Pole/gourd maintenance in a salt water environment

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G Saner
Posts: 147
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 need advice. My cousin and I plan to install a Deluxe Gourd pole (2 inch aluminum) at her house this fall. The pole itself will only be about 200 feet from Matagorda Bay.

What is the effect of this salt environment on the pulleys, rope and pole itself? Should the entire unit be stored inside for the offseason? Any tips would be appreciated.
G Saner
Carlton
Posts: 1942
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 6:42 pm
Location: Florida/Pompano Beach
Martin Colony History: I moved to South Florida, from Delaware, in August of 2015.

I will have 2 MSS-8 houses, with Excluder entrances, here on my condo grounds. This season I will also have two Deluxe Gourd Racks with 24 Excluder Gourds with Modified Excluder entrances. In our condo development, along the lake in a different section, I have 8 Excluder Gourds hanging from 84 inch Shepherd's Hooks with predator guards.

At Quiet Waters Park, nearby in Deerfield Beach, I care for a Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 TVG's. I also care for a Deluxe Gourd rack with 12 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder entrances.

At another local park, Tradewinds Park at Coconut Creek, care for a Trendsetter 12, 5 gourds rack with 60 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder Entrances and 1 Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 Troyer Vertical Gourds with wing guards over the Conley II to keep out smaller starlings.

I live about 4 miles, as the crow flies, from the Atlantic, here in SE Florida, and we find that the air is very corrosive. I am not able to bring in the poles, as I did when I lived up in coastal Delaware, but I do bring in the gourds, gourd arms, predator guard and the Trio houses. We are not able to lift the aluminum poles off of their ground stakes. I am assuming it is because of oxidation.
John Barrow
Posts: 958
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 4:12 pm
Location: Corpus Christi / Sandia , Texas

G. Saner:
I oversaw several colonies from my weekend house at Port O'Connor, TX (on Matagorda Bay), for over 20 years. There are lots of martins in the area. I would certainly recommend taking the system down at the end of each season. You have two obstacles in that area: high winds and corrosion. Removing the system in the non-breeding season will reduce the likelihood of wind damage during a good part of hurricane season, and it will offer a better view of corrosive damage when put back up and allow any needed repairs, maintenance, lubrication, etc. Storage inside will also greatly reduce or eliminate the corrosive effects of the salty climate-while inside.

I installed all of my systems using an aluminum ground socket and aluminum ground stake. Lubricate both of these parts annually at installation with a good lubricant like Fluid Film. Do not use a steel socket , stake, or both, as it will corrode quickly and be hard to separate the two. All of my ground sockets were installed along side a treated 4x4 post buried at least 30 inches in the concrete base and running above ground about 3 feet, attached to the gourd rack pole using 1 or 2 stainless radiator clamps. That system takes pressure off of the bottom of the pole which is the weak wind point. (I had systems in place passing through the eye wall of Hurricane Claudette in early July, 2004 (I believe) with winds clocked at 113 mph, sustaining no loss.

If properly maintained your aluminum parts, as well as the rope, should last many years if stored inside during the off season. They will not last near as long if left outside year around. The stock pulleys sold with many of these systems are prone to rusting. They will last longer if lubricated once or twice a year. Another option we have used is to replace rusting pulleys, as well as ropes that are deteriorating, with ropes and pulleys purchased from a marine supply store--like West Marine--that sell products specifically designed for a corrosive salt water environment and/or use on boats used in salt water. Sailboat suppliers offer many options that will allow upgrading to heavier, more durable, ropes and pulleys.
~~TEAMED WITH A MARTIN GODDESS~~

Member/Mentor-PMCA. I do regular nestchecks and participate in PROJECT MARTINWATCH!! Coordinated 3 geolocator studies-2009, 2010 & 2013. State and Fed licensed bander (retired Jan., 2020)
G Saner
Posts: 147
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.

Carlton and John,

Many thanks for the great advice. I had thought about the pulleys being a problem but had not considered the ground stake. Also, thanks to the PMCA for the Forum that allows landlords to benefit from other landlords knowledge.

John, did you have your aluminum ground stake fabricated or purchase it with the pole? Gary
G Saner
John Barrow
Posts: 958
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 4:12 pm
Location: Corpus Christi / Sandia , Texas

G. Saner, I use both 2 in and a 3 inch Troyer poles. Both come with alluminum stake and sleeve (the sleeve may be an add on option, but it is reasonably priced and a great option to use, allowing one to remove the pole and stake, and place it elsewhere in a new sleeve. My wife uses PMCA gold bundle poles at Botanical Gardens, CCTX. PMCA used to use steel stakes, but I believe they are now all aluminum on pole parts. A sleeve bought at either site would be interchangeable, or you could buy a 2 in aluminum pole and make 6 or 7 sleeves.
Keep those parts lubricated and they will last for many years, whereas mixing a steel stake with either a steel or aluminum sleeve will be short lived. They will corrode together.

Another thing. The ground around Matagorda Bay is primarily sand and the water table is close to the ground surface. We used to dig a hole, which was easy to do in the sand, and just pour in a few bags of sack-crete around the pole.There was no need to add water, or very little. Have enough pole section attached on and above the stake to level the system out. The high water table will set the concrete overnight.
~~TEAMED WITH A MARTIN GODDESS~~

Member/Mentor-PMCA. I do regular nestchecks and participate in PROJECT MARTINWATCH!! Coordinated 3 geolocator studies-2009, 2010 & 2013. State and Fed licensed bander (retired Jan., 2020)
G Saner
Posts: 147
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.

John,

Thank you for assisting us inland landlords with this information. I called the PMCA and their ground stakes are steel.

This unit will be installed across the bay from Port O'Connor at Palacios. So I guess technically it will be on Tres Palacios Bay. My cousin and her husband were very interested in my colony and would like to start their own. I think they will be good landlords. Her husband fishes in the bay with his boat so I believe he will be aware and diligent with the corrosive maintenance. Gary
G Saner
Carlton
Posts: 1942
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 6:42 pm
Location: Florida/Pompano Beach
Martin Colony History: I moved to South Florida, from Delaware, in August of 2015.

I will have 2 MSS-8 houses, with Excluder entrances, here on my condo grounds. This season I will also have two Deluxe Gourd Racks with 24 Excluder Gourds with Modified Excluder entrances. In our condo development, along the lake in a different section, I have 8 Excluder Gourds hanging from 84 inch Shepherd's Hooks with predator guards.

At Quiet Waters Park, nearby in Deerfield Beach, I care for a Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 TVG's. I also care for a Deluxe Gourd rack with 12 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder entrances.

At another local park, Tradewinds Park at Coconut Creek, care for a Trendsetter 12, 5 gourds rack with 60 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder Entrances and 1 Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 Troyer Vertical Gourds with wing guards over the Conley II to keep out smaller starlings.

Thank you everyone. I really learned a lot as well. Live and learn.
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