Fencing in five wooded acres

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by heidith, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. heidith

    heidith Well-Known Member

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    Okay, you all. Now that I've received more advice and information on tin foil hats than one human needs what I REALLY want is advice on fencing in my five partially wooded acres. I want to have a mixture of animals (horses and sheep) and think this is the best place to start - with fencing. Before you say, okay but what are your plans and what are you planning to PUT behind those fences please just consider GENERAL fencing and how to go about enclosing an area. I'm not worried about predators as I have a good dog and we're home most of the time, I have housing for animals and I wish to enclose the pond for the happiness and well-being of my animals. So, let's start. Advice, please? Gentle, now...
    Heidi in NY
     
  2. mountainman_bc

    mountainman_bc Well-Known Member

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    I remember a thread recently where people suggested putting the fence exactly on the property line. Around here that makes the fence dually owned with the neighbors, so if they want to remove some, that is their right. It is however worth asking if they want to share a fence, you never know!
    We are taught to put it about 6" in from the legal pegs- so it's fully yours. (Learned this in college). Never heard of neigbors claiming your land. We have legal lot pegs in the ground, legally lines can't be moved.
    There are many types of fences and you'll hopefully get some good answers. At my last place- about an acre- I used post and mesh. 6' posts pushed in, leaving 4.5 feet exposed. I then put 4' no climb mesh on, and was about to put an electric wire along the top when my place sold.
    The mesh kept everything but my banties and cat in.
    Excluding labour ($250 for an excavator to push posts in) the fence was exactly $1000 CD. That's about $800 American I think. Definately not the cheapest way, but was effective for me, it was on a busy road and Ihave dogs. They WERE able to slide under that fencing if they saw some bear crap or anything else tasty.
     

  3. canfossi

    canfossi Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't put fencing in your wooded areas, as the trees may die after a while due to compaction from the animals. They will also eat the understory of your wooded area. Do you have any other place you can put the fencing where there are trees? I just would hate for a lot of your trees to die eventually. Just a sugggestion. Chris
     
  4. Ole Man Legrand

    Ole Man Legrand Well-Known Member

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    Check out the hi tensile With electric fence charger on it, Use 5 strands, It will cost about 15 cents a running foot.Put it 6 to 10 feet from the property line. I put one on the property line but never again.Kencove fencing from PA. for supplies.
     
  5. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    I don't think tree death is an issue unless you REALLY overstock your animals.

    Just a few inches (2 - 3) in from the property line is adequate if you feel the need. Don't give away your land to your neighbors by putting it too far in.
     
  6. Ken in Maine

    Ken in Maine Well-Known Member

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    My thought is that if you put your fence 6 to 8 feet inside your property line there will never be an issue of you being on " the other side of the fence" to make repairs... clean weeds and brush etc.
     
  7. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    .............Need more information , really . What kind of soil , flat , hilly , how deep is your soil before you hit any impervious layers of rock , etc. When I fenced my 5 acres I Set 3 inch x 8 foot(heavy pipe) long corner posts ...Exactly ON the survey pins that had been set by the surveyor . Of course , I was the First person out here so I didn't have to consult with any neighbors about issues of whether I wanted to utilize their existing fence lines . My basic approach always has been to Build very Strong Corners and set very strong posts on any bends or turns that your property line follows on the outter perimeter . Everything Between those defining points will stay put ...IF...you build a strong fence from the getgo . fordy... :clap:
     
  8. Sacred Wolf

    Sacred Wolf Member

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    I have 5 acres west of town, and I am in the same boat as to fencing it in. I work in the engineering department for the city where I live, I do drafting of construction and property, surveying, and map editing and design of the city and the surrounding counties. And I can say first have that there is an issue with putting fencing to far behind the property pins. Over time, if the pins get removed, disturbed or what ever and your fence is in place for this time period. There have been properties awarded to the other parties due to time that a fence has served as an active boundary. IF the other party has moved in on the space one gave between fence and pins, and there was no dispute.

    Then family or another buyer who does the work to research the land atlas maps and says,"Wait a minute that fence should be 8 feet that way, but the land owner on the other side of the fence has built a structure on that 8'. I have seen and know of cases that the 8 feet are lost period, just due to the fact that the other owner used the land up to the fence marker and it was allowed to happen. Now if you have established property pins that have been surveyed and you maintain your property boundry, then it should not be an issue to set the fence a feet back to allow for access with cleaning or what ever. Just keep tabs.

