Stakes For Zone 11

Live Stakes Make Trees In Little Time

Live stakes are hardwood cuttings from dormant shrub branches. They are used to prevent erosion along shorelines and to help support hillsides. The stakes are usually taken at about 2-3 years old when they are strong enough to support new growth. They are prepped then inserted into the ground in the new area, where they will form thick, hardy roots over the remainder of the fall season and into the winter and spring, forming new, full-sized shrubs along the hill or shoreline in no time. Only species that are easily rooted are used for live stakes. They include Willow, Cottonwood, Snowberry, Red Twig Dogwood, Pacific Ninebark, and Black Twinberry.

Stakes are prepared by removing the side shoots and leaves, to sustain moisture, then trimmed into an angle at the end to allow rooting. The side shoots, if thick enough, are then prepped and pot, where it develops roots in a few weeks. Stakes that are going to be planted right away should be placed in a bucket of water or a pot of soil, then kept in the shade to remain moist, until time to plant them. Stakes that are not going to be planted right away can be bundled together and planted in a pot of soil to grow roots. The soil should be covered with mulch or sawdust to keep them moist for up to a year.

Rooted stakes are then transferred to the area of concern, where they are carefully inserted into the ground at a right angle, using a small sled hammer, leaving only about 1/5 of the stop of the stake above ground to ensure roots have sufficient room to sprout underground. Soil and wood chips are then packed around the stake to ensure good soil contact. Be careful not to plant on water's edge in areas where flooding is a concern, as the high water can damage the stake's rooting system and hinder its growth. Exposed soils should be covered with an annual grass cover crop, native grass, wildflowers, sedges, or shrub species to provide stabilization and a beautiful, natural view.