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How can we get rid of wild purple rhododendrons?

Our garden is literally full of wild purple rhodendrons.  Some of them we'll have to keep (boundaries) but the others we'd like to eventually remove.
Any advice please on how best to get rid of them
and what we can replace them with?
We're in Exmoor, soil ericaceous, with lots of moisture, but well drained.
Grateful for your thoughts. 

Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,404
    Stumpkiller. Cut them down and use that - it's a good time of year too. 

    They're horrible things, and ruining our landscape up here as they smother everything in their path. It's an ongoing problem in many areas, especially our glens. The usual approach is to go in and annihilate them with chainsaws, but they're hard to kill.  :/

    I wouldn't plant anything else until you know they're gone though. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 3,715
    edited November 2020
    Rhododendron ponticum has become a major alien invasive shrub  in many places in UK. It smothers all native wild flowers completely. Is no good to man or beast.
    National Trust and other  big organisations are removing it as much as possible.
    Cutting to a stump and then treating stump with chemicals to stop re growth.

    This link is from Forestry Commission.
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/698576/managing_and_controlling_rhododendron.pdf

    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,162
    edited November 2020
    I’m usually not in favour of poisons and chemicals but in this case it’s really your only option.

    Nothing can live under them.

    I believe their pollen, or their nectar, is poisonous to bees.

    They are a complete menace.

    http://www.countrysideinfo.co.uk/rhododen.htm


    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • sarinkasarinka Posts: 269
    edited November 2020
    What relation are these to rhododendron japonicas (azaleas)? And is the pollen from these ok for bees? 
  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 997
    I note you're in Exmoor, catherine.annis, which conjures up a vision of rural countryside.  Without resorting to poison, they're easily cut down and, if large enough, used for firewood.  If not, they burn beautifully on a bonfire.  If feasible in your particular location, leave a foot or so of stump and some form of light agricultural vehicle or 4x4 should pull them out without much bother on a dry day?
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,162
    Sarinka, it’s a very complicated story as you can see from this link. It seems it’s the nectar, rather than the pollen, which is the dangerous bit.

    https://www.kew.org/read-and-watch/hidden-poison-rhododendron-nectar


    As azaleas are a type of rhododendron, I suppose it’s the same for them.





    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • sarinkasarinka Posts: 269
    edited November 2020
    Oh no! I plant so many bee-friendly plants and have been investigating getting a beehouse next year - but also planted two small azaleas this year. They haven't bloomed yet. Based on that article, I had better bin them.:(

    thank you, @pansyface
  • sarinka said:
    Oh no! I plant so many bee-friendly plants and have been investigating getting a beehouse next year - but also planted two small azaleas this year. They haven't bloomed yet. Based on that article, I had better bin them.:(

    thank you, @pansyface
    They will fly miles away.
    So cannot see point in getting rid of your Azaleas when there will probably be many more locally.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,162
    I wouldn’t fret about a few azaleas, Sarinka. Bees have been on the planet for millions of years. You aren’t going to bring about their demise. 😁
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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