    As for type of fencing, I plan on the same, a small group of animals, and I am looking at 8" wood posts for the corners and T-posts for the rest with no-climb mesh and barbed wire on the top. This allows the dog to run free over the whole 5 acres, should keep most honest people out, animals in and should not be to high in price. The biggest expense will be the corners.

    To add to the privacy issue, I am planning to plant cedars along the fences, for wind blocks also. This is Oklahoma and the "wind does come sweeping across the plains", haha
     
  9. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    It would be interesting to start with high tensile steel wire but eventually grow in a natural hedgerow.
    Interesting article on growing hedgerows:


    The Versatile Osage-Orange
    American Forests, Autumn, 2000 by Jeff Ball

    When Lewis and Clark set off to explore the Louisiana Territory, the first tree they sent back east from St. Louis was the osage-orange (Maclura pomifera). Native to a relatively small area in eastern Oklahoma and portions of Missouri, Texas, and Arkansas, it had been used for centuries by Native Americans for war clubs and bows.
    During the 19th and early 20th centuries the tree was planted throughout the United States probably more than almost any other tree species in North America. Still considered the best wood for archer's bows, osage-orange was valued as a natural hedgerow fence, which made agricultural settlement of the prairies possible. It led directly to the invention of barbed wire in 1874, then provided most of the posts for the wire that fenced the West.
    Known also as hedge, hedge apple, bodark (from the French bois d'arc, meaning wood of the bow), and bowwood, the osage-orange's name comes from the Osage Indian tribe, which lived near the tree's home range, and from the orange-like aroma of the ripened fruit. These trees are easily recognized by their glossy, lance-shaped leaves and stout, one-inch thorns, which give them value as fences for farm animals.

    TREE PARTICULARS
    Osage-orange can be either a shrub or a tree, depending on its surroundings. Standing alone in full sun it will become a multi-stemmed shrub; with neighboring competition it can become a single-stemmed tree. Although it is the only member of its genus (a monotype), it is cousin to the mulberry family (Moraceae).
    The osage-orange averages a height of 30-25 feet, but heights of more than 60 feet have been recorded. Circumference can reach 4 to 7 feet, although 1.5 feet is the average, and the crown spread can reach 60 feet (with an average of 25 feet). The nation's biggest osage-orange, which stands outside the Virginia home of Patrick Henry, was grown from fruit sent back by Lewis and Clark and given to Henry's daughter, who planted it at Red Hill.
    The bark, up to 3/4 inches thick, is light gray-brown tinged with orange. On large trees it separates into shaggy strips. Preferring open sunny areas, the tree can grow in a variety of soils and is considered hardy to Zone 5. Native to the south-central United States, it now can be found naturalized south of the Great Lakes and north of Florida, across the whale of eastern North America into the Great Plains states almost to the Rocky Mountains. Because it was used so extensively in our pioneer days, it can be found along western settlement trails and old fort locations, even in the Pacific Northwest.
    The leaves of the osage-orange are thick, shiny, and simple, alternating along twigs. Dark green on top and light green underneath, the leaves of the osage-orange turn bright yellow in autumn.
    The trees are either male or female, and only the females hear the rather ponderous fruit from rather small insignificant-looking flowers. Called "hedge apples," the fruit is a large, green-yellow wrinkled ball up to 6 inches in diameter. As it ripens in the fall, the fruit often hangs in the tree after all the leaves have fallen off. These large fruits can be somewhat dangerous if you happen to be standing directly under them when they fall.
    The tree's fruits contain a chemical (2,3,4,5-tetrahydroxystilbene) that has been proven to repel many of those pesky insects that get into homes: cockroaches, crickets, spiders, fleas, box elder bugs, and ants. The chemical does not kill the insects but for some reason effectively repels them from the area where the fruit is located. Whole ripened fruit left sitting on the floor in places where insects are a problem will usually repel pests for up to two months.
    For more immediate control, cut the fruit in half or crush it on the driveway with your car, then place it in a dish set in the pest problem area. This method is good for repelling insects for a few weeks.
    The milky juice in the tree's stems and fruit may irritate some people's skin, especially after long periods of exposure. If you are working with the fruit to get seeds, for example, it is best to wear rubber gloves.
    The bright orange wood is incredibly dense, making it ideal fence posts and railroad ties. It neither rots nor succumbs to termite or other insect attacks for decades. Osage-orange also makes valuable firewood, rating almost as high as coal in producing heat.
    If burned green, osage-orange produces beautiful flames in a fireplace. Makers of game calls and musical instruments consider it a good "tone" wood; it's popular for duck and goose calls and preferred for musical instruments such as harps. Even the bark and roots have value: The root's bright orange bark makes yellow dye, and the trunk's ridged and scaly bark furnishes tannin for making leather.

