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Jon Snow
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Im going to install a fence on my 5 acre property near Joshua Tree. Before I start I would like the advice of the knowledgeable folks on these forums. I'm planning on fencing only about 1 square acre around my cabin. I don't want to put up a chain link fence since I feel it doesn't blend in with the desert landscape. I thinking Ill put up a split rail cedar fence or maybe a wire mesh fence on t posts. What do you guys recommend? Any advice is appreciated.
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Burra Maluca
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You have rocks?



 
Jon Snow
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I have plenty of rocks. I'm exhausted just thinking of building a rock fence like that!
 
Glenn Darman
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Jon what exactly would you be trying to achieve with the fence if you aren't fencing the rest of your block? I have no experience of setting up shop in the desert or desert like areas...round here all the farmers use star pickets they tension 3 wires and just wrap it with strong grade chicken wire so I guess that may be the cheapest option.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Split rail demands too much maintenance and is very expensive if you can't harvest your own wood.  The most successful fencing I've installed is T posts and concrete reinforcing wire.  It inhibits deer somewhat but works better around small garden spaces which the deer think are traps so they don't jump in.  This wire has the advantage of being nearly invisible in the landscape because of the rusty color.  Personally I would avoid fencing a large area unless you need to for livestock.  It's easier to fence smaller areas as they are developed, in my experience from having to put in virtually all of the fencing on our place, and redoing it several times.   Kind of hate fencing, to be honest, especially sheep fencing.

 
Anne Miller
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Even putting T posts in the desert ground can takes a lot of work because there are usually too many rocks that are underground. Gabions as corner posts with cattle panels might be easiest for pens for animals or barb wire if you just want a fence. 

A living fence also might work using prickly pear or other vegetation that grows in your area.
 
Jon Snow
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Glenn Darman wrote:Jon what exactly would you be trying to achieve with the fence if you aren't fencing the rest of your block? I have no experience of setting up shop in the desert or desert like areas...round here all the farmers use star pickets they tension 3 wires and just wrap it with strong grade chicken wire so I guess that may be the cheapest option.


  For now I am only going to fence 1 sq acre around my cabin mainly to keep out jackrabbits and other pests (human pests too). Im going to plant Mesquite trees and prickly pear cactus.  Jackrabbits around these part are demons and will eat almost anything. In the future I will plant other trees and plants. I don't live at this property yet.
 
Tyler Ludens
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It will need to have a fairly fine mesh to keep out jackrabbits.

 
Jon Snow
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Split rail demands too much maintenance and is very expensive if you can't harvest your own wood.  The most successful fencing I've installed is T posts and concrete reinforcing wire.  It inhibits deer somewhat but works better around small garden spaces which the deer think are traps so they don't jump in.  This wire has the advantage of being nearly invisible in the landscape because of the rusty color.  Personally I would avoid fencing a large area unless you need to for livestock.  It's easier to fence smaller areas as they are developed, in my experience from having to put in virtually all of the fencing on our place, and redoing it several times.   Kind of hate fencing, to be honest, especially sheep fencing.



Ill look into the concrete reinforcing wire.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I don't know how high jackrabbits will jump up to get through a fence - I've only seen them go under a fence or through the bottom of sheep fencing.  When I need to keep smaller critters out of a garden I fasten chicken wire to the concrete reinforcing wire with hog rings.  3' high chicken wire should keep them out. 
 
Jon Snow
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Last time I went to my cabin I saw about 15 rabbits....at the same time in the same small area! They are like pigeons! I think maybe someone is feeding them because you can get pretty close to the without them running off. I also heard that people kill coyotes and this causes a increase in the rabbit population.
 
Glenn Darman
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Jon Snow wrote:
Glenn Darman wrote:Jon what exactly would you be trying to achieve with the fence if you aren't fencing the rest of your block? I have no experience of setting up shop in the desert or desert like areas...round here all the farmers use star pickets they tension 3 wires and just wrap it with strong grade chicken wire so I guess that may be the cheapest option.


  For now I am only going to fence 1 sq acre around my cabin mainly to keep out jackrabbits and other pests (human pests too). Im going to plant Mesquite trees and prickly pear cactus.  Jackrabbits around these part are demons and will eat almost anything. In the future I will plant other trees and plants. I don't live at this property yet.


