Pallet Fence

Well, the deer are shut out of the north fence line at last. It was an idea from DIY building to take pallets and erect a barrier from discarded wood. It’s a natural fence, in that it’s built with organic materials that in time, will break down. By that time, I hope to have an established hedge line well shaped in place of the pallets. The structure, so far, is solid and well held by bailing twine. The pallets are staggered in a zigzag pattern to hold at right angles from one to the next. In each “V” shape, a tree or shrub is planted to begin the hedge line.

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Along the north line, a double stacked pallet wall takes shape, high enough to prevent deer jumping over. On the west line, a single layer rises against a wall of bramble and bush, wide enough to prevent deer moving through. They do not like a wide space without sight of the other side. This prevents them from coming through the western fence. The pallets were free, salvaged from hardware stores, construction projects, and city maintenance yards. Pallets are easy to come by, and often thrown away once their content is unloaded. To erect a wire fence would cost a lot of money in both the fence and its posts. The pallets come together and hold one another with lashing. Even the lashing is cheap plastic cord. This structure will stand long enough to allow young plants to grow up strong. The time to gather pallets can be folded into other errands and easily transported in the back of my truck.

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Mountain Ash, Nine Bark, and dogwood are planted along the pallet fence to encourage intentional growth of a new wall of vegetation. On the north line, many young cherries will be pleachered next winter to shore up the line and encourage hedge growth. This initial pallet fence will be observed closely to see if it will hold, support the native growth planted, and keep out blackberry until the hedge can fully set. It’s not an aesthetic fence, but does the job of any boundary by standing tall and clear along the property line.

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This area was chosen as the first pallet fence because it was the most open spot along the property line with the least amount of protection and the highest traffic of deer through the land. They migrate through here to reach the apple trees and I’d like to see my fruit trees producing for the farm, not wildlife. The deer can benefit from a more diverse brows line in time as the hedge establishes. If this pallet fence works, I’ll think about extending it all the way around the upper habitation of the farm, to protect our gardens, orchards, and other sensitive cultivation areas in the high traffic area of the landscape.

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Hedges are still the main method of long term boundary construction at Leafhopper Farm, but the pallets are an affordable foundation for the young hedge plants, which would otherwise be eaten down by deer and prevented from fledging into a shapely green wall. I folded a downed cherry into the north pallet line and hope to drop more trees next winter to beef things up. No deer have been through since the pallet wall went up, and I hope that menace to the apple trees remains shut out by new boundaries.

Another great thing about the pallets, is their size. Most are the perfect height to keep goats in. When one goes up it takes up 3-4 feet of space, making each panel quite a gain in fence line as it’s erected. It took about 2 hours to set up roughly 50 feet of fencing. Things move faster with two people erecting, but one person can work the pallets alone. It’s wonderful to be erecting boundaries on the land and creating clear walls of support for the hedge line.  I hope that as this wall establishes, I can take down netting and t-posts which are protecting young plants along the property line that have been terrorized by the deer for the past few years. Not that the deer are intentionally aggressive, but they have now been guided away from the corridors they once freely moved through to eat up our cultivars. At last I can afford a solid fence for the farm.

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