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Wildlife Pest Fencing for Gardens

When planning a garden, it is important to think about how you plan to keep out unwanted pests such as deer, rabbits, opossums, birds and the neighbor’s cat. Each pest carries their own threats to your garden and possibly you. Deer, groundhogs and rabbits may eat the plants and the fruit on them. Birds will pick your berries from the bushes. While thinking the cat in the garden is keeping away the rodents they might turn your raised beds into their new litter box. Fencing strategies have developed over the years as equipment has improved from split rail to barbed wire to woven and now netting.

A groundhog pops out of his hole.

When designing your garden fence here are some questions you need to consider:

  • What animals am I trying to keep out?
  • What equipment will need to be inside the fence from time to time? Tiller, wheelbarrow, water hose, tractor and etc.
  • If using raised beds, how will I fill the beds if the fence will be difficult to open?

It is recommended to use wooden fence posts that are 8 to 10 feet tall, place staples at the top and middle of the posts. Do not drive the staples flush to the post. You will take the wire and run through these staples. The posts should be spaced approximately 10 feet apart; this will allow the wire to support the netting. Secure the netting to the wire using zip-ties.

The chicken wire will be used to prevent burrowing animals from entering your oasis. Cut the wire to be 10 inches high and be the middle at a right angle. Dig a 5" x 4" trench at the bottom of the netting. Place the wire in the trench with the bent wire facing out from your garden. You can secure the bottom of the deer netting to the top of the chicken wire with zip ties. Bury the chicken wire with loose soil to cover it.

If you wish for added protection from aerial threats, bird netting can be secured from the top of the posts. Additional supports may be required to keep the netting off the plants.

Evan Wilson, WVU Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources Program Coordinator
Last updated: September 2020