According to the Love Your Lake website, there are six key benefits to maintaining a natural shoreline. They are:
- Maintaining Water Quality
- Moderating Temperatures
- Creating Wildlife Habitat
- Mitigating Flood Frequency and Impacts
- Reducing Erosion
- Maintaining or Increasing Property Values.
Planting native plants in the shoreline area (also called the riparian zone) can help establish a natural shoreline.
As explained in our October, 2020 newsletter, our Association received approximately 200 red-tip willow rooted cuttings from the Nashwaak Watershed Association in May, 2020. These cuttings, along with an additional 500 willow live stakes, were distributed to approximately 10 of our members for planting on their shorelines. Our experiment was to determine which technique (rooted cuttings or live stakes) worked best. Red-tip willows (Salix eriocephala) were chosen as they have an extensive root system that helps prevent erosion, and are native to New Brunswick.
We learned that the rooted cuttings need lots of water during dry weather, and that they need sun without competition from other plants. One homeowner reported 50% survival of his rooted cuttings. The ones that didn’t make it died due to lack of water during dry weather, and too much competition for sunlight from other plants. Further information on the results of our 2020 shoreline willow planting experiment is in our March 1, 2021 NBETF Report (see pages 6 though 10).
As explained in our April, 2021 newsletter, red-tip willow whips were harvested, cut into 20 cm long cuttings, planted in 40 plant “multipots” and grown inside an Irving Woodlands greenhouse in Sussex to produce rooted cuttings. Our collaboration with Irving Woodlands is further explained in their Feb. 14, 2020 Facebook post. Each multipot holds 40 rooted cuttings, and 50 of these multipots will be made available to our Association members for planting on their shoreline area to help reduce erosion. To reserve your multi-pot, check out the “Get your own red-tip willows” information below.
Red-tip willows bend under ice movement, and suffer less damage compared to other tree species, as shown in the picture below.
Our 2021 Riparian Zone Tree Planting Report gives significant additional information on the lessons learned from the 2021 season. We learned not to set transplanted rooted cuttings in full sun, if possible, as the roots are not well enough established to absorb full sun, even when watered regularly. The three pictures below illustrate this issue well.
In 2022, we offered Association members live stakes, as shown in the picture below.
Our planting instructions for live stakes differ from rooted cuttings (see below), and involves soaking the live stakes (after trimming the bottom end) in water in their bag for a day or two before planting. The red-tip willows shown below were planted as live stakes on May 23, 2022 on a shoreline of Grand Lake, with pictures taken 13 days later on June 5, 2022. They are off to a great start!
The key is to get them in the ground as early as possible to take advantage of moisture available in the spring.
Get your own red-tip willows
Our members can get their own red-tip willows (Salix eriocephala) to plant on their shoreline. Note: As of June 19, 2022, our live-stake red-tip willows are all gone for this year. Stay tuned as we expect to have more in early spring, 2023.
Send your name and membership number to [email protected] . We will get back to you with instructions on how to obtain your red-tip willows. Not a member yet? Join us for $10 per person per year by following the instructions on our Membership page. You will receive an acknowledgement of your reservation. We have a limited supply, so get your reservation in early. Both live stake planting instructions and rooted cutting planting instructions are available.