Monkey poles—Dimensions, etc.

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#1
As usual I am overthinking this but scientists tend to do that. There are a lot of posts about display benches but not much I can find on monkey poles, especially specifics. In some online stuff I have seen suggestions of finishing them off so the plant is at eye level. But does that mean the base of the tree, the top, the middle? What looks best from an aesthetics viewpoint? Second. In reading Buehler’s book he recommends poking these poles 30-36” in the ground, but I have never set a post deeper than the freeze line which is 18” in this area and most of the mid-Atlantic. He also seems to over build his tops making them 26”x18” and suggesting it isn’t aesthetically pleasing to mix different sizes. Now in order to keep SWMBO happy I need to keep this as aesthetically pleasing as possible, so how about some dimensions on these vital issues? Pictures of your monkey poles would be appreciated, especially where you break the rules.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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#4
Yeah! More!

It totally depends on who you are, how you work, what you have, and will obtain.

How do you bonsai?

A scientist can be a rich guy who buys finished material has an automatic watering system, a gardener to systematically apply sytemics and a pro come weekly to do work in a designated area on one tree at a time...

That guy can go aesthetics only.

I'm a mad scientist, I hate pesticides and love hand watering, I care about aesthetics but I grow out nursery stuff in nursery pots which will never really look nice. I have nursery pots on Monkey poles at eye level to work on them...utilitarian monkey poles.

A scientist can be hell bent on grafting and frankentrees and growing out new cultivars on alien rootstock with a fetish for lining up rows of rotten apples between his experiments. Moving, adaptable, utilitarian stands are good for that guy.

I know I'll never stop growing stuff out in ugly stages...I like solo utilitarian monkey poles cuz it is easier to walk around and view them for work.

But when I have finished trees in pots....those will be different Monkey poles, in a different area.

That will be the area to purely enjoy them.
It is after all why we do this!
Those MUST be beautiful!

I'd think it down to where your visitors will be seated and what height and position best displays each tree for them.

Thoughts from a Tea Ceremony.

Americans Display things in a boasting manner to show off.

The Japanese Display things to make their guests feel comfortable, and even other certain emotions in connection with the ceremony. But never jealousy, Never Greed.

I appreciate this Welcoming of Guests.

There is a proper way to display trees in this manner just as there is a proper way in a show. These ways are SET because they are the most effective. But we tend to sit in chairs and not on the floor....adjust.

Sorce
 
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#6
You must not know the same scientists I do! To keep SWMBO happy they have to look nice. Keep in mind she is a master gardener and the gardens are her domain. She will tolerate my bonsai on monkey poles only as long as they look good in her plant beds. She really liked the bonsai display stands at the Denver Botanical Gardens. The really good thing is she also is a potter and right now she is having “fun” experimenting with making bonsai pots for me! So as long as I get free pots I’ll be happy to make my monkey poles look nice.
 
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#7
I hate a permanent post so my stands all have bases so they can be moved. I actually did some for a friend this weekend.
View attachment 183369 View attachment 183370
Very nice, I have seen this type on various websites and was kind of concerned they might not be stable if a good breeze happens along—any problems with stability? Yours look about 2-3’ tall whihc may lower the center of gravity.
 
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#8
Very nice, I have seen this type on various websites and was kind of concerned they might not be stable if a good breeze happens along—any problems with stability? Yours look about 2-3’ tall whihc may lower the center of gravity.

My tall ones are 40" - they have stood thru 2 major hurricanes and years of Florida weather with the plants on them with not one stand ever moving. The bases are wider than the top there is no way for them to be tipped over and no wind under 100mph will even wiggle them.
 

GrimLore

Imperial Masterpiece
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#9
As usual I am overthinking this but scientists tend to do that. There are a lot of posts about display benches but not much I can find on monkey poles, especially specifics. In some online stuff I have seen suggestions of finishing them off so the plant is at eye level. But does that mean the base of the tree, the top, the middle? What looks best from an aesthetics viewpoint? Second. In reading Buehler’s book he recommends poking these poles 30-36” in the ground, but I have never set a post deeper than the freeze line which is 18” in this area and most of the mid-Atlantic. He also seems to over build his tops making them 26”x18” and suggesting it isn’t aesthetically pleasing to mix different sizes. Now in order to keep SWMBO happy I need to keep this as aesthetically pleasing as possible, so how about some dimensions on these vital issues? Pictures of your monkey poles would be appreciated, especially where you break the rules.
The viewing height reference in general refers to the height of the chair, bench, pillow, etc... that will be used. At large place overseas you will find entranceways with poles on one side of a path and directly across from a bench allowing you to have a full view of the plant without bending over or looking upward.

The use of pillows or pads I refer to is more commonly seen in Traditional Indoor Japanese display areas called Tokonoma.

If you don't plan on extended viewing taller poles would most likely be easier for daily viewing while doing maintenance... There are really no set rules just common sense practices.

Same rules apply to top size on poles, common sense, big enough to handle the pots easily while wide and deep enough to look stable. Consider mixing in a few big enough to also place an accent plant on as well.

As far as the frost line - If your frost line is 18" go another 4 - 6 inches deeper, less for 2 foot poles, more for 40+ inchers, they will be stable.

Grimmy
 
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#10
Well I started putting posts in the ground today and quickly realized that at 2’ & 3’ they were too tall. These are on a raised terrace that is about 2’ above the low point in the yard making them effectively 4’ & 5’ above that lowest point. So these will be lopped off at about 18” & 24” and we’ll see how that looks. I also decided that the locations closest to the viewer will not be monkey poles but instead will be a 2 post bench. I’ll post photos once I settle on the final dimensions and get some tops built.
 
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#11
Well after an abortive first attemp (too clunky) I now have 3monkey poles built and installed. These are all out of PT pine 2x2 stock on 4x4 PT posts. All are 3’ above ground and are about 10”x13.5” screwed together with deck screws. I have another 5 planned with a couple of them 12”x18” for some big pots. The area gets several hours of early morning sun then about an hour of late afternoon. Most of the day it is a high canopy with dappled sun. Here are a few shots.
 

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#13
Cool stuff! I'm just wondering, do you take them off when heavy winds are expected, or do you tie them down or anything?
I guess I’ll find out! All joking aside, that is a good question/observation. I probably would take them off the stands if I knew we had some heavy gusty winds coming. Out in Denver at the bontanical gardens they had their bonsai on smooth rock slabs but I also noticed they later put down a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet, which I assumed was to keep them from sliding off in a high wind. I have also seem some places where they used nylon tie downs, and I wondered if it was to prevent theft or wind damage. In this location I will not have the luxury of installing windshields but I am considering adding wires through the drainage holes to strap them to the platforms if necessary.
 
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#14
Just built a shelf today, a little on the narrow side, so I'm wondering if there might be another technique. I figured to just hammer some nails into the wood and later put the pot in between those nails. I thought about wire, but that would make lifting the pot from it's place difficult every time.
Then again, my neighborhood has a lot of cats running around. I'm not sure if anything would even help against them tipping over and digging in everything.
 
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#15
Just built a shelf today, a little on the narrow side, so I'm wondering if there might be another technique. I figured to just hammer some nails into the wood and later put the pot in between those nails. I thought about wire, but that would make lifting the pot from it's place difficult every time.
Then again, my neighborhood has a lot of cats running around. I'm not sure if anything would even help against them tipping over and digging in everything.
I am more concerned with squirrels climbing on them and tipping them over. The more I think about it the more I like the idea of adding extra aluminum wires through the drain holes or tie down holes in the bottom of the pot. These platforms have about 1/2” between the 2x2 slats so a wire could easily be wrapped around one and be completely out of sight. Here is a photo showing wires clipped over the rim of the pot and passed under the slats.
 

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#16
More monkey poles went up today. On these I installed a couple screws under the horizontal 2x2s ro give me a place to attach wires to keep the wind from blowing pots off the platforms. I ran a length of 2mm aluminum wire through the tie down wires under the pot and then looped them around the screws. They should stand up to a pretty good breeze now.
 

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