Deluxe Gourd rack ground sleeve for ground stake?

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Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:26 pm
Location: TX/Mckinney
Martin Colony History: 2016 - 1 Pair (5 Fledged)
2015 - 1 Pair (3 Fledged)

Has anyone planted a ground sleeve for the deluxe gourd rack ground stake? Basically I don’t want a stake sticking out of the ground for the 7-8 months while the martins are away. Are there any landlords that do this or have done this? Should I go for it or is it a bad idea for some reason.
G Saner
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:37 pm
Location: TX/Kerrville
Martin Colony History: Fort Worth, TX (1967-1976), The Colony, TX (1981-1985), Carrollton, TX (1986-2013), Kerrville, TX (2015-present).

Two SuperGourd poles (12 gourds on each) at River Point Assisted Living Center.


I leave the pole over the ground stake year round. I do remove the gourds during the winter and keep them in storage. For the first time this off-season, I left the perching rods in place also.

In February, I take the pole down to lubricate the pulleys and wax the pole and predator guard. Then I reinstall the gourds and start watching the skies.
G Saner
Ed Svetich-WI
Posts: 798
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 10:05 pm
Location: Brooks, Wi (McGinnis Lake)
Martin Colony History: 24 Super and Excluder Gourds on two gourd racks, all SREH. Full occupancy. My philosophy is to maximize fledge % with existing cavities rather than adding gourds to grow colony, thus providing opportunities for new colony expansion. Fledge over 100 nestlings yearly from 24 gourds. Band nestlings in cooperation with state university. 2019 Adendum: Reduced colony size to 12 gourds to focus on more intensive management regimen.

I have three ground stakes for 2 inch square gourd racks embedded in concrete for stability. I pull the gourds, arms and the entire poles for winter storage. I clean and oil all the bolts, nuts, pulleys and anything else that can deteriorate before I store it. The spring is busy enough with out having to tend to maintenance.They are too expensive to expose to the weather year round. Maybe our winters are more severe but the UV from the sun will also cause damage. I cover the exposed stakes in the off season. They are not unsightly. You could build a wooden sleeve to cover it if you don't like the exposed ground stake.

Posts: 761
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:09 pm
Location: Manitoba/Altona
Martin Colony History: six pair in 2014, have grown to 52 pairs in 2017.

I use a ground sleeve for a 2 inch square tube, you need a little longer pole to get your desired height. If you have ground water, wet soils, you may have rust problems in the future. I leave my pole in now permanently, but the original idea was to make it removable.
2011- first year trying, a few visitors.
2012-One ASY pair, raised two young, lots of subby visitors. So thankfull.
2013-daily subby visits.
2014-Six SY pairs
2015-18 pair, 83 fledglings
2016-36 pair, 147 fledglings
2017-52 pairs, 192 fledglings.
2018-60 pair, 246 fledglings.
2019-59 pair, 238 fledglings.
2020-62 pair.
Posts: 1046
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2005 7:24 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Espyville/Pymatuning Reservoir Area
Martin Colony History: Taking care of 11 active public colonies and trying to start two more in northwestern PA. Also attempting to restart another one in southwestern PA, in Collier Township's Hilltop Park. In 2017, not sure what happened but the ASY male returned and then a couple of weeks later he was gone. It could have been weather related. No other birds showed up. I had a starling nesting at the Public site that I had trouble getting rid of.
In 2018, we fledged 629 martins at all of the sites.

I have several ground sleeves in use across several sites that I have. I find them very useful, and agree with your idea 100%. Remove the pole and the ground stake, and just leave the sleeve in the ground. I will cover the ground sleeve to keep water from getting in, since we have ground freezes to a depth of around 30", so I think the covers help. For the 2" sleeves, I go to my local Ford dealer and get a couple plastic trailer hitch covers. For the 3" square sleeves, I cut a piece of Masonite about 4" x 4" and a piece of 2"x4" to fit inside of the 3" square sleeve. You definitely want to leave at least a 1/4" or more of space in case there is any swelling of the wood.

Bill Wenger

Building the Purple Martin population one bird at a time!
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