Setting Fence Posts: Choosing and Spacing Posts
Setting Fence Posts: Distances between Posts
When setting fence posts in areas without heavy snow, the posts should be spaced 20 feet apart to support polypropylene deer fencing and 15 feet apart to support metal hexagrid or welded wire deer fencing. If snow loading is a serious issue the distance should be shortened to 10 feet. However, these distances should not be regarded as iron-clad. For instance, if a side of your metal hexagrid fence is 32 feet long, use 1 post in the middle rather than two unless you anticipate snow loading or other severe strains on the fence.
Using Trees as Posts
Trees make the best posts, because they are both strong and natural. When you set up a deer control fence you want to keep things looking as natural as possible, so that the fencing fades into near-invisibility for both deer and people. Trees are admirably suited to this task. If the fence zig-zags a bit as it goes from tree to tree, so much the better.
Select only healthy trees that have bare trunks, or at least no major branches from the ground up to the top of the fence (usually seven feet) on that side of the tree facing outward toward the deer.
Polypropylene deer fencing, which is light, can run as much as 25 feet (in extreme cases) from one tree to the next with no intermediate support, though 20 feet is the distance recommended. Our metal hexagrid deer fencing (and also welded wire fencing) is heavier than polypropylene fencing and needs to be supported every 15 feet. So if you are setting the metal fence into a place where two trees are, say, 30 feet apart, you can attach the fence to the two trees and then come back and set up a support post halfway between them.
Choosing Metal or Wooden Posts
If you don’t have suitable trees along the fence line, or if you choose not to employ them, use either wooden or metal fence posts.
Our preference in setting fence posts is for round (1-5/8 inch) metal fence posts, which are stronger than angle-iron fence posts (the other alternative we offer) and which need no maintenance. These round black posts come with or without drive sleeves. Use the ones with drive sleeves if your soil along the fence line has relatively few roots or rocks. Also use posts with drive sleeves if you don’t like the idea of getting up on a 2-step stool to manage a post and a manual post driver. Use the 9-foot fence posts without drive sleeves if your soil along the fence line has a lot of roots or rocks.
Should you prefer angle-iron posts, use our 9-footers for most conditions and use the 10-footers for very loose or sandy soil. Try to stay away from 10-foot posts if your project is small, (using more closely spaced 9-footers or round posts with drive sleeves instead) because 10-foot posts do not ship free and can incur very high freight charges.
In general, angle-iron posts are somewhat weaker than round posts and should not be put at points on the fence that are likely to receive substantial stress. Please note that unlike the round posts, angle-iron posts need periodic inspection and application of rust-preventive paint at any places where their black powder-coat finish has been chipped or scratched.