Cheap Saltpeter for Stumps

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SteveHGraham
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Re: Cheap Saltpeter for Stumps

Post by SteveHGraham » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:30 pm

They don't soak vegetables in poop. I'm starting to wonder if you know how farming works. The poop goes on the roots. I guess anything goes with carrots and potatoes, though.

I won't eat "organic" because the term "organic" doesn't actually mean anything except that the food is more expensive.

I'm starting to wish I had bought 50 pounds of saltpeter, or maybe 200 pounds. I have a lot of downed trees, and making them rot would be easier than cutting them and burning them.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

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mcostello
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Re: Cheap Saltpeter for Stumps

Post by mcostello » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:08 pm

I have personally seen a "news" broadcast showing fish in a pen in the water and a chicken coop over them, with the chicken doo falling on the fish to be eaten by Them. The program was on Salmonella.

Harold_V
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Re: Cheap Saltpeter for Stumps

Post by Harold_V » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:50 am

SteveHGraham wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:30 pm
I won't eat "organic" because the term "organic" doesn't actually mean anything except that the food is more expensive.
I agree. Simply a "buzz word" that encourages folks who have little reasoning power to spend money on things that make little, if any, difference. Sort of reminds me of folks who buy premium gasoline for an engine designed to run on lower octane. I've yet to discover what they hope to achieve.

Buzz words that, long ago, wore out their welcome with me----- "Lite" ------ "Organic" ------- and bacon. I love bacon, but I don't want everything I eat to taste like bacon. Besides, I'm a sausage man if I have a choice.
I'm starting to wish I had bought 50 pounds of saltpeter, or maybe 200 pounds. I have a lot of downed trees, and making them rot would be easier than cutting them and burning them.
One of the things you've been overlooking is what the potassium nitrate does to wood. Once absorbed, it encourages combustion. I'm not disputing that it may also encourage decomposition.

H
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rrnut-2
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Re: Cheap Saltpeter for Stumps

Post by rrnut-2 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:52 am

"One of the things you've been overlooking is what the potassium nitrate does to wood. Once absorbed, it encourages combustion. "

So now Steve will have exploding stumps. :D

Jim B

RMinMN
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Re: Cheap Saltpeter for Stumps

Post by RMinMN » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:58 am

rrnut-2 wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:52 am
"One of the things you've been overlooking is what the potassium nitrate does to wood. Once absorbed, it encourages combustion. "

So now Steve will have exploding stumps. :D

Jim B
I think he needs to add a bit of sulphur and charcoal for that.

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SteveHGraham
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Re: Cheap Saltpeter for Stumps

Post by SteveHGraham » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:18 am

You guys are getting my hopes up, but I don't think my stumps are going to spontaneously combust.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

Harold_V
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Re: Cheap Saltpeter for Stumps

Post by Harold_V » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:56 am

Correct, they won't spontaneously combust, but if the potassium nitrate is introduced well, what it will do is allow the remains of the tree, roots and all, to burn away. That's the idea behind its use.

Too bad your stumps aren't alder. After we logged, I had the property scarified. Several smallish (10" or so) alder stumps weren't removed (due to location), but, on their own, within ten years, they were completely gone. We have stumps on our property that are 100 years old and doing just fine--but they're Douglas Fir. They're also several feet in diameter.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

earlgo
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Re: Cheap Saltpeter for Stumps

Post by earlgo » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:07 am

Harold_V wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:56 am
Correct, they won't spontaneously combust, but if the potassium nitrate is introduced well, what it will do is allow the remains of the tree, roots and all, to burn away. That's the idea behind its use.
H
My SIL has done this to tree stumps, but I have not because some of the stumps on my property are close to live trees. If the Potassium Nitrate "burns" the roots underground, what is the possibility of the next tree roots catching and the 'fire' damaging that tree also? Inquiring minds, etc.
--earlgo
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SteveHGraham
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Re: Cheap Saltpeter for Stumps

Post by SteveHGraham » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:55 am

One of the things that amazes me about potassium nitrate is that the effect extends to the roots. When I moved here, the stump in front of my house had long, hard roots extending several feet out. When I treated the stump, the roots became fragile. Somehow the saltpeter made it its way down the roots, even though they were dead and dry.

I'm hoping to avoid burning most of my stumps. If they will rot and fall apart in place, I can rip out the really annoying ones with the tractor, and I can leave the rest to disintegrate.

I have a really big stump from a tree that fell over. It lifted up a large mound of dirt. Moving it would require weeks of cleaning dirt off the roots. I filled it with saltpeter, and with any luck, the roots will fall apart, and the mound of dirt will then be unsupported and easy to level.

It's weird how hard it is to get useful information on very common gardening problems. I didn't know diesel and motor oil were far superior to Roundup until people sort of whispered it to me, and the most-repeated stump solutions (stump grinding and pulling) can't compare to saltpeter.

I have a rotten oak with no branches, and I don't want to go near it with the chainsaw because it may fall on me, so I treated the base with saltpeter. I'm hoping it will fall over in a month or two. If it works, I'll try it on other dead oaks on the property.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

Harold_V
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Re: Cheap Saltpeter for Stumps

Post by Harold_V » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:31 pm

earlgo wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:07 am
My SIL has done this to tree stumps, but I have not because some of the stumps on my property are close to live trees. If the Potassium Nitrate "burns" the roots underground, what is the possibility of the next tree roots catching and the 'fire' damaging that tree also? Inquiring minds, etc.
--earlgo
Wish I could respond due to experience, but I have none. I've allowed nature to take its course, aside from scarifying.
That said, I'm of the opinion that introducing salt peter to dead stumps won't harm surrounding trees, but if one turns to burning, and roots are in close proximity to live trees, the heat resulting from the underground smoldering could prove to be damaging.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

John Hasler
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Re: Cheap Saltpeter for Stumps

Post by John Hasler » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:41 pm

earlgo wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:07 am
Harold_V wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:56 am
Correct, they won't spontaneously combust, but if the potassium nitrate is introduced well, what it will do is allow the remains of the tree, roots and all, to burn away. That's the idea behind its use.
H
My SIL has done this to tree stumps, but I have not because some of the stumps on my property are close to live trees. If the Potassium Nitrate "burns" the roots underground, what is the possibility of the next tree roots catching and the 'fire' damaging that tree also? Inquiring minds, etc.
--earlgo
Potassium nitrate speeds the action of fungi and bacteria that are already working (slowly) on dead wood. This action won't spread to live trees: to them potassium nitrate is food.

Of course you can damage live trees by applying concentrated potassium nitrate directly to their roots but that's not the case here.
Last edited by John Hasler on Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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steamin10
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Re: Cheap Saltpeter for Stumps

Post by steamin10 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:40 pm

IMHO waiting for nature is very slow. That is the advantage of grinding, burning and treatments, just to speed the process. I used spent batterries to add sulfuric acid to break down the wood fiber. It took 5 years for the cotton wood to begin to fall apart. The stump was a full 44 inches across, and sawed close to level with the ground. Burning was not possible as it grew on the edge of a drain swale, so it was damp all the time. It finally softened in the middle and was hacked and whacked at, and the outer layers peeled away like shingles. We planted a Tulip garden over the spot with potting soil and plants and it is now all nature and grass, but so many years later. Other smaller stumps of a foot or more were burned with charcoal and loose branch cuttings and was gone over one summer of hot dogs and smores. We gave purpose to the small aggrevation, and it helped to move it along.
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