Live stakes can be used in home gardens for naturalization and beautification as well as to prevent or reduce erosion of the landscape. A live stake is technically a branch that is cut from a water-loving tree. They are quickly and simply planted in the moist, soft soil next to a body of water. Live stakes can develop a complex root system quickly, which helps add strength the surrounding soil. Live stakes can also be planted in woodland areas, stream banks, flood plains, or simply in a homeowner's yard.
They are extremely versatile and can be beneficial to wetlands, lake shores, road slopes, and storm water retention ponds. If the area to be planted is too solid, create a hole before planting the live stake. Homeowners should bury at least half the live stake--preferably two-thirds of the stake--to encourage strong root growth. Live stakes should be limited to four per one square yard area. All lives stakes require moist soil and sunlight to thrive, especially during the first few years.
Live stakes allow homeowners to create a root mat that binds the surrounding soil together. By planting live stakes, homeowners can improve the beauty of a landscape and provide an inviting habitat for wildlife such as birds and beneficial insects. Live stakes can also be used to help secure other erosion-control materials. Homeowners who have rocky, retaining structures in their yard may place lives stakes between them for an unusual and beautiful effect. Live stakes should be planted during their dormant period, which is late fall to early spring. Soaking the stakes in water before planting and faithful watering after planting will help encourage root growth. Certain live stakes can benefit from using a hormone developed to encourage root formation. Many different plants are available as live stakes and can be used to create a beautiful, unique landscape.