Can Sugar Explode Trees?

Is Sugar Explosive?

While this answer is relative to multiple variables, sugar can be explosive and should be dealt with care by facilities and places that handle sugar in its daily activities.

Surface Area of Sugar and Explosive Properties

The rule of thumb is that sugar gains more explosiveness potential as its grain become smaller in size. Think with me for a moment, what is easier to ignite, a small log or a big wood chunk?

It is much easier to set ablaze a smaller but higher surface area item. That is why sugar dust is so dangerous.

Heat is an Important Factor to Consider

Stay calm, your regular table sugar will not set your house on by itself. In order for sugar to become explosive it has to meet a criterion that you most likely will not be able to.


What happens is that when we heat up sugar in a regular kitchen, it will caramelize before it sets ablaze. Sugar will only become explosive in high temperatures.

Tree Saps Are the Culprit Here

You would not be as naive to think that trees are exploding out of nowhere with no scientific explanation right?

What Tree Saps Are Made Of

Tree saps are not only water. What makes tree saps what they are is sugar and a little bit of minerals. What sugar does to sap is lower its freezing point

Sugar is Involved, Maybe Not in The Way You Wanted

As you now know, the only thing sugar can do in sap is lower its freezing point, that happens because of very boring chemistry that you would never remember, but that lower freezing point is exactly what makes the tree pops.

Do Not Expect James Bond Movie Like Explosions

Trees will not pop just like a grenade, we know this is sad to hear to some weird people, but there is your true answer.

Trees Freeze and Expand Like Crazy

Have you ever seen a street on a normal neighboorhod on Brazil?

This is what it looks like. The truth is that if even concrete breaks when it suffers contraction and expansion, why a tree wouldn’t?

Audible Cracks from Tree Pops

Sometimes you can hear a tree pop and think you are mad. You are not crazy, what you have heard is the sugar-fortified sap freezing and expanding causing a tree rupture. In rare cases a frost crack will send a piece of bark flying.

Tree Explosion is a Very Inadequate Term

A tree explosion is not an adequate term, the trees are simple cracking a little bit making a bit of noise, so the correct way to call it would be tree pops

Everything Rigid That Expands and Shrinks May Pop Open Anytime

Every object that is rigid and is subjected to expansion and constriction is very likely to break with time. But do not worry so much about trees, they are very strong and recover easily from most cracks that stems from such fenomenon.

You Could Explode a Tree with Sugar if You Wanted

As we discussed earlier in this article, sugar can very well become explosive, so you could in fact explode a tree with it if you wanted, while I always say:

Make whatever you want at your own risk and liability.

Exploding trees is probably not even legal, but if you would be able to do it with sugar, then it would probably be with lots of sugar dust.

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