[Posted on February 28th, 2013 by Aaron Presley]
The right fencing materials ensure you have a fence that lasts a long time without needing constant repairs. Different types of wood are used in different regions of the country, but one feature that is common in fencing materials is the use of wood that is resistant to decay from pests and the elements. The following types of wood are among the most used for Ranch Fencing in the U.S. and abroad:
If you are looking for the most economical choice, pine fence posts are among the least expensive options available for Ranch Fencing. Pine doesn’t last as long as other options but is a good choice for temporary fencing because it is cheap. While pressure treated pine will last longer than untreated posts, even treated pine trends to decay within a short time when compared to cedar or oak fencing. Pine and other whitewoods, like fir or spruce, that are chemically treated shouldn’t be used around food sources because the chemicals used to make the wood more durable can leech into the ground and contaminate gardens. If possible, opt for untreated pine posts to reduce animal and crop exposure to the chemicals.
Perhaps one of the best choices for ranch fencing is cedar. Cedar fences are very durable and work naturally to repel pests, such as termites, that can damage wooden posts over time. Since cedar doesn’t need to be treated to be durable, it is also a more environmentally friendly option. Cedar can be used in a wide range of climates, including regions where there is significant snow and rainfall amounts during the winter.
Natural cedar logs make a beautiful, safe, and effective fence on your ranch. Split rail fencing made from either cedar or a hardwood like oak are safer for animals because there is no need for staples or nails that can damage and animal’s mouth if they chew on the fencing.
Oak fencing is used in both treated and untreated varieties. Oak and other hardwood fencing, like locust, are very durable and long lasting, particularly when treated wood is used. Oak is also a very traditional option for ranch fencing simply because of its durability. Like pine, the best option when using oak for animal fencing is to choose an untreated, natural wood to eliminate the risk of exposing animals to the chemicals in treated wood. Other types of hardwood may also be available for fencing, including hemlock. The price and availability of different types of hardwood vary, so it may be more cost effective to use a wood that is locally harvested.
Treated and Untreated Wood
After choosing the type of wood that is best, you will need to decide whether to use treated or untreated wood. Treated wood can be chosen when the fencing needs to last as long as possible and won’t be chewed on by animals or placed near outdoor vegetable gardens, fruit trees, or other food sources like orchards. Treated wood is often used to mark boundaries or for aesthetic purposes rather than for animal fencing.
Untreated cedar, oak, locust, and pine are all options that can be used around animals and gardens. In a relatively mild climate, pine is an affordable option that works well. Harsher climates require a more durable option than untreated pine, however. Cedar is among the most used woods for ranch fencing because of its natural defenses against pests and its durability in even the harshest climates.