Although famous for its beautiful flowers during spring, rhododendron can grow many metres tall, allowing very little light to penetrate through its thick canopy. This has been shown to reduce the numbers of earthworms, birds and plants in a site, leading to a reduction in the biodiversity of the area.
The seeds spread so well that areas around it are soon taken over. In the New Forest the fightback is on, with a project to control this invasive non-native plant on the 20,000 hectares of Forestry England managed land in the National Park making significant progress.
As part of the HLS scheme, rhododendron has been managed at 200 sites and an ongoing programme of work will ensure it’s kept in check.
We use different techniques at different times of year to manage the rhododendron.
Clearing rhododendron can look drastic but the Forest will soon spring back to life.
If you have rhododendron on your New Forest property, thank you for keeping it contained and not letting it spread onto the open forest.
Thank you to everyone who shared their rhododendron sightings in our survey which has now closed.
The information will help us plan our ongoing programme of work to tackle this ‘pretty invader’.