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If a Tree Falls on a Fence, Does Anyone Have to Fix it?

Tuesday, December 08, 2020


Horse Fixed Knot Staples Coatings Tips & Tricks High Tensile Wire Repairing Fence

That’s a fact Reed Edwards found out first hand when he discovered an enormous live oak branch had fallen on his Solidlock Pro 30 fixed knot fence. Edwards says he was surprised one August morning when he found a 12-inch tree limb had fallen onto his fence. He was particularly caught off guard as it hadn’t been stormy or even particularly windy the night before.

After the initial shock wore off, Edwards realized, “I guess I get to see if my Bekaert high-tensilefixed knot fence really does its job and bounces back,” he posted on his Fox Pipe Farm’s Facebook page.

A “horseman who raises hay,” Edwards owns and operates Fox Pipe Farms, a 100-acre property near Laurens, SC. “In the summer, my time is filled with raising sericea lespedeza hay for the sheep and goat market. But in the winter, I work with horses and teach lessons. So my farm is divided between pastures and hay fields.”

quotes Image “Horses will push and rub, and really push hard on a mesh fence,” he said. “So I opted for the high tensile because it will spring back into place and is safer for the animals than low carbon wires.”

However, Edwards said he didn’t know quite how efficiently the wire would spring back. “I had seen some videos and attended some workshops where they claimed this fence would pop right back up, but I wondered if it might be too good to be true.” As he would learn on that August morning, it was not.

“The limb was big enough to be a tree in and of itself,” he said. “It looked like it had rotted from the inside because there was a big black streak where the limb had broken off. The mesh wire is usually four feet high, but with the tree weighing it down, it was doubled over with the highest point only about 18 inches off the ground. But I was just happy to see that the wire was still intact and still standing. That’s when I thought, ‘Wow! It looks like this might live up to its reputation!’ because a low carbon wire would have just stayed down.”

There was only one way to find out if his fence would truly spring back into its original form, and that was to get the tree off of it. That afternoon, Edwards grabbed his chainsaw. “I started whittling away at things and sure enough, when the limb came off, it popped right up.”

Now, Edwards said, “No one would believe a tree limb had fallen on it. If you were walking by, showing somebody the place, you probably would have to point out the spot where the tree fell.”

Experts Agree
Steven Sarson, Technical Support Manager at Bekaert, says that Edwards approached the situation in the correct manner, taking the tree off the fence in small pieces.

Repairing Fence after Tree-Falls

“Trees falling on fences is one of the most common ways a fence gets heavily damaged,” Sarson says. Because high tensile wire will quickly spring back into place, it is important to be cautious when removing debris. “Take the top branches off first in order to lighten up the amount of pressure the tree is putting on the fence. Then go to the other side of the fence, where the trunk is, and cut off the rest of it.”

During this part, Sarson says to proceed with caution. “When cutting the last little bit off, don’t get your head too close to where you’re cutting. You don’t want to be in the way when it flips up because it can flip the tree limb along with it and hit you.”

How Does It Work?
It might be surprising that such a large limb would not cause irreversible damage resulting in a total repair. But Bekaert’s high-tensile wire is specifically engineered to withstand even greater damage.

“It comes down to elongation,” explains Sarson. “High tensile wire has less than one percent elongation, while low carbon has 13 percent and it’s that elongation, or ability to be stretched, that causes wire to sag.”

Fallen Tree

Sarson likens it to a piano. “Piano’s use high carbon wire. If they didn’t, every time the hammer hits the strings, it would stretch it, ruining the tension, resulting in sour notes. So because higher tension doesn’t elongate like low carbon wire, it’s able to better hold its shape and bounce back.”

Peace of Mind
It’s that durability that Edwards says gives him peace 

of mind. “Anytime a storm rolled in, when it was over, I used to have to go check fences. With this high tensile fence, I don’t have to worry about doing that right away.” He adds that the time he saves by not having to repair a damaged fence is an added value. “ If I would have had to repair that fence, it would have taken me three-quarters of a day to do everything properly. Bekaert’s high tensile Solidlock® Pro fixed knot fence gave me almost a full day’s work back. That’s valuable time that I get to use to get other important stuff around the farm done.”

Ultimately, Edwards will save far more than just one day’s work. “The Solidlock Pro 30 I got has a 30-year warranty with Bezinal® zinc-aluminum coating. It was only a few dollars more for an extra 10 years worth of warranty. When I heard that, I thought, ‘Well, that’s a no brainer.’”

Plus, Edwards said, “The high tensile wire is actually going to cost me less in the long run. Instead of putting posts every 8 to 10 feet, I can space them 20 to 25 feet apart, meaning I only have to buy half as many posts.”

Sarson agrees. “Even though the roll of high tensile wire may seem like it’s more money at first glance, the cost per foot of the finished product is actually lower.” Along with saving time and money, Edwards says another big factor in choosing Bekaert wire is where it’s made. “The fact that it’s American made was definitely a strong appeal,” he says.

Hold on Loosely

Sarson points out that there is one important factor to keep in mind when installing the high-tensile fence to ensure it does it’s job of springing back into place. “Loose stapling is probably the biggest key to preserving your fence from impacts.”

Sarson elaborates. “Don’t drive that staple tight into that wood post so that it pinches that wire. Leave a 

Fallen Tree image

little bit of gap in there so that wire can move. If you tightly staple the wire, the only flex occurs between the two posts, causing them to absorb the bulk of impact. However, if all the wire is stapled loosely, the tension is equalized across the whole fence and the braces absorb all that impact.” [Check out our video on the proper way to staple]

More to Come
Durability. Value. Time saving. American made. Edwards says he’s over the moon with his Bekaert fence for all these reasons and more. “Originally, I just got this wire for all my exterior fencing, but I like it so much, when my interior fencing needs replacing, I’ll very likely buy Bekaert again.”