For fun: fence types specific to your area

Around here, in a pretty dry climate, wood posts with rails or wire are the most common fence for horses, and T-posts and wire for livestock of other kinds. But where I grew up in the UK the area was famous for slate mining. As a result, slate fences were made by standing planks of slate vertically into the ground, and tying them with one line of heavy wire towards the top.

Of course dry stone walls, and laid hedges are also common in the UK, making for very solid boundaries that are great for wildlife. And fun to jump!

When we visited Costa Rica we saw amazing living fences made by planting small trees close together and wiring between them. These fence/hedges were cut annually, and IIRC the cuttings used as fodder.

What are some traditional fencing types that are common where you live, but maybe unusual elsewhere?

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There were a lot of cement fences in the mid-Michigan area and south of Kalamazoo that I saw. Posts and rails were both cement, very sturdy as some are still in use, in good shape. Many were torn down as farm equipment got bigger, needed bigger fields. Not as much livestock keeping as time moved along. Farmers did’t need fences as they went to crops.

I believe the fences were from the 1950s, old when I saw them. Not clunky at all, quite attractive and no maintenance. No idea if they were professionally installed or farmer installed, using molded forms to shape the D type rails and posts with 3 rail slots. . I would love to have some cement fencing at my house!!

How about an Osage Orange hedgerow?

http://www.thehumblehive.com/how-to-plant-an-osage-orange-living-fence.html

You have to work to keep an Osage Orange, “hedge” fencerow controlled. Those are TOUGH trees if you have never dealt with them! The thorns are real, on everything. If left to themselves, they grow closely together in all directions, getting quite tall. Working in a thicket of them was a miserable job, trying to cut and move trunks of wood out to collect. The hard wood dulls chainsaws, axes, saws, real fast.

We had plenty of such hedges in Michigan, though more for windbreaks than livestock fencing. My Grampa considered them a crop to be harvested regularly for fence posts and firewood, tool handles. The wood is extremely dense, tight grained. He had a couple gate posts made of hedge, they were put in when he bought the farm as a young man. Still solid posts, used daily, over 50 years later when I was a kid. His fencing was all hedge posts, could not afford to buy fence posts back then. I never remember seeing a broken or rotted post.

Such hedges are still to be found near St Johns Michigan, protecting the mint fields. Fewer than there used to be, with farmers wanting bigger fields. It is major work to get the trees down, roots piled and burned. Some piles have burned for a couple weeks, driving by daily. Bright orange roots are very noticeable in piles. Those old hedges date from the 1930s, dust bowl times. Untrimmed or harvested, they are now quite wide, extremely thick with long branches hanging over the fields to shade the crops, snag machinery.

The linked article does not cover any of the issues of dealing with the mature Osage Orange trees, how much time and attention are needed to control the line of fence trees, keeping them tight and a narrow line . Picking up the fall fruit to prevent sprouting where you don’t want more trees. I laughed when I read they plan to put Mulberry trees in the holes of tree line. They won’t confine livestock who wants to push on thru. This plan does not sound like it will be what they wanted in time. They could not even water the new sprouts to keep them alive.

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Yes reading that page they did sound like they had little experience with plants in general! I wonder how the fence turned out - Osage orange looks like it has similar characteristics to hawthorn which is used for laid hedges in the uk. Instead of bending the branches into the ground like with the Osage hedge, you cut halfway through each trunk and fold it over at 45 degrees or less, weaving it into vertical stakes to hold in place. Then they grow into place. They’re very dense and strong done right.

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That slate fence is so cool! I have never seen anything like that.

Quite a few of my neighbors in TN had what I would call a “redneck hedgerow.” Basically it started out as your regular t-post & wire fence, but vegetation took over. They would then prune and trim the vegetation each year so it did indeed look like a purposefully planted hedgerow. It actually looked quite nice.

I tried to find an image, but Google Street view isn’t available at any of the properties where I know you can find an example.

