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Perimeter fence through the woods

 
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I am totally stumped on this fencing problem. Please someone shed some enlightnment. I want to put up a perimeter fence on our 25 acre farm. This will be replacing a 50 year old barbed wire fence that i can barley find in places. The majority of the perimeter is in thick woods. The property line is lined with huge trees with barbed wire running through the middle of them. This perimeter fence is needed to keep stray dogs and wondering neighbors out and as a backup to my interior fencing for horses,dairy cows and dogs. Our property is surrounded by a not so nice subdivison and our 15 property sharing neighbors dont all respect the property line. Clearing the line of big trees would be very very hard in places but i guess i could do it. We've considered fencing in 5 feet from our real line where the trees are a bit smaller and not filled with wire. 6 of my neighbors have there own fencing up. Do i put my fence right next to theirs or move back for some space between?  I orginally wanted woven wire but looking at other options. Is their any fence that can be zig zaged through the trees.  And then i get to cost.... the guy i had out here today, who is supposedly the best in the area for fencing, wouldn't even give me an estimate but just kept telling that it was going to cost a ton.  What do i do here? Give up on fencing through the woods. The property is hilly too.
 
master pollinator
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You might be able to fasten boards to the trees with screws or nails and then staple the wire to the boards.
 
pollinator
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I agree with your fencing guy. IF he has walked the property, and has put up fence, then since it sounds daunting to me who has put up fencing through the woods, then yes, "it will cost a ton of money" is probably accurate.

Fencing is expensive, but you have to keep in mind that it does two jobs and can last up to 30 years too. Field fence is actually the cheapest for this longevity reason; keeping out neighbors and predators, while keeping in livestock. That has inherent value, but trust me I know what rolls of fencing, posts and other fencing items cost!

There are other types of fencing that may be cheaper that allow your neighbors to see you are serious about private property. Signs and wire half buried in trees aren't enough of a deterrent for most humans who have gotten used to a stretch of woods being "theirs".

...
You should NEVER give up land, even two feet of it. In some states, failing to maintain right up to the property line means forfeiting that land. I live in Maine and thankfully that is not an issue here, but I still pay property taxes on every square foot, and will not give any tree.
 
master steward
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Where I live, a fence company is going to come in first with a bob cat or some other sort of machinery and clear 5 to 10 feet of all trees or brush.  This might take a week or two depending on the size of the property.  Then a few weeks later the fence crew will come in to set the posts. A few weeks later, a crew will come in to put up the fence.  This is why it will take a "ton of money".

One of the reason that the corridor is so wide is so that the rancher can check his fence while using a tractor or truck.


If the trees are huge then having a professional remove them is the safest way to go.  It might be cheaper to hire a tree service to remove the trees than hiring a fence company.
 
pollinator
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A timely topic, as just yesterday I finished putting up woven wire along a stretch of perhaps 900 ft., where an old fence line was.  Though it was not "through the woods," this fence line did/does meander into the woodlot, where the tree line parallels the fence line.  (In other words, where pasture meets woodlot, but into the woodlot a few feet.)  There are plenty of seedlings and saplings and brush, plus larger trees, and I could, of course, have cleared them.  Thing is, I want those things in the fence line, because I'm looking at this as what I'm considering a "successional fence," where the woven wire will eventually become impregnated with all sorts of trees and brush, eventually becoming something of a hedge.

It was a pain maneuvering the heavy rolls of woven wire, but it was ultimately doable.  I cleared out enough brush to allow for a straight run in most places; in some places I simply used existing trees (mostly eastern red cedar) as posts.  Apart from the cost of the wire and staples, there was nothing in it but labor, so it was not prohibitively expensive.

If you were willing to spend a bit more, you could opt for welded wire instead, which comes in smaller (and thus lighter) rolls and which is therefore easier to maneuver.
 
pioneer
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Where are you? What is your climate like?

Cost is clearly an issue for you, but would you consider a living fence? They typically are cheaper upfront (just requiring labour) but need more maintenance. Osage Orange was a traditional fencing plant in much of the USA. It grows dense and thorny, and if woven when young makes a sturdy and stock-proof barrier. Here in the UK the hedging tradition used mixes species that were cut and laid every few years - bending the stems down to near horizontal, keeping it stock proof at ankle height.

Hedges may have an advantage in your situation as you can work around existing trees and fences to some extent, without needing to remove them. You can also mix in other edible species to add diversity to your hedge.

 
Wes Hunter
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And a few pictures, to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.  The woven wire isn't as tight as it could be, but it's as tight as I could get it under the circumstances, and I reckon it'll be tight enough for my needs.  A hot wire on top, and another one or two down low on the woods side, should give it extra functionality.
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gardener
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I'm not getting the issue here.
Do you need a tighter fence than barbed wire?
If not, I would want to string more barbed wire on  the outside of the huge trees.
Of they object, move it,but otherwise, assert your claim.
I would certainly consider adding still more barriers,and if I where to contract a bobcat,etc, it would be to build a dry moat/earthen berm.
If you do need something better at keeping livestock in, the wire fencing above seems great.
 
