How to extend the life of your fence

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A properly built and well-maintained fence can last a long time. A maintenance program can help you stay on schedule with routine fence checks and repairs. Here are a few tips to help extend the life of your fences.

Maintenance

1Wires
Fence wires will naturally loosen over time with seasonal changes. Keep fence wires properly stretched by putting several small kinks or creases in the wire with pliers, a hammer or a special tool designed for this. If wire tighteners are on the fence, check them at least twice a year. Splice any broken wires when necessary.

Woven wire and barbed wire fences can deteriorate over time. Restore them by running an electric wire on one or both sides of the fence to contain livestock.

2Weed control
Use herbicides or manual clearing to control weeds and vines. Grass and weeds touching an electrified wire can ground it out and make the fence ineffective. An inexpensive fence tester should be used to make sure the fence is working properly.

3Repairs and supplies
Repair or replace anchor post assemblies whenever they show signs of weakness and refasten any loose wires to posts.

Keep fencing supplies such as nails, staples and small tools handy with a carpenter’s apron, and invest in a good pair of gloves. Specialized fencing pliers are a good investment for anyone building or maintaining fences.

Sources: University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.

(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)

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