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Old 07-12-2011, 08:30 PM
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
6,472 posts, read 15,214,231 times
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I always am advising people to leave it to the pros. But I decided to do a 3-piece arbor for my vines. How could it go wrong? 3 8 ft 4X4's, some connectors...

They're in the ground now and look great, but it turns out I should have dug the holes 24 -36 inches deep! They're only 12 inches deep, but for some reason I didn't look up the "how-to" and I could have sworn 12 inches was below the frost line. Wahhh I put in about 7 inches of quickset concrete already.

Any advice on what I should do?
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:25 PM
Location: Where the sun likes to shine!!
20,545 posts, read 28,279,725 times
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Twelve inches is kind of shallow. I try to do most of my poles at least 2 feet but sometimes in some soil that just isn't possible without heavy equipment. I have one fence pole that was all rock. It is only in about a foot and it is still doing well after 3 years. You can either fix it now or wait until you have a problem with it. You may get lucky and not have any problems

To fix it, you need to take the poles back out, break off the concrete, and start over.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:34 AM
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I basically will use the manual post digging shovel to get as deep as it goes -- almost 4 ft down! The risk if you don't go deep enough is not just from frost but also from wind-loading. With 50+ mile an hour winds not uncommon during a thunderstorm it will easily topple posts / fences / arbors not set down deep.

I have learned the hard way to never use concrete either -- you are better off using just crushed stone that is tamped down. Stone will prevent the post from sitting in water, which hastens its failure. Stone also allows for minor "tweaking" if someone backs into the post with a car or similar.
I think that real smooth post (like galvanized steel that gets used for chain link fence) MIGHT be better gripped by concrete but any kind of wood is better in crushed stone.

To fix your goof , assuming you did not cut off the tops of the arbor, you could just dig out the posts, make the holes deeper AND wide enough to hold the blob of concrete THEN just get crushed stone tamped in to make everything level. Ought to work well enough.

If you don't have enough arbor to sacrifice two feet I think you gotta junk this and start all over...

Measure twice, cut once!
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