Rhododendrons, whilst pretty, are an invasive shrub that can destroy native ecosystems when left unchecked. Eradicating Rhododenrons from our woodland is key to our woods management plan.
This is a continuous job and requires a great deal of support from our wonderful volunteers. First, we lop off large branches from the shrubs. These are placed into tightly-knit piles around the woodland. We ensure that the branches are stacked with little space between to retain moisture and encourage them to rot down more quickly.
We then use bow saws to cut the larger branches into smaller, more manageable chunks, which we can process in a number of different ways.
Some of the Rhododendron off-cuts are incinerated and the remaining nutrient-rich biochar is sold to raise funds for the woodland. Other off-cuts are burnt in a kiln to make charcoal, which we bag up then sell.
We also process some Rhododendron off-cuts in our chipper machine. The chippings can then be used for mulch in some localised areas of the woodland, or to create compost heaps. It’s important that we don’t spread the chippings or biochar to widely as we wish to maintain the mosaic habitat of the woodland, and thereby increase biodiversity.
If you would like to get suck into some Rhododendron removal, please check out our volunteering activities.