Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

08-01-13 : Rhodo bashing with The Environment Trust

We invited the Environment Trust for Richmond Upon Thames to help clear our woodland of invasive rhododendron this week. 

Saad gives our bash event the thumbs-up after sawing off a rhododendron branch.

Under instruction from The Environment Trust and fuelled with flapjacks and chocolate cornflake bites, a keen gang of volunteers dug, sawed, lopped and chopped to produce a huge pile of rhododendron cuttings to be removed. A stirling effort! This has dramatically increased the amount of light reaching the woodland floor and removed toxic compounds which were being exuded by the rhododendron leaves and roots. This will allow a variety of native plants and trees to establish at the site, therefore supporting many more species of fauna.

Chris adds another branch to our huge rhododendron pile.

The team were also on the lookout for rogue rhodo cuttings leftover from our last bash in November, which, if left on the ground could easily re-root and undo all our hard work. This demonstrates just how tough and vigorous rhododendron is and the need to do a thorough job when removing it.

Chris finds the perfect example of how a cut rhododendron branch can re-root itself.

And the rewards were already visible as native yew and holly saplings were spotted emerging from the leaf litter - a sign of things to come in this patch of Kingston Hill woodland.  We shall be planting some hazel whips here on Saturday 09 February - why not come along and join in the fun? Or if you fancy getting stuck in to the rhodos yourself, we shall be starting work on another patch of Kingston Hill woodland on Saturday 26 January with the help of The Environment Trust once more.

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