Fence Design Around Trees

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Fence Design Around Trees
Fences can protect young trees from damage. (Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Fences can interact with trees in numerous ways. You may want to build a protective fence around a particular tree to protect it from browsing deer, scratching cats or marauding children. Or you may be planning a fence for a location where a tree is in the way. Rather than cutting down the tree, you can modify the fence in various ways to accommodate the tree, keeping the tree alive and creating an intriguing, unique fence at the same time.

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Fences can be made out of nearly anything, including wire, screen, lumber, logs, stone, bricks, concrete blocks and straw bales. The material you choose depends on your budget, your aesthetic tastes and what you have available. When building a fence near to or around a tree, take into account the eventual size of the tree and the materials you'll be using. If you're building a stone wall, it's for the long term, and you don't want to interfere with the tree's future growth. A wire fence, though, is less of a concern because it can easily be moved.

Fences to Protect Trees

Young trees are vulnerable to the teeth, claws and hands of many animals, including humans. If you're building a fence to protect a tree, you need to customise the fence to keep out the right creatures. For example, a fence to deter raccoons needs to have its bottom edge go right into the ground to prevent their burrowing under it. A deer fence needs to be at least 6 feet tall to prevent them jumping over it. A fence to deter humans needs to be sturdy enough to prevent them from knocking it over.

Fences to Accommodate Trees

Rather than knocking down a tree to put up a fence, build a custom fence that takes the tree's form into account. You can create an intriguing effect, for example, by building a wooden fence around the extending branch of a tree, including a window in the fence for the branch to pass through, rather than simply cutting off the branch. If the branch outgrows the window, you can enlarge the window with a bit of saw work. Large trees can be accommodated by custom-cutting the fence to butt up against one side of the tree and continue on the other side.

Construction Techniques

Because trees are such beautiful features in a landscape, try to avoid surrounding them with ugly chain-link fences. A custom-built cedar fence will look much nicer and will harmonise with the tree. You can build a simple fence with posts sunk into the ground, horizontal rails from post to post, and vertical planks attached to the rails. If you've got money to burn, hire an ironworker to create a cast-iron fence to simultaneously protect your tree and accent its beauty.

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