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Installing a Fence in Between Trees

Joseph Franciosa, Jr.

We've all heard the old saying that good fences make good neighbors. Some fences are more difficult to build than others. Soil type and natural obstructions can make a straightforward project become a frustrating afternoon. If you are building a fence between two trees, it can be all too easy to damage the trees' root systems if you don't follow a few simple guidelines. Building a fence between two trees is not a major challenge. It will definitely, however, require patience.

A fence between trees needs to allow for the trees' growth.
  1. Measure the distance between the trees. Take three measurements--bottom, middle and top of your intended fence. Use the smallest of these measurements and determine how many posts you will need.

  2. Start digging. Remember that trees grow, and leave space accordingly. This extra space will be addressed further down in the article. Using the post-hole digger, begin digging a hole approximately 2 feet deep. Avoid major roots if possible. If you absolutely must cut through a root, be sure to seal the wound with spray paint to keep the tree from becoming infected. A long-handled shovel or a pick might be needed if the ground is rocky. Check the depth of the hole with a tape measure.

  3. Cut your post to your desired height. Insert your post. Tie a string to represent your desired finished fence height. The string will also help to ensure your posts are in-line. Check the post with a level to make sure it is plumb and begin back-filling with rocks and soil. Rocks will facilitate water drainage and reduce the risk of premature post-rot. Repeat for each post in your fence.

  4. Connect your fence rails to the posts. Wooden fences will have premade holes in their posts for the rails to be inserted. Nails or other fasteners are not needed for connecting rails to the posts.

  5. Nail the fence slats vertically onto the face of the horizontal rails. Two nails in the top rail and two nails in the bottom rail will be sufficient.

  6. Close the remaining space between the trees and your fence with chicken wire. This will keep small children or pets from escaping. It also gives the trees room to grow, and can be removed with ease.