Will you build a new garden fence this year?
Do you wonder what kind of fences will work well in your garden?
There are several different types of fences available that are excellent for gardens.
Welded wire fences offer you the most choices. Available in a wide variety of:
- gauges - 16, 14 and 12.5
- mesh sizes - 1/2"x1/2", 1/2"x1", 1"x1", 1"x2", 2"x2" and 2"x4"
- finishes - galvanized before weld (GBW), galvanized after weld (GAW) and vinyl coated (VC)
In addition to the standard specifications listed above, there are other styles of fences that are designed for use in and around the garden. Some of these have smaller mesh openings at the bottom of the fence to keep out small animals.
Hexagonal netting fences are lighter in weight than welded wire products.
- gauges - 20 and 18 gauges
- mesh sizes - 1" and 2"
- finishes - GBW, GAW, and VC
There are vinyl coated rolls available in extra tall heights of 84" and 90". The black vinyl coated fences are most effective. And the black wire blends with the background becoming virtually invisible. When used as deer fence the black color discourages deer from jumping.
Deer fences are designed specifically to prevent deer from entering an area and eating trees, plants and shrubs.
- gauges - 14.5 and 12.5
- mesh sizes - 1"x6" through 7"x12"
- finishes - galvanized, zinc/aluminum and black painted
These are the heavier gauge woven fences that feature graduated openings between horizontal wires. The openings at the bottom of the fence are smaller to prevent small animals from entering the garden. All styles are rust and corrosion resistant.
Apron fences have a 12" apron at the bottom of the roll. Lay this on top of the ground to form a barrier. Animals cannot dig under the fence and enter your garden.
- gauge - 17
- mesh size - 1-1/2"
- finishes - GBW and VC
These fences are labor savers. There is no need to dig a trench and bury the wire. Vegetation grows up through the apron, securely attaching it to the ground. The animals trying to dig into your garden will not realize that they must start their digging 12" away from the fence.
What kinds of fences have you used to protect your garden?
Are you considering all the different types of fences that are available before making your choice?
Do you prefer one type over another?
Two versions of the song "Don't Fence Me In", written by Cole Porter and Robert Fletcher in 1934.
Which of these two versions of "Don't Fence Me In" do you prefer?
Have you heard any of the other versons that have been recorded that you like better?
Winter won't last forever!
Winter - time to make plans. What a great time to look through gardening, landscaping and seed catalogs. You can visualize what you would like to do in the yard and garden this spring.
While it's still cold outside and snow covers the ground you can begin to draw up plans and designs on the inside where it's warm and comfortable.
- need to install a new fence?
- have better landscaping ideas?
- want better results from your garden?
- need to consider replacing your fence?
- need to repair winter damage to your fence?
If fence is on your to-do list, there are many possibilities and options open to you. Start by considering what you want to accomplish and what the end product should look like.
Vinyl coated wire fence is a smart choice for both appearance and durability. Do your plans call for a fence that blends in well with your property's background? Consider a black vinyl coated fence which comes in many different mesh sizes, wire gauges and heights.
Reputable fence companies can give you more ideas. They can also quote you prices for installation if you choose not to do it yourself.
Do you have a fence project in mind?
Are you looking for a fence you can't find at your local store?
Here's a fence that you'll never ever see in your neighborhood! It takes fence to new heights.
Do you think fence is the right term to use for this project?
Will this lead to a new definition of the word fence?
Old stone walls, occasionally referred to as stone fence, are a common sight in New England. They can be found along roadways, marking property and field boundaries, and surrounding cemeteries. They run through the deep woods and up into the mountains - a silent testimony to the untold hours of sweat and hard labor spent in getting the land to yield sustenance.
As land was cleared, rocks and boulders had to be moved to create fields for crops and grazing animals. Each spring a new "crop" of rocks was thrust to the surface by the winter's frost. Either moved by hand, or with the aid of draft horses or teams of oxen, stones were moved no further than necessary.
The accumulation of rocks was piled along fence lines separating fields and defining property boundaries. Often these walls or fences were no more than elongated piles of rocks. After the farms became more prosperous, the piles were rebuilt into the more aesthetically pleasing walls that can be seen today.
Over the years, some walls were dismantled and the stones were used for other projects. The untouched walls settled and tumbled down, becoming encrusted with moss and lichens. They are a habitat for many types of wildlife.
Today stone walls or fences have become a cultural icon. Many contemporary landscape designs incorporate this feature, though they can lack the aesthetic charm of the traditional walls.
Do you have any stone walls on your property?
Do you think stone walls make an effective fence?
What is a counting fence?
A counting fence is a live trap fence used in rivers to capture salmon and trout. This results in an accurate count of the number of fish present. Sometimes V-shaped, it extends across the river's entire width. As the fish swim up or down the river they are caught in a box-like trap structure where they can be easily counted.
The following video shows a counting fence on Morrison Creek the day after heavy rains. The fence has been dislocated somewhat by the higher water level. It gives you an idea of how this fence works.
Counting fences come in all shapes and sizes.
