Q&A / 

Loose Fence Post Fix

Katie Maguire is a woman after my own heart. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida and has some goats. I want a few goats to go hiking with me when I do outdoor ham radio. Read about Katie's new fencing that has loose posts:

"Tim, I have a brand new fence on ten acres with sheep and goat wire and three strands barbed wire.

Here's Katie's new fence. It looks gorgeous! Photo credit: Katie Maguire

Here's Katie's new fence. It looks gorgeous! Photo credit: Katie Maguire

The posts were solid until they stretched the fence.  Now half of the posts are loose in the hole.  Is this normal or do I need to get them to come back to fix it? These are wooden round posts, 8 ft high with 2 ft in the ground.  He put concrete in the braces, but not each line post, these are just tamped in the ground.  I suspect he will say the rain will tighten them up, to just leave them, but I paid a lot of money for installation and I am worried they did something wrong."

Here's my answer:

Katie, I've installed LOTS of fence in just soil and over time once it compacts it usually holds the posts very well.

Now, that said, I've never installed fence in SANDY soil as I suspect you have down there in sunny Florida. I've always installed posts in soils rich in clay that hardens like concrete.

If the soil is not compacted as it's put around the posts, you bet it will be loose. What's more, to compact it correctly, it needs to be damp.

Here's what I'd do.

Take a ride out into the country and stop by a farmer or two that has fence like you do. Tell them your situation and what they do to have solid fencing in sandy soil. I can't believe for a minute they pour concrete around each post. That would be quite expensive.

Finally, you can do a test. Take some water and deep water a few of the posts and use a piece of rebar to poke the soil around the post to get the water to really penetrate. Add more soil if it compacts and is drawn down into the hole. Allow it to set for a few days. Come back and see if that doesn't tighten them up. My guess is it will.



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