Cutting down a tree is dangerous or even deadly if you don’t know what you’re doing. We’ve all seen videos of amateur saw users dropping trees on houses.
Even if you get the tree down safely, you will still have a living tree stump that’s even more difficult to remove. Can you blow up a tree stump?
How Do You Blow Up A Tree Stump
The best way to blow up a tree stump is with standard dynamite. Not only is fresh, properly manufactured dynamite more stable and less likely to go off accidentally, but homemade explosives are dangerously unstable, and can even get you arrested in some cases. Since dynamite is licensed for use and created by professionals, the explosion is more reliable.
Blowing up a tree stump is a delicate process if you want to keep all your fingers intact. Fortunately, most people can learn to do this safely.
Below is a step-by-step guide to blowing up your tree stump.
- Identify the type of tree the stump came from. Different species have varying hardness’s, and a few are protected. It could change the permit laws for removal in some cases, especially if you haven’t cut the trees down yet.
- Always check to see what your state and city requirements are concerning removing tree stumps. Fortunately, most places allow private property owners to remove their trees. However, there are special requirements in some cases, such as oak trees in California, which have a special protected status. Check here to see if your state requires a permit for the tree(s) you want to remove.
- Have the utility company come out and mark any buried lines on your property. You do not want to blow up a sewer or your electrical connection. Plus, doing so will cost you a lot of money to repair.
- Obtain your permit for explosives. Dynamite is legal, but it is regulated. Generally, any non-felon adult can have dynamite as long as they have a permit. Still, it is illegal to allow anyone other than the permit holder to transport or use the dynamite, so you can’t have a friend or family member assist you. Find out more about the permit process here.
- Calculate how much dynamite you need. Explosions are dangerous enough without going overboard. As the US Department of Agriculture points out, you need different amounts to handle hardwood versus softwood trees.
- Buy dynamite. Homemade explosives are dangerous and unregulated. Stick to the legal stuff that professionals make.
- Dig around the base of your tree stump. You want to be thorough, so you don’t need to repeat the process. Setting your dynamite in at the bottom of the tree will help with this process.
- Make sure you know how long the lead time is before you light the dynamite. You need enough time to get to a safe distance and put something between you and the blast, like a larger tree.
- Double-check your safe distance. Not only should you check to see how far the explosion will throw shrapnel, but you want to physically run the distance to your secure location at least two or three times to ensure you can get clear of the blast. Most explosions are more extensive than you anticipate and getting staked by chunks of your tree is not a smart move.
- Clear the area. Once you are sure you have everything set up, and you can get away safely, make sure any family, pets, and neighbors are aware to stay clear of the area as well.
- Blow your tree stump.
- Cleanup should be relatively easy if you’ve done the job right. Moreover, you can use the pieces for firewood later.
- Dig up any remaining roots and haul them off.
- Finally, backfill the hole you blew in the ground to avoid leaving a trip and fall hazard in your yard.
How To Blow Up A Tree Stump With Black Powder
Blowing up a tree stump with black powder is extremely dangerous and may be illegal in your area. The following information is for informational purposes only.
Black powder is tricky. It is a low explosive, so it burns quickly, but to get it to explode, you have to contain it.
The trouble with packing in black powder is that it’s highly sensitive, and friction from packing it together can cause explosions. Static discharges, even tiny ones, can offer the spark needed.
According to The Italian Association of Chemical Engineering, “The United States Bureau of Mines reports that confined powder can be ignited by electrostatic discharge energy of 0.8 J, whereas 12.5 J are required for unconfined powder.”
Moreover, it will take more powder than you’d expect to blow up a tree stump. At least a pound or two, but you may need more if the stump is large enough.
To accomplish this detonation, you would need to bury a couple of pounds of well-packed black powder in the tree roots under the central stump. Then, use a very long fuse.
Pressure from packing the black powder under the tree is a serious concern, and I’d like to reiterate that you should not do this.
Blow Up Stump With Tannerite
Please do not use Tannerite to blow up tree stumps. When used normally, Tannerite is considered a reactive agent.
However, once you ignite it, the Tannerite becomes an explosive, which you want for blowing up tree stumps. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms doesn’t take kindly to this sort of activity.
Although Tannerite is sold as H2 novelty targets for shooting, there’s no good reason to use it for tree stumps.
Shooting at an entire container of this substance packed under a tree might work, but it is not a reasonable or safe way to get rid of your problem tree stump.
Best Way To Blow Up A Tree Stump
The best way to blow up a tree stump is under supervision from an explosives expert. However, if you are going to explode trees in your yard, it’s best to go with actual dynamite.
Dynamite is carefully controlled, unlike the guesswork and potential legal ramifications involved in blowing black powder or Tannerite.
If you are going to use explosives, getting the more stable type created by experienced professional hands is the intelligent route.
To obtain the dynamite, you have to apply for a permit, so there’s little chance of getting arrested for this method. No one wants to go to jail over a tree.
Plus, fresh dynamite is relatively stable, so it’s unlikely to explode without a blasting cap, which could save your fingers or even your life.
Where To Buy Dynamite For Stump Removal
Before you can buy dynamite, you have to obtain a permit to possess it. The fee varies from state to state but is generally under a couple of hundred dollars.
The dynamite itself can be as low as ten dollars for the smallest sticks. You can find the information necessary for local permits and purchase on your state website.
Alternately, you can start with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms where they can walk you through your local regulations.
Otherwise, you can ask Dyno Nobel, which is the only dynamite manufacturer in North America.
Is It Legal To Blow Up Tree Stumps
It is legal for you to blow up tree stumps if you own the property and when you legally possess the explosives used for the explosion.
Felons are typically not eligible for explosives as they are treated much like gun ownership. So long as you get the permits and legally sold explosives, you can blow all the tree stumps or whole trees you like most places.
Some cities have laws against explosives, so it’s best always to check first. Similarly, if the tree is a protected species, the rules may differ where you live.
Helpful Tips To Know How To Blow Up A Tree Stump
Blowing up tree stumps is exhilarating and satisfying. Not only does it solve a problem, but it offers free resources when you are done.
However, you need to be careful. Just because someone blew up a tree a different way and didn’t get caught doesn’t mean that every tree exploding method is legal.
Here are some helpful tips to know how to blow up a tree stump.
- Not all tree stumps can be blown up. While it is physically possible to make the stump go boom, some stumps are too close to your home or utility lines for this to be a safe option.
- If your dynamite doesn’t explode, please do not go check on it. While this is rare, you will still need to call an expert for removal.
- Buying a substance that ‘can’ explode is not the same thing legally as buying an explosive.
If you take the time to obtain your permits, using legal dynamite is a fast and effective way to blow up a tree stump. Please use professional materials and proper precautions.
Do not attempt a method suggested by a random stranger on the internet for DIY explosives. No matter how confident they sound, brewing DIY volatile explosives at home is an excellent way to lose a hand, or worse.
With good planning, legal permits, and caution, you can blow up a tree stump at home without risking lives, limbs, or jail time.