Live Stakes, Fascines & Brushlayers

Specific tree and shrub species that root well from cuttings in water or moist soil conditions are available as live stakes, fascines, or brush layers. They are used as part of a strategy to stabilize streambanks and create natural shorelines.

Live stakes are dormant woody cuttings with the branches removed. They can be used alone or to secure other bioengineering materials such as erosion control blankets or root carpets. Live stakes are easier to install than bare-root trees and shrubs, because they require a 2-inch pilot hole, compared to an 18-inch hole for a tree or shrub.

Fascines (also called wattles) are living branches bundled together to trap sediment and protect against erosion. They are laid horizontally along streambank contours to impede water flow before it reaches the new streambank. Fascines can also be used above the water line to slow down water flow and help prevent erosion.

Brush layers are living branches placed on a terrace along streambank contours, between layers of soil. They are typically used in conjunction with encapsulated soil lifts, which are layers of soil wrapped in erosion control blankets, to completely rebuild a streambank or slope.

Cardno provides live stakes, fascines, and brush layers in these species:

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), Willow (Salix) species, Dogwood (Cornus) species, Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), and Viburnum species. Other species may be available seasonally.

 All of these materials should be used along with seed and plugs to establish vegetation on a site.


Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)


Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)


Willow (Salix) species


Corus dogwood        
Dogwood (Cornus) species


Viburnum  species


 Live stakes were used as part of an Indiana DOT project in Pike County, Indiana:

INDOT live stakes 

To restore three sites associated with a construction project for I-69 in Indiana, Cardno installed 25,000 live willow stakes along with 450 acres of native seed and straw mulch, 200,000 bare root trees and shrubs, and 13,000 3-gallon container trees and shrubs.

Cardno's bioengineering materials perform best when integrated into a full-service site restoration solution. Contact Cardno's Services Team to learn more about how we can help you design, select, install, and maintain one or more of these products as part of an ecological restoration project.