A live stake is a section of branch from a plant absent of small twigs and leaves that is alive but in a state of dormancy. The main purposes of using live stakes is to create a root system that can stabilize the soil, prevent erosion concerns, and can lend to the aesthetics to an environment. The stakes can also act as a restoration device for plant and animal life in a habitat.
The locations for planting a live stake can vary but there is a common denominator: moisture. Any planting of a live stake requires that the stake never be allowed to dry out and that the environment it is introduced to be moist and hospitable. The type of stake and the environment used should be compatible. Wetlands, banks and shores of streams and lakes, and flood plains are just a few appropriate environmental candidates for live stakes.
The advantages for live stake plating in wetlands are dramatic. Using this bioengineering technique, habitats for wildlife (animals, water, and plant) can be increased and flourish with the results of a restoration project. By introducing these stakes into a wetland habitat, the soil is stabilized and erosion is stymied by the newly established plants that form a root system in the soil that binds and strengthens to form a foundation beneath the ground that invigorates the natural environment.
Carefully chosen live stake samples can also be a deterrent to invasive plant species and maintain control of the growth of undesirable plant life. The new plantings may even improve water quality. All these factors combined can also save the county or city hosting the restoration project money in maintenance costs and clean-up fees due to the consequences of unchecked erosion and soil deficiencies and negatively impacted wildlife effected by an environment allowed to deteriorate.
The planting season for live stakes is roughly November through February. This may vary somewhat depending on the region the environment is located. Specific procedures should be followed to ensure the health and success of the stakes collected. Planting depth, sample storage, temperature, and care are of the utmost importance and should be strictly adhered to.
Proper collection of samples is just as, if not more, vital than the planting itself. Uprooting and replanting of an entire plant is discouraged except in extreme cases. The point of a stake is to efficiently and carefully remove a part of a whole to establish a new plant in another habitat, conserving the host plant in the same instance. Implemented properly, live stake planting is an effective and highly successful mode of restoration for an environment jeopardized by construction, natural hazards, and man-made threats.