Travis Johnson
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Wes, your fence looks awesome!!

One thing to keep in mind is, a woven wire fence does not have to be strung super tight so that there is a little stretch from heat and cold contraction. Since the strength of the fence is in the fence design (knotted wires) and staples into posts or trees, a little "bounce" is good for animals going into it. On my farm these animals are deer who plow into it at night before they realize it is there. Obviously there has to be some tension, but with woven wire not too much. Yours looks just about right!!

Woven wire fence was called Page Wire forever...so whenever you see me or some other old duffer say Page Wire I am talking about Woven Wire, also called Field Fence...which Page Wire was a brand name back in the day. It is kind of how we say, I need a "Kleenex" instead of a facial tissue today.

My woven Wire fence is LOVED by my deer! Here we have a lot of coyotes, but on a dead run, a white tail deer can out run a coyote, but only for short distances. When they get chased, they just leap right over my fences, leaving the coyotes with an uncrossable fence. By the time they run around and find a spot they can get in like an open gate or something, the deer is long gone. The opposite happens too when the dogs are hunting them, often getting cornered and boxed in from my fenced fields. This year we only got 20 coyotes, but last year we got almost 60 (by gun). My LGD got 2 coyotes and 2 fox kills!
 
Travis Johnson
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Just a suggestion to stay away from welded wire fence. It is cheaper, but it is not worth the money. Animals stepping on the wires easily shreds it, along with snow and even the contraction from heat and cold. It is a lot cheaper to buy, but will not last a year making it far more expensive then Woven Wire, also called Field Fence or Page Wire fence.

Woven wire gets its strength from thick top and bottom wires, and then knotted connections that flex and move with the animals stepping on it, heat and cold contraction, and snow loads, etc.

Woven Wire, of all the fence types out there is actually the cheapest fence to buy because once you put it up, it lasts 30 years or more.
 
pollinator
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Welded wire fencing is also not as durable as woven wire fencing and will rust apart in about 10 years, starting at the welds.
 
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Some photos of your situation would help a lot.
But in Australia, I have a lot of experience with farm and property fencing.
Some thoughts;
- clearing a fence line clean 3-4M wide is only for the benefit of the fencer to save time
- I assume steel star shaped posts are used in North America, on farm fences, they are best to be used, since timber may rot or burn.
- Removing trees on a fence line seems to defeat the purpose of living where you are.
- If you came in a very short distance or even zig zagged between the trees to show you care for your boundary it would show you have thought about things.
- Most fences are run in straight lines for speed, ease of construction and tensioning.
- You may need to think about having a number of shorter runs to get a fence with some tension that is not hitting trees.
- I used secondhand 2inch galvanised steel pipe for my corner or strainer assemblies with 'pipe clamp' bolted connectors
- Fixing the pipes into holes with concrete in the 12 inch diameter holes in the ground. 9 inch would do if thats the size of your post hole digger.
Is your location near standard residential house blocks, in which case there maybe laws.
If not I have used old roller doors as fencing, chain wire mesh, anything that forms a barrier. They don't look nice, but they work and are a bit harder, but sometimes cheaper to install.
If you are using a contractor it will be better, have faster installation time and will cost a aTon as you have heard.

 
gardener
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I prefer to use woven wire (I use Redline Horse fence mostly) for perimeter fencing, along with barbed wire on our north south (longest runs) property lines.
I first put up one strand of barbed wire about 8 inches from the ground, that gives me a good line to follow with the big rolls of fencing, the barbed wire is usually woven through the trees so it follows the property line as closely as possible, then If I need them, I add T posts to fill the long gaps.
I only clear underbrush, I want all my trees so I lay my fencing with that in mind.

Travis has laid a lot more fence than I could ever use on our land, I listen to his thoughts on fencing.
I do use welded wire as an add on barrier in the chicken area, mostly to keep coons from just crawling through the holes, I want them to have to climb over, that makes them a little more nervous and some times that is enough to keep them out.
 
pollinator
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Prioritize: Skip where neighbors have put up a fence, do areas where neighbors will be most sensitive to your animals getting in their yard, Do one roll at a time down your priority list.   Start with a T post pounder and puller.  Woven wire and T posts then are easy to put up and take down where adjustments need to be made in the future. To prevent the wire from being absorbed into the trees nail scraps of wood to the tree which usually will be pushed out by the bark as the tree grows.  Where there is woods on both sides use 4 foot fence and put it a foot or more off the ground, that will be enough to curtail wandering animals and people.  Where barbed wire exists temporally put in a few T posts where it needs maintenance to reinforce that it is a maintained boundary.
In my area I see where rich people have hired contractors to put in a chain link fence only to have it engulfed by impenetrable brush so just a woven wire in that brush would be sufficient.
 
pollinator
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As others have mentioned some context of where you live could help.

