Winter is just around the corner, and we all know what that means: holiday parties, twinkling lights, playing in the snow… and lots of work to keep your property in good shape.
As the temperature drops, work on any farm or homestead becomes centered on preservation. Your equipment, fencing, and buildings need to outlast the elements through the winter months, so they can be ready for use again in the spring. Of course, that means you need to get everything ready to survive the winter, and your fence is no exception.
Types of Damage to Unmaintained Fences
The winter months can do a number on any type of fence material. It may seem surprising, but wire fence is not exempt from the effects of harsh weather. If you have a wire fence on your property, you’ll need to be wary of sagging or breaking wire caused by the weight of heavy snow accumulation. Without proper preparation and maintenance, damage can be done and the list of repairs in the spring can grow.
Fences can even suffer from damage that’s out of your control during winter. Falling trees and other debris can knock down fences. Saturated soil from heavy snow or rain can shift your fence posts and stop them from standing straight. While it can be difficult to prevent these incidents, you should always be prepared for some unexpected winter fence maintenance.
Preparing Your Wire Fence for Winter
It’s best to begin your winter fence preparation schedule in late fall. This gives you plenty of time to prepare your fence for the winter, but not enough time for the fence to develop new problem areas.
Here are the steps you should take to winterize your wire fence:
Grab a wire brush and take a walk around your fence. If you spot any rust, simply use a little elbow grease to scrub it away. This will prevent any existing rust from sitting stagnant all winter and damaging your wires or metal posts.
Clear Plant Growth
Overgrown vegetation can cause unnecessary damage to your fence. Heavy, snow-covered limbs could fall and knockdown or bend wire, and intruding vines can wrap around wooden posts creating a moist environment that could potentially lead to rot. The best way to protect your fence is to clear away any large or unwanted plants from your fence line before winter sets in.
Make Sure Your Fence is Tight
Your fence should always be taught — even in the winter. Take time to walk your fence line and tighten or repair any loose or broken wires during your winter preparations. This will ensure that your fence is in good shape and will likely stay that way through the season.
How to Properly Maintain Your Wire Fence Throughout Winter Months
Most of your winter preparations will take place before winter sets in. But that doesn’t mean your work stops when the temperature drops. If you want to have a clean, effective fence in the spring, you need to maintain your fence throughout the winter.
Keep a close watch on your posts all winter long. Monitor them for rot development, rust on staples or wires, and any shifting in the ground underneath them. If you spot a problem (for example, mold or mildew growth), clean it away as soon as you can.
It’s also smart to monitor anything around your fence that could cause damage. Keep an eye on large trees that might dump snow or large branches onto your fence or even fall onto the fence line. If it’s possible, take steps to remove these potential dangers, but if that’s not possible, make sure you have the tools handy to make some quick repairs.
Red Brand has a large selection of fencing and fencing tools that can help you prepare for the winter. Check out your local dealer or our online store today and make sure you’re prepared for the coming season.