Live stakes are vegetative cuttings, usually from willow trees, that are used to stabilize bare slopes or hills. A sloped yard along rivers and lakes tends to erode from weathering and water erosion. This erosion significantly impacts the stability of nearby structural foundations, as well as causing topsoil loss. Live stakes are an ingenious strategy to hold a slope intact naturally.
Planting along side streambanks is the most common use for live stakes, although you can use them for other hilly areas on a property. However, any area with successful live stakes must be moist. Similar to propagating tree cuttings for normal landscaping use, live stakes must contact moist soil at all times to encourage root growth. Dry cuttings succumb to growth stunting and fail to stabilize the slope.