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what is the best method when dealing with TALL mega trees??


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This year was my firt attempt with a mega tree. We successfully constructed a 12 foot mega tree which was actually a 10 foot and a 5 foot 1 and 1/4 inch pipe coupled together. We cememted a 3 foot 'sleeve' into the ground which we learned was actually 1 foot too deep. A 2 foot cemented'sleeve' would have been plenty. So 12 feet of pipe was actually above the ground.

My teenage boys were on top of our largest 'A' frame ladder hooking the lights to the top of the hook head. They were standing on the top rung of the ladder and this was the limiting factor to the height of the mega tree.

Next year I want to increase the height of the mega tree6 feet taller to 18 feet total above the ground. My preliminary plan is to couple two 10 foot 1 1/4 inch pipes together with only two feet of this sunken into a sleeve into the ground.

How is it possible to 'service' the top of the tree with it being so high?? This year we have a large 24 inch star on top of the tree and we certainly want to do the same or similar. What are the ways to service the top of the tree that is too tall for conventional ladders?

Please explain how winches are used or if there is a better way to install lights onto the hookhead and to put a camera or star onto a structure that is too tall for ladders. I need a safe and inexpensive way to service the top of a tall mega tree. Ideas?? Methods? Thanks --Greg--

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I built mine like a flag pole set up actually. Of course, I only have a 13 footish tree pole. I have 16 hooks screwed into a PVC floor drain. I raised it to about 6 feet, then put the mid section of guy wires on it. Then attached the lights and hoisted it up to the top and put an upper set of guy wires up on there. I used the 1 3/8 upper fence rail that is coated black which Lowe's carries. This set up could by used to build much taller, and I didn't bother doing a buckling calculation on the pole since it should be able to carry a pretty good amount of wieght. With two sets of guys it is pretty stable and has withstood the wind (so far) without a hitch. Next year I plan on adding alot of lights so I might set up an excel spreadsheet to do that.

As for servicing the top of the tree... I had a big flaw in my plans this year and didn't leave any channels for a topper. So I would like to know as well since I plan on a topper for next year. I only have a 6 foot ladder so it is a stretch for me to reach the top of the tree anyway. I guess I would try to put something up that wouldn't need service, other than that if you know some guys with a bucket truck or front end loader that might help. In the back of my mind I can see a pick up with a huge box in the bed with a ten foot ladder on top of that.

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Greg---Check out the JUMP (Jack Up Mega Pole). It might fit your needs. The JUMP is height adjustable, can easily lift hundreds of pounds of lights and when used with the Portable Hole it can be relocated in your yard. The JUMP also comes in many different combinations to suit individual requirements. Instructions can be found at www.MagicChristmas.org .

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Greg---Check out the JUMP (Jack Up Mega Pole). It might fit your needs. The JUMP is height adjustable, can easily lift hundreds of pounds of lights and when used with the Portable Hole it can be relocated in your yard. The JUMP also comes in many different combinations to suit individual requirements. Instructions can be found at www.MagicChristmas.org .

Ha Ha. Walter beat me to it!

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Greg---Check out the JUMP (Jack Up Mega Pole). It might fit your needs. The JUMP is height adjustable, can easily lift hundreds of pounds of lights and when used with the Portable Hole it can be relocated in your yard. The JUMP also comes in many different combinations to suit individual requirements. Instructions can be found at www.MagicChristmas.org .
I agree with Walter. The JUMP is the way to go. Mine withstood a pretty good thunderstorm Christmas Eve with wind gusts that took some gutter off the neighbors house. Mine is at 20 Feet.
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Greg, the JUMP is definitely worth a look, but sounds like your already on your way to the traditional megatree method. I saw your tree on Christmas Eve and it looked great. You just need LOR now!!! They have a tree topper at christmaslightshow.com which has a pulley built into it ... they also have a hook head with rides up and down the pole and you attach a cable to that and raise/lower it. I raise the hook head maybe half way up, then hang the lights and then spread the lights out onto the grass, then raise it the rest of the way using the pulley hook head and aircraft cable and a boat winch. The winch is attached to the lower portion of the pole. I used muffler clamps from the auto store ... works great. You could build your own or buy from christmaslightshow web site, which is reasonable. I really don't service the lights once up, but in theory you can lower it if necessary. Its just a pain, since you have to deal with the slack in the lines and really is a 2-3 person job. They year, my winch came loose right as I got it raised for the first time, so I had to lower it and fix the winch attachment to the pole. The also sell a 3 channel star with goes into the top of the tree. If you want to see mine, you can drop by anytime and I'll show it to you. Scott

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If you know a builder (we have a family friend who is one), borrowing some scaffolding may be the way to go for "traditional" mega-tree construction in the direction you're headed. n25501006_33768835_1740.jpg That's the way I used to do it with my 20'. I still do my 15' that way, but my 20' is now done with the ChristmasLightShow.com pulley/hook head with modifications on an 1 1/4" metal pipe. (My modification can be found here: http://forums.planetchristmas.com/showthread.php/44633-My-CLS-Hook-Head-Binding-Solution-Success-with-2-Pulleys )

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I'm inside. That picture is an 8' radius tree - my tree is now 7'. Actually, the pole is right against the scaffolding (I'm touching the pole in the photo). A disadvantage to this method is that I do have to tighten up the lines that go around the back of the tree once the scaffold is removed. However, this is not a major inconvenience.

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This was my 3rd year doing a mega tree. the first two years they blew over in big storms. No problems this year, but I did not deem the pole strong enough to hold all the lights on it that I wanted. Since I am not getting any younger I've opted to build a motorized JUMP pole for next year. I have all the parts in hand now and just need to get my portable hole done and start assembling the pole pieces so I can test it this spring.

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I have a pivot that I put in the ground each year then, I tip the 30' poll up. I have a custom made tree topper that I have pulleys on it. I use a winch to raise the lights that I put on at ground level. I have also made a new method for putting the lights on that I will post once I take them down. It worked sweet going up!

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  • 1 year later...
Greg, the JUMP is definitely worth a look, but sounds like your already on your way to the traditional megatree method. I saw your tree on Christmas Eve and it looked great. You just need LOR now!!! They have a tree topper at christmaslightshow.com which has a pulley built into it ... they also have a hook head with rides up and down the pole and you attach a cable to that and raise/lower it. I raise the hook head maybe half way up, then hang the lights and then spread the lights out onto the grass, then raise it the rest of the way using the pulley hook head and aircraft cable and a boat winch. The winch is attached to the lower portion of the pole. I used muffler clamps from the auto store ... works great. You could build your own or buy from christmaslightshow web site, which is reasonable. I really don't service the lights once up, but in theory you can lower it if necessary. Its just a pain, since you have to deal with the slack in the lines and really is a 2-3 person job. They year, my winch came loose right as I got it raised for the first time, so I had to lower it and fix the winch attachment to the pole. The also sell a 3 channel star with goes into the top of the tree. If you want to see mine, you can drop by anytime and I'll show it to you. Scott

I have done the above but my biggest problem is the weight.  I have 19,200 lights and I found that my 1 1/4 galvanized pipe tends to bow at the top.  I have 8 guy wires (4 top, 4 midway) and the bowing still occurs from the down force.  I think I will be changing over to a the Monkhouse Color Tree.

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