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Dafydd & Tesni Jones
2008 Winners RWAS Contractor of the Year
Rhododendron Control Information
Rhododendron Ponticum was first introduced to Britain as seed in the 1760’s and became readily supplied by the nursery trade throughout the late part of the 18th Century and early part of the 19th Century. This species of Rhododendron was used extensively as an attractive flowering plant in parks and gardens and was also used to provide shelter for game on Victorian hunting estates.
It became apparent that with its ability to readily send out suckers from any buried root material and its very effective seed production, it was becoming a very invasive plant, taking over and affecting the growth of more native species in the oak woodlands and heathlands of western Europe. Soil and weather conditions in the UK are also ideal for the growth of Rhododendron.
Populations of birds, earthworms and other wildlife can also be massively reduced in an area invaded by Rhododendron Ponticum, reducing the overall biodiversity of a site. In some cases the ground beneath a large Rhododendron plant can be completely sterile with no evidence of other flora or fauna.
Rhododendron clearance is usually the first stage of any habitat regeneration programme where there is an abundance of this invasive species. In some areas, the Rhododendron invasion can be so extensive that access to the site can be impossible without first removing the bulk of the plant. Once access can be gained, the exposed main stems and roots of the plant can then be treated in a manner that is suited to that particular site. In some cases this may involve the injecting of roots with a herbicide or in other cases, cutting and burning ar cutting and stacking of the Rhododendron bushes. Rhododendron removal must be carried out with a sensitive approach to other flora and fauna that may be present within the rhododendron management site.