Fencing Your Patch

If you have a forest remnant on your farm, exclusion of stock needs to be a top priority. Unfenced remnants on farms can suffer a lot of damage from livestock. New Zealand’s plants evolved without any large grazing mammals. Cattle, goats and, to a lesser degree sheep, with free access to a fragment will heavily graze edible native seedlings and saplings, opening up the forest underneath. Find out more about excluding stock from your forest remnant.

Benefits of fencing

Fencing forest fragments on your farm not only benefits the fragment, it can also benefit your farm. Benefits to your forest fragment include:

  • Forest plants being no longer browsed and therefore able to recover.
  • Seedling and shrub survival becomes greatly enhanced.
  • Nutrient overloading from stock faeces and urine is greatly reduced.
  • Forest microclimate cools and is enhanced as the remnant interior regenerates.
  • Remnant becomes a more desirable habitat for birds and other native fauna.

Benefits to your farm include:

  • Reduced soil erosion and compaction.
  • Easier mustering of stock.
  • Filtering of excess nutrients through the fragment, increasing water quality in nearby waterways.

Where to fence

Often the best place to put your fence is right up to the bushline on all sides of your remnant. However, there are other options you could consider depending on the resources you have available. You could:

  • enlarge the area by incorporating neighbouring stands of trees
  • enlarge the area by incorporating gullies, unproductive corners or wet areas
  • fence off riparian (riverside) areas on your farm.

For fragments which are small, open underneath, and/or exposed to wind, place the fence five or more metres away from the bush edge. Then plant up a buffer zone of hardy shrubs and small trees to provide a protective ‘edge’ to your remnant. If a buffer zone is not feasible, place the fence close to the bush margin to reduce weed invasion.

Find out more

Contact us for more information.