Gardening With Electric Fencing: Electric Fence Options For Gardens

Electric Fence In Garden With Yellow Warning Sign
electric fence
(Image credit: Tanes Ngamsom)

For gardeners, nothing is more heartbreaking than to discover your carefully tended rose garden or vegetable patch has been trampled or nibbled on by marauding wildlife. Gardening with electric fencing may be a viable solution. Read on for tips on when to use electric fencing and the basics of electric fence options for gardens.

Electric Fence Pest Control

Using an electric fence around gardens is quicker and less expensive than building a deer-proof fence, and more effective than repellants. Unlike a tall fence, electric fence pest control won’t block your view. Still, when gardening with electric fencing, there are some things you need to consider.

First, check with your city or county to make sure electric fences are permitted in your area. Some municipalities ban use of the fences due to safety concerns.

Gardening with electric fencing may not be a good solution if there’s any chance young children may touch the wires. The fencing isn’t powerful enough to do any real harm, but it can deliver a significant shock. Install warning signs on or near the fence to alert people that the fence is present.

The height and number of wires varies depending on the animals you wish to exclude. A wire 3 to 4 inches (8-10 cm.) above the ground usually works for rabbits or woodchucks, but deer will simply step over, while small animals will sneak under a wire installed at deer’s eye level. If your garden is visited by various varmints, you may need a three-wire fence.

Electric fence pest control works best if animals learn from the beginning that the fence is hot. One way to accomplish this is to entice animals by smearing a little peanut butter, or a mixture of peanut butter and oil, on the wires, or on shiny flags attached to the wire as soon as the fence is installed.

Be careful that foliage doesn’t touch the fence. It may reduce the charge or cause the fence to short out. Attach a few aluminum flags to the fence to prevent deer from breaking the wires by walking into the fence.

When to use electric fencing? Install electric fence pest control early in the season, either before planting or shortly after. Consider installing a timer to the charger so the fence will be on only when you need it.

Mary H. Dyer

A Credentialed Garden Writer, Mary H. Dyer was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, publishing articles as early as 2007.