• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Deer Fence as Trellis

 
Sean Banks
Posts: 153
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So I will be putting up an 8 foot tall deer fence around the food forest I will be building in a few months....my question is whether it would be a good idea to use the vertical space created by the deer fence to train vines on? I was thinking about kiwi, grapes, and passion fruit then adding some annuals like beans, cucumber, and malabar spinach next year. My goal is to cover the entire thing in vines as the fence will be an eye soar. The fence itself will be metal with a fairly wide gage and the posts will be made of wood. Do you think the fence will be able to support the weight of the vines as they grow? Also, will the deer try to reach through the fence and try munching on my crops?
 
Adam Klaus
author
gardener
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
65
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have/had the same idea. Problem I have found is that anything growing up the fence is pretty accessable to browsing, even from the outside. My cows will use their tongues to reach through and tear at the vines, eating them right up. Deer, in winter, even more so. So I have taken to growing annuals that are less desirable, like morning glory, on the inside of the fence during the summer. Stuff like grapes, kiwi, hops, etc are just candy for cows or deers, so I have not had any success.

Deer fence is less of an eyesore once you get used to it. And it is much less of an eyesore than watching deer devour your fruit trees. I was really unhappy about looking at deer fence at first, but now I dont really mind it. YMMV.
 
Sean Banks
Posts: 153
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
darn it!...I thought I was on to something here....I am going to look into deer resistant vines, would have been nice to grow kiwi and grapes on it.
 
Adam Klaus
author
gardener
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
65
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
let the forum know what you find for deer resistant vines. I would be interested for sure. thanks
 
John Polk
master steward
Pie
Posts: 8018
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
269
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kiwis require extremely strong supports. I doubt that any traditional deer fence could support kiwis.

And deer, from mid winter to spring are often in their hunger mode.
Anything green/living is fair game to them during this season.

Annuals (peas, beans, squash/cucumbers, etc) would love that fence during spring/summer once the deer have found new growth elsewhere.

 
Sean Banks
Posts: 153
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For deer resistant vines I found the following:
-passion fruit (only edible plant I found)
-virginia creeper
-Trumpet creeper (great for attracting pollinators)
 
John Polk
master steward
Pie
Posts: 8018
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
269
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Interesting. I had never heard of Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans).
The Latin radicans means "with stems that take root", so it should be easy to establish from cuttings.

According to Wikipedia
The vigor of the trumpet vine should not be underestimated. In warm weather, it puts out huge
numbers of tendrils that grab onto every available surface, and eventually expand into heavy
woody stems several centimeters in diameter. It grows well on arbors, fences, telephone poles,
and trees, although it may dismember them in the process. Ruthless pruning is recommended.
Outside of its native range this species has the potential to be highly invasive,
even as far north as New England.


Sounds like it should turn your fence into a hedge in no time, given you live in its native range.
One of my seed sources says it is hardy to Zone 4.

Also loved by humming birds, and many bird species nest in its heavy growth.
Attracts pollinators.
Sounds like a good choice if deer don't like it...everything else seems to like it.
 
Cortland Satsuma
Posts: 319
Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Have you considered planting bushes that deer do not eat next to the fence or bamboo? We are putting up wood fencing throughout our land; and, are not thrilled about looking at fences either (nor are our neighbors). Our current project that expands our zones 1-3; includes extra boards at ground level to create a running planter along the bottom of the fence (back board to be removed in a couple of years). We are going to plant a mix of items along it (small trees, bushes, vines, herbs, flowers). The fence will still be seen; just not so dominant. I do plan to dig up some of the wild blackberry runners (growing everywhere on property) and place them in the planter; while they will be nibbled on, they will provide coverage and fruit. I will remove runners from the inside that escape the planter and let some runners go on the outside. Our food forest / sun catch plants are being kept inside this perimeter until we can clear (and fence) the area for the sun catch food forest. Eventually, we will have hugel-guilds following the fence line we are expanding now, further hiding the fence. The boldness and number of deer on our land may or may not be dealt with fencing. I currently see dear jerky and pastrami in our future; a good back up plan for you too.
 
