Another Wednesday, another volunteer day done and dusted! Meeting Tim the Ranger at 10 am we headed to a patch of woodland rarely visited – along Rivacre Road, just to the side of the old water tower, an area very over grown with Rhododendron bushes.
Problems With Rhododendron
Tim the Ranger explained today that we were clearing the Rhododendron because it makes the soil more acidic through the huge amount of leaf litter it creates. The resulting acidity doesn’t sit well with our native woodland species. The trees themselves grow quite big, spreading out laterally covering a large area, further reducing opportunities for more natural flora. As native plants die off, fauna reliant on them also leave the area or become isolated in patches. This all just lets the Rhododendron spread further, so while it might produce lovely flowers, it needs careful cultivation.
The volunteers worked very hard today though, clearing an absolutely huge area. We piled them up so there was plenty of new habitable areas for mice, hedgehogs and other ground dwelling fauna. Although the leaves will rot into the soil eventually and provide the acidity we don’t want, ultimately the problem is stemmed and the extra habitats are a boon 🙂
The after shot is just the area I was working on with Tim, Danielle and Jen. Terry, Jean and Bill worked extremely well and made some dramatic forays to the left side.