A major project planned for 2015 is the eradication of rhododendron and laurel.
These foreign species were once very popular with landowners, but in many areas in Scotland they have now spread so much that they are preventing the growth of native species which are needed to support native wildlife.
While the woodlands at Muiry and Newforres have been successfully treated over the past years, Sanquhar is particularly badly affected.
FCWT has engaged a contractor who is carrying out an accredited and effective 5-year program which will hopefully eradicate the problem.
Walkers may have noticed that the densest areas have already been cut back. This will be followed up in July by a selective spraying of weed killer directly on the leaves.
This method should not leave any residue in the soil.
A new “lever and mulch” method which avoids the use of chemicals will also be tried, particularly near pond areas. Smaller saplings are being pulled out by volunteer work parties.
FCWT will carefully monitor this project to ensure that wildlife is not adversely affected.
The Board has sought advice from the Forestry Commission and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), recognising that the Trust can benefit from working closely with SNH and hopefully improving our knowledge of good woodland management.