Best way to put in posts for run?

my first peepers

11 Years
Jul 9, 2008
South Western VT
I am buliding a new run and I already have some 6' cedar posts that I would like to reuse. I would like to use as much of the height above ground as possible so I don't have to bend over in the run. I live in a place where the ground will freeze and my DH insists they have to be 4' in the ground so as not to shift...which wouldn't make much sense as only 2' would be sticking out. (I will put netting over the top and can make it taller in the middle as there is a big tree I'm going to attach it to. It will be shaped like a circus tent, going higher to the tree.) As for the posts...I have holes dug about 18" right now and I was thinking of using quick-crete (sp?). Any thoughts are appreciated as this is my first time doing something like this!


11 Years
Feb 27, 2008
Russia, NY
which wouldn't make much sense as only 2' would be sticking out

You just need longer posts

I think you'll be fine just putting the posts 18 inches in the ground. Runs usually don't have to support much weight so your posts shouldn't be doing anywhere.​


11 Years
Jun 1, 2008
North Fork Eastern Long Island
I think everyone is addressing two different points about sinking a post. How much post into the ground vs. how deep of a hole.

The way I see it?

1) The end of post should be a minimum 18" below the surface in order to provide stability to the part remaining above ground.

2) The bottom of the hole should be below the local freeze line in order to prevent frost heave. I generally accomplish this by pouring some stones into the hole to get the pole set at the height I want and then following it up with concrete.

In my area during a really cold winter, the pilings used to support docks in the creeks will heave as much as 10' into the air. Makes you dock look like a ski jump. Luckily they will generally come right back down as it thaws.


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Alternative thought, if you HAVE to work with these posts you already have:

Get the longest metal fence spikes you can find, probably 3' (more is better). You know, the things you wham into the ground and they have a square socket on top that you bolt your fencepost into. That way you will have the full 6' height of your posts all aboveground.

THey will not heave much (because of depth, because of tiny cross-section, and b/c metal is smooth and doesn't allow much grip for frozen ground), and b/c this is a run not a building it is ok if things shift a little during the year.

The down side is primarily that they do not give nearly as much rigid stability as you'd have from a properly set post. Thus you will need more, and more rigid, crossbracing of the walls of your run, including diagonal bracing and diagonally-braced corners. It may be a reasonable tradeoff for you though.

I would strongly recommend against sinking wood posts only 2' in a cold climate. They WILL heave, and each year will ratchet higher and higher out of the ground til they are so weak they just keel over.



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