Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Back yard fence maintenance

The back yard fence needed to be maintained.  There is an "alley" behind our fence, between our fence and the neighbor's fence.  Everyone wants their own fence.  You want it running along the property line.  But since the property line might not be exactly where it is supposed to be, the custom is to put the fence 4 to 6 inches back from the property line.  Then if two neighbors both put up a fence, you end up with an alley of 8 to 12 inches of "dead" space.  It gets very little light, and neither side can really get to it, so it gets ignored.

In our case, there were several "trash" trees growing in the alley.  The trees get tall enough to be over the fence, and then their branches start pushing against the fence, and hanging down in the yard.

So first thing is, I took off two or three fence slats.  Look for ones that probably need to be replaced anyway.

That gives access to the alley.  With pruning shears, loopers, and a saw, I can then cut down all the growth in the alley.

But of course, it will just grow back.  Or something will grow back.  It seems that if I want to keep something undesirable from growing in the alley, I should plant something that I want, that will cut down on other stuff growing.  So what would grow in a 8 to 12 inch horizontal space?  Crepe myrtle trees seem to be slender and grow up tall enough to clear a fence.

Looking on the web, I find "Crepe Myrtle Guy".  He's in Waxahachie, and sells crepe myrtles.  Lots of different types of Crepe myrtle trees.  He has a special package of 6 or 9 Crepe myrtle trees, for $6 a piece, plus $20 shipping.  I order 9 trees; all different colors (but two white ones).  I'm looking for a tree that grows to 10 to 20 feet tall.

I order them on Friday, they get here on Monday.  On Tuesday, they are all in the ground.  I spend Monday evening clearing out all the volunteer growth, and then space the Crepe myrtles 8 feet apart -- in the center of an 8-foot wide fence panel.  Starting at one end (the South and West end), I put in

  • William Toovey (Dark Pink)
  • Twilight (Purple)
  • Natchez (White)
  • Sioux (Pink)
  • Muskogee (Lavender)
  • Dynamite (Deep Red)
  • Natchez (White)
  • Tuscarora (Pink)
  • Catawaba (Purple)
So this pretty well covers the length of the alley

all the way down

In some parts, the trees should get sun from the one side; in other places it only comes straight down from above.  And there is no irrigation.  Or oversight.  And there are other plants that want to grow there -- especially some bamboo from the South, West end.  But either they grow, or they don't.

We replace the fence slats with 6 new ones from Home Depot 6 foot tall, 5.5 inches wide, and 5/8 inch thick western red cedar dog-ear fence pickets.

including one that needed to be replaced.