Live Stakes and Fascines Are An Environmentally Friendly Way To Stop Erosion
What Are Live Stakes?
Live Stakes are plants, such as Willow, Buttonbush, Ninebark, Elderberry, Viburnum, and Red Osier Dogwood, that grow quickly to establish a ground-holding root system. The best length for lives stakes is 18-24" with a 3/8" diameter. One end of the stake will be narrow with a straight cut. The other end will be larger with a sharp angle point. The larger end was cut closest to the trunk of the host plant. That is the end that will be planted in the ground. The stake will be stripped of any leaves or branches to prevent the stake from losing moisture.
Planting The Stakes & Fascines
The dormant winter season or early spring is the best time to plant. Pick a warm day when the soil is not hard or frozen. Keep the pointed end of the stake moist until ready to put into the ground. It is best for the plant to be in the ground within 24 hours.
A tool that will be most helpful is a length of rebar or something similar to make starter holes for the stake. You will want to insert the stake at least 12" with about 6" showing above ground—the deeper, the better, allowing for the exposed end room for leaf growth. The stakes should be planted about 2 to 3 feet apart.
Pond And Stream Banks - Fascines
Planting live stakes is smart as well as an eco-friendly way to stop erosion along the water banks. Construction and flooding may leave the banks of a stream or pond without erosion protection. Live stakes may be the best environmental solution to protecting the soil.
When planting on a pond or stream bank that is at a steep angle, you may need galoshes as you will be working standing in the water. The hole should be created at a 90-degree angle to the ground. The inserted stake will be at that angle.
In the first year, some leaves may happen, but it is the root growth that will happen first. If you want to check their progress, give the stake a slight tug to feel if there is any resistance. The resistance indicates root growth has occurred, and your erosion issue is well on its way to being resolved naturally.
If you are concerned with which type of live stake would work best for your situation, contact your local garden center or agricultural agency for guidance.