    IN THE LANDSCAPE
    In landscape design osage-orange is viewed as more picturesque than beautiful. The tree possesses strong form, texture, and character, maturing with a thick, gnarled appearance--a good tree under which to sit and read Edgar Allan Poe. Several male thornless varieties of osage-orange are now on the market, used in home landscapes, along city streets, and in institutional settings.
    Some places grow osage-orange specifically to produce fence posts. After the post material is harvested, the plants resprout and in five to 10 years produce more fence posts.
    Osage-orange would probably even make a wonderful ornamental landscape mulch, although wood that dense would probably be hard on shredders. An osage-orange bush could be pruned every year to produce some mulch for home landscape use. It would probably last longer than any other mulch sold today.

    IN THE HEDGEROW
    During the 1800s farmers planted thousands of miles of osage-orange hedges to keep their animals in place, more than a quarter-million miles worth by one estimate. In 1850 a bushel of osage-orange seed cost $50--a lot of money in those days. The trees were planted close, woven together, and aggressively pruned to promote a low, bushy, thorny hedge.
    A workable fence took only four or five years to grow and was described as "horse high, bull strong, and hog tight." The hedge needed to be tall enough to stop a horse from jumping over it, stout enough to keep a bull from pushing through it, and the branching tight enough to prevent a hog from wending its way through it. Most hedgerows stood about 40 feet tall and 30 to 40 feet across; quite a barrier indeed.
    For 20 years, I have advocated what I call the "suburban hedgerow." The osage-orange would be a wonderful component to that concept, providing a dense, thorny barrier--just as the hawthorn did in European hedgerows of the Middle Ages.
    As American cities continue to sprawl, causing forests to become more fragmented, perhaps the osage-orange could serve as a means to connect the fragments. My suburban hedgerow concept calls for an 8- to 12-foot-wide hedgerow that would replace a 700-foot fence between two one-acre properties in new developments. Two neighbors would share this new, green "fence." Deliberately planted as a hedgerow, it would be made up of regionally appropriate shade trees, understory trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses. The design is attractive, low-maintenance once established, and serves as a bridge between wooded areas for mammals, birds, insects, and amphibians.
    Because osage-orange grows relatively quickly, I would make it a candidate for my suburban homestead plans, but I would insist upon male trees so I could get the thorus. Some people might even want "messy" female trees. The fruits make good outdoor Christmas ornaments or could be used as insect pest repellents in the winter.
    Old hedgerows that have survived over the past 100 years and are no longer needed to fence in farm animals now serve as habitat islands for many creatures that otherwise might not be found in the midwestern prairies.
    In 1948, Kansas alone still had about 96,000 miles of osage-orange hedgerows. While not particularly attractive as a food source for wildlife, old osage-orange hedgerows offer superior cover and protection for many birds, small mammals, and insects.
    There is one exception, though: squirrels. Squirrels will go to great lengths to get at osage-orange seeds, each of which is covered by its own individual shell. After the squirrels have had their treat, piles of shredded hedge apples remain around the base of the tree.

    PLANTING
    The best way to propagate osageorange is through stem or root cuttings, although the seeds will grow and you can reproduce trees from root sprouts. To successfully collect seeds and grow seedlings you must locate fruiting females with several neighboring males. Fruits can be collected from the ground anytime after they fall until just before spring.
    In pioneer days, people used to crush a number of usage-orange fruits and make them into a slurry that was then poured into a plowed shallow furrow and covered with about 1/2 inch of soil. Following this method would get you well started with a hedgerow.