For example I live in Eastern WA (essentially a high desert sort of region), so clearing the property line while a huge pain has the added benefit of creating a fire break in case of wild fire. So I am planning to clear a buffer zone around my property perimeter even though that means a lot of hard work up steep hills, through thick brush, and lots of heavily wooded area.

If however wildfire is not an issue for your area, you might not need to do so much clearing back for a buffer. Though clearing some buffer for a fence line can still be wise so you don't have fallen trees and branches putting holes in your fencing.

Something to consider though is anchoring wire to a tree and the tree growing around the wire is not very healthy for the tree. So while maybe not your current concern, the old fencing absorbed by the trees is likely stressing those trees out and will eventually help cause them to sicken or get attacked by pests.

I would highly advise you not anchor a new fence to existing tress, but instead find a way to clear a path and put in proper posts.
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:You might be able to fasten boards to the trees with screws or nails and then staple the wire to the boards.



Here is a good article describing how to properly use trees as fencepost to fence woods. It involves Tyler's suggestion plus pollarding the living posts . Seems to me the most cost effective option if you have a lot of land to cover.
https://northernwoodlands.org/articles/article/living-fenceposts
 
gardener
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My current patch involves wire tieing cattle panels over the aged barbed wire.


It can be done in stages, where needed. Good for the pocket book....

Its like mason jars. You will find other uses for them later on if if a permanent fence is put up.

Where the cedar posts have rotted, i add in a t-post

It will take a little chainsaw/prune shear work, but you are only taking out branches and scrub from the fence toward your property. The site line block can stay if you take out just what is needed.
 
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I have a similar situation where the majority of my property is forest. I don't need or care to fence in the entire property. But our newer neighbors have their property entirely fenced in for their animals. Their property doesn't go back as far as ours, so we're only talking about maybe 500 feet. There is forest between us, but their dogs bark, for hours! We can't step out on to our front steps without them barking. Gardening, getting in or out of our vehicles, sitting to enjoy a glass of ice tea...they bark and bark and bark some more. Big dogs, loud barkers. Our dogs look towards them, and shake their head like they think their dogs are just demented.  So I want to put up another fence (maybe like the wire fence shown in some photos, weaving it through the woods, but I need to have it be a sound barrier more than a physical barrier. What can I add to the fence as a sound barrier? I know they claim that their dogs are livestock guardians. But the dogs sleep in the house, so they're really not guardians. Seriously in the summer when out windows are open, If you get up to pee in the night, they can hear you inside their house and they will bark at 2 in the morning.  Frustration level is high. Any noise barrier ideas? Thank you.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Josephine Howland wrote:I have a similar situation where the majority of my property is forest. I don't need or care to fence in the entire property. But our newer neighbors have their property entirely fenced in for their animals. Their property doesn't go back as far as ours, so we're only talking about maybe 500 feet. There is forest between us, but their dogs bark, for hours! We can't step out on to our front steps without them barking. Gardening, getting in or out of our vehicles, sitting to enjoy a glass of ice tea...they bark and bark and bark some more. Big dogs, loud barkers. Our dogs look towards them, and shake their head like they think their dogs are just demented.  So I want to put up another fence (maybe like the wire fence shown in some photos, weaving it through the woods, but I need to have it be a sound barrier more than a physical barrier. What can I add to the fence as a sound barrier? I know they claim that their dogs are livestock guardians. But the dogs sleep in the house, so they're really not guardians. Seriously in the summer when out windows are open, If you get up to pee in the night, they can hear you inside their house and they will bark at 2 in the morning.  Frustration level is high. Any noise barrier ideas? Thank you.



The situation you are referring to really calls for a privacy fence.
If the dogs don't see you they will be less likely to bark.
Another good sound barrier is a line of juniper trees, Lombardy Poplar or Leyland Cypress, when these are planted in two rows and alternately spaced, they form a really good sound barrier and visual barrier.
Since you mention that the neighbor has put up a fence already, planting one or a mix of the above trees will block the dogs view and not be another fence. to maintain.

Redhawk
 
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IANAL, so take the following w/ a healthy amount of salt; The original poster has apparently moved on...but I wanted to point out that those huge trees that have barbed wire running through their centers are likely border trees and depending on the State law, removing them without the neighbors permission could be a legal violation and some monetary punishment such as stump fees, a fee for the estimated value of each tree removed, could be assessed.

Another mention was on the possibility of losing your property to another if you don’t keep up your fence line. This process is called Adverse Possession and is very much State specific and while exceedingly rare is something property owners should understand. For example you buy a piece of land and discover there is a road that runs over your land being used by a neighbor. Depending on the specifics, if the use of the land was without the landowners permission and the use existed long enough to satisfy the statute, the encroaching neighbor could theoretically claim the land. Sometimes this can be forestalled by a landowner simply giving permission for the use of the road and getting acknowledgement of that permission, the existence of which undercuts the “adverse” part of the equation. Spending an exorbitant amount of money on perimeter fencing seems a waste to me, but the exact circumstance may justify it. To do my perimeter would take almost 9,000 foot of fencing, so that is not happening.
 
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