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experiment in fencing  RSS feed

 
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In the spirit of permaculture, I want to divide my small 4 acres and have some permanent boundaries planting areas that have been turned to pasture to be edged with a hedgerow and to that end I have started planting  spruce, cedar, maple, giant sequoia , aspen, weeping willow, fir, stone pine , hawthorne, as well as pear, apple, cherry, plums, hazelnut, walnut and chinese chestnut on the perimeter of my property.    My goals are to have some food, wildlife habitat, keep my beasties in , privacy, keep others beasties out, and have some future wood harvest.   
I have utilized mature conifers as fencing with electrical hot rope for fencing in my horses , currently powered on a grid charger and an additional solar charger.

In conjunction with other fencing a secure gravel paddock for in the back is adjustable to 7 feet but the height of hot wire is quickly adjustable for different types of livestock, I happen to have horses bred for jumping.  I am strategically planting treees to serve as fencing such as this in the future.

My experiment with interior fencing was to see if I could make an adjustable configuration of hot rope fencing so I could better manage paddock grazing, for instance focus wet weather turnout of animals onto higher dryer ground. Or  adjust an individual area to rotate a different kind of animal in such as geese in the orchard or poultry, by  in time purchasing  electrical poultry net fencing.

Other areas I wanted to preserve in my planning was to establish a lane between two pastures to seperate my stallions from each other or mares in the adjacent pasture, but I also wanted to plan for a jumping  exercise area  , we call it a jumping chute where young horses school through a lane of free jumps without a rider.  So my areas need to have high levels of utility because of the limited area of a 4 acre farm.
So I am experimenting with interior hand dug 10 foot posts set in a grid of aproximately 60 feet by 60 feet with removable hot wrire rope being able to be adjusted to configure paddocks into differing sizes and configurations . 


Basically this is my experiment so at present I have left the ropes cut extra long for making them adjustable where need be with any slight differences in the post distances

As you can see, we can now concentrate grazing in one area before rotating to the next , or rotate differing animals in succession to better manage the land using the Salatin idea of chicken tractors following cattle, or in our case, horses.
The temporary white posts supply vertical support to keep the elecrical fencing from sagging , spaced closer and used in conjunction with electrical poultry netting I think I could be flexible to contain and rotate chickens, turkey, sheep, goats, geese, pigs, cows etc.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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well i have no beasties to keep in our out..but i to have begun to plant pretty much the same types of trees that you are planting..on our perimeters as hedgrows and windbreaks..right now i have white, red pines, black, blue and white spruce, cedar, canadian hemlocks, barberry, aspen, white ash, wild cherry, alder, black currant, grape, hazelnut, wild plum, woodbine vines, etc..

some of my fencing area has wooden lattice and 42" high wooden picket fences..which are laced in vines and some are attached to or are grown through with tree branches and trunks..one day i hope to ring the entire property in this fashion..but i got lazy and didn't get some areas planted thickly enough..so there are some pretty major gaps in my property lines..but i have seeds coming of some trial trees, (catalpa for one) and i have just gotten seeds of siberian pea tree, so those will be put into some of the gaps ...and i just dug a barberry seedling and put in another..

fortunately also our neighbors have decided that they  want to have trees on their property line..on our side..so they have also been planting..they put in 5 apples, and several austrian pines, white and red pines, blue and other spruce..etc..on their side of our fencline..and we have ours on our side..so one day it will be a huge thick line of all kinds of trees..i can't wait for them to all grow
 
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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That sounds amazing!

I've read that Osage orange is a good species for hedgerows and tool handles, and that the fruit can be a source of horse feed.
 
Lisa Paulson
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I am thinking about sort of successive overplanting in the next 5 years as I think in 15 years , maybe even my kids will be thinning some of them for utilization in a  woodstove or other uses and replanting the nonfood producing trees. 

