Stakes For Zone 10

Live Stakes Are Best Planted In Water's Edge

Live stakes are branches cut from certain trees that grow best near water. They can be easily planted in soft mud by the edge of a pond, lake or river because they don’t have a complex root system. If they are planted near the water’s edge, they will grow a good root system and are an excellent way to stop erosion.

Live staking works best on slopes with light erosion. In areas with massive erosion, it is often used along with other methods because it doesn’t give immediate protection. Some of the tree species that live stake well are the silky dogwood, silky willow, black willow, Virginia Sweetspire and Viburnum. Cuttings are driven into the earth in the eroded area. These types of trees will quickly take root and grow. The best time for live staking is in late winter or early spring. When selecting the species of live stakes, the amount of sunlight in the area should be considered. Shade-loving species should not be planted in areas with direct sunlight all day, but sun-loving species should.

The stakes must be at least one foot in length. They should be cut from mature trees that are dormant at the time of cutting. They should be planted within eight to 10 days after cutting. The side branches of the stake can be removed without harming the bark, and the bottom should be cut at an angle.

With a dead-blow hammer, the stakes can be gently driven into the soft ground at a right angle to the slope of the bank. If the soil is too stable, a hole can be made with an iron rod. The stakes should fit snuggly into the ground with about 30 percent exposed and 70 percent planted. Stakes can be planted in a triangle about two to three feet from each other. Only four stakes should be planted in one yard.

If immediate erosion protection is required, the ground can be covered with a jute or geotextile fabric mesh before planting the stakes. They will quickly push through the mesh. The mesh will be anchored if the ends are covered with earth.

Along with preventing erosion, live staking also produces trees that provide shade to keep the water fresh and remove nutrients from stormwater that may otherwise pollute the stream, pond or lake. It is also an effective and inexpensive way to populate water areas with native vegetation.