Provide fish and song bird habitat.
Stabilize unstable slopes or shorelines.
Create natural screens and noise buffering … plus more.
The foundation of these techniques is based on the use of what I call Tall Rooted Spike Cuttings (TRS Cuttings). These are long rooted live cuttings/stakes of grown of the various willow (Salix spp.) species, Black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa, or similar Populus species found in other parts of Canada), and Red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea).
I developed a system to grow these plants myself – all explained here – after years of work in the field of ecological restoration and soil erosion control.
The beauty of TRS cuttings is that they are very tall plants – 2.5 to 3 m in height (or even taller if you want) – produced in only one growing season! Yes, one growing season. Cuttings collected in late winter or early spring can be ready for planting in reclamation projects but mid-August of the same year.
In addition to the obvious advantage of timing (for example vis-a-vis common fisheries work windows), these plants are great for more difficult ecological restoration situations. Here’s some examples (for more see Advantages & Uses of Rooted Cuttings):
- Use where there’s high herbaceous weed competition. With these tall plants you put photosynthetic surface area (leaves) above the weeds – it is a fact that the plants that get the most light often win. Also, the well-developed root system on these plants shifts the competitive balance, accelerates establishment, and improves survival (as compared to using dormant unrooted cuttings). And because these plants are tall (and sturdy) they provide greater immediate wildlife habitat and aesthetic benefits.
- Use where there is greatly fluctuating seasonal water levels – such as around reservoir edges. These areas can go from flooded to very dry withing a period of only weeks or months – keeping at least some leaf-area above water during flood periods is critical for ensured survival. And the roots are ready to chase that water down as it recedes.
- They can be planted in mid/late summer (e.g., August/September) – within fisheries in-stream “work windows.” Unlike standard unrooted cuttings – these can be used in applications such as vegetated rip rap during these regulatory work periods. Also, since TRS cuttings established in the spring of one year will be rooted and ready to plant by mid/late summer of the same year, forward planning is facilitated.
This information in this website is targeted at anyone who wants to implement their own habitat/ecosystem restoration treatments – for example, land owners, community environmental groups, or school environmental sciences classes. I also welcome the use of this information by native plant nurseries and other environmental consulting/contracting operations – produce these plants and the work will come.
Today is May 8, 2018 – expect substantial updates to this site in the coming weeks.