“I didn’t think it would work,” the Restoration Technician admitted during a staff meeting.

We were in the round table portion of the meeting, sharing about some recent accomplishments. The Restoration Technician expressed how excited he was to see the progress of the Trust’s floodplain restoration project.

I mean, we were just putting sticks in the ground. I wasn’t sure they would turn into anything,” he shared.

For the recent floodplain restoration project, the Trust used a technique called pole planting. During the winter dormant season, our restoration team harvested 4ft to 8ft pole cuttings from willow, cottonwood, and sycamore trees near the restoration site. These cuttings, or poles, were bound together and placed in water for a week to hydrate them. They were planted at a depth encompassing about 2/3 of the length of the pole. Over the last year the poles have transformed into healthy young trees, with a survival rate of approximately 83%.

The Trust has used this technique as part of other restoration projects on the Parkway. The first was at Camp Pashayan near Herndon and Highway 99. With support from The Bay Institute and local students, we planted cottonwoods on the property. Today, these trees are mature, providing shelter and shade for local wildlife. The technique was also used as part of the first phase of wildlife habitat restoration at Jensen River Ranch. Willow, cottonwood, and sycamore pole cuttings were planted along wetland swales on the eastern side of the property. This area is among the most robust wildlife habitat found on the property today.

The pole planting technique allows the tree’s root system to develop on site, meaning the roots grow down towards the water table. It may seem like just putting sticks in the ground, but the technique has worked well throughout the Parkway.