Fouquieria-splendens-02Ocotillo fencing is a popular design element here in the arid southwest, where its rustic appearance accentuates our very unique sense of space and style. If you’ve been wanting to try ocotillo fencing in your own garden but have questions about how it works, this blog post is for you! Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about ocotillo fencing.

Where can I buy ocotillo fencing in Arizona?

There aren’t many places in Arizona where you can buy pre-made ocotillo fencing panels, but Civano Nursery is proud to be one of the very few! In fact, at the time of this article’s writing, I couldn’t find another vendor in the state who has them for sale and in stock.

How much does it cost?

Pricing can vary a bit from year to year with source demand and availability. Please call our garden center at (520) 546-9200 for the most current price on this product.

How big are the panels, and how many will I need?

Each panel is approximately 6 feet tall by 4.5 to 5 feet wide. Because they’re hand-made, there’s some variation in the exact length of each panel. In addition, panels can be slightly stretched (putting a bit more distance between each cane), so how they are installed can affect how much distance is covered. Measure the length of your fence line, assume the lesser width for each panel, and plan to get one extra panel if the numbers are close (panels can always be returned with your receipt if they aren’t needed).

How well does ocotillo fencing work as a screen?

This can depend on how much you stretch your panels, but a single panel of ocotillo fencing does not create a complete visual block. If complete screening is desired, consider installing a double layer of panels, or provide a solid backdrop for your fencing (such as galvanized metal).

How well does it work as a barrier?

Very small critters (like rodents and reptiles) may still be able to squeeze through the cracks, but larger animals (like cats, dogs, and people) are easily excluded with ocotillo fencing. Although the canes on the panels don’t have sharp thorns, it would be uncomfortable and difficult to try climbing them.

Consider using chicken wire (buried several inches into the ground) along the bottom portion of the fencing to exclude smaller critters.

How do you install it?

There are many creative ways that people have installed and used ocotillo fencing, but installation can be as easy as the following directions:

Dig a trench along the fence line that is at least 6 inches deep. Install 6-foot t-posts (2 for every fence panel) along the fenceline to secure the panels in place, and attach the panels to the t-posts with strong wire.

Is the ocotillo in a fence panel still alive? Will my fence take root and grow?

In general, these panels are best used as a design element for their striking vertical lines, and for how well they blend with their environment, rather than as a living component of the landscape.

Some canes in the panel may be alive, and there’s a chance that sporadic live canes will take root and grow again (sometimes after they have appeared to be lifeless for several years). However, because of the length of time it takes for production, transportation, and storage until they’re sold, many of the canes in our ocotillo panels are not alive, and they won’t ever grow. Even when they’re not alive, the canes are very strong and sturdy, and they will remain so for many years.

If a cane does happen to take root, it will never grow into a full-blown ocotillo, but it will grow in height, leaf out, and flower. Occasionally, a live cane will sprout some side-branches that can be trimmed away to keep the strong vertical lines of the fencing panel, or left in place for a less-tamed appearance.

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