Despite a bit of rain, our Coves Reservoir green gym got to enjoy the fresh air(and a beautiful rainbow) while supporting the health of their local woodland. As Autumn comes into full swing and the trees begin to prepare for the Winter most leaves change colour and fall. However, the evergreen leaves of the invasive and aggressive rhododendron ponticum stand out. The glossy leaves stay green and on the plant all winter.
Although recently struggling in its native Mediterranean climate due to the drying effects of climate change, here this species of Rhododendron has flourished making itself at home in the lush rainy forests of our island. Unfortunately, in our climate the plant takes over and covers the forest floor so that no other plants can grow and new trees can’t regenerate. Adding to this, it releases allelopathic chemicals which prevent many other plants from germinating or growing. Rhododendron is almost impossible to remove once it gets established. Avoiding the usage of herbicide, our best option is to cut it back every time it shows up and before it goes to seed. Eventually, this exhausts the roots and the plant will stop growing back.
After a bit of warm up under the shelter of a young oak tree and a stand of beautiful birch, we got to work on the thick rhododendron dominating this patch of the woods. As the photos show, we put in a lot of work getting this patch of woodland open and available for our native plants to return to come Spring.