Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

10-11-12 : Rhododendron bashing!

A brilliant (but rather exhausting) day of Rhododendron bashing in the Kingston Hill woodland, plus an unexpected visitor...

Rhododendron ponticum is a real problem at Kingston Hill campus. It is a non-native invasive species which for the past few decades has been left to grow unchecked in the campus woodland. We are now taking action to remove it from all parts of our woodland in order to allow a greater diversity of native woodland flora to develop. 

The first task when Rhody bashing is to remove the huge amount of above ground growth - some of the shrubs were easily 10ft tall (so hard hats were a must...). Armed with pruning saws the volunteers seemed to make light work of the chopping, lopping and sawing!

All of the woody material that we cut down has been taken by the University's grounds contractors The Green Team who are going to chip and mulch all of the material so that it can be properly rotted down and then used to turn into compost and mulch for all of the shrub beds on campus!

Once all of the growth had been chopped down, the roots needed attention. If we had left them in the ground they would grow back vigorously. So, with the help of some brand new mattocks, we were able to remove many of the smaller roots. However some were just so large that it was clear they needed more than muscle power to remove them! 

We marked the roots to make sure that we didn't forget about them!

The Green Team will be returning to kill the very large roots with an 'injection' of herbicide. Placing the herbicide directly into the stumps will ensure that the chemical doesn't get into the wider environment or affect any of the trees around it.

And finally.... biodiversity spot of the day was a rather curious fox who thought nothing of coming up close to inspect our work!

Fantastic Mr Fox....
Thanks to all of the volunteers and to The Green Team - it is great to be well on the way with our Rhododendron bashing plans!!

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