Eventually I expect to have fewer horses and more small stock kept in clearings and orchards.    I want to have a few tree  defined corridors seperating the padocks as well.

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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one thing, if you can find a source of seedlings that are free it is wonderful. There is some state swamp land and forest land behind us and occasionally we will bring in a few seedlings from there..but we are very careful to only bring in seedlings that would NOT have survived where they were,..for example we have pulled out black spruce growing in swamps too thick ..where only the strongest would have survived...say 15 or 20 in a 3' square area..for example..also when our county grades back the edges of the roads we occasionally will find seedlinigs on the piles of dirt graded along the roads..usually one year or less seedlinigs where the seeds were turned over and sprouted..so we grab those..as they will die too close to the road in our woods..

we always bring them home and plant them in proper spaceing on our property so they have a chance to survive..

i also watch for seeds that sprout on our drainfield or in our driveway beds..etc..and dig them up when small and move them.
 
Lisa Paulson
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I hope to go scavenge some seedlings along roadways here in fall (a better time to plant) , we live in British columbia.  Arbour Day foundation in the US has a great website and sell all kinds of seeedlings and fruit and nut tree saplings very reasonable but do not ship to Canada or I would order a bunch from there.
 
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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thos posts might not have a real long lifespan depending on your climante and watering habbits
I know around here an untreated post rots off at ground level in about three years
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i have had a lot of posts last here for 25 to 30 years..but eventually they'll rot off at the ground..when they do you can take a treated 2x4 and spike the bottom to one side..pound it in next to the rotten post and then bolt it to the rotten post to reinforce..that will last you another 15 to 20 years
 
Lisa Paulson
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These are  4 inch treated posts , they tend to last us about 15 years.  I actually would have bought thicker  if i knew this was the definitive way to utilize my pature but it is more experimental.  so far I have found some of my horses jump it way too  easily so I need about 4 ropes in parallel with closer spacing , to a higher height, at least 4'3" to deter them to a reasonable relaible chance you will come out and the beastie will be in  the field where I left them.  For that same cost I think I could buy the 48" electrical poultry netting and there is some chance the horses could be taught some respect for it.  The netting is far more suitable for smaller stock, sheep , chickens etc.
The in ground wooden posts need to be spaced closer to every thirty feet in my estimation for better support with the portable stakes employed as additional vertical support. 
A good result is that I have been able to configure smaller paddocks for for rotation and limitting grazing to specific areas , that is working to my expectations .  Total cost to grid about 3 acres has been about $500 without the solar charger which I estimate was about another $260 .  I definitely think for giving more versatility to a paddocking system that this invest ment, even with another $400 for poultry netting I plan to buy, that the increased utility  in a small space is worth it, especially as land in this nice locale is a premium price.
 
Brice Moss
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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Brenda Groth wrote:
i have had a lot of posts last here for 25 to 30 years..but eventually they'll rot off at the ground..when they do you can take a treated 2x4 and spike the bottom to one side..pound it in next to the rotten post and then bolt it to the rotten post to reinforce..that will last you another 15 to 20 years



I'll have to give that a try
I've been told with the long wet winters her that treated posts will last less that ten years
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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look for good ground contact ratings..
 
Lisa Paulson
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Thanks Brenda !

Brice, the thicker the treated post, the longer it lasts as well.  A 3 inch post would only last 5 years maybe in our southern BC coastal climate which is a lot of moisture 3/4 of the year, but all of my 4 -5 inch treated posts have lasted  in excess of 15 years here. 
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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mine were 4x6 landscape timbers used as posts..and they lasted a good 25 years..but some are failing now..after 30 years..and will have to be replaced..or reinforced
 
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I was told by a professor of mine that black locust wood makes the best fence posts, it is extremely hard, has a natural tendency not to rot. (he spoke of homesteading stakes found in Oklahoma made of B.L. that were 100 years old and still in good condition)  If this species grows in your area, it may be a more friendly alternative to treated lumber.
 
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