Saturday, 28 January 2017

Burning a pest

Another day, a different friend, another good (five mile) circular walk up the hill to Bingley St Ives, around the Coppice Pond and back. On the way we saw woodsmen (woodspeople?) burning rhododendrons. A notice said that this was Phytophthora Ramorum control, containment action ordered by DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

I don't know anything about it, other than what I can find on good old Google. It says Phytophthora Ramorum is a fungal disease that affects trees: oaks in North America but conifers like larch are more usually affected here. It is spread by spores and infected trees have to be felled. Rhododendrons are apparently being cleared since they can be affected too. They are an attractive but also invasive pest in our woodlands and action has been taken for many years to try and limit their spread, but this fungal pathogen must have increased the urgency for defensive action. This area of England is high risk for the disease and the work that we observed at St Ives was in a grove of conifers.


  1. WE have native rhododendrons -- our pests are privet, burning bush, bittersweet vine, kudzu -- to name a few. We also have several fungal diseases killing our native confers and dogwoods. It's disheartening and almost impossible to deal with in such a large area and in such steep terrain.

  2. I hope they are successful!

  3. Very interesting. I'm always curious about things like this . We have trouble with several invasive plants....and the diseases they bring. Buckthorn has taken over.....when I see how the woods should look without it, I can see clearly the problems it causes....probably similar to rhododendron. Some bloggers have switched to Facebook. Yes, it is easier. But I still like the quiet of a blog space. I should comment more....I love your photos.

  4. Burning rhododendrons? This might be the saddest thing I have read today.


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