There have been many incredible volunteer storm recovery efforts at Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve since Hurricane Ian blasted through on September 28, 2022. One amazing volunteer initiative, spearheaded by Dana Houkal, has been a program to stake and raise trees that were blown over by the storm.
The taller, older trees in the preserve were too large for our volunteers to raise. So, Dana proposed that we focus the project on the many young, windblown trees that had been planted as part of the preserve restoration project in late 2020.
Dana brought his expertise as an environmental consultant to bear on this effort. By October 21st, he had researched a staking technique, purchased initial supplies, and set up a volunteer schedule to begin the staking activity. Over subsequent weeks, the volunteer team spent an estimated 112 hours staking approximately 675 trees. Slash pines, cedars, and oaks were the primary species staked.
Through research and field observations, Dana determined that an average of six months would be needed for the trees to re-establish their root systems and resume upright growth. From late April through July 2023, the stakes were removed and Dana completed a detailed study of the project results. Remarkably, only 5 of the staked trees did not survive!
Dana has prepared a comprehensive report on the staking project, with comparisons across the various planting zones around the preserve and observations for others who may need to undertake similar projects in the future. A PDF of his full report is available by clicking here.
Thank you, Dana, for leading this incredible effort!