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The Fence Post

High Tensile Fixed Knot Fencing

August 10, 2020 | by Joe Morrell


High Tensile Wire: Thinner is Stronger

A fixed knot fence is effective on challenging terrain and remains rigid between posts. The .64% carbon content steel wire used in a fixed knot fence is noticeably thinner. However, strong as it is, this high tensile wire would be lost without a protective coating. This is why the requisite Class 3 galvanization, with its anti-corrosion properties, is added to offset steel's natural disintegration which enhances its cost-efficiency by delaying repair and replacement. High tensile wire is the choice when a long term fence solution is required and it remains a strong, versatile answer to a variety of fencing needs. .  


  • Lighter in weight, but stronger (thanks to its tensile strength.)
  • Won't sag; stays put.
  • Less need of tensioning. 
  • Smaller gauge/diameter of the wire is more efficient (especially compared to heavier low carbon wire.)
  • Though stiffer, ultimately, installation is easier because it doesn't have to be stretched as hard as low tensile wire. Tension it and it's ready to go.
  • Fewer posts are needed thanks to its strength and vertical stay wires.
  • Springs back with animal impacts. It has give, but retains its shape.

Fixed knot

Now, low carbon steel wire is easy to work with as well, (also known as mild steel) but it is prone to sagging, stretching and breaking more easily than high carbon-content steel wire. The carbon content for low tensile wire is roughly .28%; while this type of fence is common, it remains a shorter term answer.

Take a look:

As you'll see toward the end of this video, four wires with a similar gauge have very different breaking strength based on the carbon content:


And, very importantly:

Here's a comprehensive how-to that details the installation of a fixed knot fence:


Farm and Field Fence

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Topics: woven wire, high tensile wire, fixed knot

Tree Guying

June 26, 2020 | by Joe Morrell

When a tree needs help establishing itself


Think twice about staking that tree.

Yes, wind can cause damage but is also essential for a tree's development and strength. A tree swaying in the wind stimulates its root system while this stress also prompts the young tree to grow extra bark in the lower trunk. The normal stress of this swaying produces extra fibers which then increases the trunk diameter and therefore, the tree's strength. 


Trees that have been grown in a container with a small or restricted root ball may need steadying early on until the roots develop. For the most part, however, the root balls of trees can establish themselves. Certain environments may leave trees more vulnerable to high winds such as new housing tracts and areas with sandy soil. Top heavy unsupported larger trees with underdeveloped root systems may tip or move, interrupting the establishment of fine roots important for nutrient absorption. Good-sized evergreen trees may be prone to tipping. Staking or guying may be advised in these situations. Consulting a trained arborist for advice is recommended.

Another Help

A secondary benefit from staking: visually, people are alerted to a young tree and are at least temporarily barred from approaching the tree.  Also, those using various types of lawn equipment (particularly mowers and weed whackers) are less like to run into the tree and cause damage especially in its fragile first year. 

athletic woman stretching leg on tree by city pond

Trees in stressed city or urban areas prone to vandalism may be candidates for guying. If vandalism is a concern, then guying does provide a level of security. Trees are not cheap, particularly those that have been carefully cultivated and are worth protecting. 

Temporary Protection

The area in contact with the tree--a tree collar is wrapped around the young tree and should be a flexible, woven material that does not abrade the bark. This collar should not stay on too long, usually not longer than a year, as the tree has not been able to strengthen itself by the usual exercise provided by swaying in the wind. Though stabilized, the guying should not be too tight, still allowing for some sway. 

Here's a step by step instruction video that helps illustrate the process:


stand of trees tree trunks with sun shining through




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Topics: how to install, duckbill earth anchor

Zoos in the Time of Covid-19

June 2, 2020 | by Joe Morrell


profile of  tiger

Coronavirus at the Zoo

A strange predicament for the Bronx Zoo, already under stress for lack of revenue and inconsistent staffing during the phenomenon of Covid-19, is the infection of one of their tigers, named Nadia, at the beginning of April. The Malayan tiger showed symptoms of loss of appetite and a dry cough which was sustained long enough to get the staff curious; they began the difficult procedure of testing the wild cat. The test came up positive. By the end of April, four other cats at the zoo tested positive. The suspicion is that an employee of the zoo infected Nadia. Nadia, bred and born at the zoo, is part of a program to breed the endangered Malayan tiger. This news reverberated around the world, alerting other zoos about changing how the animals in captivity are treated. So add to the list of social distancing--tigers. Apes and a variety of smaller animals are most likely susceptible as well.

Feed is Expensive

Unlike other establishments, zoos can't simply shut their doors--they've got mouths to feed and a mountain of general care to manage. Zoos are a cultural joy and also an expensive habit. Most zoos in the U.S. and across Europe are closed but are dependent on the community at large to support their existence.

A majority of their budget is supported by:

  • ticket sales
  • concessions/refreshments
  • gift shop--especially souvenirs 
  • even stroller rentals

The expense of feeding, keeping staff, and maintaining the programs that make up the environment of a zoo is prodigious. Add medical costs and the present situation becomes dire. Imagine a budget of up to $30,000 a day to pay the bills. Zoos across the country are laying off sizable percentages of staff, both full and part-time. Unthinkable as it may seem, it has been suggested that when they run out of food that the smaller animals would be sacrificed to feed the larger animals. One director said that shouldn't be likely and that it may simply be necessary to move animals to other zoos, though this would be considered drastic and to be avoided.

Because of supply chain issues at the Calgary Zoo, two pandas have already been returned to China. The two pandas require around a 170 pounds of bamboo a day and with inconsistent or delayed deliveries much of the bamboo they rely on had rotted en route. These pandas cost the zoo upwards of 20 million dollars and preparations for their arrival took six years. 

