-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Monday, September 20, 2004

Saga of the star pickets

As part of the preparations for the great tree planting event (!) Dad is sourcing the materials we need. Each tree needs a guard around it to protect from kangaroos etc. Dad has come up with a design which requires using 3 or 4 star pickets for each tree. We considered several suppliers but eventually decided to get them from a nice man in Canberra who Dad found via a classified listing...it turned into quite an adventure!

Email from me to Chris Ward - 12th Sept
My Dad saw your ad on the allclassifieds site and asked me to get in touch to find out more. We are going to be planting about 100 trees in October and need 3-4 pickets per tree in order to build a protective fence around each tree to stop
kangaroos and sheep, etc. We're wondering if your pickets would be suitable.
How tall are they? Are they totally plastic, or are they metal coated in plastic? Would you consider splitting them and only selling say 400 rather than all 700 together? And finally, my Dad lives in Melbourne - are you willing to arrange shipment or would they need to be collected in person?

Reply from Chris - 12th Sept
They are all plastic, but very strong. They do sometimes break if they
are hit by a mob of large cattle at speed, but for sheep and kangaroos
they are perfect. We have used lots on our farm near Canberra to
protect individual trees, but since we have moved from sheep to cattle
we have reluctantly decided to go back to steel. I am sure we could
find a way to get them to Victoria, and yes, I can easily split the
posts. I have attached some information I downloaded a couple of years
ago when I bought them.

Email from Dad - 13th Sept
I think you won't find a better deal for your longterm needs. I would buy as many of the pickets as you could afford, especially if they are 1.8 metre ones. I couldn't open the file attached even though I clicked often on it. It is a lot of money, but these things would cost more than steel ones, and for your purposes are more useful. Cutting them into shorter lengths is very much easier for starters, and they are safer around stock, as you can use them with electric fence for larger things as cattle and horses. Pickets are considered temporary style of fencing, and
flexible. Care to remove these intact is needed, but moving them about to accomodate your needs ought not to be a problem.. Remember that you will need to direct all sorts of animals, but when you have horses, these will be safer for your more or less permanent fencing about your garden areas because they will snap off if charged and not cause goring injury as likely as the steel ones. Whatever we do, we must plan to have safety matters in mind as well as other matters. Making channels about the place with post and rail fences is the safest way of directing horse traffic. That is for the future, and not now. Try to buy as many of these as you can afford, although I wish I could have opened the file so I could know more about
them. It is a lot of money, but so are the trees, when labour is factored in. They are worth their weight in water and shade once grown, and they are imperitive if you hope to enjoy a life there. When they are big in 5 yrs time, or sooner, the pickets will be used again to protect other such developments. I assume they are fully UV ray proof. Love Dad PS If he delivers to the railhead at Talbot, I could collect from there. Or if the rail is at Clunes, or whereever. They will hold such things for a short while.

Dad's email to Chris - 13th Sept

Hi, I am Lyn's dad and will be following up on the many preparations for her
visit to Melb in Oct, in about 4 weeks time. She needs to plant many trees,
and give them a chance to grow while amongst a flock of sheep, and having
regular visits by roos, and rabbits. I put up some wooden pegs, just garden
stakes, and many were knocked over by sheep because I couldn't drive them
into the hard ground deeply enough. I think the plastic ones you have may
be okay, but I couldn't open the attachment you sent to Lyn, and she sent on
to me. She is presently at work so I will continue this dialogue with you.
I think there is a rail head at Talbot or Clunes, but have to check on that
today. Obviously we need to decide if they are suitable first. What length
are they, are they like steel star pickets in that there are a range of
holes to receive rail wires for future use. I have pointed out to Lyn that
a picket which breaks off at the ground if a horse should charge it in a
panic could be an advantage. She will not be fencing a horse paddock with
such things, but will be riding all about the place on a horse in years to
come. Goring injuries by star pickets are very nasty. If you can reply asap to me today I would be thankful. Are all the pickets the same colour? Are they deteriorated by UV rays?

Chris's reply to Dad - 13th Sept

John, I have put the attachment in this email - hopefully you can read it. I haven't seen any sign of UV deterioration, and other than that they are plastic they are just like an ordinary star post - holes and all. The ones I have are black.

I just drive them in with a normal post driver - I sheared off about 6 or 7 out of about 300 in pretty rocky country. I run horses in a couple of paddocks and haven't had any problems with them at all. With cattle they seem to flex up to a certain point, and then snap cleanly at the base if put under extreme pressure. For horses, I would certainly prefer them to steel for the reasons you give. I am jammed in court for the rest of today, but should be free after 5.

