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Wednesday, 9 October, 2002, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
Campaign to destroy invasive plants
Cutting rhododendron
The plants now covers a fifth of the National Park
An aggressive foreign shrub has been declared enemy number one in the Derbyshire Peak District.

The rhododendrons, originally a decorative shrub, have begun to take over parts of the national park .

Now park managers have launched a clearance programme to wipe out the intruder.

It is expected the cleared areas will take 10 years to recover their natural vegetation.

Block sunlight

Rhododendrons became popular in Victorian Britain because of their vividly coloured flowers.

But they have proved voracious growers and wipe out all other plants in the area.

Its airborne seeds spread the plant over a wide area and they now cover around a fifth of the park.

Dense branches and thick leaf growth means very little sunlight gets to the ground.

Ground poisoned

Mike Innerdale, Forestry Manager for Severn Trent Water, said: "They create dark areas where nothing else can grow. This programme is about taking away the foreign plants and allowing the native plants to grow."

Diggers are being used to tear up the bushes which are then burnt.

But since Rhododendrons effectively poison the ground in which they grown, it is estimated it will take five years for native plant life to begin to grow again and 10 years before the area looks as it did before the rhododendron arrived.


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See also:

08 Oct 02 | UK
17 Sep 02 | Science/Nature
09 May 02 | Scotland
03 Sep 01 | UK
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