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Large stump burning with potassium nitrate?

Large stump burning with potassium nitrate?


Old 05-14-16, 09:27 AM
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Large stump burning with potassium nitrate?

I have 2 large stumps that I'd like to burn as opposed to paying someone to grind them. The stumps are maple and about 3 feet in diameter.

They are surrounded by gravel for about 30 feet in each direction so there is no fire hazard to the surrounding area.

I have used potassium nitrate in the past and drilled diagonal holes yada yada yada on other very large stumps and still waited the 4 years for them to rot.

It is my understanding that you can use potassium nitrate at the same time you are burning to get rid of the stump.

This concerns me, since potassium nitrate is found in gunpowder and I have not seen a clear method that is safe.

Could someone please expand?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-14-16, 02:35 PM
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Burning Stumps

I would use charcoal. May take several days.
Old 05-14-16, 03:20 PM
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What I've seen done is many 1" holes are drilled on an angle at least 10" deep.
Potassium nitrate is poured in each hole.
The holes get filled to the top with hot water. The idea is to dissolve the nitrate and get it spread inside the stump.
After the nitrate has dissolved..... may be several days and several applications of hot water..... build a teepee of scrap wood over the stump. Light the scrap wood. As it burns down the stump will catch fire.

BE ADVISED..... there will be smoke and blowing glowing embers.
Old 05-14-16, 03:48 PM
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Were these living trees that were recently cut down . . . . or trees that have been dead, and thus drying, for a long time ?

Around here, we have Maples that were harvested last winter; but no one told the roots, so they continue sending up sap just like normal.

That wetness could play a role in how long it takes to remove the remnants.
Old 05-14-16, 07:57 PM
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Better check with your local fire department and air pollution agency first. Some areas absolutely prohibit the burning of stumps. Others may only allow it under certain weather conditions or may require a permit they will issue after an inspection of the burn area.
Old 05-15-16, 05:02 AM
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What is your aversion to having the stumps ground? That would certainly be the most reliable and quickest method. They would be gone in a matter of hours.

Potassium nitrate is a component in gunpowder as the oxidizer. It's not an explosive. It just helps things burn better or faster. By thoroughly infusing it into a stump it will burn better. The nearly impossible trick is to get enough into the wood and deep enough. I've tried it by dissolving the potassium nitrate in water first by adding it to boiling water and keep adding until you can't get any more into solution. Then pour the water into the holes drilled in the stump. It helps with the problem of getting the potassium nitrate to dissolve but there isn't much you can do to help it soak into the wood other than drill a lot more holes but at some point you're drilling so much that it starts to look like stump grinding.
Old 05-15-16, 05:19 AM
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I would use charcoal.
Invite us to the BBQ
I agree with Dane. Grinding is a better idea.I would rent a stump grinder & hire 2 guys. The stumps will be gone in a day.
Old 05-15-16, 05:27 AM
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Locally you can have the stumps ground for just a tad more than the rental fee plus transportation. IMO not enough savings to justify diy.
Old 05-16-16, 03:56 PM
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Thanks everyone.

I dunno what defines local, but things are expensive here. They want $250 to grind each stump. I actually have 3 stumps. That is $750 I'd rather put my money into other things ya know.

One of the trees was dying, the others were cut about 3 months ago.
Old 05-17-16, 05:13 AM
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I would shop around and get prices from others. Stump grinding is surprisingly inexpensive especially when you have more than one stump since much of their cost is simply travel time to/from your site. If they can do a few trees while there is really helps spread out that cost. Many of the tree removal companies in my town will include stump removal as part of the tree removal cost and it adds $100-$250 to the cost of the job depending on how many trees and their size.
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