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Wavy Deer Fence

 
steward
Posts: 7183
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
2044
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Hello all you lovely permies!  I'd like to introduce you to the Wavy Deer Fence!

I built it two years ago based on design discussions and methods discussed in Creative Fence Idea - Will it work?.  So feel free to peruse that thread for more detail.

In summary, it's a free standing deer fence that is constructed from remesh (grid that they put in cement slab floors in the place of rebar).  My 350' fence had two corners so I needed the equivalent of four posts for the entire fence.  And the cost was around $270.  I added rabbit/chicken protection for an additional $140.

The fence works on the principle that deer won't jump two 4' high fences that are 4' apart.  The body of this fence is a 5' high run of remesh that weaves back and forth.  Since it won't stand up on its own, I run a length of wire down each side of the fence connected to the waves in the fence.  I also run one wire down the middle.  Those three wires hold the remesh in position, like the struts holding a biplane wing together.  Those wires also act like a series of three fences to the deer, preventing it from jumping.

Another bonus to this design is that the remesh is rusty.  So it disappears into the landscape.  I used the cheapest wire I could buy (electric fence wire) but you could use any strong wire.  The wire is also hard to see so you may want to put ribbons on it (for people).

I doubt this would hold up to containing animals with any strength/size to them like pigs, goats or cows.  And I'm sure a bear or person would probably get through it if they wanted.  But in two years I haven't had chickens or deer get into my protected area.

I'd love to see more people try this out.  I'm wondering how it would handle antelope, elk and moose.  I'm wondering if there are easier ways to implement it.  

I think that if the fence could be arranged in an ameba or circular shape, it wouldn't need any posts except for where you have a gate.  

Another caveat is that it probably is best suited for flattish ground.  But it would be neat to see if it could wander up and down terrain.  
 
Posts: 118
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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Nice! I have heard of this technique. Sometimes even several single wires are used. I will be very interested to hear how effective you find it in practice.
 
Mike Haasl
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I'm hoping more people give it a try so that we can prove it works in more circumstances and locations.  I'm starting year number three with it working well.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
Posts: 118
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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Glad to hear it's worked well for you over the last two years. (My mistake, I misread.)

In the orignal thread you suggested a long lifespan, perhaps 15-30 years for the unprotected mesh. Based on the corrosion rate you're seeing now, do you still feel that will be the case?
 
Mike Haasl
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I haven't measured or tried to document the rate of rusting.  But, I use this remesh for tomato cages and I'm still using the same cages that I built 10 years ago and they seem to be just slightly more rusty then when I made them.  And they've been out in the elements 365 days a year.  So I'm confident the fence will go 10 years and I'm pretty sure it'll do 20.  I'm in a somewhat humid and decently wet part of the world (vehicles get pretty rusty after 15 years here).  So if you're anywhere drier it should last longer yet.

One other feature/experiment I haven't done is to cut the bottom wire off of the remesh.  Then it could stick into the ground up to 6".  That's how I use this stuff for tomato cages.  I'm not sure if it would be a benefit for this fence design or not but I'm throwing it out there in case it could help with your situation (dealing with minor terrain issues?).
 
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it sure is attractive.
 
author & pollinator
Posts: 234
Location: Southeastern U.S.
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This is brilliant! Knowing it has been in use successfully for a number of years is especially compelling. I love the look and my husband will love not having to drive t-posts. :)

I'm guessing that the corrosion factor would depend on where one lives. Dry climates would have better longevity than humid ones.
 
pollinator
Posts: 424
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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That is a cool looking fence, Mike. I have not tried it yet because I fear that keeping the bottom of the fence clear may be an issue. You seem to have solved that issue. Also, if you mow the other side, the fence may be too wavy to allow the mower to follow the fence closely? [Obviously, on the inside, you will have the critters eating their fill.]
In other words, how wavy does it have to be to be effective?
What do you have on the ground, under the fence? It looks like ... what kind of mulch? It certainly gives the fence that well cared look. Kudos on your project!
Deer have their eyes on the sides of their face, and so, they cannot combine the view from both eyes to judge distance well. I think that this is the principle at play here.
What I'm trying to keep free of critters is my garden [about 50 X 75]. I planted posts, placed hooks on them so I could hang but also remove cattle panels at a moment's notice. I'm hoping to have the entire zone in raised beds. I have most of it now and the higher area is on the house side. I'm growing asparagus beans on that fence, so they can't see through. [Well, soon, they won't be able to see through]
Although my fence is not wavy [straight rectangle] and the fence is as low as 5 ft in some areas, the deer do not dare jump, in spite of all the goodies on the inside. As you know, 5 ft is much lower than they can jump, but I think that they fear they will not stick the landing if they attempt because the beds are in the way. Also, a 2 "X 4" running the perimeter at the top gives it a beefier look than in really is. Both techniques, I think, use the same principle: The deer will not risk a bad fall. A fence that they cannot see *over*, like perhaps covered with grapevines might achieve the same goal. This year, I also have forage peas that the deer can browse outside of the garden, so perhaps a little sharing with them will keep them from broaching the fence too!. Chickens will have access to the forage peas too once in a while.
Your fence sure looks good!
 
Mike Haasl
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Thanks Cecile!  It looks the best when it's first built.  We put cardboard under the mesh and covered it with 4" of wood chips.  That has held back grass but we do have sheep sorrel that is taking it over now.  So maintaining the growth where it meets the fence could be an issue but it's similar to any other fence.  

I can mow right up to the wood chips but I have to duck so I don't hit the wire.  It has taken my hat off a number of times.  On one side of the field I did wood chips all the way out to the far extent of the waviness so that the mower can go in a straight line.

I agree with the concept that they won't jump a short fence that they can't see through.  I have a few other pallet fences that are practically opaque and they deer don't jump them.  And I also agree that they won't risk a jump over a short fence if there are raised beds and other dangers on the other side.
 
How do they get the deer to cross at the signs? Or to read this tiny ad?
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