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The Fence Post

Joe Morrell

Recent Posts

Fence Stretching Basics - Video

January 21, 2020 | by Joe Morrell

We sure do appreciate any help we can get when stretching a fence. Here, precautions are taken when working on a grade.


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Topics: welded wire fence, Fencing Tips

Snow Fences

January 6, 2020 | by Joe Morrell

Snowy road to farmhouse with trees

Drifting snow is a safety hazard for passing cars or airplanes taking off and landing.

Blowing Snow:

  • Blinds drivers and reduces visibility
  • Causes accidents through lack of vehicle control
  • Complicates road maintenance

Snow Drifts:

  • reduce distance visibility, especially at intersections and around curving roadway
  • enable build-up of ice on roadways
  • bury signage and reduce effectiveness of guard rails and safety barriers

Melting snow and its seepage runs under the pavement, causing cracking and heaving of roadways.

When installed correctly, wooden snow fencing can create a desired barrier for accumulating snow, saving you time and money with snow removal and property damage. Wooden snow fencing is the traditional choice for preventing snow from drifting onto roads, highways, and airport runways. Thereby build-up of snow, slush and ice are reduced, as well as runoff which impairs drainage. Our top quality, made in America, snow fence is constructed from vertical running aspen and spruce wood lath woven together with 13-gauge galvanized wire. Installing these fences along roads and runways increase the efficiency of snow removal and allows for a safer, uninterrupted travel. The sturdy construction of this natural snow fence makes it an aesthetic, durable, and economical alternative to plastic snow fence. Traditional wooden snow fencing has many alternative uses.

Our wooden snow fence is: 

  • made with No.1 Aspen or Spruce pickets (3/8” x 1 ½” x 48”.)
  • woven with 5 double-strands of 13 gauge galvanized wire.
  • painted with red iron oxide stain.
  • sold in 50-foot rolls.

Snow fences save lives and drastically reduce maintenance costs.

How Does Snow Fencing Work?

The way snow fencing works is a fairly simple concept. A properly constructed fence will cause snow to drift down wind of it. When the wind blows over the fence, it causes an eddy or swirl to form behind the fence. This in turn causes a rolling wind current that flows downward and to the back side of the fence. As a result of this air current, a drift of snow forms in front of the fence on the windward side. A well designed fence can retain the snow to a place of your desiring as well as preventing snow from drifting to unwanted areas.

snow fence in deep snow drift

Important Planning is Required

Determining wind direction and resulting effects on vegetation, drift development and features, observation of wind-affected trees, abraded wooden poles or fencing, and sourcing local meteorological data should all be considered in the placement of a snow fence.

Uses for Snow Fencing

  • Airport Runways
  • Compost Piles / Compost Storage
  • Construction Site Boundary
  • Crowd Control
  • Cribbing
  • Dog and Pet Safety
  • Garden Center and Nursery Benching, Operations
  • Golf Course Maintenance
  • Livestock Control and Shading
  • Packaging and Crating
  • Road Maintenance
  • Sand Dune Maintenance


  • Steel T-posts: made of hot rolled rail steel and formed into a “T”
  • Dimensions: 1 7/16” X 1 5/16” x 1/8” x 6’ (six feet) long
  • Weight of post section without anchor is 1.25 pounds per foot.
  • Area of anchor plates 23 square inches.
  • The post comes in painted green, or galvanized.

Snow Fence

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Topics: snow fence, steel fence posts

The Frost Line and Your Fence Post

December 24, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

Considering Frost Heaves

Frost heaves are caused by water that is drawn up through deep unfrozen soil to the varying depths of frozen soil beneath ground level. A horizontal ice lens grows particularly in clay type soil and collects below the frozen soil and creates what is known as an ice lens that then expands as it freezes and slowly pushes soil and whatever rocks and debris upwards.

graphic drawing about frost heaves science

                                                                                                                               Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

The stability of your fence is dependent on what lurks below. 

Certain types of soils are not a concern. Gravel and sandy soil are not susceptible to the exchange of moisture that create frost heaves. Very thick clay soil is also immune. Also, where frost only penetrates the soil an inch or two there is no need to be concerned about frost heaves, such as on the west coast and the southern most parts of the U.S. 

However, where freezing goes deeply into soil, your fence posts (and the footings of your deck) are subject to this upward pressure. The concrete in the fence post's base is an excellent conductor of heat and attracts moisture which can form an ice lens around the concrete base, rendering it susceptible to movement. A pressure treated wooden post is not a good conductor of heat, particularly when wrapped with plastic or coated with tar; this helps prevent the up and down movement of the post. 

Some General Guidelines

Most likely, setting a post a couple of feet up to 5 feet are required to offset this issue. Your local town building inspector probably has guidelines for the best depths for fence posts in your particular area. If you dig a hole that's wider at the top in a V shape, you'll have a problem. The smaller bottom of the hole will provide little resistance for the upward pressure of the moisture and what follows it. A hole dug in the shape of a bell (wider at the bottom) is better, filled with concrete, gravel or gravel with masonry sand for good compaction, and then tamped down every six inches. Bring the concrete or fill within a few inches of ground level and fill the rest of the way up with tamped-down dirt. Concrete footers are the best bet for offsetting the pressure that works on the fence above the frost line. Some experts recommend an insulating pad of styrofoam about 2 inches thick beneath the footer. A chat with a trusted local building contractor may be helpful as circumstances vary so much according to soil types and the depths of freeze in your area. 

Frost heaves can also push up plants and expose roots to damaging wind and cold, not to mention poorly prepared roads and sidewalks.

Here's a thorough going-over of the process with a variety of scenarios:  


Do you have expertise in your area on the subject of frost heaves? Please share your insights or recommendations below.

