Thursday, July 1, 2010
Fishing line deer fence
Over the years I've lost many plants and pounds of produce from my home garden to hungry white-tailed deer. A two-strand solar-power electric fence did a pretty good job for four years but last year several deer got in and did a number on the tomato, pepper, and Swiss chard. The current was not terribly strong and I was not consistent in using repellents and attractants to increase the fence's effectiveness.
I decided to build a more permanent fence in 2010 but plans had to be delayed till late summer or fall. So I decided to try monofilament (fishing line) in the interim- something I had read about on some web sites. It's worked perfectly for the past six weeks, although the idea of counting on four or five strands of fishing line to protect my garden is scary.
The beauty is in the simple and inexpensive design- five 8 ft. steel fence T-posts (my garden has a weird shape) and 300 yards of fishing line. I bought some 8 lb. test line but it's better to go 15 lb. or higher. I tried to find dark blue or purple line but was unsuccessful. Apparently, deer see colors the same as a color-blind human. They see blue and purple very well. If they see the fishing line they won't try to go through or over the fence (at least that's the theory). I have not seen deer approach my fence but people believe monofilament fences work by startling deer. They walk into it because they don't see it. This causes them to recoil and stay away from it next time (again, a nice theory!)
I drove the fence posts into the ground at the corners of my garden with a post driver. Then I tied the fishing line at one corner about 1-ft. off the ground and pulled very tightly as I approached the next fence post. Then I cut the line and tied it off. It should be taut and bounce back when stretched. I continued to tie the fishing line between sets of two posts. My runs of line are at 1-ft., 2-ft., 3-ft., 4-ft., and 5-ft. I did it this way because the line can be easily broken and it takes a lot longer to replace a run around the entire garden rather than between two corners of the garden. I think it also gives you a more taut fence. (The two wooden posts you see in the photo are actually inside the fence and are holding up raspberry plants. You can't see the steel T-posts.)