Underground Fence Risks: Frost and Roots

When it comes to protecting your fence from potential damage, some of the top culprits are relatively well-known: Moisture risks, weather elements, impact dangers and the potential for corrosion or other forms of wear-down. Did you know, however, that there are also a few underground risks that may be present for your fence?

At Utah Fence Warehouse, we’re here to offer not only quality fence supplies and fencing contractor services for numerous fence types, from wood fences to vinyl and several others, but also expertise on the long-term care and maintenance of these products. In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over some of the most common underground damage risks you should be aware of for any fence, plus how to be sure these do not create major problems for any fence on your property, new or old.

underground fence risks frost

Frost Heave

One of the most common issues in this realm, and one that’s particularly common during the cold season we’re entering right now, is known as frost heave. Frost heave, which refers to an upward swelling of soil due to ice forming during winter, can have an impact on numerous soil- and landscape-related areas, not just the fence.

Specific to fences, frost heave tends to impact the posts that sit in your soil. When this dirt becomes wet and freezes during the winter, it will become more solid while also expanding, just like water does when it turns to ice. This expansion is the actual frost heave effect, and it often leads to the frozen soil moving and dislodging the post from its proper area. This can happen several times over the course of a cold spell in your area, with the post moving around more and more each time the soil freezes – and eventually even being pushed out of the ground entirely.

To avoid this effect, we recommend adding sand, gravel or other dry materials to the soil to help with drainage. In addition, be sure you bury your posts below the frost line when installing them, something our fence professionals will be happy to help with if needed.

Tree or Shrub Roots

Another area our installers will keep a careful eye on, as you should, is the presence of trees or shrubs with extended root networks near a new fence or its underground posts. These roots may grow and spread around posts, and may even pull them out of the ground or crack their wood. Unfortunately, the signs of this condition aren’t often present until the fence begins to sag, at which time repairs can be expensive. For this reason, keep newly planted trees or shrubs well away from the fence, and do not build any new fence posts near an established tree or root network.

For more on the underground damage risks to avoid for your fence, or to learn about any of our fence contractor services, speak to the staff at Utah Fence Warehouse today.