Winter lingers on. Seems like it is here to stay. Actually, it will be gone faster than you can flip through the pages of your appointment book, or click through your icalendar. And, as you flip or click through the months, micro images play through your mind of positive, pleasant, sunny, warm, outdoor experiences. Blissful spring memories, most in your backyard. But, it’s winter now and spending time outdoors may be the last thing you want to do. Hence, like the rest of your outdoor living space, your wood fence can easily become neglected during the winter months.

So how early in the year should you schedule routine maintenance for your fence? As soon as your appointment book allows. At the beginning of the year is perfect. Most plants/shrubs are dormant this time of year, this makes it easier to get to your fence and does not impose on the plants or shrubs. Routine maintenance can help increase the life span of your fence. If you don’t already have one in place, you should consider implementing one.

on the first warm sunny day you step into your backyard. You look at your wood fence for the first time since your last outdoor event, sometime last fall.· Where do you begin? Visually it may seem overwhelming and you may think you don’t know what to look for, but it is simple.Your initial visit should be to evaluate and take inventory of what it will take to bring your fence back to it’s original condition. Begin by making a list that will assist you in creating a game plan that will enlighten you on time it will take to complete the project. Once you know how long it will take you may decide your time is too valuable and go with hiring a fence company to do the work.

Your initial list should have structure, be based on beginning work at above fence level, and conclude where the fence meets the ground. If you share a fence with your neighbor, you may want to get him/her involved.

Your list should look something like this:

Maintenance Schedule For Your Wood Fence

  • Remove overhanging tree limbs that may have broken under the weight of snow and ice before they fall and cause damage to the fence.

  • Monitor any trees within falling distance of the fence and trim back any branches that may pose a threat.

  • Groom and trim shrubs or plants next to the fence. Allow space between the fence and shrubs/plants to avoid the increased possibility of damage to the fence.

  • Keep the rails free of debris including leaves, acorns, shells, twigs, and remove any foreign matter particles that may be wedged between pickets. Wet organic matter remaining long term wedged between rails and pickets can accelerate rot to the fence and compromise stability.

  • Physically inspect each post by using your weight to apply pressure to determine signs of weakness. The post should not move. Movement implies rot or break at ground or below ground level. Allowing post weakness to continue for extended time will add stress to the fence and will lead to additional damage. Therefore, your repair cost will increase.

  • Check for knotholes. Shift in temperature cause the wood to expand and contract, this shift can cause knots in wood to fall out leaving knot holes in your fence. Knot holes are the perfect homes for insects and particles that may become lodged permanently increasing the possibility of rot to your fence.

There are several components that make your outdoor living space a whole. A basic list may include plants, lawn, deck, arbor, pergola, outdoor furniture, outdoor accessories and your fence. Your fence is the component that keeps your outdoor living space private for your enjoyment. The fence may be the single structure in your back yard which you made the biggest monetary investment. Improve it’s lifespan.