Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Keeping Bambi Out: Easy on the Eye Fencing Solutions

By Trial Garden Manager Lindsay Del Carlo

This article on how we construct our nearly invisible deer fencing has attracted a lot of interest from the general public, so we've decided to share it here for our regular blog readers.

If you garden in an area where deer are uninvited visitors, a good fence barrier is invaluable. It’s really the only thing that works to protect our garden plantings and fruit trees. We have 2 different deer proof fencing solutions using galvanized cable in addition to wood boards. Both are unobtrusive to the eye, practically invisible from a distance and totally effective in eliminating deer browsing. Deer don't attempt to leap over the fence because they cannot judge the height of the cable and will not risk hurting themselves.

The first method is one we used to construct new wood fencing around a freshly landscaped area to protect rose bushes – one of deer's favorite foods. First we placed 8 foot tall, 4x4 inch fence posts sunk into the ground 8 feet apart. Next we put three 1x6 inch fence boards horizontally, spaced 6 inches apart, between each post to create the bottom part of the fence; these fence boards go only to a height of 3 feet, so the fence does not appear as a tall barrier to the eye.

The next step is to string 1/8 inch galvanized cable between and through each upright fence post. Starting from the top fence board, measure 10 inches up and drill a 1/4 inch hole through each 4x4 fence post. Drill a second 1/4 inch hole 10 inches up from the first, and so on. Thread the cable through the holes to stretch from post to post, and secure at each end using 1 inch poultry staples. There should be at least 2 or 3 lines of cable.

1. Drill 1/4" holes through posts             2. 1/8" Galvanized cable          3. Thread cable through holes in posts

   4. Secure ends of cable with 1" poultry staples        5. Finished fence is 7' tall, yet doesn't appear 'closed'                               
The second fencing method was used for an existing 4 foot tall wood fence that just wasn't tall enough to keep the hungry deer from coming in to graze on our fruit trees and landscaping. We wanted to extend the height of the fence without making it visually obtrusive. This made the 4 foot fence into a 7 foot tall fence.

At each corner, for stability, you will need to install a tall 4x4 wooden fence post (7 ft. of the post should be above the ground) to secure the wire. We drilled three 1/2 inch holes every 10 inches (starting from the top) in those end posts, threaded the cable through and secured it with 1 inch poultry staples.

We then mounted 3 foot long, 1/2 inch threaded rods onto the top of the existing posts. Here’s how: First drill a 1/2 inch hole down into the center of the top of the fence post about 6 inches deep. Next screw the threaded rods into the top of the post (the threaded rod can be set with wood glue if it is too loose). Place a 1/2 inch flat washer with a 1/2 inch hex nut to secure the threaded rod onto the post. Then place three 1/2 inch wing nuts onto the threaded rod, each spaced 10 inches apart, starting from the top of the fence. Galvanized cable, 1/8 inch thick, is then strung from rod to rod, held up by the wing nuts.

1. 3' x 1" threaded rod              2. Wing nuts threaded 10" apart           3. Secure ends with 1" poultry staples

Finished fence. From 4' tall to 7' tall (you can build it as high as you like)

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