Dad's email to me - 13th Sept

I have contacted the Meredith nursery site, and the tree guards they have
are unsuitable in the extreme. I contacted a firm specializing in
reforestration and revegetation and they have a plastic guard and something
like the nursery ones, a place called Tree Max or something like that. Not
suitable here. I contacted the place whose address you got from the Weekly
Times, and they have a lightweight metal garden stake for $2.50 same height
as the plastic star pickets, 1650mm, but he said if a sheep leaned on one it
would crumble easily. Not nearly as suited to reusability as permanent

All the pickets Chris has are black, with holes just like the metal ones, so
can be "built-into" the rails of a permanent fence, a very critical point.
Downside is if a forest or grassfire goes through would probably burn,
though may not. No mention was made of this by the attachment info he
included. That considered, and the safer use around horses, I would see you
putting up permanent fencing with post and rail, and using these pickets for
partitioning paddocks and sheltering areas from stock as we are doing with
the trees, but on a more fencelike manner when more of your lanscaping is
done. Your water tanks, even galvanized, are not fire proof. But insurance
cover would fix these shortfalls. The price is very good if compared to the
normal retail price, but as you can get steel ones for $3.14 each the
difference is only 64 cents so I feel you should tell him you would buy all
from him if the price were $2.00 each. If $2.25 each only saving 89 cents
each, so cost of cartage means is not so good a deal. I am very taken with
the idea of plastic for safety, and with ease of cutting. Not so good with
the fire risk. So that is that. The place where you got the good price
from the Weekly Times is in Spotswood, near the Westgate bridge. He is
waiting for delivery of a container of the 1650 mm pickets, and would hold
the 400 pickets for us to pickup when I take the Jackaroo and trailer up.
The trailer for your car is there already. Dawn will leave your car at Jess
and Tony's, and suggest that Tony might drive it to pickup you at airport if
he is going to have difficulty fitting in all luggage. I plan to mount a
good packrack atop it before you arrive. I found a beaut on the roadside
castoff collection about 6 months ago.

I will contact Vic Rail about cost of shipping the plastic picket to
Melbourne. Please advise me soon as to your choices. I can get 1500 wide
roll of 25 mmx.9guage, the lightest,chicken wire 50 metres for $95. The
pickets are priced at $3.14 but must add GST so they are actually $3.46

Summary: cost of steel pickets, which I will collect enroute to Amherst: 400
for $1384

Cost of plastic pickets: 400 for $1000. Must find out cost of freight.

Summary of my judgement: I would not hesitate to buy all 700, especially if
he will bring the price down to $2.25 or better still $2.00 each plus a fee
for delivering them to a railpoint for freighting here. The 25 cents saved
on 700 pickets comes to $175 so you could factor in $50 for him to deliver
to the place. Probably just settle on him delivering free and getting a
price off of 25-30 cents for buying all 700. You won't regret having the
pickets, but it is all money spent and you may not have it now. The big
cost item for the tree protection is obviously the pickets. Oh I forgot,
the roll of shadecloth comes in 1800 width and I forgot to get a price and
length of each roll. Love, Dad

Another email from Dad - 20th Sept 2004

I only just got to sleep today and Chris rang to tell me he was sending the pickets. He said they were going to only cost $75 and would be delivered to my doorstep tomorrow sometime. Hooray! The timing couldn't be better. I am getting cluttered here and will take the chance presented by Jen going to visit Gran this weekend to go to Amherst with the big load of pickets, leadlight, and stove. I must go late Sat night to beat the traffic, and because I have to be here for Mike and Margaret at Dawn's house for my birthday. So I will have a very full week. Next week I will be doing a big work time at Amherst, and not see you until at Amherst on Friday, most likely. Now the weather is our last concern, and guess what? We have had a day of 25 degrees today, and the prospect of spring weather continuing gets better and better. I have to study now, so will stop here. Oh, the reason I thought to send this message now- Chris said there have been 35 enquiries for his pickets. He is keeping the remainder for use on the farm. He has agistment of cattle, and when they have been spooked and charged the fence, it has collapsed at the ground level and not caused permanent damage to the beasts. So we have truly been fortunate to get these pickets when we did as the interest must have been delayed from when we contacted. Love Dad

1 comment:

karley said...

hey there are these picket toatally plastic as iam looking for safe ones that my horse wont stack himself on again he stacked him self on a metal one if yu could send me info and price etc! that would be great email
thanking you karley