Not sure if your Jackrabbits are the same as our wabbits /Hares here in Oz but I've never heard of 'em jumping over 4' fencing only burrowing under.I'm kinda lucky the wabbits round our block never eat anything in our veggie patch.Sounds like a harsh area you live in.
 
Rez Zircon
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Jon Snow wrote:
Ill look into the concrete reinforcing wire.

I used to use this as dog fence. But the made-in-China stuff has no strength. Last time I bought some (and it will be the last) about 10 years ago, the welds started popping apart just from the trivial rain we got in the desert -- that was enough to make the crappy welds rust apart under the slightest stress (such as being strung on posts).  Consider that we're putting this junk in buildings...

You'll need 1x2" mink wire, or 1" chicken wire, to stop rabbits. They'll go through 2x4" ("non-climb") and sometimes 2" chicken wire. Voice of experience.

Any wire fence in the desert has the problem that it collects tumbleweeds. Rock fence might be better since the wind tends to carry stuff over it rather than just hanging up on it. Lot more work to build, of course.

 
Sheala Heala
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Saw many like this in West TX...not too proud for them in AZ too
http://l7.alamy.com/zooms/06436610fcd247e5ab19188b60654e77/pasture-fence-hung-with-scrap-metal-usa-arizona-chloride-ebjg2t.jpg
 
Lori Ziemba
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Not sure if your Jackrabbits are the same as our wabbits /Hares here in Oz but I've never heard of 'em jumping over 4' fencing only burrowing under.I'm kinda lucky the wabbits round our block never eat anything in our veggie patch.Sounds like a harsh area you live in.


Jackrabbits aren't really rabbits, they're hares.  Really fast, make huge leaps.
 
Lori Ziemba
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If you can get your hands on ocotillo whips (lots of them), they make a pretty cool looking fence!  http://www.civanonursery.net/2015/04/17/ocotillo-fencing-faq/
 
Rez Zircon
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Lisa Powers wrote:Saw many like this in West TX...not too proud for them in AZ too
http://l7.alamy.com/zooms/06436610fcd247e5ab19188b60654e77/pasture-fence-hung-with-scrap-metal-usa-arizona-chloride-ebjg2t.jpg


That's hilarious

I wouldn't do a wooden fence in the desert. Too many termites. To keep 'em at bay you need to soak it with motor oil.
 
Ryan Tollmann
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If you wish to keep deer and rabbits as well as other herivores plant a ring of wormwood around your small garden, and for very large gardens includ a row or three evenly spaced as well as a border.  As for fencing in larger property consider thornbushes as a hedge for humans and a row of wormwood for fourlegged pests.
Deer rabbits and wildpigs in florida avoided wormwood to such a degree that we no longer even had them 'visit' our 7.5 acre property cause a small area of it (the garden) was ringed with wormwood..mom said it was overkill cause,she liked watching deer walk through... Deer and rabbit will steer well away from wormwood, pigs avoid it but less so..we did have one rabbit dig under and eat some veggies in the center of the garden briefly...but only once.
 
Jon Snow
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Here is a pic of the cedar split rail fence I installed on my property in Big Bear. After 2 years its holding up pretty well, its solid.  Each post and rail is $6.50. I also installed some wire mesh and used a wood sealant. I read somewhere that termites don't like cedar.
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Rez Zircon
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Jon Snow wrote: Here is a pic of the cedar split rail fence I installed on my property in Big Bear. After 2 years its holding up pretty well, its solid.  Each post and rail is $6.50. I also installed some wire mesh and used a wood sealant. I read somewhere that termites don't like cedar.


That looks great! Yeah, cedar holds up longer but they'll eventually get into it. I'd dip the buried part of the post in motor oil, just in case.
 
patrick canidae
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Electronet with single spikes.  Pos/Neg alternating wires so ground path in desert rock isn't an issue.  Only 6 segments of 150' fence will give you an acre +.  I use t-posts with 1 1/2" sch 40 pvc pipe slid over for the corners to make it straight and taut.

https://www.premier1supplies.com/garden_wildlife/fencing.php?fence_id=114

 
Rez Zircon
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patrick canidae wrote:Electronet with single spikes.  Pos/Neg alternating wires so ground path in desert rock isn't an issue.  Only 6 segments of 150' fence will give you an acre +.  I use t-posts with 1 1/2" sch 40 pvc pipe slid over for the corners to make it straight and taut.

https://www.premier1supplies.com/garden_wildlife/fencing.php?fence_id=114



Just saw something like that at the local feed store, marketed as temporary sheep fence. Price was lower but I didn't notice for how many feet.

