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Which way should the posts go in the ground???

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  • Which way should the posts go in the ground???

    Okay I keep getting different answers from the different post suppliers and fencing specialists!

    The cedar posts all have a bit of a taper, and one person told me the wider end goes in the ground with the narrow end up, yet another person said that the narrow end goes in the ground! We will be primarily using a post pounder to put them in, so putting the narrow end in does make more sense. But then someone else said that doing that will make them heave out of the ground faster!!

    So which is it??? Please help!!

  • #2
    How much of a taper? Some are tapered to a point to be driven in, but they generally are pretty tapered. If you are talking about slightly tapered throughout the whole length- like 7" at the bottom and 5" at the top, I would put the wider part in the ground. I don't know the technically correct answer, but a post that's wider at the top will be top heavy and I'd rather not have that stress on the smaller part in the ground.


    • #3
      From what I've read, you put the wider part in the ground. Some people even will cut the bottom at an angle so it's more like driving a stake into the ground. I've spent quite a bit of time on the TractorByNet forums reading about tractors before we bought our purchase and noticed they talk about all sorts of other things like that as well there too.
      David A. Staples
      Pony Tail Acres | Find Us On Facebook


      • #4
        I've always put the fatter end into the ground, but then we are on sand and just dealing with a slight taper. It seems more stable that way.


        • #5
          Heavy end in the ground.
          If you're driving the posts instead of augering I'd still think putting the points on the wider end might be better.
          You jump in the saddle,
          Hold onto the bridle!
          Jump in the line!


          • #6
            If you pound the posts into the ground wide end first, they will be loose.

            By pounding in the posts wide end first, you are making a hole in the ground that is larger than post.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Firefilly View Post
              Okay I keep getting different answers from the different post suppliers and fencing specialists!

              The cedar posts all have a bit of a taper, and one person told me the wider end goes in the ground with the narrow end up, yet another person said that the narrow end goes in the ground! We will be primarily using a post pounder to put them in, so putting the narrow end in does make more sense. But then someone else said that doing that will make them heave out of the ground faster!!

              So which is it??? Please help!!
              IF I was pounding them in ( which I just did with 100) I would buy them already sharpened, which I did for $2.20 each. You can't pound them without sharpening or I have never been able to anyhow. And you will also need an iron bar to make a bit of a hole with first. The pre sharpened posts around here are sold with the smaller end being the sharpened one.


              • #8
                Widest part in the ground.
                Now in Kentucky


                • #9
                  Are cedar posts strong enough to drive?


                  • #10
                    Erm, cedar posts are strong as oxen.

                    I vote heavy end in, followed by generous tamping


                    • #11
                      If you pound the posts in wide end first, won't you end up with loose posts?

                      Because the post is narrower in the middle then it is at the wide end, wouldn't the hole you are creating as the post goes into the ground be larger than the post itself?


                      • #12
                        A common sense problem.

                        How many of you hammer a nail in the wood head first?

                        If you are planting posts with an auger and tamping the dirt with that man killing tamping bar, put the post in the ground big end down.

                        If you are driving it, smaller end first unless you want the hole to be larger than the post and will fill it and tamp the fill.

                        As for the post being top heavy, that is no factor at all.

                        If the post is in the ground the proper depth, there is very little effect.

                        If it is not in at the proper depth, the stress of wire tension, horses scratching on it (or worse with cattle), deer jumping it, etc., will wiggle them anyway.

                        A sound post with a good driver will drive without sharpening if the soil is approximately the same moisture content and condition as you would want for plowing.

                        Dry hard soil will be too hard and the post will not be tight.

                        Wet mucky soil is almost but not quite as bad. If in doubt, error on the too wet rather than too dry.



                        • #13
                          Cedar posts that are not milled, so thicker on one end and with fuzz still on, that is the bark, are not meant to be driven, but a hole dug, set in there big end at the bottom and dirt tamped back in the hole.
                          We have some that are still in there and doing fine after 100 years.

                          The bigger of those posts are used for corners.
                          If you ever have to pull some out, you will find it is not easy at all, they are set in there for life.

                          Most anyone any more uses steel post and pipe corners.
                          I don't see people here using wood any more.

                          If you use wood, be sure to put the wire and staples on the side the winds will push it into the post, not away from the post.
                          If it is on the wrong side, you will spend years replacing the staples.
                          Only in an extremely small trap or wing you have to put the wire inside, where the cattle will crowd against it and the posts.
                          In the larger stretches, wire on the prevailing wind's side.


                          • #14
                            pointy end down


                            • #15
                              The man who used a post driver to install all our wood posts, just drove the pointed end down. There was NO tamping, NO filling, NO loose posts! The two that were not straight in line could not be pulled, had to be cut off, with new posts driven.

                              This post driver works like a pile driver, just RAMS the post into the ground. He was here both times in the spring, so clay dirt was damp to wet, had no problems gettting the posts set in the dirt. He did hit a couple rocks while doing our fence, those posts shattered in the machine. Posts ranged from 5 to 10 inches for the corner posts. All corners double braced, using wood post cross pieces, twisted wire to tighten the angles.

                              Hand digging, using an auger, hole is bigger than the post, so always put the big end in the ground. Thicker means longer time to rot off, so post lasts longer. Not sure what other kind of post driver there would be, except the pile driver type.

                              Have to say in the years since installation NOT ONE post has come loose except those hit by the tractor mowing or cars falling off the County road.

                              I agree with egontoast, "Pointy end down."


                              • Original Poster

                                Well, the posts are in! We pounded 91 posts in wide end down - and then just filled any gaps around the post with screenings. They are 3 feet in the ground and 5 feet above the ground - and they are VERY solid!! We did sharpen two of the ends for the posts on either side of the driveway, as the ground was really hard there - but everywhere else the posts went in with no problems. No split posts or anything .

                                And now to hang all the wire.........