Live Stakes and Whips


Stakes are dormant, live, woody cuttings of a species with the branches trimmed off. Live staking performs an important function in creating a root mat that stabilizes the soil by reinforcing and binding soil particles together. Stake establishment also improves aesthetics and provides a habitat for wildlife. Live stakes can be used on their own to secure other bioengineering materials or as an anchor for erosion control and geo-fabrics. Stakes or poles can also be inserted or driven through openings in rock structures, such as gabions, riprap and other retaining structures.

Live Whips

Whips are slender, live, woody, shrub material. Whips are well suited for very moist areas of stream edges and commonly used in

conjunction with gabion structures, riprap and geo-fabrics.

Installation Notes: Push whips into the ground as far as they will go without breaking. At least two-thirds of the whip should be covered with soil. Whips can be installed either by laying them on an angle or planting them erect in the soil. When using whips with hard structures, be sure they are long enough to reach into the soil and moisture behind or below the structure. (Example: If installing whips through riprap, take into account the 3’ riprap depth; therefore, install a 6’ whip at least 2’ into the moist soil behind the stone and 1’ above the riprap surface).

Live Whip Sizes: 3/8”-1” diameter; 4’-6’ lengths

Installation Notes: Install stakes during their dormancy (late fall to early spring). Do not allow them to dry out. Soaking before planting significantly increases survival and growth rate. Drive a pilot hole in firm soil, planting at right angles (buds oriented up) with at least two-thirds of its length underground. Plant stakes randomly or 3’-6’ apart on triangular spacing. Tamp the soil down around the cuttings and water. If a long dry spell or hot weather is expected after planting, irrigation may be warranted.

Live Stake Sizes: 3/8“-1-1/2“ diameter; 2’-4’ lengths

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