Despite the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been facing lately, it’s technically not spring yet. In fact, our Chesapeake Forests Team is just beginning to prepare for the spring riparian buffer, or streamside tree, planting season in Pennsylvania. The two main ways we prepare for planting season are by live staking (propagation by cutting) and flagging (marking where each tree will be planted), and our team will be meticulously preparing all throughout the month of March.

Live staking is a method of cutting stems off a particular tree or shrub species and later replanting them – more simply put, it’s defined as propagation by cutting. This is an extremely inexpensive (a.k.a. free) way to plant native trees and shrubs. Common species found in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed that can grow from live stakes are pussy willow, red-osier dogwood, black willow, and american sycamore. To learn more of the ins and outs of live staking, check out this article we wrote last planting season: Live Staking: A Trusty Technique for Planting Trees and Shrubs on the Cheap.

Are you interested in becoming more involved with tree planting and care this Spring? We are seeking new volunteers to join our Riparian Rangers crew in Pennsylvania! Rangers play a crucial role in ensuring the successful growth of our newly established tree seedlings. Each ranger will be paired with one site (or more) of their choosing and provide care for the site once a month from March to November. This includes straightening tubes after a storm, ensuring mowing and invasive removal is taking place, and removing bird netting as trees mature. 

The Alliance is hosting a Riparian Rangers training on March 28th from 10am to 12pm at Paradise Community Park in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. 

Register or Learn More: To register or learn more, contact our Pennsylvania Conservation Coordinator, Brittany Smith, at