Pine fences are not known for being overly sturdy or long-lasting. Pine is a soft wood, so it's more prone to damage and rot than hardwoods like oak, especially when used outdoors for fencing. If you have a pine fence, however, this does not mean you should just sit back and wait for it to rot and break down. Here are a few tips to help your pine fence last longer.

Don't plant anything too close to the fence.

A row of shrubs or a flower garden can certainly look nice along your fence. However, it's important to plant these plants far enough away from the fence that they don't end up directly rubbing against it. Plants are moist, and if your plants are continually sitting against the fence, they'll be continually keeping it a little wet. When it rains, the plants will also keep water from evaporating off the fence as quickly. This can perpetuate rot.  If you do have plants along your fence, make sure you check on them often and trim them back if they start to touch the fence.

Be careful when watering plants near the fence.

When watering grass, hedges, or flowers near your fence, don't just spray the plants with a hose or a sprinkler from overhead. The water will end up on splashing on the fence, at least somewhat, and this will accelerate the decay process. Consider installing an irrigation system that applies water to the soil directly, or if you prefer to water your plants by hand, just set the hose down on the ground and let the water flood over the area rather than spraying it all over.

Apply a water sealer.

Look for a water sealer product at your local home improvement store, and apply it to the fence as instructed on the package. Some need to be applied every year, while others only need to be applied every few years. The sealer will help reduce the amount of moisture that the fence absorbs when it rains, which should slow down the decay process.

Keep an eye out for insects.

Wood bees and carpenter ants love burrowing into pine fences since they can easily get through the soft wood. But the tunnels they build weaken your fencing. If you spot any wood bees or carpenter ants, follow them back to the hole in the fence, and spray insecticides around that hole to kill them. Then, plug the hole with some steel wool and wood glue to keep them from coming back.

Your pine fence is not going to last forever, but with the tips above, you can keep it looking nice for many years. For assistance, talk to a professional like All Counties Fence and Supply.