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Thread: Trees on a Hill

  1. #1
    Old Man Winter member
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    Trees on a Hill

    I'm looking for ideas from others for a very interesting problem.

    Since 2011, I've had the opportunity to put my show on level ground. That is going to change this year.
    Due to changes outside of my control, I need to move my show into an area that has a pretty good valley. It is great for viewing as the parking area is up, and looks down into this valley as well as across to the other hills making the sides of this valley.

    As the show progresses over it's 6 week run, there are times I need to drop the mega trees (7 of them) to repair pixels and "other things". With 14 and 16 foot trees, this has been simple - on flat ground. In the valley, it may be a bit of a challenge.

    What I am looking for are ideas for mounting the trees so that they can be serviced. I cannot put holes in the ground for mounts, but I can put rebar (and the like) to hold it up. Even digging out for something like Walter's Jump bases is frowned upon. Hence why I am looking.

    BTW - My 20 foot and 35 foot trees are on winches and pulleys. No problem there.

    Thanks for any ideas you can send my way.


  2. #2
    DIGWDF Engineer member dirknerkle's Avatar
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    Here's a design that's worked very well for me for the past ten years for my 360-degree megatrees.

    The center pole just sits in a PVC cup that's mounted on top of a plywood base. The weight of the pole and lights hold it in place. My trees are 16' tall (18 with the star topper) and comprise 24 LED strings. Each string is attached at the top of the pole in the string's center using a zip tie, and both ends are then fastened to a PVC ground ring that's tied to the ground in 8-10 places using military stakes and lengths of STP-2 wire. The 24 LED strings result in 48 vertical "tie-downs" that hold up the pole from all directions and I've never needed guy wires. The strings are attached to the PVC ground ring by simply wrapping them around the ring a couple times and fastening to the vertical drop with a zip tie, making them easily adjustable later if the need arises.

    All the strings are connected to the top with the pole lying on the ground. It takes two people to put one up: set the pole into the base while one person blocks the base with his/her foot, then the other person simply walks the pole up until it's standing straight. Then one person holds the pole vertical while the other temporarily fastens 4 strings to the ground ring every 90. After that, it's simple to separate the strings and attach them to the ground ring about every 4" or so.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
    Old Man Winter member
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    I also use the stand-up method for putting the current trees up.
    Purchased a bunch of "little foot" and "big foot" stands from Christmas Light Show out of Kingston TN, over the years. The problem is that the stands are for 90 degree points (read - fairly flat ground).
    The attached diagram may give a better idea as to what I'm facing.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    If I can figure out an angled center hub, then I can anchor the stand's legs to the hillside with longer rebar.
    Another "interesting item" is that each location for the trees may be on a different angle, so the stands have to be adjustable.

  4. #4
    DIGWDF Engineer member dirknerkle's Avatar
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    So build a hinged mount base. Take a couple pieces of rebar and bend them 90. Fasten them to a 3/4" plywood base about 24" across with straps, drill some holes and drive some rebar stakes (tops bent over 90) through the base into the hill. Then drop the pole over the vertical rebars and adjust it to the vertical angle you need. Perhaps tie a pair of guy wires to the pole from the higher ground for stability. You could still add a ground ring around the outside for light attachments -- the ring would correspond to the slope, too.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
    Old Man Winter member
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    Interesting idea. Thanks.

  6. #6
    Frosty member
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    Build some wedges/blocks that roughly approximate the slope. Drill holes big enough for rebar through them. Secure them in place. Attach base to blocks. Maybe 1x6 green treated cut 6"? Make a stack. Include some angle cut (shims or wooden wedges?) pieces to balance out the bottom. After you figure out what you need, just stick a couple of nails in the wedges.

    Adjustable stands - three pieces of wood. One the downhill length of the stand, two attached with bolts so the legs can bend. Once you find your angle, rebar on the ends in the ground. To prevent it from falling over maybe a wire that runs under the stand into the high side of the hill and tent stake or rebar to secure it.

    Same idea but use two pieces of wood on either side of the stand. Adjustable leg swings out to the downhill side and some rebar to stop it from sliding downhill.

    Wood across the downhill side with several angled holes that fit your rebar. One side in one direction, other side in opposite direction or maybe every other going different directions depending on depth needed (short depth would allow). When secured into place, the wood would not move down as the rebar is holding it. This solution seems iffy to me as the rebar might bend.

    2x4 or 2x6 with holes drilled halfway through big enough for rebar. Put in some kind of washer to prevent rebar from pushing through wood. Pound the rebar into the ground setting the 2 by on top of it.

    2x4 legs with holes drilled every inch that hold a bolt that would go through the support 2x4. The uprights could have a similar hole like last idea to hold a piece of rebar that would secure the ground side. Would there be enough side to side support? Maybe the support 2x4 would need a small slot that help stabilize side to side movement? Or maybe using unused holes in the upright, you could truss the uprights together or just put another angled board across the legs. Probably only need one angled board.

    I built my base by attaching a 2.4 to a 2'x2' piece of plywood. Then I drilled a hole through the 2x4 that holds the base. You could do something similar that would be particular to each location. Maybe with the angle, you would need two 2x4s. Once you secure the plywood, figure the angle for the pole and drill it out (bring a chisel if you aren't going all the way through).

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