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Guest Don Gillespie

Building of Mini trees

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mattpatt wrote:

Do you have to use garland? I really don't care about what they look like during the day.

re-read post #13

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caniac wrote:

my grass is thick so what I did was cut off the bottom ring which left me with a two inch "stake" to push in the ground. even with strong winds my mini-trees didn't budge.


Hey yeah! Your trees will absolutely not budge, and sticking metal legs of a cage wrapped with live electrical wiring into the ground is the safest way to test your GFI's each time it rains!! :P

I think it would be lots better to buy several lengths of 5/4 board, drill some holes for those legs to keep them isolated from grounding out, then run a couple long spikes thru the board into the ground (away from the cages) to secure the boards.. 'just what I'd do..

As for the garland, it's entirely personal preference.. The wife and I tried making them both ways (with and without garland) but thot the green trees had better daytime appeal. And using 2sets of each color (600 ttl) light it up enough the lights on the back shine thru.

This pix is last years, just 8 trees set in the back of the yard.

Attached files 300031=16538-DSC02669.JPG

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2011, added 8 more trees that were up against the sidewalk.. and went with the rest of the yard props.. so we didnt want them to look neked.. garland is just a personal preference.. Will add 8 more trees next year.

Attached files 300033=16539-2011-11-26_15-02-28_769.jpg

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Guest Don Gillespie

TJ Hvasta wrote:

2011, added 8 more trees that were up against the sidewalk.. and went with the rest of the yard props.. so we didnt want them to look neked.. garland is just a personal preference.. Will add 8 more trees next year.

TJ love your soldiers where did you get those bad boys

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Made them! each soldier is 8' tall, two 4' long, 12" sono-tubes (concrete forms) from Home Depot. 4" pvc for arms. Bottom painted black, top part, red felt for jacket, white felt for face, black/brown felt for face parts, faux fur for hair/hat. Ribbon for straps, leather for belts, clay for buttons.. I'll snap some close-up pix on Saturday and post or PM you.. They were abt $75/ea to make.

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I use liquid plastic tool dip to cover the ends of the mini tree legs and the top bundle of tomato cage wires. Protects the hands and gives a rubber protection on the ground to help stop GFI faults into the ground.

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Hey yeah! Your trees will absolutely not budge, and sticking metal legs of a cage wrapped with live electrical wiring into the ground is the safest way to test your GFI's each time it rains!! :P.



Wow! Light shines on dim head! I was going crazy this year trying to figure out why my trees kept trippng the GFI! This year like a knucklehead I stuck them in the ground.... DOH!:shock:

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Don, if you pound a 40" x 3/4" metal conduit in the ground(this way you get three poles out of a 10' pipe) insert your hooks into the top of the pole. This will raise your tree off the ground and self level on unlevel ground. You may want to go to a 46" pole to have it higher off the ground to account for snow.

I used 300 minis of just clear on mine, no garlard. I do like the look of TJ's. I want to try and rewrap mine using 200 and add red and green also.

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TJ Hvasta wrote:

caniac wrote:
my grass is thick so what I did was cut off the bottom ring which left me with a two inch "stake" to push in the ground. even with strong winds my mini-trees didn't budge.


Hey yeah! Your trees will absolutely not budge, and sticking metal legs of a cage wrapped with live electrical wiring into the ground is the safest way to test your GFI's each time it rains!! :P

I think it would be lots better to buy several lengths of 5/4 board, drill some holes for those legs to keep them isolated from grounding out, then run a couple long spikes thru the board into the ground (away from the cages) to secure the boards.. 'just what I'd do..

As for the garland, it's entirely personal preference.. The wife and I tried making them both ways (with and without garland) but thot the green trees had better daytime appeal. And using 2sets of each color (600 ttl) light it up enough the lights on the back shine thru.

This pix is last years, just 8 trees set in the back of the yard.
actually started wrapping the lights 6-8 inches up so there was no/little contact. Did not have a single GFI issues with those props. and we got more than our fair share of rain for this time of year.

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Its not really lights themselves contacting the ground, its voltage leaking across the metal cage to ground. So having the lights raised above the bottom rings wont matter so much as having the metal raised above the ground. If you stick 1/2, 3/4 (or even 1") pvc stakes into the ground and put the trees on them to raise them an inch or so off the ground, that will eliminate a lot of GFI trips. The metal conduit would still... do it.. provide a path to ground.. pvc would isolate the metal from the Ground potential.

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TJ Hvasta wrote:

Its not really lights themselves contacting the ground, its voltage leaking across the metal cage to ground. So having the lights raised above the bottom rings wont matter so much as having the metal raised above the ground. If you stick 1/2, 3/4 (or even 1") pvc stakes into the ground and put the trees on them to raise them an inch or so off the ground, that will eliminate a LOT of GFI trips.
I understand what you are saying, just saying I had NO issues.

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That's good.. normally just having the ghost voltage present on the length of the cage was enough to trip the GFI when the ground gets wet. That's why I initially wrapped the cages with the plastic chickenwire to "raise" the lights off the metal. I did have GFI issues with the second set of trees that weren't plastic wrapped. That'll "learn me" next time. =)

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