Power Edger

Many people own an edger or have a neighbor that will lend them an edger making this method cheaper than renting a trencher.  It does however take a bit longer since you need to bury the cable by hand, unlike a trencher which will dig the hole and bury the cable in one step.  You can use either an electric or gas powered edger, the later tend to be more powerful and are preferable.

Edger cuts trenchSet the power edger to the deepest setting and use the edger to dig a trench along the desired wire path. Go nice and slow and when turning, start the turn early and remember to make gradual arcs to avoid creating right angles.  If the ground is hard, you may want to do this in two passes, a first pass at a shallow depth and a second pass with the edger set to the deepest setting.
It can sometimes help to moisten the ground a little an hour before cutting your trench. Wet ground will not kick up as much dust and will help the trench retain it’s wall integrity. But, beware too much water will create a mud bath.

Placing wire in trenchNext, place the wire in the trench you created. You can poke the wire into place with a screwdriver, stick, or one of the boundary flags. You want that wire to be as close to the bottom of the trench and possible to avoid the wire floating to the surface.  If the wire does not want to stay in place, you can try using some lawn staples to hold the wire down at the bottom of the trench.  Now bury the wire with the dirt that was displaced by the edger.  Finally, stomp on the dirt to compact it into place. If the dirt is too scattered to kick or rake back into, just get a bag of garden soil from your local hardware store or nursery and use that to back-fill.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

c May 26, 2017 at 9:20 pm

I have a pet safe system that crosses a driveway. I buried the cable on either side of the driveway and carried the cable through an expansion joint in the concrete driveway (covered with caulk) so the wire would be protected. My problem is what do I do to protect the wire from the edger when edging the side of the driveway? The lawn is cut by a company and they routinely edge the driveway and have cut the wire where it is mildly exposed between the expansion joint and the trench. Any thoughts?

ADMIN – Hi C. One option would be to place the wire in some tubing like an old garden hose along the edges so that the wire might get some protection from the edger. The only other option would be to mark where the wire is and ask the lawn company to avoid those areas with the edger.

Don Franke January 27, 2016 at 6:13 pm

Live in North North Dakota, ground freezes 5 to 6 months a year. How well does the system work in frozen ground and below deep snow?
Thanks and Regards

ADMIN – Hi Don. The frozen ground shouldn’t hamper the signal from the wire to the collar but deep standing snow that increases the distance between the wire and the collar would affect the strength of the signal.

Josh- Upstate NY July 16, 2014 at 11:12 am

Hi, thanks for all the info. we are hoping to install 16-18 g wire for our yardmax petsafe transmitter. We want to go through the mid section of a barn to give our dog options for shelter but not allow her to go to the back pasture behind the barn. Can we run the wire about 7 feet above ground along a beam? will it still work the same as the remaining loop which will be buried. -Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Josh, I would recommend running the dog fence wire higher. A minimum of 10 feet is typically needed to create the space needed for your dog to run underneath out of range of the signal.

Pete Derkowski July 10, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Hi we bought the Petsafe UltraSmart system for our Cavalier. It says to lay it all out around the house (we’re doing the figure 8) and test it all out before burying it. This defeats the usage of a cable layer which I planned to use. Aren’t there any specs on how close to the house you can/should get without the dog getting warned or corrected in the house? I would think this would all be known information. I am really not looking forward to laying this all out and having to play with it before I bury it. Also, my neighbor has the DogWatch in ground system for his pets – given that system, does anyone know if I still need to be 6 ft away from his? Have to say I’m not overly happy with the instructions… it doesn’t even talk about a figure 8 in their section on types of installs.

ADMIN – Hi Pete,

You can estimate the amount of distance you need from the side of your house. You want the wire to be approximately the same distance as the intended width of the fence you are going to set.

Alternatively you can lay out the wire, test it, then when you are using the cable-layer, you can feed the wire through by hand instead of having it on the spools.

You will need to be 6 – 12 feet away from your neighbor’s system to avoid interference.

Boomer June 13, 2013 at 11:58 am

How deep does the trench need to be? The instructions say the deepest setting, but I’m looking for something more definitive.

ADMIN – Hi Boomer,

The trench just needs to be deep enough to protect the wire from getting damaged by the weedeater and the lawnmower. One inch deep is fine. The maximum depth is around one foot depending on the soil type and the system.

Tommy March 7, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Hi, My neighbors have the Invisible fence. I want to use the Pet Smart system. How close to their inground fence can I place mine? He is telling me that my fence needs to be 6 to 12 feet from his or it will cancel the signal of either or both systems. I believe he has placed their wire on the property line. Thanks for any information that you may give me on this matter.

ADMIN – Hi Tommy,

If you are going to use a PetSafe system, your fence does indeed need to be 6-12 feet from his fence, otherwise the signals will cancel each other out along the common boundary. The other option is to use the dual-frequency Perimeter Ultra that can switch frequencies to avoid interference issues.

Pamela March 12, 2011 at 8:29 pm

My mom has a double loop but the wires are close together (maybe 1′ apart instead of the 6′ you recommend) Her fence is a Pet Safe and was installed by them about 5 yrs ago.

Is there something we can do to replicate this at our house? We have a few spots where 6′ would be a problem.

Admin -Hi Pamela,
We recommend that anywhere you run the wire the distance must be twice the amount of the boundary width. This is where we get six feet. You can try to lay the loop three foot apart but for the fence to operate correctly your boundary distance will have to be on a low setting to avoid an overlap in the signal from each wire.

Steve November 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Completely off topic, but I use Castor Bean plants to get rid of moles. They look exotic and work wonders. (just dont let the kids eat them)

al April 17, 2010 at 10:35 pm

hi is it possible to install wire in PVC conduit its cheap plus i live in country an its impossible to get rid of moles. thank u

ADMIN – Hi Al,

You can install in PVC conduit. I also like using flexible tubing (either from an old garden hose, or from in ground sprinkler system tubing. I find flexible tubing a little easier to use.

In the old country we use dynamite for moles. 🙂

Nick December 2, 2009 at 7:45 pm

I am wondering if the power trencher will work in high grass. The dogs have taken to doing their business in the high grass, which we do NOT want to stop them from doing, however that will require burying the wires deep in the high grass to give them enough room to feel safely within the boundary.


ADMIN – Hi Nick,
I must confess that when I saw the reference to “High Grass”, I thought it was something else! Usually where we have overgrown grass, we either slash or mow it first before trenching. The trencher is probably going to get bogged down a lot if you try and trench directly through dense vegetation.

Another good option would be to forgo trenching and just staple the wire to the ground it this is an area that is never going to be mowed.

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