Wetland Plants For Zone 3

Wetland Live Stakes

You have a beautiful home in the country. Rolling hills or meadows surround you as you listen to the small stream that cuts across your property. That is when you discover the problem. Your lovely little stream is under-cutting the bank making it dangerous for you and your children to go near it. The soil is being washed away, and the prized blue lobelia that you planted along the edge of the stream is in danger or already gone. What can you do?

The answer is to plant some trees or shrubs. The benefits of this will be roots that help to hold the soil in place against the effects of erosion. Live stakes are cuttings from living plants that quickly take root and whose roots spread and form a thick mat. It is easy to learn how to plant live stakes. The stakes should be cut from the long upright branches of the parent plant. They should be 18 to 24 inches long and at least three-eighths of an inch in diameter. The narrow end should be cut straight across, and the wider end needs to be cut at an angle. Remove all of the leaves and small branches from the stake and dip the straight cut end in latex paint to seal it. Keep them moist before planting and plant them within 24 hours of cutting to get the best results. Drive the angle cut end at least a foot into the moist soil where you want them, being sure to leave three to six inches exposed. Use a rubber mallet to drive them in to avoid splitting or damaging the stake.

Some of the best trees to use for this purpose are:

The silky dogwood - This is a medium-sized shrub that grows to a height of 6 to 12 feet. Its flowers bloom in the late spring, or early summer then turn into pretty berry-like drapes that birds find delicious.

The silky willow - Another medium-sized shrub, it has long narrow leaves that a covered with fine silvery hairs on the bottoms. Its trigs are smooth with a purplish color.

The black willow - This tree grows to an average height of between 33 and 98 feet. It is usually the first tree to sprout new leaves in the spring.

Any of these plants would be an attractive addition to your property and give you the benefits of soil erosion prevention.