Of course the other option is put up whatever fence, then a hot wire (use a weed burner type charger) around the bottom outside -- on the long insulators it'll discourage digging immediately under like rabbits do, cuz they'll touch it before they get close enough to trigger the instinct.
 
kevin stewart
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I use t-posts and barbed wire. While the posts are not that expensive, the cost adds up quickly. I space mine at 25 foot apart and hope to add more in between.It seems to keep the cattle out.I use three strands of wire though in this picture you only see two.

If I get any more cars on my property I can build a fence mad max style.

Chicken wire is what works for me.
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Jon Snow
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Rez Zircon wrote:
Jon Snow wrote: Here is a pic of the cedar split rail fence I installed on my property in Big Bear. After 2 years its holding up pretty well, its solid.  Each post and rail is $6.50. I also installed some wire mesh and used a wood sealant. I read somewhere that termites don't like cedar.


That looks great! Yeah, cedar holds up longer but they'll eventually get into it. I'd dip the buried part of the post in motor oil, just in case.


How long do you think it will last if you dip the bottom of the posts in used oil? My neighbors fence is around 15 years old and is still in ok shape. Im thinking i might just spend the money and get a chain link fence. I only want to install 1 fence in my lifetime.
 
Ryan Tollmann
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Get a horse trough and mix up some mortar in it, make it very wet then dip each post in it..this will jump start the petrification effect, dip and dry several times to get full effect, alternatively you could wet the post and roll it in a bucket of mortar and let sit. The lime in mortar will start the petrification effect...plus insects don't like lime. Motar oil will leach into the ground...Florida ban that practice with a fine of 500$ per drop.
 
Jon Snow
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Ryan Tollmann wrote:Get a horse trough and mix up some mortar in it, make it very wet then dip each post in it..this will jump start the petrification effect, dip and dry several times to get full effect, alternatively you could wet the post and roll it in a bucket of mortar and let sit. The lime in mortar will start the petrification effect...plus insects don't like lime. Motar oil will leach into the ground...Florida ban that practice with a fine of 500$ per drop.


I like this idea! I really don't like the idea of using used motor oil on wood. Thanks for all the advice guys
 
Sylvester Shupe
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I don't live in the desert.  However, I had a chainlink fence in the suburbs for 31 years and when I got backyard chickens realized it was not strong enough to keep out city raccoons, digging dogs, etc, so we finally installed block wall fencing buried almost 2 feet into the soil.  When we had chainlink we used rolls of 28-inch rabbit fencing to keep chickens in a contained part of the yard and that works well with chickens.  But to keep predators out it is useless.  What is really useless is 1-inch chicken wire which unravels from itself and predators can easily dig holes through it.  Hardware wire cloth buried about 18" into the soil will discourage most digging predators but you would need strong posts to adhere the hardware cloth -- 1/2 inch square hole hardware cloth is best, 1/4-inch is too weak.  As for deer, they can jump over 6-foot fences if they are really hungry for vegetation on the property.  A friend of mine on 40 acres has fenced off about an acre of property around her house with electric fencing and it seems to be working for her.  Still, there is the issue of rabbits that will dig/crawl under the fence.  Only buried hardware cloth will keep digging pests out.  My daughter's property butts against a nature preserve and she has iron fencing that really doesn't look bad in her vegetation preserve and it's been successful keeping out bear, mountain lion, bobcat, lynx, coyote, deer - but the smaller animals like rabbits, skunks, rats, mice, rattlesnakes, raccoons, possums, etc. still get in.  Her neighbor used hardware cloth around the base of their iron fence and have been successful keeping out the destructive rabbits from their garden.
 
