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How to get lights on top of that big tree?


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I have a 16' Orchard ladder. Not only is it great to wrap trees with, but the single front leg allows you to put it in the megatree. I did cut my megatree pole down so the top of the pole is 18.5 but when I put the snowflake on top it is 20' tall.

This picture was taken back in 2007 when I did not have my orchard ladder yet but used a 16' a-frame ladder.

megatree200701.jpg

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You can sometimes find old antenna towers relatively cheap on craigslist. (<$150)

They come in 10 ft sections, so you could do 20 ft next year, and then higher than that later if you want.

What's nice about an antenna tower is that it is basically a ladder as well. As long as you trust how well you've secured it, you can climb to the top, and use a pulley for helpers on the ground to attach the end of light strands to, and then they can simply pull them up to you. All you have to do is stand up there (4 1/2 hours!) and wait for them to pull up lights, and you just take them off the pulley system and hook them to your topper. It's relatively simple, but legs and feet do get tired after a while.

As far as securing - Do this right, or you're dead.

To make absolutely certain I would stay alive (mostly certain anyway), I augered a 3ft hole in the ground for it to be placed in, and then we guy wired it as well. It is very secure now. It was relatively windy when I was standing on top of it, and since its completion, we've had 30-40 mph winds on a couple of occasions. Worrysome, but it seems to be like a rock.

The hardest part was figuring out how to get it upright. $180 rental for a man lift would have been most ideal, but I'm too frugal (cheap). We ended up digging a sloping ditch going down to the bottom of the hole, and using a front end loader of a tractor to very slowly push it upright while 3 people held the guy wires for extra measure. A 20ft tower might be able to be pushed up by man (I'm picturing 4 people - 1 person at the base to hold it down so it doesn't buck up, 1 person pushing it up, and 2 people pulling the opposite guy wires to help get it vertical.

Other folks presented good options as well, so this is just another one to add to the list of options.

Good luck!

Megatreetop.jpg

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We use the pulley method... Love it.

But when one string of lights came off the hook this year, after it was up, and I didn't want to lower all the other strings, I just put my 20' ladder inside and leaned it against the pole. The guy wires were anchored well enough to support the weight. Granted, I had the ladder as vertical as possible so most of the weight was on the ground and not the pole, but that's okay. I did a lot of holding on to the pole instead of the ladder. :)

....I'm not in a hurry to do it again, but it worked for us. Pulley method is still by far the best, IMO.

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We use the pulley method... Love it.

But when one string of lights came off the hook this year, after it was up, and I didn't want to lower all the other strings, I just put my 20' ladder inside and leaned it against the pole. The guy wires were anchored well enough to support the weight. Granted, I had the ladder as vertical as possible so most of the weight was on the ground and not the pole, but that's okay. I did a lot of holding on to the pole instead of the ladder. :)

....I'm not in a hurry to do it again, but it worked for us. Pulley method is still by far the best, IMO.

I'm with you! This was our second year with the pulley/winch method and that is just so easy to use. Once the stringers have stretched out you can so easily add a bit more tension.

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I just used an aluminum extension ladder leaned up against the mega tree pole.

My mega tree is 20ft tall and guy wired at the top and the middle.

I was surprised how sturdy the pole was and had no problems climbing up and attaching the lights.

I was going to use pole to attach the lights to the top but it was taking too much time and I was in a hurry so I tried the ladder and it went quite fast after that.

Much easier and felt safer than using my other extension ladder, 36 footer, to do lights in my real tree.

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(...Looking at doing a mega tree next year and my biggest question is, How do you get the lights to the top of a 20 foot tree?,,,,,,)

How about wrapping the lights when the tree is only 3 feet tall and keep adding extension cords each year ?

Edited by jerrymac
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I Erect my megatree pole with star already in place. I guy the pole and setup the bottom ring. The pole has a series of ropes through eyebolts at the top, one rope to pull up each of 6 segments of lights. I then lay the lights out on the ground, tie the top end of the lights to the rope from the top, and the bottom ends to a board with spaced eyelets to keep the lights in the right order and prevent tangling/twisting. I then simply pull the segment up, zip tie the bottom of the light strings to the support ring and tie off the rope on the pole. The spacer board at the bottom is most important to prevent tangles.

This works well for me and requires no climbing or ladder work. I set mine up as a solo effort.

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  • 2 months later...

You can sometimes find old antenna towers relatively cheap on craigslist. (<$150)

They come in 10 ft sections, so you could do 20 ft next year, and then higher than that later if you want.

What's nice about an antenna tower is that it is basically a ladder as well. As long as you trust how well you've secured it, you can climb to the top, and use a pulley for helpers on the ground to attach the end of light strands to, and then they can simply pull them up to you. All you have to do is stand up there (4 1/2 hours!) and wait for them to pull up lights, and you just take them off the pulley system and hook them to your topper. It's relatively simple, but legs and feet do get tired after a while.

