Livestaking – Sticking Sticks in the Ground and Watching them Grow

Fall is almost here and soon our plants will start going dormant. Once they do you might be planning on going around and chop-and-dropping some of them. While chop-and-drop is a great way to build soil you might be able to use the woody cuttings to get free plants!

This is called live staking and it’s the lazy persons way of growing new plants. My blog post—How to Use Live Stakes to Get Free Plants–is all about this great and easy method to get free plants for your wild homestead.

Essentially, live staking is simply taking hardwood cuttings (2+ feet long) and sticking them in the ground at least halfway down. You want to have several leaf buds below the ground and several above the ground.

Fall and winter is the best time to do this since you want the plants to be dormant and the soil moist.

But as great as this method is it won’t work with all plants. But since it is easy to do I’m always trying new plants out and sometimes I get lucky.

Check out the blog post for more details into live staking but keep reading for a list of plants that I have successfully live staked.

Plants that can be Live Staked

There are a number of plants that can be live staked but plants like willows and cottonwoods are the easiest to grow this way. But after trying out a number of other plants I now have a list of 10 plants that can be live staked.

  1. Willows - Easy
  2. Cotton Wood - Easy
  3. Mock Orange - Challenging
  4. Seaberry - Easy
  5. Elderberry - Challenging
  6. Red Oiser Dogwood - Easy
  7. Douglas Spirea - Easy
  8. Snowberry - Easy
  9. Black Twinberry - Easy
  10. Red-Flowering Currant - Easy

A lot of these plants are native to my area. I will often take cuttings from native plants growing along roads or public trails and try live staking them. This can be a great way to get free native plants to grow on your wild homestead!

Now some of these same plants could be cultivated from hardwood cuttings in a nursery and likely with more success. But live staking requires no equipment beyond clippers which is why I like it so much.

One final tip is you can soak willow cuttings in a bucket of water along with other plants you want to live stake to give those plants a boost. Willows release a hormone that stimulates rooting in themselves and other plants.

This is why willows live stake so easily!

When you soak other plant cuttings with willows the released hormone helps to trigger those plants to root. I tend to leave them all in the bucket together for 3-5 days to give time for the hormones to be taken up by the plants.

Have You Tried Live Staking?

So have you tried live staking before? I would love to hear from you what plants worked and which did not. Please leave a comment with the plants you have successfully live staked!

If you have not tried this method before I would also love to hear your thoughts on it. Do you think you will give it a shot?

Live staking really is a great way to get more plants. I’m eyeing some branches on some of my red flowering currants that need to be cut back. Those branches are going in the ground!

Please leave a comment and make sure to check out the blog post for more information on live staking!

Thank you!


Follow me for more posts all about wild homesteading, working with nature, and growing your own food: @wildhomesteading

And check out my blog - for weekly in-depth posts on how to work with nature, grow your own food, and build a wild homestead. When you work with nature, nature works with you.


Thank you for sharing this! Free propagation is my favorite type

Thank you for sharing
This! Free propagation is
My favorite type

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We do this with moringa sticks, and also mulberry. They both grow like weeds! :)

Nice post. :)

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Thank you! I really need to try this out with mulberry... Been thinking about growing a bunch of mulberry for food and coppicing for biomass for soil building (and potentially as tree hay for animals in the future).

aha mulberry too? Thanks

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Thank you! :)

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Not hear of this technique will have to give it a go thanks 💯🐒

Awesome post @wildhomesteading! No I have never tried live staking but have been wanting ro eventually build a willow live fence!

Thanks for the reminder I hope to try this fall 😁.

Thank you! :) Make sure to share some pictures when you make your live willow fence!

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