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Topics: concrete fence posts, wood post & rail fence, how to, posts, Fencing Tips

Spite Fences

November 20, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

Spite Fences

Some neighbors might ignore you quite satisfactorily, other neighbors are kind or conversational in passing, while some offer more exchange, even the possibility of becoming true friends. And then there are those neighbors that consider your mere presence an insult, the sight of you and your domain an anathema. This grumbling soul can for the most part be ignored by you, that there must be good reasons, and as you are not in charge of this curmudgeon's emotional state, it is best to simply go on about your business, keeping the glaring eyes in your periphery. Seething anger is unpleasant all the way to being scary and best not to jostle a hornet's nest. Until the day when it goes up--the eyesore, that pure symbol of animosity, a monument to meanness: an ugly fence. A spite fence. An intentionally unappealing fence that: 

  • has no purpose
  • goes with nothing
  • interrupts everything
  • calls attention to itself 

seated angry man raging with hoodie


A new concept for me, the phenomenon of "spite fences;" when a neighbor builds a fence to purposefully antagonize his neighbors. If the fence is unattractive, the eyesore may elicit a response from the neighborhood as a whole. The neighbors become cut off from the angry builder of the fence and possibly from other neighbors. Litigation that involves such disputes is difficult to measure, as the offense for the most part is psychological. In the U.S., the blocking of light and air is generally not considered an offense (as it can be in other countries.) If the issue is actually the height of a fence, local codes may be consulted and the law may have your back; however, merely blocking the view of a neighboring yard is not a cause for official complaint. A major directive on fence building is that it not cause injury to others. Some states have adopted ordinances regarding spite fences and guidelines have been created. Generally, it must be established that the fence is solely built to antagonize and has no practical or seemly purpose. It is up to the defendant to prove that the fence has a function other than to perturb those living nearby.

Reconciliation Possibilities 

At the outset, it may be important to consider that you're not the one to approach the offender. One of your other neighbors may have a better relationship with with the problematic fence owner and may be able smooth the way. If you've collected other complaining neighbors, it may be best to put your objections in writing rather than showing up at the door en masse. On your own time, venting and gossiping about your neighbor may seem unifying with others, but it may be fueling the fire and raising your blood pressure. If at all possible, depending on the willingness of the various parties involved in a fence dispute, a mediator might be able to assist in a standoff. A trained mediator enables a discussion with both parties in the aim of establishing a dialogue, exploring the fence's purpose and the potential dismantling of the fence.  

two person writing on paper on brown wooden table

Lacking a Resolution

You must question yourself and realize that the conflict may never go away and that you must acknowledge your part in the dispute, working on the triggers the fence brings up in you. Is it possible you are being arrogant and high-minded? Is your being right propping up a sense of self-righteousness that borders on obsession?  Are there any inroads you could make to mollify the hostility with the neighbor? Is there a way you can introduce humor into the situation moving forward, if only for yourself?  Not feeding the antagonism may assist in a resolution. Adjust your perspective and try to find a bigger picture to help diffuse the tension. Taking a step back and waiting to respond when conflict arises is always a good plan. It never hurts to retreat, reflect, allow your blood pressure to lower, and then return to the fray, if indeed necessary.

Woman Sitting on Brown Wooden Chair Beside Coconut


While we're on the subject of neighbors and boundaries, have a look at our blog, "Does a Good Fence Make a Good Neighbor?"


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Topics: fence building, fence choices, Fencing Tips

Stone Fences Yesterday and Today

October 17, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

green grass near wall and trees

The gold city series 02


The First Fences

In exploring New England, one becomes aware of a continual presence during a hike or looking out a car window. Along the roadways, in forests, in front of homes, farms, and even office parks, stone fences speak silently of earlier times. The immutable evidence of a history of necessity; a result of farming and working the land, now juxtaposed with modernity recalls us to a fledgling nation. 

Frost heaves and Farming

17th century settlers created field after field; pulling tree after tree out until the land was 70% deforested. This allowed rocks to become unearthed from a combination of erosion and frost heaves, resulting in piles of rocks hauled to the edges of fields. They were, over the following centuries, laboriously fashioned into the stone fences we see today. This created a distinct line of forest to field. Of similar origins to the field stones of the British Isles, these familiar rocks suited the settlers in New England. Some surmise that the earliest stone fence in New England dates to 1607, most likely it was previous to this date. Ultimately some 240,000 miles of stone fences were erected, peaking in the mid 19th century, when industrialization altered the practice. 

A Habitat

Stone fences are hives of activity for many types of wildlife--small creatures take refuge in the crevices, spaces, and tunnels. The evidence or tracks of mice, squirrels, chipmunks, minks and weasels may be noticed in and around. The walls may serve as a system of trails by larger animals or foxes may deposit scat on or around the walls to alert others. As temperatures climb, spiders, worms, and insects use the stonewalls for shelter while tree frogs and snakes take refuge as well--hibernating beneath during the winter months. 

Here are some examples of more current stone fence building:


Another early fence of note and particular to the practice of the early settlers is the worm fence. A fence, zigzag in plan, made of rails resting across one another at an angle - according to the Random House Dictionary.

This style of fencing is also known as Snake Fence, ZigZag Fence and Battlefield Fence - the latter term due to its presence on many Civil War battlefields. Worm Fence (also known as Virginia Worm fence) has been used in America since the 1600's. Easy to build, split wood rails are stacked on each other to create the fence. The ends of the rails alternate, creating the openings. For stability of the stacked rails, each section of fence is angled from the previous one, giving the appearance of a worm or snake.

worm fence at Gettysburg


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Topics: fence, fence building, worm fence

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