A living fence

whiteoakdairyDecember 8, 2008

I love my goats dearly, but unfortunately, they can jump a 4 1/2 foot tall fence, and don't mind the shock of an electric fence as long as they can get through to that juicy looking bush on the other side. I finally found a fence that is almost 6 foot tall and is an electric net, so they can't just slip through it. It is only meant to be a temporary fence, though, and will not last a long time or be a permanent solution.

I was staring out my kitchen window today and noticed a lilac bush that is so dense you can't even see through the many different stems. I am new to gardening, so I need the advice of people who know plants better than I do.

Would it be possible to grow a fence of lilacs in a few years that would be dense enough that a goat about the size of a very large dog would not be able to get through? If not lilac, are there any other plants that would be thick enough for this purpose?

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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

I'm sure that your goats would think that fence was delicious.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 2:37AM
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runningtrails

Great idea! Lilacs get bare at the bottom as they get taller. You could start with lilacs for the height and then plant something thick and short for the undergrowth.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 6:36AM
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whiteoakdairy

The goats eating the lilac leaves would not be a problem for me. Having a fence that gave me more browse would be a plus. They don't eat the stems, though, which would be the part holding them in.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 7:38AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

I was thinking more about the goats eating any branch under 3/8ths of an inch and stripping the bark off of any branch/trunk over 1/4 of an inch. Are you sure that goats don't eat lilac stems?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 8:54AM
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whiteoakdairy

They haven't bothered the bark on the one outside my kitchen. Just the leaves they ate. The wild cherries and cedars around are all stripped, though. I will also be rotating pastures enough that hopefully if they decide to nibble the bark it won't be too much of a problem.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 11:51AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

The thing is that they only have to eat through in one small spot and they are free.

Do you have those nasty hybrid lilacs? The ones that don't hardly smell like lilac at all?They are rather unpalatable.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 2:15PM
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whiteoakdairy

I am not sure- I moved here after they had already flowered, so I have not experienced the bloom. Does anyone know of a plant that might be more suitable?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 5:04PM
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mxbarbie(pnw BC 5)

what about bamboo?? Or willow? ~ although if the goats eat the willow bark they will be self medicating! : ) you could weave them together as they grow, probably in a pasture that is out of rotation until your living fence gets esablished. Lilac doesn't grow very fast.

Plessage (french) is the art of weaving a living fence.
Also called a woven hedgerow. Check out the link

Here is a link that might be useful: woven hedgerow

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 1:57AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Bamboo might work, but goats will eat anything it would seem. a good fence and good maintenance practices are really the only way to be certain, actually come to think of it a very high stone wall is probably the only way to be safe.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 9:46PM
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islandmanmitch(z 8/9 FL)

The goats that live in the pasture next door love my bamboo. When I trim up I throw it over the fence to them. Now they stand at the fence and say Miiiiiiitch Miiiiitch. I don't think bamboo will work.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 7:02AM
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skagit_goat_man_(WA)

The easiest solution may be to improve your electric fence. We use an enegizer that puts out 9000v to a 36" 5 strand maxi shock fence and no goat has gone through in 10 years. Got all our fencing supplies from Premier in Washington, Iowa. Tom

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 10:36AM
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