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Wood fence post fill?


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A friend and me were discussing the best fill to put in a fence post hole for an 8' long 4"x4" or 6"x6"  square post for fencing a garden.  He says to use class 5 gravel.  I say to use about  1/2 fine barn lime mixed with 1/2 soil from the augered hole.  My argument is that the barn lime mixed with our sandy loam fertile soil would be more stable in a well drained soil where we get an average amount of rain, whereas the class five gravel would have air pockets and be somewhat loose.  Also, I don't want any chemicals leaching into my garden from recycled materials used in class 5 gravel.  We used my barn lime method (an old farmers' trick) on a 75 " long 8" high solid hardwood fence 4 years ago and have noticed no shift in the posts despite high winds and many torrential downpours.  I placed the posts in about a 2 1/2' hole, did the mix, watered it and let it set for a few days.  Neither of us want to use concrete mix.  Too hard to chip out if need be.


Your comments please.  Thanks.

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As a kid growing up on a farm. I helped construct miles of fence. Our farm was on sandy soil as well. We simply put the augered material back in around the post. Tamped in back in in layers, usually 10-12 inches. Usually with a hammer handle or crowbar. anything handy would work. The posts were rock solid in no time. Class 5, tamped in would not have air pockets and would be very solid. Class 5 produced around here is usually virgin so would not have any recycled materials.

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I agree that either would work just fine.  Personally I'd just put the augered dirt back in the hole and tamp it down like paceman.


Class 5 would also work but of course thats not free.  If you tamp it down Class 5 should have no voids, if it did it wouldn't be used as a base for so many things. 


If chemicals are an issue for you make sure your posts are cedar and not pressure treated. 

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I will echo that class five, when properly tamped, will not have any voids. It packs extremely tight ,actually, and provides good drainage.


To add to that... I just did a 64 foot fence last fall. I did the first few posts just with the black dirt/sand I had removed to dig post holes and the next few posts were packed with class five. The class five poles packed tighter. That sold me.

Edited by pikestabber
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I think its a good idea to use cedar.  I know of a place I can  cut round posts from cedar trees that were removed from a dry bluff slope a few years ago to encourage rare native vegetation and left there.  There should be plenty of opportunities to trim back dead branches to trunks that are 4-6 inches diameter.  I'm putting in lightweight deer fencing or poultry wire that is 7 feet tall.  Any suggestions as to how deep to dig the holes?  That would affect how long I cut the trunks.  Can't remember how deep we used to do it for wood fence posts.  I'm also trying to figure out how far to space them.  Any suggestions?  Thanks everyone for taking the time to communicate.


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I believe I've always put fence posts 3 feet deep.  If you want this to be a permanent fence that won't need further attention that might be best but you may be able to skimp on that depth a little.


Are you using any sort of horizontal supports for the wire fencing?  I would think you'd want a frame to support the wire to keep it tight.  If you did that I'd probably put the posts maybe 8 feet apart at most and then use them to support the wood frame that is supporting the wire.


For the frame I'd probably do an 8' x 7' frame with some additional vertical or horizontal supports to support the wire.  You maybe be able to get away with putting horizontal pieces between your posts and use your posts as the vertical ends of the frame but you'll likely still want additional vertical or horizontal supports between the posts to support the field of wire. 


You may also want to consider going with 8' tall wire and bury the bottom foot to prevent critters from crawling underneath.  What I've done in the past is have about a foot of extra wire at the bottom and have it go down about 4 inches below ground level and then curve it out away from the fence.  Then bury and seed over it.  It keeps critters from crawling underneath and keeps them from digging underneath without having to bury the fencing as deep. 

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