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Fence Alternatives To Consider

15th Nov 2013

Double Fencing

Fences 7.5 feet and up are tall enough that a deer would probably think twice before making a leap, but what is a gardener to do if they aren’t able to install a fence tall enough to prevent jumping?  Many gardeners are either not able or not allowed to install tall deer fencing to protect their gardens.  In some cases, trees, shrubs, or other obstacles surrounding the area to be fenced won’t allow for height, and in others, homeowners associations will not permit the installation of a fence beyond a prescribed height.  In these circumstances, protecting your landscape can be a challenge.  The height of a traditional fence is no sweat for a hungry deer, and one short fence alone won’t do much to prevent browsing.  Two short fences, however, may be just the thing to make up for a loss in fence height. 

Deer, when they are inclined, can make impressive jumps, even over tall deer fencing.  The thing that makes them less likely to jump isn’t necessarily that they can’t clear the top of the fence, but that they won’t clear the landing.  A poorly executed jump or landing can cause serious injury to a deer, and deer can’t really afford to get injured if they expect to survive.  Deer will only make a jump like that if food is scarce and they know they can land safely on the other side.  Knowing this, many gardeners recommend installing two short parallel fences, or a fence within a fence.  These two perimeters can be separated by a gap of space at such a distance that deer will not be tempted to jump.  The inner fence would block a safe landing zone, confuse the deer , and create a kind of trap in between that deer would want to avoid.  Best of all, the gap created in between the fences can be used for different gardening applications, such as moving equipment and creating a run for chickens. 

The most common arrangement for a double fence is an exterior fence of four feet and an interior fence of six feet.  It is recommended that when installing a double fence that there be around a four to five foot gap in between to allow equipment to pass, and for maintenance purposes.

Tilted Fencing

If you are able to install a tall deer fence, but are concerned that slopes on the property may give deer an advantage when jumping, the tilted fence method will create a similar block.  By tilting the fence inward at a 45 degree angle, the other side is obscured, and the deer again becomes unsure how far it has to jump to clear the obstacle.  To create the tilted fence, your ground sleeves would need to be inserted into the ground at an angle where you would like to tilt your fence.

This is not a very popular installation method as it can be very difficult to install posts at an angle, and keep the angle of the fencing consistent throughout.


Top left: Peter Aikman, CC BY-SA 2.0

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