The Fence Post

Gopher Problem? Try This!

September 23, 2014 | by Duncan Page

gophers

 

Gophers are highly destructive animals.  They live in burrows, and like to eat many of the plants that people have in their gardens and yards.  If a family of gophers takes up residence in your yard, you could quickly find your lawn taken over by gopher mounds and tunnels.  It is easy enough to kill or capture gophers once they arrive, but it would be greatly preferable to keep them out in the first place.

  • Problems Brought on by Gophers

Gophers can cause a number of problems.  The aesthetic damage to your landscaping is just the beginning.  Gophers also eat garden plants like carrots, lettuce and radishes.  Gophers also carry dangerous diseases like rabies.  They have sharp teeth, and, like any other animal, they can be dangerous when they feel threatened.  Worst of all, gophers make holes in your yard; these holes are a trip hazard for children or elderly individuals.  Before you know it, a child could have a sprained ankle.  An older person could end up with a broken ankle, wrist or hip. 

  • What Solutions Are Available?

There are several solutions to gopher problems to choose from, depending on your needs, preferences and budget.

  1.  Gopher Repelling Plants

Gophers have a rather adventurous palate, but there are some plants that they do not really care for.  If you plant these species at the perimeter of your property, you could make your yard a less attractive area to gophers.  Consult the plant experts at your local nursery for advice on choosing gopher repelling plants.

  1.  Traps

There are many reasons that trapping gophers may be preferable to killing them outright.  Gopher traps allow you to rid your yard of gophers easily and humanely.

  1.  Poison

Poison is quite effective at killing gophers, but there are serious concerns surrounding its use.  The poisons that are effective against gophers could also be harmful to children, pets or livestock.  If you can be certain that none of these will be in danger of ingesting the poison, it may still be a good solution, provided you have some way to dispose of the dead gophers.

  1.  Gopher Fencing

Fencing is a very effective tool for keeping gophers out of your yard.  What kind of wire mesh do you need?  To keep the gophers out, choose wire mesh fencing with no more than ½-inch openings.  Gophers are burrowing animals, so the fence should extend at least 18 inches below the surface.  Because it will be highly susceptible to corrosion, choose galvanized steel or vinyl coated fence wire.  If your yard is already populated by gophers, you will need to use one of the other methods to get rid of the gophers once you install the fence; otherwise, you could end up with a gopher sanctuary.

  • How These Solutions Can Work for You

No matter what solution you choose, keeping gophers out will make your property a safer place that is better looking or more productive.  It takes a lot of time and energy to maintain a healthy yard; do not let gophers ruin your hard work.  Choose the solution that works for you, and get rid of your uninvited guests before they ruin the party.

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Keep Bambi Out this Season!

September 18, 2014 | by Duncan Page

deer

 

Deer are among the most adaptable animals on earth.  The more than 90 different species of deer have found homes all over the earth, in nearly every habitat imaginable, from dense forests and mountainous terrain to marshes and deserts.  Though types of deer may be found in many types of biomes, deer typically inhabit the border zones that mark the transition from forests to meadows, where there is soft grass and other plants for them to eat and adequate cover for them to safely spend the night, relatively protected from predators.

Unfortunately, there is another creature that likes to live in nearly every type of habitat, all around the world.  That creature is the human being.  Deer have little aversion to living close to humans.  In fact, since they are so adaptable, most deer are quite willing to help themselves to landscape and garden plants provided by humans.  This is quite convenient for the deer, but much less desirable for the people who find their nice-looking yards destroyed by deer.  People who have never witnessed it have difficulty understanding just how destructive a herd of deer can be.

Deer Like What You Like

If you do not want deer in your yard, maybe you could just design your yard to make it unattractive to them.  The two biggest problems with this approach are that humans tend to like the same types of landscaping that deer appreciate, and deer will eat almost anything.  If you choose to live in an area that is also inhabited by deer, and you want to keep your garden or yard safe, you will need to keep the deer out.  You can protect a garden with fencing; that is the only really effective way to keep deer out.

Which Fence Do I Need?

There are many different styles of deer fence available.  When you want to protect a garden with fencing, you will need to consider three characteristics of your new fence.

