with the driveway. The roots on the other side of the ditch remained untouched.

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wrote:

A good pair of loppers should do it.
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"MiamiCuse" wrote

Been there. Small hand ax (sharpen first) is best for this job.
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