Why have we removed the rhododendron?

STWS white rhododendron

We've been doing some work to open up an area that was previously over run with rhododendron.

Visitors to Fyne Court may remember the large patch of rhododendron that was widespread behind the music room. During December our volunteers and rangers have been working to remove this large patch of the invasive shrub, which was not originally grown in the UK.

Why do we need to remove it?

Rhododendron was imported as a seed in the late 18th Century and was widely planted across Britain at this time. When it’s grown in suitable conditions the plant thrives and spreads quickly. Each large and impressive flower head can produce up to 7 thousand seeds.

Unfortunately due to its quick growing nature it becomes a dense shrub, covering ground which stops native plants from growing.

Areas where the plant has been growing also show a reduced capacity for other plant species to develop. As such, areas where Rhododendron is allowed to establish have the capability to collapse the food chain from the ground up, eliminating insect food plants and even decreasing the numbers of earthworms in the soil.

National Trust put a lot of effort into removing areas of Rhododendron from all over the Quantock Hills.  Our aim at Fyne Court is to build a site where visitors can immerse themselves in the wonder of our native wildlife, be it birds, insects, flowers or trees. Removal of this invasive species will help us to achieve this.

Volunteers help to clear rhododendron
Volunteers help to clear rhododendron
Volunteers help to clear rhododendron

More to enjoy

We hope that the children who have enjoyed playing amongst the stems of this plant will enjoy exploring the rest of Fyne Court. Including our den building area and play trail (which is soon to be updated), and will continue learning what makes the bugs and plants that make Fyne Court a special place to visit.