The grounds at Fairmount Park Horticulture Center are covered in green, thanks in part to live stakes that have taken root along the Lansdowne and Montgomery creeks.
These live stakes, which were originally harvested from a variety of willows and dogwood, took root this spring after Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation staff installed them along the banks of the two creeks this past winter.
Willows and dogwood make for ideal live stakes because they grow easily along stream banks and can develop roots from the cut stem. Now that they have taken root and are currently growing into trees and shrubs, they will help fortify the stream banks and prevent soil erosion. In turn, they’ll create a healthier habitat.
The live stake growth is part of ongoing efforts to restore the forest around the Horticulture Center. For years, the 30-acre site had been overgrown with invasive and non-native trees and other plants that provided little to no ecological benefits to the site.
After removing the invasive and non-native species in fall 2018, staff harvested and installed the live stakes. This fall, thousands of native trees and shrubs will be planted throughout the grounds to continue the long-term forest restoration, in turn creating a more beautiful landscape and healthier environment for wildlife.