What Is Live Staking?

Erosion and sedimentation control is typically accomplished with grass/legume mixtures. On streambanks, hillsides, and seep areas, “live stakes” (dormant but live wood cuttings) of water-loving willows and related species can be used to reinforce soils beyond what can be resisted with grasses and legumes and increase the erosion resistance of soils by creating a root mat that reinforces and binds soil particles together. Live stakes can also provide habitat for wildlife.

The above photos show CEC ecological staff reinforcing about 19,000 square feet of a steep slope (about 2:1 H:V) with seeps using 3,100 willow and dogwood live stakes to help stabilize soils. Performed with rechargeable drills with long bits, this “enhanced revegetation” work was done after the site contractor applied a grass/legume mixture and covered the slope with coconut coir matting.

About the Author


John Buck

John Buck is a Project Manager III in CEC's Ecological Sciences group at our Pittsburgh headquarters location. He has more than 36 years of experience with reclamation and revegetation of drastically disturbed land, beneficial use of waste materials, phytoremediation, evaluation of plant uptake of nutrients and trace/toxic elements, evaluation of saline and sodic soils, wetland treatment system design and performance evaluation, stream and wetland restoration, and more.

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