    PROBLEMS
    If the tree's extensive and tough root system causes it to become invasive in residential areas, try cutting down all trees and sprouts for two years in a row.
    The tree itself is tough with few problems. Occasionally it can be attacked by leafy mistletoc, verticillium wilt, fungal diseases, stem borers, scale, and some rodents. Generally, though, it lives a trouble-free life in the home landscape.

    Jeff Ball appears on NBC's "Today Show" as a gardening expert and writes books and articles on gardening. He also writes online for gardener.com.

    COPYRIGHT 2000 American Forests
    http://www.americanforests.org/productsandpubs/magazine/
     
  10. motdaugrnds

    motdaugrnds II Corinthians 5:7 Supporter

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    Hello, We started with about the same as you in that we bought 6 acres of uncleared land. That was over 15 yrs ago and since then have learned the hard way what to do and what not to do.

    We ran our fencing right down the boundary line and, yes, this was smart!

    Posts to use? We used many cedar tree trunks as posting and some purchased treated fencing posts, all 8 ft tall so, if wanted later, we could add a top horizontal 2x4 or 2x6. (The cedar tree trunks rotted in about 7 yrs and the treated posts are still good.) We buried all fencing posts in a hole at least 2 ft. deep and braced with rocks at bottom, mid-way up and near top as we filled in the soil dug out. (Our land is sandy loam with some clay misture heavy in areas.) We learned that, depending on the lay of the land and water run-off in a given area, that some of these posts (cedar as well as treated) became lose and disturbed our fencing. (We eventually had to brace them with compacted concrete, which works great!)

    Fencing to use? We used meshed fencing 4 ft. high, keeping it off the soil. (This is fine in most area but does have a tendancy to sag if not stretched tightly.) We are now considering adding "rabbit wire" (3ft high) embedded in a concrete foundation around our garden as well as around the outside of this acreage simply to keep rabbits out of the garden yet retain them inside our property for our dogs to chase and eat. We, also, added "cow panels" (4ft x 16ft) for areas housing our larger animals. (We raise dairy goats and our bucks are extra large, getting around 250 lbs.) If these panels are placed on the side of the posts where you want to "keep" the large animals, they work great!. (For our doe pen we added three 2 x 2 boards running horizontal to the ground for the goats to put their front feet on; thereby, saving the panels from this abuse.)

    The gates for this fencing is just as important to consider. We use the metal ones attached by bolts running completely thru a very large treated post which has been embedded in 2 ft (at least) of solid concrete. Bracers for posts are good here.

    Hope our experiences here helps you with your decisions.
     
  11. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    White cedar (thuja) and red cedar, (juniperus) aren't very fast growing. If you want a wind break and fast growing evergreen, I'd recommend plantig Austrian pine or Red pine. They are wind tolerant, fast growing, and adaptable to many soils. Then you'll find it easier to grow other types of plants within your boundaries, assuming that you have full sun. If it is a woodlot with hardwoods then you won't be growing evergreen trees.
     
  12. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    A nice fence to put up would be a buck and pole fence. They don't require post holes and if a section gets nailed by a tree falling, you'll only need to repair one or two sections, and not have to restring wire.
     
  13. heidith

    heidith Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone. Lots of good stuff here.
    Our lot is roughly triangular shaped. We cannot see our neighbors and their lots are all medium sized lots of 5-10 acres, all trees. There is a very large, pointy shale outcropping at the tip of the triangle which will have to be dealt with. As in; we go around the rock! There's an awful lot of this type of rock in our area and I need to do a fact-finding mission as to whether we have an over-abundance of it or not. In the spring once we thaw out...
    I will not have many animals inside this little piece of paradise so I think that perhaps the tree dieoff won't actually happen. In addition it is our woodlot where we are "managing" (read chopping down) some of the trees for firewood; we heat with wood.
    Now with this NAIS stuff though, I'm reconsidering the whole plan. Sighhhhhh.
    Thanks again,
    Heidi in NY
     
  14. Country Doc

    Country Doc Well-Known Member

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    Horses can get hurt in alot of fence types, but I have had them do fine with barbed wire and injured badly with iron pipe fence. Consider a woven wire fine weave for horses. I would talk to neigbors about sharing the fence and price and see if a mutually agreed fence can set settled onm. If they fight you, do it a few inches inside the property line of whatever you want. Only problem for the woods is falling trees and limbs cutting the fence.