Brian Vagg
Posts: 60
Location: Northern California - Zone 9b
5
food preservation forest garden fungi
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I grow grapes on a fence that is browsed constantly by deer. I find that if you start the grapes on the inside of the fence and train the grapes to grow up to the top of the fence, the grapes will do just fine. Deer only seem to browse the lower 4-5 ft of the grapes that hang on the outside. Since my main grape vines are 7 ft above ground, most of the grape clusters are out of reach from the deer. Another plus is actually the browsing the deer do. One method growers use is to trim new growth once the clusters set. This helps the grape vine put more energy into the grape clusters. The deer trim the outside and I trim the inside. So far this method is working well for me. I typically have great harvests from my vines. I would suggest once your fence is built add a few grape vines and see how well they do. If you get good success, plant a bunch more.
 
Cortland Satsuma
Posts: 319
Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@ Brian,

I am also considering grapes for my fencing (wood and only 6'...our deer while plentiful, are lazy...they go to the neighbors without fences, lol). I am still quite new to grape cultivation; will they thrive only on the sunniest exposures? What has been your experience in this regard? I am zone 7-8. As your harvests have been bountiful and my 5 pre-existing grapes have been doing dismally, I would appreciate any pointers! We would like to have a good crop of eating grapes; not looking into wine making at this time.
 
Brian Vagg
Posts: 60
Location: Northern California - Zone 9b
5
food preservation forest garden fungi
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cortland Satsuma wrote:@ Brian,

I am also considering grapes for my fencing (wood and only 6'...our deer while plentiful, are lazy...they go to the neighbors without fences, lol). I am still quite new to grape cultivation; will they thrive only on the sunniest exposures? What has been your experience in this regard? I am zone 7-8. As your harvests have been bountiful and my 5 pre-existing grapes have been doing dismally, I would appreciate any pointers! We would like to have a good crop of eating grapes; not looking into wine making at this time.


Hi Cortland,

I am in Zone 9 and the grapes are growing in full sun exposure. They seem to thrive in full sun, hot, and dry conditions. I have been using green manure (chop and drop) for the last 2 years and the grapes have responded wonderfully. I only prune twice a year. Once in the winter while they are dormant. And one more time in late spring once the clusters have set. It is a light pruning and not nearly as intense as commercial growers use. I try to make sure that I don't prune too much as the clusters under the shade of the leaves do much better. The clusters exposed to the sun can get sunburn. I also water my grapes more than is recommended (the grape watering system is tied to my vegetable garden and they get water twice a week). A lot of the commercial growers like to water stress to get more sugar. My grapes are plenty sweet. I should also thin my clusters early on, but other projects keep my busy Below are some pics.

Brian
147.jpg
[Thumbnail for 147.jpg]
Grapes vines from the outside - you can see where the deer browse
143.jpg
[Thumbnail for 143.jpg]
Grape vines from the inside - no deer access
144.jpg
[Thumbnail for 144.jpg]
A picture of the clusters - these clusters are on the inside
 
Cortland Satsuma
Posts: 319
Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Brian,

Thank you for the information! Our pre-existing reliance grapes were planted in full sun, semi dry once upon a time. Now the edge of the forest has crept up to the first one and all have morning and late afternoon shadowing from loblollys that should have been harvested years ago. On the opposite end of the row, there is a low area that gets puddling with the rains. We already realized they all needed to be moved; just been trying to ascertain where. We will have a few spots along our fencing that are both dry and full sun; we will give them a try.
 
Bill McGee
Posts: 185
Location: Southeastern Connecticut, USA
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My Trumpet vine has just started to flower. It has flowers from now into October. It grows up my deck side wall, thru the lattice which it's blowing thru. I see mostly beautiful green hummingbirds. The flowers later get covered by wasps, but they seem happy and peaceful spending day and night on the flowers. Yes lots of ants about too. It makes a great privacy hedge. I have 10' + wide on the deck and and it was 25' high. I trimmed it back because it gets under the siding and in the sliding glass door. It is a real beauty of a plant. * location is shoreline Connecticut. I plan to build a glass roofed sunroom with this growing over the roof.
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic