Stakes For Zone 5

Live Stakes Explained

Live stakes help when there is concern about erosion control on the banks of streams, rivers, ponds, or lakes. These cuttings are woody branches trimmed from certain species of established plant life. Stakes need a moist environment to stay alive so that during the growing season roots will develop.

When considering gathering stakes, a county’s Cooperative Extension Service, Soil, and Water Conservation District, or regional nurseries may supply them. These resources can explain what plant life is native to specific areas.

Tips for those who wish to plant live stakes:

• Dogwood and willows make good stakes.
• Diameters should be from ½” to 1 ½.”
• Length should be from two to four feet.
• Wait for parent plants to be dormant before collecting branches.
• Cut the branch at an angle at the end closest to the plant’s trunk. This end goes into the ground with ¼ of the stake above ground and ¾ of the stake planted deep.
• After a cut is made, remove any side branches or leaves. These whips can also be planted deep and closer to the water source.
• Push or use a rubber mallet to gently drive the stakes into the ground at a 90° angle.
• Plant stakes one to three feet apart.
• Be patient. It may take a year or more for signs of growth to appear.

Live stakes are best planted in late autumn or early spring. Plant them within 24 hours of cutting. Soak them in a bucket of water overnight. To increase the growth rate during the initial growing season, it may be helpful to water stakes once a week. If the soil is bare of vegetation, it may be essential to the survival of the stakes to cover the surrounding topsoil with mulch to preserve the moisture content of the ground.