Rhododendron and laurel are foreign species which were once very popular with landowners.
In many areas of Scotland, including Sanquhar they have now spread so much that they are preventing the growth of native species which is needed to support native wildlife. While the woodlands at Muiry and Newforres have been successfully treated in recent years, the problem remains in Sanquhar woodlands.
FCWT has engaged a contractor who is carrying out an accredited and effective 5-year program which we hope will eradicate the problem in the long-term. Walkers may already have noticed that many of the most dense areas have been cut back.
This method should not leave any residue on the soil. The contractors will post warning notices around the area they are working on and follow correct health and safety procedures. The weedkiller used is considered to be safe for humans and animals. Even so, we advise people to avoid walking in the areas while the spraying is taking place.
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. Areas which are particularly “sensitive” to wildlife will be avoided.
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 woodland management.