  • Materials

The two most common materials used in protective fencing are metal and plastic.  Metal fencing tends to be more durable than plastic, but is also more expensive.  If you want to get the maximum life from your fence, consider using galvanized steel or welded mesh that has been coated in PVC.  This has the added benefit of blending into your yard, making the fence less of an eyesore.

  • Height

To protect your yard from deer, a six-foot fence is the absolute minimum, although an eight-foot fence is the ideal choice.  An eight-foot fence may cost a little more, but it is better to install the right fence from the start than to have to rebuild your inadequate fence a few seasons later.

  • Appearance

This is the final characteristic to consider; it is also the point where you will have the most options.  Deer fencing is available in an enormous variety of styles and colors, for everything from an austere, industrial look to an aesthetically pleasing look that blends in with the environment.

The deer in your area would like nothing better to gorge themselves on your landscape or garden.  Do not let them; you can protect a garden with fencing, and keep the deer where they belong.
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Wire 101: What is a Wire Gauge, Anyway?

September 16, 2014 | by Duncan Page

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Gauge is a measurement of wire thickness.  Wire gauge information is confusing to many people because it does not work like most of the measurement systems that non-technical people are familiar with.  For one thing, each works in reverse; as the numbers get larger, the wire gets thinner.  Another source of confusion is the fact that wire gauges do not correspond to convenient actual measurements.  To truly understand wire gauge, you must know something about the way that wire is manufactured.

How to Make Wire

To make wire, manufacturers start with a rod of metal; for fencing, steel is the most common choice.  This rod of metal is pulled through a metal plate with a hole in it.  This metal plate is called a die, and the process of pulling the metal through the die is known as drawing.  This process is repeated again and again with progressively smaller dies until the desired wire size is reached.  Originally, the gauge of the wire referred to the number of times that the drawing process was done.  Wire manufacturers started with Gauge 0 metal rods, and repeated the drawing process as many times as necessary.  In earlier times, the size of the dies and the wires produced through them could vary significantly from one shop to another, because of low-tech machining processes.  As machining and manufacturing became more precise, this variance began to become a problem. This eventually led to the standardization of wire gauge information; from that point on, each gauge measurement has corresponded to a particular size of wire.

Standard Wire Sizes

In the United States and Canada, the typical standard for wire gauge is called the American Wire Gauge.  In this system, the diameter of wire of a particular gauge is determined by a mathematical formula.  Using this formula, manufacturers are free to develop wire of any arbitrary gauge, including half or other fractional gauges.  Here is a list of common wire gauges that are used in fencing and their corresponding measurements:

8.5 gauge

0.121 inches

9 gauge

0.114 inches

10.5 gauge

0.096 inches

11 gauge

0.091 inches

12.5 gauge

0.076 inches

14 gauge

0.064 inches

16 gauge

0.051 inches

18 gauge

0.040 inches

20 gauge

0.032 inches

21 gauge

0.028 inches

23 gauge

0.023inches

27 gauge

0.014 inches

Different gauges of wire and different materials have different properties for flexibility, durability, and electrical conductivity, any or all of which may impact their usefulness as fencing material.  Your specific needs will determine what gauge of wire is best for your fence.

In many cases, the choice of wire gauge will be made for you when you choose a particular style and type of fence.  It is good to understand wire gauge information, but it is best not to get too caught up in it.  Rather than looking for a fence made of a particular gauge of wire, check out fences in person whenever possible, and choose a fence that feels sturdy.  When this is impossible, be sure to deal with an experienced, reputable vendor that can offer you more than just a number.
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What to Look for When Shopping for a Quality Welded Wire Fence

August 8, 2014 | by Duncan Page

Welded_Wire

When you are thinking about fencing, you have many choices.  You have a variety of materials, designs and types of construction to consider.  If you have decided to use metal fencing for your yard, farm or other property, there are several styles available.  There are two main classifications of metal fencing, decorative and purely functional.  Decorative fencing, usually made of aluminum or wrought iron, looks good, and is functional as well.  It is a good choice for yards, but it is expensive, and not commonly used to enclose large areas.  When cost is a primary concern, wire-fencing styles such as chain-link, barbed wire or welded wire are better choices.

Welded wire fencing is similar in design to chain-link fence, but, as the name implies, the wires making up the fence are welded together, making the fence stronger.  If you want to install welded wire fencing on your property, there are several things to look for in a quality welded wire fence.

