Digging trenches for pipes or foundations can be a miserable job if you’re working around trees. I recently had to install a large drainage system that passed through the roots of two massive pines, and I finally discovered a tool that really works on the roots — a Sawzall with a 12-in. pruning blade. Throw down the axes, hatchets, picks and handsaws, and slice through the roots with this versatile tool. In damp soil, protect yourself against shocks with a GFCI-equipped extension cord.
David Bainbridge, Berkeley, CA