Lupinus perennis production field

Live Stakes in the Dead of Winter

Mar 02, 2015

It’s that time of the year when we’re all ready for winter to come to an end soon. Baseball teams are back in spring training, and spring is less than three weeks away. Still, it’s awfully cold here in Indiana (consistently below zero at night), and we continue to fulfill orders for live stakes and fascines. That means long days of collecting and transporting material, cutting to length, bundling, and shipping.  Fantastic winter exercise!

Live stakes are made by taking cuttings from specific tree and shrub species that have the ability to root well when planted in water or moist soil conditions. Most of the side branches are removed, and the cuttings are trimmed to the length required for the project. They are easier to install than bare-root trees and shrubs, because they can often be simply tapped into the soil (pilot holes are sometimes needed for harder soils). For that reason, they’re often utilized for erosion control, streambank stabilization, and other soil bioengineering projects.

We begin to harvest our cuttings after dormancy has set in in the late fall (November), and finish in the spring before bud break (April).

Below are photos taken at the same riverbank stabilization project.  The first was taken just after installation of live stakes from Cardno Native Plant Nursery, and the second was taken seven months later.  

Live Stakes before establishment
(Newly stabilized bank with live stakes and erosion control materials)

Live Stakes after establishment
(The same bank after establishment)

As you can see, the results are dramatic. Above ground the stakes have sprouted new growth, and below ground they have begun to root out. In combination with our Slope Stabilization seed mix sewn under the bioengineering material, the roots of the stakes and germinating seed have firmed up the soil and will be stabilizing the riverbank into the future.

The following species are the most common we provide for live stakes, fascines, and brush layering:

Other species may be available upon request. Feel free to contact our sales team for more information or a price quote.