Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Why are you removing rhododendrons?

Posted: May 26, 2011 at 22:37 pm Author: Richard Townsend

If you’ve been a visitor to Westonbirt these last few weeks you might be surprised to see the cutting and removal of quite a few Rhododendron ponticum plants whilst in full bloom.

Ponticum removal

Sad it might be to see such vibrant purple flowers cut down, but the reason is due to the much publicised plant disease, Phytophthora ramorum.

P. ramorum is an unwelcome problem in any garden, big or small, and the consequences can be terrible. Rhododendron ponticum is a known host for the disease and so removal is wise. The reason we have to clear the plant now is because rhododendrons are notoriously difficult to identify when not in flower.

So if over the coming days you see some of our team removing these plants in flower, remember that this work will help protect our many other species of the plant – from the rare hybrids to the favourites of Westonbirt’s founder, Robert Holford.

Find out more about Phytophthora ramorum on the Forestry Commission’s website: