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Feedback On Mega Tree Base Idea

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I am trying to plan for a mega tree next year and have been thinking a lot about the base. I'd like to use a post hole digger and cement to create a permanent in-ground base, probably go about 42-48" down (I believe that's the frost line in Chicago). If I bury 1-1/4" pipe, my thought is to use a 12" pole pin (http://www.christmas...m/pole-pin.html) to attach the main pole each year.

My question is - would the pole pin be strong enough to support the tree from the bottom (at the base)? Potentially 48 light strands at 10' (16 x 3 colors). With this kind of base, would you use guy wires?

Also, if I were to extend to 15' or 20', would a second pin in this system be too much? May double lights at 96 strands for this height... It gets rather windy here, so I am trying to make it durable.

Thanks for your thoughts!

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I am trying to plan for a mega tree next year and have been thinking a lot about the base. I'd like to use a post hole digger and cement to create a permanent in-ground base, probably go about 42-48" down (I believe that's the frost line in Chicago). If I bury 1-1/4" pipe, my thought is to use a 12" pole pin (http://www.christmas...m/pole-pin.html) to attach the main pole each year.

My question is - would the pole pin be strong enough to support the tree from the bottom (at the base)? Potentially 48 light strands at 10' (16 x 3 colors). With this kind of base, would you use guy wires?

Also, if I were to extend to 15' or 20', would a second pin in this system be too much? May double lights at 96 strands for this height... It gets rather windy here, so I am trying to make it durable.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Yes, guy wires definitely. This is my first year and any breeze at all and I am thinking of the guy wires and my staking of said guy wires, not so much the stability of the pipe itself. I am already thinking of how to better guy wire it next year. It's easy to see how guys get obsessed with it. I was advised to use the braided metal cabling sold at lowes, it's like 32/c a foot dependin the thinkness. This stuff is very very hard to cut. I would say use an abrasion device (cutting wheel) that you can mount on a drill.

I think there is like a whole bunch of forum threads on guy wiring. This guy is pretty obsessed and says he gets 75mph wind which would explain the obsession. Hehas some good pics of the hardware he has on the pipe for the guy wires. http://www.nevadachr...om/Megatree.htm

My tree and other xmas photos. Already planning to go to 19' and make the base 12' dia. next year and add c9's.

http://gustafamily.shutterfly.com/7986

Edited by Gregg Gusta

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Gregg - thanks for the info and the links - the Nevada site is very helpful. Your tree looks great! Just curious - how tall and how many light strands?

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I am trying to plan for a mega tree next year and have been thinking a lot about the base. I'd like to use a post hole digger and cement to create a permanent in-ground base, probably go about 42-48" down (I believe that's the frost line in Chicago). If I bury 1-1/4" pipe, my thought is to use a 12" pole pin (http://www.christmas...m/pole-pin.html) to attach the main pole each year.

My question is - would the pole pin be strong enough to support the tree from the bottom (at the base)? Potentially 48 light strands at 10' (16 x 3 colors). With this kind of base, would you use guy wires?

Also, if I were to extend to 15' or 20', would a second pin in this system be too much? May double lights at 96 strands for this height... It gets rather windy here, so I am trying to make it durable.

Thanks for your thoughts!

It's good that your planning ahead but I don't think using the pole pin is a good idea at the ground because of the movement and weight at ground level and after time the metal pipe will rust in the ground. Heres what I did and its similar to what your planning.........I dug down 36" and cemented a 2" pvc pipe in the ground up to about 1" below ground level and put a pvc cap for when its not in use. Then all i do is use 2 10' 1 1/4 black pipe with the pole pin to support the 2 10' pcs of pipe and drop it in the 2" pvc sleeve and this is my 3rd season and its held up very well........we sometimes get 60mph gusts I also use 4- 3/32 cable for guy wires .....You figure approx 1 1/2 lbs of weight per light string and a rotating star thats a lot of weight and resistence when the wind starts kicking up. Also we can have the tree up in 20 min doing it this way plus the lights.

Hope this helps.

Edited by gmac

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There are some really good systems out there, but I use no base at all....that's right, no digging, no sleeves. I just set the pipe on a partially drilled out 12" piece of 2x4 to keep it from sinking into the mud. My megas are 17 feet with 3 guy wires, using 1 1/4 pipe, normal thread connection and 1/8 steel cable. My 2 cents would be if you plan on using guy wires anyway, don't go through the hassle to dig yourself a big hole. 45 mph wind last year, never a problem. your base will not kick out. I have 96 strands on my trees.

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Gregg - thanks for the info and the links - the Nevada site is very helpful. Your tree looks great! Just curious - how tall and how many light strands?

Lowes had 100 mini lights on sale for 1.99, so I jumped all over that, I have 12 c6's and about 50 strings of 100 mini's. The c6's are a waste they are no better than the mini's and cost a lot more than the incandescent minis. (led).

Mine is 15' because everyone says the wind factor above 15' changes everything so I figured as a newbie I would stay at 15' for year 1.I can take the same exact tree to 20' by simply buying another pipe asI obviously have cut a 10' pipe in half .

Here's where I got my kit,

http://www.christmaslightshow.com/

but if you want to go basic I will tell you what I would absolutely get from him and skip the whole kit. The Key hardware that he provides is the base for the pole, the middle pin, unless you have your own that is cheaper, the guy wire collar, the hook head is awesome and the stars screw right into the hook head and he has some really sweet ones. We just got the basic 2' star but I wish I had popped for the North Star in hindsight. Get the whole kit with rope light on the stars unless you feel like you are good with doing that on your own. I don't know what experience level you are.

By having those hardware items you will not be mickey mousing any of the essentials. The guy wires are what secure this thing, not the base. Make a plan, read the threads on what guys are doing. When it's windy you want to sleep peacefully don't you??? :-). And if you are going above 15' you may also look into his pulley system for the hookhead. I have not used it no rspoken to any actual users but I think if I go over 15' next year I will spring for it. It looks very useful. He has a video on his site.

The kit including everything incl shipping and the star was like $230. Then all the stuff at lowes, not including the stuff I need to return was like another $100. You can do it for a lot less. But Lowes putting those 100 light strings on sale for $2 really made this thing come to life.

Edited by Gregg Gusta

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I am trying to plan for a mega tree next year and have been thinking a lot about the base. I'd like to use a post hole digger and cement to create a permanent in-ground base, probably go about 42-48" down (I believe that's the frost line in Chicago). If I bury 1-1/4" pipe, my thought is to use a 12" pole pin (http://www.christmas...m/pole-pin.html) to attach the main pole each year.

My question is - would the pole pin be strong enough to support the tree from the bottom (at the base)? Potentially 48 light strands at 10' (16 x 3 colors). With this kind of base, would you use guy wires?

Also, if I were to extend to 15' or 20', would a second pin in this system be too much? May double lights at 96 strands for this height... It gets rather windy here, so I am trying to make it durable.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Here's his anchor system. Video. http://www.youtube.c...SxbA?autoplay=1

He has a picture of what the wind did to someone's tree with no guy wires and 2" poles at 27'. Not good. at th 5' mark.

Edited by Gregg Gusta

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He mentions what i had said in my previous post about the wind and weight at the top of the tree and he's right ....but I used his anchor system 2 yrs ago and maybe its where we live but it took me and 2 of my neighbors to get the anchor out of the ground and not untill spring cuz the ground was so frozen we couldn't get it out....Since then I use 18" anchors to hold my guy wires. I drive them in the ground perpendicular to the guy wire and they hold great and no big hassle getting them out in Jan.

May be it is a hassle to dig a hole and cement a PVC sleeve in your yard but it's only a 1 time thing and I'm convinced this gives you extra stability for you mega tree. Been using system this for 3 seasons now and it's held up great.

Hope this info helps.......Good Luck

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He mentions what i had said in my previous post about the wind and weight at the top of the tree and he's right ....but I used his anchor system 2 yrs ago and maybe its where we live but it took me and 2 of my neighbors to get the anchor out of the ground and not untill spring cuz the ground was so frozen we couldn't get it out....Since then I use 18" anchors to hold my guy wires. I drive them in the ground perpendicular to the guy wire and they hold great and no big hassle getting them out in Jan.

May be it is a hassle to dig a hole and cement a PVC sleeve in your yard but it's only a 1 time thing and I'm convinced this gives you extra stability for you mega tree. Been using system this for 3 seasons now and it's held up great.

Hope this info helps.......Good Luck

If you are certain it is going to be the same exact tree in the same exact spot every year, then cementing the anchors is probably the simplest solution, I would agree. He has the video on extracting those arrowheads, they look incredibly anchored. I can certainly see why they would pose a problem even when installed as directed.

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Thanks for all of the help and links! I need to determine height. Yards in the city are rather small, so I may have about 20'x20'. I'll definitely be going with some form of guy wires - the last thing I want is the tree falling into my house, or a neighbor's. I'd probably secure to all 4 corners as far as I can. Still considering a concrete in-ground base for the pole for added peace-of-mind.

Thanks again for all your help!

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If you have a small yard, you may want to consider a Monkhouse A lot easier to stand up in a small space. And while you are at it, look into the Portable Hole.

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First thing is really first. A ten foot tree, does not really need much for guy wires. I have two standing in my front yard that are about 11.5' - 12' and they are sitting on a block and held down by rebar spikes and zip ties. It's my 3rd year doing this. I also have a 30' mega tree that I have a totally different system in place for. I do use guy wires for that. What I see is so many people spending a ton of time and money putting elaborate base and anchore systems in for simple display items. I am a huge fan of DIY dispay items. The 11.5' trees I make now, I call my mega juniors. I build in my heated garage and carry out into the yard. If it wasn't for the snow and ice, I would just set them on the ground pin them down and walk away. We had over 60mph gusts last year. They didn't budge. Now, my 30' mega. I have about a 12"x12"x12" base poured for it. It holds the bolts for my anchor plate. The way I look at this, is that it just needs to keep my tree from sinking into the ground. The guy wires will keep it upright and straight.

What I am really trying to say, is to take your time. Don't over engineer everything. I saw a guy on PC once that poured a 4'x4'x4' concrete base with a 2" PVC sleeve for his 15' mega tree.

Here is my youtube videos for my Mega Juniors.

I have made a major change this year. I am working on a video right now.

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I know it's been a while since anyone has said anything, and most will probably frown upon my response and my tactics, but here is the information about my tree.  My tree is approximately 25' tall.  It consists of approximately 21' of conduit (2" diameter I believe) with a star on top that is approximately 4'-5' from point to point.  The 21' tree is made of 2 pieces of conduit welded together.  The star is made of rebar and is the heaviest part of the tree.  It is welded on a piece of muffler connector which slides on top of the long piece of conduit.  My father and I have been modifying our procedure for how to secure the tree in the ground, and it has more or less changed every year, but basically it consists of approximately 1' (12") of pipe driven into the ground, and then approximately 1' (12") - 1.5' (18") of pipe above the ground that the conduit slides over top of.  This secures the base of the pipe.  Then, I have 4 guide wires tied to some rebar mounts welded to the very top of the conduit just below the star.  My guide wires are just simple rope I bought from wally world (clothesline to be exact).  I am still using the same rope after 3 years.  We had high gusts of wind last year on several days (above 70 mph), and I had absolutely no issues.

 

For the lights, I have a 3' long piece of plastic PVC with a coupler at the top side (looks like a funnel) which is on the outside of the conduit.  Then there are ropes tied to the PVC and draped over top of the star.  I attach the lights to the top of the PVC while at the bottom of the tree and use the ropes to pull it to the top.  Once at the top, I tie the ropes off so the lights stay at the top.

 

For the base, I bought four 10' sections of thin PVC pipe, put them all together (40') and connect all of them into a circle pattern.  I have 4 stakes underneath this circle every 90 degrees.  The PVC circle allows me to quickly and easily zip-tie each light strand exactly where I want it and also allows me to keep my lights off the ground an inch or two.  In the 3 years I have had my tree, I have had between 48-56 strands of lights connected.

 

I know I was rambling and it was probably hard to follow, so I've made a quick image in Paint.  The following are the items I mentioned above:

    - red section is where the 2 pieces of 10' conduit are welded together

    - yellow star is the rebar star (it is actually just the frame, it isn't filled in), it is approximately 4' - 5' from point to point

    - gray section directly below yellow star is the muffler connector that my star is welded to.  This slips onto my conduit

    - green lines below the star and gray section are the pieces of rebar welded on that I tie my guide wires to (clothesline from wally world)

    - blue section at bottom is the PVC pipe with funnel piece at top.  I connect the lights at the top of the funnel.

    - orange lines are the ropes connected to the blue PVC pipe.  Then, it threads through the star and allows me to pull it up once all the lights are attached since I don't have a ladder tall enough.

 

mega-tree_zps592afac4.jpg

Edited by NarJar

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For the lights, I have a 3' long piece of plastic PVC with a coupler at the top side (looks like a funnel) which is on the outside of the conduit.  Then there are ropes tied to the PVC and draped over top of the star.  I attach the lights to the top of the PVC while at the bottom of the tree and use the ropes to pull it to the top.  Once at the top, I tie the ropes off so the lights stay at the top.

 

For the base, I bought four 10' sections of thin PVC pipe, put them all together (40') and connect all of them into a circle pattern.  I have 4 stakes underneath this circle every 90 degrees.  The PVC circle allows me to quickly and easily zip-tie each light strand exactly where I want it and also allows me to keep my lights off the ground an inch or two.  In the 3 years I have had my tree, I have had between 48-56 strands of lights connected.

+1 for the pulley idea.  I use a threaded flange as a mount for 2 pulleys with rope running to a pvc setup similar to that.  With 96 strands, it is quite an effort to pull up almost 100lbs of lights without a winch, but I manage.  Then just tie them off to a flag-pole type anchor that is attached to the side of the pole pipe.  Never need a ladder for my megas this way.

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Hello Fellow PCers. I wanted to make a megatree but I wanted an idea for a base for 2013 lighting. Here is my issue I have tile on my roof and I need to make a strong enough base so it does not fall.

 

I was thinking of making a platform to make it a level surface and using a 5 gallon bucket, fill it with concrete and put a tube in it so later I can fit another tube of a smaller size on it. Guy wires will be needed to hold it in place. I also have a question for the top where the lights hang.

 

Do they hang from the female connctor r are they looped at the top.

 

 

This will be my new project for 2013 and I am hoping I can go all LED.

 

Ideas, Diagrams pictures are welcomed

 

thanks and lets keep the dream and the Spirit of Christmas Alive!!!!!

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To add to all this discussion- I have a 22' mega made out of 1 1/4 Galvanized pipe.  I use a 2" PVC coupler as a connection point and winch the lights up into place.  My problem is weight: I use 6 sets for each line with 32 lines... equals a lot of weight.  Last year I noticed the pipe had a bend and I thought it was possible that it got bent in the off season.  This year I made sure the pipe was dead straight and it was until I started winching up the lights.  The pipe actually bowed from the weight.  Any alternative suggestions?  I've looked at Antenna trussing but the weight loads are low until you get past 50 ft.

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This year I made sure the pipe was dead straight and it was until I started winching up the lights.  The pipe actually bowed from the weight.

I would look at adding a set of guy wires half way up the pole.

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Hello Fellow PCers. I wanted to make a megatree but I wanted an idea for a base for 2013 lighting. Here is my issue I have tile on my roof and I need to make a strong enough base so it does not fall.

 

*snip*

thanks and lets keep the dream and the Spirit of Christmas Alive!!!!!

One of the problems with putting a tree on your roof is making sure the roof can hold the weight.  I would avoid adding any more weight (i.e. the 5 Gallon bucket of cement) than is needed.  I would be looking at how to distribute the weigh across the roof.

 

If you are supporting the pole with guys wires, all the base needs to do is keep the pole from moving and, in your case, keep it from punching through the roof.

 

As for how to hang the lights, that is all up to you.  It will depend on how long your strings are, how big the tree is, how many channels you want, etc...  You will need to figure out what works for you.  There is no hard, fast rule.

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To add to all this discussion- I have a 22' mega made out of 1 1/4 Galvanized pipe.  I use a 2" PVC coupler as a connection point and winch the lights up into place.  My problem is weight: I use 6 sets for each line with 32 lines... equals a lot of weight.  Last year I noticed the pipe had a bend and I thought it was possible that it got bent in the off season.  This year I made sure the pipe was dead straight and it was until I started winching up the lights.  The pipe actually bowed from the weight.  Any alternative suggestions?  I've looked at Antenna trussing but the weight loads are low until you get past 50 ft.

 

 

I would look at adding a set of guy wires half way up the pole.

We did have 4 on top and added 4 in the middle- it just made it bow more ..

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I use Rebar stakes that I customized for my 20 ft Mega Tree. I welded, onto the rebar, in the middle a 6-8" piece of 1"x1" angle iron. Then on the end that isn't driven into the ground, I welded large washers onto them to attach my guy wires to. The angle I feel helps keep the rebar from pulling through our soft sandy soil. It probably isn't really needed, but I like to think it helps.... Then when I attach my guy wires I use a turn buckle on the wire from the tree to help tension the wires and adjust the angle of the tree

 

My 20 ft Mega Tree is made from (2) 10ft 1"EMT Electrical Galvanized Conduit. I installed a 1"x24" Oak Dowel into the top half pole and it is drilled and bolted in place. The bottom is left free for storage ease. I guy wire it from both the top and middle now after 60+ mph winds broke it early in the display season. I made the topper for the tree that holds 24 strings of 100ct lights. I use a commercial controller with 6 channels and I run 4 lights per channel. This last season was our 4th yr with the 20 ft tree. 

 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.289080527866230.66002.114541565320128&type=3 (link to my Christmas site pictures)

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Hi,

 

How are you attaching light strings to the hook heads? When attaching guy wires would there be an advantage to mounting them about 3/4 up instead of at the top?

How about a portable hole from a tire filled with concrete, roll it anywhere?

 

Thanks for your input.

Mike

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Hi,

 

How are you attaching light strings to the hook heads? When attaching guy wires would there be an advantage to mounting them about 3/4 up instead of at the top?

How about a portable hole from a tire filled with concrete, roll it anywhere?

 

Thanks for your input.

Mike

I have my strings grouped in 5 strands per group and I used some scrap 14ga electrical wire to tie them together and made a loop that I attach to the hook head it's worked great for 3 seasons now. I think there might be a disadvantage at 3/4 up guy wires instead  of at the top cuz all the weight is attached up there plus I use the boat winch from CLS to get my lights up and guy wires 3/4 up would really hinder getting the hook head to go all the way up. I just dug a hole and cemented a pvc sleeve in the ground that I drop the pole into ....the disadvantage is if you want to move it you must dig another hole. I don't plan to move mine so it's no problem

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