Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Rhodi bashing

Today Alistair, two volunteers Tom and Rob and myself cleared some trees from a footpath in Longville Coppice, doing this work will allow easier access for a contractor with his hedge cutter so that the footpath can be kept more open with regular cutting.
In the same location we also cleared a small patch of Rhododendron, a non native species that was planted back in the days when a shoot took place here. It is normally a guick growing species that spreads rapidly providing cover for game birds, however it has not spread too much here as it does not favour alkaline soils, as found on Wenlock Edge. Being a non-native species it does not support any of our native fauna, it also blocks out all light from reaching the woodland floor and alters the soils ph level, preventing native plants from growing.
Rhododendron is also a host plant of Phytopthera Ramorum otherwise known as Sudden Oak Death, this disease can kill mature Oak trees very quickly and is also now affecting Larch trees. There are currently no known cases of Phytopthera on Wenlock Edge but this will hopefully help to keep it that way. Due to the plants being relatively small it was possible to pull them out with the roots attached, this will ensure that they dont simply grow back.

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