Other Stressors

Oddly enough, keeping animals occupied with out the usual stream of visitors has been a challenge, too. To offer stimulation for various animals, they're visiting other parts of the zoo or are being taken on outings, as this video shows:


On the positive side, Le Le and Ling Ling at the Hong Kong Zoo have, after eleven years, used the peace of lockdown to successfully mate and are possibly expecting a happy event.

two pandas embracing

If you have a local or favorite zoo now is the time to offer your support. Many zoos are conjuring up fundraising programs to stay afloat flogging T-shirts and such. It may be worth inquiring what the plan is or simply offer hard cash.


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Topics: Zoos

A Cage for Your Rabbit

March 27, 2020 | by Joe Morrell

Cage Ideas to Keep Your Bunny Healthy3 bunnies in welded wire cage

Creating a Space with Wire Mesh

Your bunny's health depends on sturdy galvanized wire mesh. The right gauge and openings are critical for airflow, hygiene, and the safety of bunny's paws and more. To begin, the cage should be at least 4 times the size of your bunny. Two feet by three feet for a bunny that weighs up to eight pounds; for larger bunnies, cages should be two and a half feet by three feet at least.  The height of the cage should be ample enough so that your pet can stand up on its hind legs and stretch out. 

Recommended for sides and top of cage: 14 gauge, 2" x 1" galvanized wire mesh

An Unappealing Truth

A big drawback for your pet's health is the flooring materials. Waste and urine contamination of flooring materials, particularly a pen using straw, is a poisonous combination for your bunny. Prolonged interaction with pellets and urine can bring difficulties such as parasites and the resulting ammonia and contact with puddling urine is toxic. 

Flooring: A Good Option

It seems that a mix of flooring is the best option, though studies show that bunnies seem to prefer clean and dry wire, spending most of their time on the wire mesh part of the cage. Therefore, a section of the cage's floor should be plexiglas (or another surface that can't be chewed) and the other half wire mesh so waste pellets can drop through. Do not be misled to think that these docile creatures are easy to keep and can simply stay in their cages. Your rabbit needs out-of-cage time or its muscles will atrophy. The best times to target outside or house play is when bunny is most naturally active--in the early morning and at dusk.  

Bunnies that stay in their cages too long suffer from:
  • their feet becoming inflamed
  • thinning of bones which means they are broken more easily
  • a weakened heart, and as a result, poor muscle tone
  • difficulties with urination and difficulty defecating
  • troubling behaviors--chewing the cage, lethargy, chewing its own fur, becoming aggressive

Recommended for flooring: 14 gauge (or 16 gauge for smaller breeds), 1/2" x 1" galvanized wire mesh

A Very Practical Concern

It is very important to consider the wider needs of your pet rabbit. In a natural habitat, much of a bunny's day is spent in retreat in a burrow underground. Hence, for a domesticated rabbit, security is a priority and quite rightly, this is something that is up to you to provide consistently. During out-of-cage time, if you let your bunny roam in an enclosed space outside, make sure that there is protection from predators as just the approach of a strange animal can overwhelm a bunny that has no means of escape, with the ensuing panic possibly causing a heart attack. 

Rabbits on grass with wire cage surround 


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Topics: welded wire mesh, galvanized after, rabbit wire

Denmark is Building a Fence

February 28, 2020 | by Joe Morrell

A New Invader: African Swine Fever

Pig snout through fence boards

Denmark has recently completed a 43 mile-long fence in hopes to block the spread of African Swine Fever by wild boar traveling from Germany into Denmark. Though not reportedly in Germany, the disease (commonly known as ASF) is present in neighboring Poland and that is reason enough to for Denmark to protect its lucrative pork exports by building a five foot high fence to keep feral pigs at bay. 

Swine Only

ASF is a contagious and deadly virus affecting domestic & feral pigs. This is primarily for farmers to worry about, not the general human population. This is a virus that is a threat to pigs only, yet internationally.

  • It is not considered a public health threat.
  • It is not able to be passed from a pig or from pork products to a human--only hog to hog.
  • It is not a food safety concern.
  • It is not a concern to livestock or other non-swine pets. 

An International Concern

America and Canada can breathe a sigh for now. It is not found in these two countries--yet. Countries where it is found: Sub-Saharan Africa, China, Mongolia, Vietnam and some countries in Europe including Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. Czech Republic is free of the virus; however, it is found in nearby Slovakia. Other countries, such as Spain and France have had it in the past but have currently eradicated it.

black wild boar on grass field  

How much of a threat?

Among pigs, deadly. In virulent strains, pigs may get a high fever, then suffer appetite loss and appear lethargic. They may huddle together, shiver, cough, breathing abnormally. They can appear unsteady on their legs and after a few days fall into a coma and die. Scientists have predicted that it may affect a quarter of the world's population of pigs.   

And the prognosis for a cure? 

Presently, there is no vaccine available to combat the virus. There has been a concerted effort to fight the spread in a multi-tiered effort among veterinarians, researchers, university agricultural programs as well as from very motivated pork producers. 

Containment and Critique

The U.S., the pork industry supports over 500,000 jobs and represents a 20 billion dollar a year industry. For Canada, the pork industry provides 100,000 jobs and a 4 billion dollar industry. There are are stringent agreements with the U.S. and Canada to relay information, to zone and contain an outbreak should it occur. Restraining this virus is a priority; feral hogs are a problem in 39 states and in four Canadian provinces.  

Denmark's fence has come under criticism by some skeptical of its effectiveness and some are worried about blocking migratory routes of animals and birds, such as golden jackals, cranes, deer, foxes, otters, and wolves. Roads and railroad crossings have been left open offering a means by which the boars can pass.  

Black Pig at Fence


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Topics: wire mesh, galvanized after

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