Setting fence posts in clay soil

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Old 05-17-19, 04:47 AM
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Setting fence posts in clay soil

I'm working on replacing a fence around my house. I live in north central WV and the soil here has tons of clay in it- the previous fence posts were just driven into the ground. I pulled them out and am putting the new ones in with some concrete, but even with a gas auger I can only get down about a foot and a half before I hit solid clay and it won't go any deeper.

The fence is only going to be 4' high, so is this adequate? Also how does the clay affect the longevity of the posts? I have to assume water will just sit around the posts since the clay probably offers no drainage.
 
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Old 05-17-19, 06:13 AM
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Are the posts wood or metal?
 
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Old 05-17-19, 07:38 AM
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Normal rule of thumb is 1/3 below ground so with 4' above ground the goal is to use 6' material and bury 2'.
 
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Old 05-17-19, 10:39 AM
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I wouldn't expect a power auger to not be able to go thru clay, it might struggle but it should go deeper .... unless you are hitting rock. You might take a bar and try to break up the clay when it stops and then try again.
 
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Old 05-19-19, 06:35 PM
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They are wood posts.

And- it was most definitely a layer of solid clay. Maybe with a 2 man auger it would dig deeper but for me it either wouldn't bite, or if it did bite it would twist out of my grip even with my knees braced against it.

I got the posts set with concrete, I think they will be OK as is
 
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Old 05-20-19, 03:55 AM
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How many of the posts only go down 1.5'? What type of fence? the more lateral forces there are against the fence the more important it is to have the posts deeper.
 
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Old 05-20-19, 05:43 AM
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I have a 3 pt auger on the back of my tractor and the soil in my area is rock hard clay in summer. I MUST have sharp teeth on the auger. If the teeth dull it can take an hour or more to do one hole. With sharp teeth it's only a minute or two.
 
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