On the Babine River in British Columbia, a counting fence has been in place since 1946. In early July, 4' x 7' aluminum panels which make the fence are installed along the 330' permanent frame. 6' x 8.5' trap boxes are installed next. Then the count begins.
A newer design is a floating fence. When leaves, branches or logs float downstream, the fence submerges so that the debris slides over the fence rather than getting caught and clogging the fence causing a blowout. The fence is removed when not in use.
Have you ever seen a counting fence in use?
Beat the frost? But who wants to think of winter?
Need to finish up certain projects before the cold weather and snow mess up your plans and frost makes digging holes for fencing a lot more difficult?
The cool and pleasant fall days ahead make the work easier and more pleasant to face when you would rather be doing other things. But you need to finish certain tasks before the colder weather arrives.
Has the yard fence been completed?
Is the dog enclosure secure?
How safe is the play area for the children?
Do you need to protect your trees, shrubs and other plantings from hungry deer?
Has the pool fence had a safety inspection?
Is snow fence required to protect your property from wind-drifted snow?
Many possibilities and choices are readily available for any of these types of projects and any others you may have in mind. Consider using vinyl coated wire for longer life and more attractive appearance. Black vinyl coated wire blends into the background. It tends to "disappear" and not be as noticeable as other types of fencing.
Make your work plans and purchase your posts and fence. Beat the frost and colder weather.
Do you have any fall fence projects you want to finish before winter arrives?
As part of their Museum on Main Street program, The Smithsonian has put together a traveling exhibit entitled Between Fences. As explained in the exhibit's publicity article:
"We live between fences. We may hardly notice them, but they are dominant features in our lives and in our history. Thousands of types have been invented, millions of miles have been produced, and countless rivals have seized post, rail, panel, and wire to stake their claims. In 1871, the Department of Agriculture estimated the total value of fences in the United States at 1.7 billion, a sum almost equal to the national debt. Our past is defined by the cutting point of barbed steel and the staccato rhythm of the white picket. Built of hedge, concrete, wood and metal, the fence skirts our properties and is central to the American landscape.
The United States as we know it could not have been settled and built without fences; they continue to be an integral part of the nation. Fences stand for security: we use them to enclose our houses and neighborhoods. They are decorative structures that are as much part of the landscape as trees and flowers. Industry and agriculture without fences would be difficult to imagine. Private ownership of land would be an abstract concept. But fences are more than functional objects. They are powerful symbols. The way we define ourselves as individuals and as a nation becomes concrete in how we build fences."
Focusing on all regions of the United States, Between Fences subjects include all types of residential, agricultural and industrial fencing. Visitors can learn about historical and contemporary fences and how they have impacted the American landscape.
Has this exhibit come to your area yet?
Would you go to see it if/when it comes?
Learn more about the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street.
The phrase comes from Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall". On a spring day, Frost and his neighbor are walking along and repairing the stone wall that marked the boundary between their properties. Freezing and thawing of the ground during winter months dislodges stones from walls. Repair and replacement are a spring ritual. Frost is wondering if a fence is really necessary:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Frost asks: 'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.'
Despite the sentiment of this familiar quotation, there is no guarantee that good fences make good neighbors. In Melbourne Australia, the leading cause of disputes between neighbors is caused by fences. Disputes can get out of hand and escalate into a grudge match. When a state or local government erects a fence, abutters and neighbors often take offense. Sometimes, as an act of protest or to prove a point, a property owner will put up a fence that aggravates and upsets people.
Things to consider when you are thinking about putting up fencing:
- Is a fence really necessary?
- What should the fence look like?
- Is it needed to fence something in?
- What impact will it have on abutters?
- Is it necessary to keep something out?
- What are the zoning or code requirements or limitations?
- Are there any identifiable issues that may cause problems in the future?
Have you ever experienced negative reactions to fencing you may have installed? How did you resolve them?
Is there something "that doesn't love a wall, that wants it down"?
Do you think good fences make good neighbors?
According to Wikipedia "drift fences were used in the Texas Panhandle from 1882 to 1887 to control cattle drift, the winter migration of livestock to warmer territory." In an effort to prevent cattle in Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas from crossing into the state during blizzards, Texas ranchers built a barbed wire drift fence that stretched for 200 miles with a gate every three miles.
The drift fence prevented cattle from migrating to better grazing land during the heavy snows of the 1886-87 winter. Most froze to death along the fence. It was removed in 1890 after passage of a law prohibiting fencing of public property.
Drift fences are still in use today but the application has changed. The long continuous barriers are one of the most effective techniques to sample wildlife species in a particular area to learn such things as population density. Reptiles and amphibians, insects and small mammals are often the subjects studied. When the animals come upon the fence, they move along looking for an opening. Many can be captured in a single night, when many species are most active and hard to observe.
Different materials are used to make the fences. They can be strategically placed in areas with different ecosystems where wildlife movement is most active. Depending on the location, metal flashing or silt fence might be used. Various types of traps, such as pitfall and funnel, are used along the fence to capture subjects. Hundreds can be collected in a single night.
Drift fence is an example of a type of fence that retains the original name while its application has changed over the years. Can you think of other examples?