Willow live stakes in WSDOT project near Twisp, Washington, shortly after being planted
The simplest and most straightforward technique is the live stake. As the name implies, this technique involves planting an individual live woody cutting directly into the ground.
Typically, the material used should be 1 to 3 cm in diameter, 50 to 90 cm long, cut with a flat top and an angled bottom so the ends will not be confused. Ideally the cutting should be collected while dormant, and planted before the buds flush. However, if collected and planted during an actively growing time of year, the stress on the cutting can be minimized by cutting off all the leaves.
The cutting should be stuck with 2/3 to 3/4 of its length underground in order to maximize the rooting potential. Sizes can vary depending upon the site and species being used. Such cuttings can also be used in combination with other techniques such as the live fascine pictured at the top of the previous page. When used on their own like in the photo at right, live stakes will quickly grow as an individual tree.
The advantage to this technique is that it provides a rapid means of establishing cover on and stabilizing a slope, while doing so inexpensively. Seedlings would not improve stability as quickly (as their roots would require more time to grow to depths that a long cutting can start at). Additionally seedlings are expensive, as they require much more work to produce than cuttings, which can be collected in a relatively short period of time.
Even on sites with adverse conditions, live stakes have an advantage over seedlings. Since they require fewer inputs to produce, they can be planted in greater numbers to compensate for reduced survival. Generally however, survival of live stakes tends to be fairly good.
Continued: Live Fascines
Live Stakes. From: Stream Corridor Restoration: Principles, Processes, and Practices, 10/98, by the Federal Interagency Stream Restoration Working Group (FISRWG).
Willow live stake a month after being planted