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Culling a Rhododendron thicket

Discussion of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment

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Culling a Rhododendron thicket

Postby geordief » Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:23 pm

I have been advised to remove the Rhododendrons on my land (in reply to a post of mine regarding trees suitable for growing for timber) and have proceeded to do so.
The reason for this is that Rhododendrons seem to have a very bad press regarding associated insects ,grasses wildlife etc
Just wondering if anyone here has a view on whether I should ideally remove all the bushes (over time) or whethe they are beneficial to the habitat in small doses?
Also ,what to do with all the small branches that I do not require for burning timber?
Should I burn them or stack them up and leave them?
And separately what should I do with a small stream that I have exposed now.
Again just leave it to its own devices or might it benefit from a removal of the twiggy debris and gunge?
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Re: Culling a Rhododendron thicket

Postby herb517 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:38 pm

Hi- rhodies are the only bright- evergreen- sight in my ravine right now- i would certainly consider that before culling an entire thicket! deer and critters most certainly use the thickets- tho even deer can't get through a really dense stand, no doubt you will find game trails. rhodies grow fairly slowly- don't quote me on this- it's something i got off internet- less than 1 foot per year- which fits with the spread on my woodlot since i was a kid over 40 years ago. a trail thru a thicket is a good spot to be in a brief shower. that said, nothing grows under them and no new tree seedlings will sprout. the fallen leaves and debris decompose very slowly and seem to inhibit the N cycling. a natural thicket thrives best where trees wouldn't anyway- ravine slopes. unless you don't have any other space to plant a future timber stand i would never cull the entire thicket- trails and gaps would leave spots for tree planing- the rhodies could never fill in before a seedling reached above them, and a timber crop shouldn't be too close together anyway. also, a good portion of a thicket is dead wood- not much work cutting that out and then culling less healthy trees- just removing the straggly horozontal ones struggling for light helps. herb in WV
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Postby herb517 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:40 pm

The American Rhododendron Society has online back journals- issue 25-2 back in 1971 answers your question better than i. another consideration- lovely flowers that probably attract pollinators that you need for health of entire woodlot. herb
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