There are many reasons you may be considering fencing to protect your yard from animal visitors. Fencing is the only surefire way to keep animals out of your prized garden and beautiful yard.
Fence Options to Consider
When deciding what type of fence to install for a pest problem, it is important to understand your fencing choices.
Electric fencing is commonly considered when thinking about animal control, because it is a very effective choice, though it may feel like an extreme option. Electric fencing can be expensive, but it is a very effective tool for pest control, and is less obtrusive to your view or decor than a solid fence. Electric fences are most effective once animals know they will get shocked. Some experts recommend that you put peanut butter on your fence as soon as it is installed so that animals are enticed and feel the shock, and therefore will not try it again. It is very important that you keep vegetation away from the fence or else it will draw charge or possibly short out
Electric fencing’s main benefit is that it is very effective pest control, and is relatively aesthetically discreet. The main drawback is the cost, and also some may be offended by the shocking methods of control.
A solid fence uses a much more old-school method of pest control, making animals not even know what they are missing. If a hungry animal sees food, it will try very hard to get through a fence regardless of the barriers. The visual block of a solid fence takes away the original incentive for the animal’s behavior in the first place. The biggest draw for solid fencing is that it can be cheap and easy to install depending on the actual materials of the fence. The biggest disadvantage is that solid fencing won’t only block the view from the animal, it may detract from any desired view for you as well.
Invisible deer fencing may be a good middle ground between these two options. It is effective, discreet, and cost-effective, with none of the moral questions around shocking as pest control. Invisible Deer Fencing by Long Fence is made from polypropylene plastic, which is durable and does not distract from the rest of your yard or view. Invisible deer fencing can be strung between cables, trees or a metal frame. Welded wire fences are a similarly good choice as they are effective and durable, though they are a more visible part of a landscape. Both of these choices can leave you with peace of mind that your garden will be protected and kept safe from animal intruders.
Considerations for Animal-Blocking Fences
It is important that you check city codes before installing your fence, as solid or large fences that block views might violate city ordinances.
Beyond that, the most important part of choosing and installing the right fence for your pest problem is to build the fence to fit the animal you are trying to keep out. The first step is to identify your pest or pests plural! The best fence for you will be based on what animal you are trying to keep out of your garden. Plant nurseries can give you guidance on what pests you should be aware of in your area if you are new to the area or to gardening.
Deer are one of the most common animal intruders that homeowners are concerned about. You can recognize deer damage because they are most active at dawn and dusk. They will typically leave behind uprooted and shredded plants because they like to tear up vegetation. Since deer are much taller and reach up higher than other common pests, if you observe disturbance more than two feet off the ground, that is a good indicator you are dealing with a deer. Deer are particularly tricky pests to control because they are high jumpers. Deer fencing needs to be built high and installed with an angle for proper deterrence and should be tight to the ground as deer can also wiggle under fencing if there is enough room.
The most common home pets are still animals and can be just as much a nuisance in your home garden as a wild animal in the woods. You will probably know if your cat or dog are causing the problem because you can catch them in the act. Wire fencing about 3 feet high will be a proper deterrence to keep Fido out of your garden bed.
Despite their claim as big jumpers, rabbits only need about two feet of fencing to keep them from munching on your tasty garden leaves. Rabbits can dig, however, so you’ll want to curve the bottom fence line at a 90-degree angle and keep it buried a couple of inches deep into the ground.
Climbing animals, such as raccoons, opossums, and woodchucks can be particularly tricky challenges when thinking through animal control. Though climbing animals can easily climb up a fence, they can be deterred by leaving at least a foot and a half of unattached fencing at the top of the fence line to create a floppy top that will fall back on the animal trying to make an entrance. Make sure to also have a two feet apron dug into the ground to deter burrowing. Raccoons and opossums, specifically, are deterred by things sticking to their feet. Use this to your advantage by placing a line of bird netting on the ground at the fence line if this is the animal you are looking to keep out.
Many animals may resort to burrowing when trying to go after food, but tunneling vermin, such as gophers, moles, and chipmunks are on a different level of burrowing. They have the advantage of staying out of sight and doing their damage underground and out of reach. Wire cages or baskets around prized plants might be the best deterrent against these tricky pests.
Coyotes and foxes can jump, so electric and high fences will be the best deterrent here.
Bears are a challenge because they can easily push down most fences you will construct. They can, however, be deterred from entering with chicken wire layed on the ground, and if they encounter a “hot” electric fence before they realize there is food on the other side of it, which is where the peanut butter trick comes in handy.
Maintain Your Fence to Keep Animals Out
Once you’ve identified your pest, chosen your fence, and spent the money to install it, you’ll want to be clear and diligent on maintenance to make sure you extend the life of your fence and get your money’s worth. Moisture and weeds are the two biggest destructive forces for your fence. To keep moisture in check, it is very important that every part of the fence touching the ground is treated in some way. For metal, galvanization, rust-proof paint, vinyl or polyester are good weatherizing options. For wood, make sure it is either pressure treated or rot-resistant. Plastic is a good option in areas where moisture is a big issue. And when it comes to weeds, it is important to have a weed management plan for your fence line. Lining the fence line with gravel or mulch can provide a stress-free solution for this concern.