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X, thanks for the interesting video on hedge laying. As expected, there is plenty more to creating a tight fence hedge than just planting seeds. I have heard about the UK hedges for years. The video showed me lots of details I had wondered about in making the hedges animal proof. We have volunteer Hawthorn locally and they have vicious thorns! Must work well in a properly created hedge fence.

There’s an area of…Kansas? I think it’s Kansas…that has a ton of stone post fence. Haven’t lived in that area, but have driven through several times, and it’s a bit surreal to see from the highway! All this ROCK after miles of nothing.

It’s got it’s own wiki page!

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Texarcana, hedges as you describe, seem “to happen” any place there used to be a fenceline of any kind. Birds speed up the seeding by perching on the wire, pooping out all kinds oF seeds that sprout. Not many folks here bother to trim or shape them. With no one cleaning the fencelines even yearly, no livestock in the fields to graze things down, the brush takes over. We had quite a lot of work to clean out trees and brush on our property lines, so we could fence the place.

I keep after my fences to prevent growth up into the wires. I got a new DR trimmer for the tractor, hoping to save hand work and effort wrestling the push trimmer around the farm.

You are right about that slate slab fence! It looks very nice!! However we just have cobblestones here, no slate, so i will have to do without it.

@goodhors yes, nature always takes over any fence line. But these fences were deliberately and intentionally trimmed to give the appearance of a hedgerow from the native/invasive plant growth. They were not just scraggly overgrowth.

I never had the chance to ask any of the property owners if their redneck hedgerows were planned/intentional or if they were just a creative way to deal with untended and overgrown fences. I suspect the latter. But it looked quite nice, very similar to a proper hedgerow at first glance.

Oregon was a fan of “there is a fence in that blackberry thicket”. At least on the west side of the Cascades. The only way to truely get rid of the blackberries was to set goats upon them for a year or 3. There are chemical ways to remove them but the soil will be sad after and the mechanical required multiple years of ripping out blackberry vines. It was just easier to keep them trimmed. Any animal foolish to go through that mess…was asking for a large vet bill to start with.

In the SE I am seeing a lot more board and no climb wire fencing or three board fence painted black compared to the PNW. For whatever reason the no climb wire fencing isn’t popular back west and if you had a three board fence it was always painted white.

I don’t have any better pics handy, but all that to the right and going back is a “hedge fence”. Mine wasn’t trimmed up well but it was dang near impenetrable. Privet hedges suck lol.

I’ve cleared this all out now.

Texas… I don’t currently have this type of fencing at my house, but the last place I was at had it. Fencing made from recycled oil pipe (not my picture).

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I loved the UK hedgerows. If you tend it and work on it for a few centuries, you really can have a hedge of beech or hawthorn (the two most common) or any other readily coppiced wood that is truly ‘bull tight’ and ‘horse high’. They are also ecological hotspots with amazing diversity and often a source of food for people until the last century. But they take generations and are in a sense an historical accident: intensive farming, with a generally homogenous, non-mobile population, in an area with little extra timber, before the advent of drawn wire.
I also loved the stone fences of Orkney: slabs of limestone set upright. Good for sheep or little ponies, which is all there is up there.
Sigh…now looking at my stretched, somewhat tired electric tape…

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i LOVE those limestone fence posts. When i first moved here i investigated purchasing a trailer full. It was amazingly affordable. Changed my mind and bought recycled plastic lumber posts instead. I bought 4by square and 4"round and 8’ long… Incredibly durable stuff!


The kind of fence you build when trees are plenty (North Idaho). Don’t have pictures handy, but in high desert SW Idaho, it’s common to use lava rocks in a wire cylinder as fence posts

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What kind of fencing goes along with those rock columns? And are those rock piles quite stable?

Usually wire/barbed wire (wood is at a premium) and yes; just keep chucking all that rock in. They usually have a decent diameter.

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do people make their own forms or are they readily available and not too expensive? (got a lot of creeks/got alotta rocks here!)

Like this? Pretty cool!

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