Rez Zircon
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Trick to keep deer out (cuz 8 foot fences are not enough) is to make the fenced area long and narrow. They tend not to jump into narrow spaces. Has been working for my sister's fenced-off area in deer heaven, and it's only got a 4 foot fence around it. Fenced area is probably 15x50 feet.
 
Sylvester Shupe
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Rez Zircon wrote:Trick to keep deer out (cuz 8 foot fences are not enough) is to make the fenced area long and narrow. They tend not to jump into narrow spaces. Has been working for my sister's fenced-off area in deer heaven, and it's only got a 4 foot fence around it. Fenced area is probably 15x50 feet.

Yep, small spaces make the deer nervous.  My daughter's 6-ft iron bars fencing is down at the bottom of a steeply sloping hill and the deer and bobcat, etc, don't like taking the chance to jump over the fence onto a slippery steep hill that slopes up sharply 40 or 50 feet.  She was thinking of terracing the steep hill but likes the deterrent it poses to wildlife and just keeps 4 tall deeply rooted trees on the hillside to keep hill soil from eroding.
 
Kevin Franck
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Well, this isn't exactly desert fences, but rather Swedish Fences. The main reason I post it is because of the natural materials and designs used here which can be experimented with any where.

  Swedish Fences  

 
Rez Zircon
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Kevin Franck wrote:Well, this isn't exactly desert fences, but rather Swedish Fences. The main reason I post it is because of the natural materials and designs used here which can be experimented with any where.

  Swedish Fences  



Oooh, those are so cool... also look at http://www.jamtgarsgard.se/en !!

Could be done with pipe and sucker (drilling) rod too, if you want it permanently durable.

If you were to put up post and cross-poles, then plant that common trash bamboo and weave the growing stems into it -- that would make for a pretty tough living fence. It transplants readily, and once established it can get by with little water.

 
Rez Zircon
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I quite like the idea of living fences... here's what happens when you get carried away and make living buildings!

http://weburbanist.com/2015/07/18/tree-church-organic-arbortecture-grown-from-living-branches/

 
Dean Howard
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Jon Snow wrote: Im going to install a fence on my 5 acre property near Joshua Tree...


I'm with "those guys"...  I prefer to fence off what needs fencing and Electro Net works very well for folks.  Last year, I made a 4 foot tall fenced circle, about 3 feet in dia.,using the 2" X 4" sturdy concrete mesh.  The other day, I saw a coyote balancing on top of the wire rim, then jumping down inside for some hors d'ourvres...  Sorry French people, I just like saying it.  I finally had to screen off the top, as well.  They don't really care about my garden, but other critters would enter.  I'm leaning toward Electro Net, as well.
 
Kim Goodwin
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The electro net has the advantage of being moveable, which is nice.  You've probably heard Joel Salatin talk about it as the most important tool on his farm.

I can attest to the voraciousness of the desert creatures,e specially when it gets dry.  Rabbits and hares aren't the only issue.  This year in Morongo Valley, we had several large cacti eaten from the roots.  Something even ate my extremely toxic (to humans, at least) Queen of the Night cactus.  When it gets dry, animals will eat almost anything here.

Good luck with your fencing endeavors!
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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I am also a big fan of electric fences.  Solar powered has also worked pretty well for me. 

My method is to put little tabs of aluminum foil along the fence with a bit of peanut butter on the foil.  The animals come and lick the peanut butter and get quite a shock.

After that they avoid the area and teach their babies to avoid the area as well.

I put out fresh peanut butter tabs every few months or so as a reminder, or to train any new animals that have shown up.

This method has worked best for me as the animals learn to avoid the fence even when it may be off or have a low charge for a day or two.
 
E Ermitaño
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Jon Snow wrote: Im going to install a fence on my 5 acre property near Joshua Tree. Before I start I would like the advice of the knowledgeable folks on these forums. I'm planning on fencing only about 1 square acre around my cabin. I don't want to put up a chain link fence since I feel it doesn't blend in with the desert landscape. I thinking Ill put up a split rail cedar fence or maybe a wire mesh fence on t posts. What do you guys recommend? Any advice is appreciated.


This is what we are doing in AZ
http://xn--extraterrestreermitao-vbc.com/proteccion.html
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Jon Snow
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Jackrabbits around here eat cholla cactus
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