  • Manufacturer

First, look for fencing made by a good manufacturer.  A history of making quality products and a reputation for good customer service are the indicators of the best manufacturers.  Look for these attributes when you are shopping for welded wire fencing.

  • Country of Origin

Building wire fencing is not too complex.  Wires are assembled on a jig and welded together, often by machines.  Because there is little labor involved, there is little advantage in choosing fencing manufactured overseas, where labor costs are lower.  The price of shipping increases costs; to keep prices competitive, many overseas fencing companies must cut corners on materials.  Choosing a fence made close to home makes it more likely that you will end up with a quality product that will last for many years.

  • Wire Gauge

Gauge is a measurement of the diameter of a piece of wire.  Originally, gauge referred to the number of drawing steps required to manufacture wire of a specific diameter; now, wire gauges are standardized to correspond to specific sizes.  Lower numbers are thicker.  Wire fencing is typically made from 12 to 16 gauge wire, with a diameter of 0.08 to 0.05 inches.

  • Wire Finish

Steel is a common metal used in making welded wire fencing, but it is susceptible to corrosion.  To combat this, most welded wire fencing has some kind of protective finish.  This finish could be paint, plastic, or zinc.  Steel protected by a thin layer of zinc is called galvanized steel.  Galvanization can be done before or after welding.  Galvanizing before welding offers some protection, but galvanizing after welding gives steel a thicker, stronger zinc coat that is extremely durable and can withstand many years of harsh elements.  A vinyl coating is also an option.  Vinyl is often combined with galvanization, giving the fence the best of both protection and looks.

Welded wire fencing is a cost effective material that is just as functional as chain-link fencing, but will not give your property quite the same industrial look.  When you are shopping for welded wire fencing, look for the attributes discussed here to ensure that you purchase a high quality product that will give you many years of service.
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Determining Your Deer Fence Height

August 5, 2014 | by Duncan Page

Deer_fence-2 

Deer are beautiful animals, with incredible natural abilities.  To people who live in cities, watching and admiring deer seems like one of the major attractions of country living.  People who live in the country know better; deer may be incredible animals, but their beauty and majesty quickly fades when they become uninvited guests in your garden.  One hungry deer can destroy an entire crop of fruits, vegetables or flowers in just a few hours.  If you live in an area populated by deer, and you want to keep your garden looking nice, you must find some way to keep them out.  You need a deer fence.

Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?

Deer fencing is, oddly enough, metal, plastic or wooden fencing designed to keep deer away from your yard and the plants that you don’t want them eating.  If deer are a problem for you, deer fencing is the solution.  Before you install fencing, you will need to answer a few questions.  What material do you want to use?  What design is best?  How large an area you need to enclose?  How high does the fence need to be?  The answers to these questions will determine what kind of fence you need.

  • Material

The two main materials to choose from are metal and plastic; wood is a less common choice.  Metal is more durable, but plastic comes in a wider range of colors and styles.  In addition to the fencing material, there are also the posts to consider.  Posts are available in plastic, metal and wood.  Choices here influence the next decision.

  • Design

The range of designs available for deer fencing is overwhelming.  Between the choice of materials, the nearly infinite range of colors and the incredible range of designs to choose from, the sky is the limit.  The most important thing is to find a fence that fits the style of your property.

  • Area

The size of the area you want to enclose has an influence on your choice of materials.  If you want to enclose a large area, you may need to choose a less expensive material.

  • Height

The height of the fencing you need is governed by the size of deer that live in your area.  In Florida for instance, a four-foot fence would be sufficient to protect your property from Key deer.  On the other hand, in certain parts of the American Northwest, you may need a much higher fence to protect your property from Moose.  A typical North American deer can clear a six-foot fence, if they are sufficiently motivated.  An eight-foot fence should keep even the most determined deer, moose or elk out of your garden.  Talk to your local planning commission or check online for any zoning requirements for building codes that may limit your options.

There is no doubt that deer are majestic, beautiful animals.  Though they may be beautiful, they are best enjoyed at an appropriate distance.  Install the right deer fence, and you will be able to enjoy the beauty of nature and still have a beautiful yard or a productive garden.

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