As far as securing - Do this right, or you're dead.

To make absolutely certain I would stay alive (mostly certain anyway), I augered a 3ft hole in the ground for it to be placed in, and then we guy wired it as well. It is very secure now. It was relatively windy when I was standing on top of it, and since its completion, we've had 30-40 mph winds on a couple of occasions. Worrysome, but it seems to be like a rock.

The hardest part was figuring out how to get it upright. $180 rental for a man lift would have been most ideal, but I'm too frugal (cheap). We ended up digging a sloping ditch going down to the bottom of the hole, and using a front end loader of a tractor to very slowly push it upright while 3 people held the guy wires for extra measure. A 20ft tower might be able to be pushed up by man (I'm picturing 4 people - 1 person at the base to hold it down so it doesn't buck up, 1 person pushing it up, and 2 people pulling the opposite guy wires to help get it vertical.

Other folks presented good options as well, so this is just another one to add to the list of options.

Good luck!

Megatreetop.jpg

if using a ron tower you can put it up 1 section at a time using a gin pole its 13 feet long with heavy duty j hooks welded to it to match rungs on tower sections safety strap to tie it to rower pulley at the top gin pole will go past tower about 8 feet it helps to have a friend help with the next part using a rope pull tower section up and into place with pole fasten with bolts move gin pole up to install next section ron tower is self supporting to 70 feet lights ect. will add to wind load tho i have installed them to 200 feet(wonder if my wife will let me have a super mega in the yard for 2011)

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My 20 foot mega tree is made out of 2 inch galvanized pipe that is concreted 30 inches in the ground.I use a winch with 2 cables and 2 pulleys.The tree sttod up to 50 mph winds and a foot of very heavy wet snow.I am adding a second tree this year.I have a 10 foot ladder and use it to hook my lights (72 strands).Iused a 6x4 pvc adapter and ground it down with my dremel tool.

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Edited by wallleyes
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I've seen the JUMP system in operation and it is slick. If I were starting over, I'd probably use that. What I do use is a single aircraft cable with 2 pulleys - one pulley on top of the flag pole and the second on the head that the lgihts attach to . This cuts the effort in 1/2 and works well. 2nd year, I added a 600 lb self braking winch to this and now it works great! Very easy to stop and re-adjust the lights as they go up. Once up, I use a bicycle chain to secure the pulley, just in case any rowdy party goers are tempted to play a prank and lower the lights.

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I got the used antenna tower from a friend and had a hinged base made up. I anchored it to my flagpole base already in the ground. (the flag pole was out for the holidays) I drilled holes and ran bolt rod near the top and I used snap clips and hooked 4 strings per hook. I put my "Holdman" star on it and we and another guy raised it up with the help of a 4 wheeler. I guyed it and it was sturdy as h e double hockey sticks! I will certainly do this again because I can climb the tower to access the strings without dropping anything down. I made big holes in the star to help it NOT catch the wind!

If you look around your area, you may find people who want to get rid of them. Try putting a wanted ad on Craigslist and offer to take the tower down. You can unbolt the 10' sections and lower them to someone on the ground!

Good luck!

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  • 4 weeks later...

(...Looking at doing a mega tree next year and my biggest question is, How do you get the lights to the top of a 20 foot tree?,,,,,,)

How about wrapping the lights when the tree is only 3 feet tall and keep adding extension cords each year ?

I'm with you on this one. For Christmas '06 we had purchased one of those little trees with ornaments and such on it for our son. After the Christmas season we brought it home, planted it and call it Matt's tree. After a couple of year it was about 3' tall and took 3 strings of lights. For 2009 our first year with animated lights I was about 5' tall and I was able to put 12 strings on lights on it. This last year it was 8' tall, I'm guessing this season will it will be around 12 to 13 feet. I'm thinking a boom lift will be needed, but it's really expensive. Maybe, I'll find an orchard ladder...

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Iwo Jima.

My mega is 18' tall so I assemble it on the ground on a sawhorse. Hooping the light strings over the hooks, attach the star and strobes.

At H-hour, one guy holds the base down with his foot and two others raise it Iwo Jima style. Humming the Marine Corps Hymn is completely optional.

When it's vertical, we lift it and drop it into the socket. The tree is 1-1/2" rigid conduit while the socket ir 2" galv pipe. The rest is just a matter of untangling some of the strings that inevitable get tangled.

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  • 5 months later...

This is an old thread but I attach my star to my topper, hang all the lights off of the hooks and spread them out on the ground so they don't get tangled. Using a boat trailer hand winch I crank it all up 23'. Works great. If there is ever a problem just crank it down, fix the problem and crank it back up. I used 2 lengths of 2" conduit sleeved and welded together and 2 1/4" exhaust tubing for the center of my topper. This way it is sloppy enough that it never binds. I also use an eye bolt at the top of my pole with 4 cables to hold the tree still.

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