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Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Vegetables

Animal Fencing (page 2 of 2)

by National Gardening Association Editors

Tunneling Pests: Gophers, Chipmunks, Moles, etc.

These subterranean travelers have the advantage of being out of sight most of the time, and can do their dirty work of munching your plants undetected. In winter, they move beneath the snow and gnaw the bark off young tree trunks, and you often don?t discover the damage until spring. If your garden is plagued by any of these tunneling creatures, you can create cages or baskets to protect prized plants. Dig a 2- to 3-foot-deep hole in the planting area and line the sides and bottom of the bed with wire mesh. Replace the soil and plant your garden.

Protect tree trunks with wire mesh guards placed a few inches below the soil line and 2 feet up the trunk. Check the guards in the spring and fall, adjusting them to make room for tree growth and to be sure they are securely fastened.

Raccoons and Opossums

These animals dig and climb, so this fence needs a floppy top and a barrier to digging. A 4-foot fence with the top 18 inches unattached will fall back on the climbing creature, keeping it from scaling the fence. To prevent the pests from tunneling under, curve the bottom of the fence 90 degrees to create a 2-foot-wide apron, and bury it several inches deep. Placing and electric wire on top of a 3- to 4- foot-tall fence will also work.

Raccoons and opossum don't like material that clings to their feet, so draping bird netting on the ground outside of the fence and keeping the grass mowed may also deter them.


Start with a perimeter electric fence. Add a sheep fence with another electric fence wire strung 8 inches off the ground and a few inches in front of the sheep fence. Since coyotes can jump, add an electric wire on top of the sheep fence as well.


Bears can easily maul most fences, but they can be discouraged from entering an area they haven't explored yet. Since they don't like walking over chicken wire, lay a 3- to 4-foot-wide swath of it on the ground and secure it well. Keep the area mowed. Electric fencing is effective if bears encounter the hot fence before they know about the food source on the other side.

Photograph courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, f_shields

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