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Eradication Programme 

Did you know?..  There are over 900 species of Rhododendrons and over 25,000 named hybrids of Rhododendrons and Azaleas.

Rhododendron Ponticum was first introduced into Britain in the 1700s as an ornamental plant. No one could have guessed the damage it would cause. It forms dense thickets and shades out native plants. If left uncontrolled Rhododendron will eventually dominate the habitat to the virtual exclusion of all other plant life. If left uncontrolled Rhododendron will eventually dominate the habitat to the virtual exclusion of all other plant life.

Long known to be an invasive alien species, recent studies have found Scotland’s wild Rhododendron Ponticum is a creation of Victorian plantsmen. It is a mix of Spanish and North American species, developed to withstand Scotland's harsh climate, planted by estates for decoration and game cover.

Long known to be an invasive alien species, recent studies have found Scotland’s wild Rhododendron Ponticum is a creation of Victorian plantsmen. It is a mix of Spanish and North American species, developed to withstand Scotland's harsh climate, planted by estates for decoration and game cover.

During the early seasons it's flowers can brighten up the landscape across Scotland, but a top scientist has said the Rhododendron Ponticum "swarm" poses the country's biggest single ecological threat and needs to be tackled with a mass eradication programme.

Don't be fooled by its beautiful flowers. Rhododendron Ponticum is Scotland’s most threatening invasive non-native plant. Don't be fooled by its beautiful flowers. Rhododendron Ponticum is Scotland’s most threatening invasive non-native plant.

It spreads exponentially, with its flowers producing millions of seeds. It kills woodland by stopping trees setting seeds. It destroys peatlands, with mosses, ferns, insects and the animals that eat them driven out.

Not many people know the common Rhododendron hides a poisonous secret, it's nectar is toxic to bees. The resulting honey from Rhododendrons has also been known to be contaminated honey, making it unsafe for humans to eat. The general toxicity of Rhododendron to herbivores means that it cannot generally be controlled by grazing. Cases of human poisoning are also known. Most are caused by the consumption of honey produced from Rhododendron flowers. This is known as 'Mad Honey Disease', or 'Honey Intoxication'.

It's extensive root system and leaf litter is toxic to many other plants. Worse still, it harbours Phytophthora, a fungus-like pathogen that affects many other trees and plants.

Although it possesses attractive flowers Rhododendron Ponticum has few attributes that offset the negative impact it can have on an invaded site. It has been shown to reduce the numbers of earthworms, birds, plants and regenerative capacity of a site, leading to reduction in the biodiversity of the infected area.
Established bushes act as a seed source for further invasions in adjacent areas, eradicating ground cover, plants and interfering with the process of natural regeneration of trees.

Rhododendron is particularly widespread. Contractors have to make many repeat visits to kill regrowth from cut stumps, layered shoots or new seedlings. Often, follow-up treatment is required when stumps start to regrow or seedlings take root.

It is admitted this will cost many millions of pounds over the coming decades to eradicate Rhododendron Ponticum on a national scale, but said the consequence of inaction will be higher cost for removal in the future and eventually a natural disaster. 

About: Rhododendron Ponticum

Multi-Year Chemical Treatment Programme 

One of the literal growing problems in Scotland. Japanese Knotweed...

It is noted that all Japanese Knotweed in the UK derive from a single female plant collected by Philipp von Siebold in 1869. Phillip von Siebold removed a sample from the side of a volcano in Japan and transported it to Europe. The Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew obtained a specimen, and within a decade the plant was being sold to the public via nurseries. It was widely available for sale to the public in the UK and was even used by farmers as animal feed.

Botanists initially viewed it as a prized specimen due to its bamboo-like appearance, and authorities and local governments deployed its fast growing root system as a way to strengthen river and railway embankments. City dwellers also favoured it as an ornamental plant.

Road and rail development, canal works and general construction projects seen throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s saw the roots spread to almost every corner of the country.

By the mid-1900s, local and national governments around the world saw Japanese Knotweed as a threat to native species, waterways and structures.

The World Conservation Union currently lists this weed as one of the world’s worst invasive species.

Under UK Law, Japanese Knotweed is legally classed as a controlled plant under the Wildlife and Country side Act 1981 section 114 (2) (WCA 1981). It is not illegal for you to have Japanese knotweed on your property, but it is against UK law to cause or allow the plant to spread in the wild. If you have spotted Japanese Knotweed on or near your property and are wondering if you need a licence to remove it? in short, no you don't. Currently, there's no legal obligation to remove or treat knotweed on your property, just as long as you're not encouraging or allow it to grow. It isn’t illegal to grow Japanese Knotweed in your garden. However, you may be liable for any damage and remedial costs to neighbouring properties and land if it spreads.

If you’ve just discovered this weed in your garden, then it’s vital that you act as quickly as you can. This menace can be defeated, and you have several options, but inaction isn’t one of them. If you don’t take timely action, it can grow under the house and through the floors and walls.

You can expect an average growth rate of 2-4cm per day (60-120cm per month) during the summer months, although when weather conditions permit, it may grow at up to an eye-watering 10cm per day.

If you don’t implement a control and eradication program, you can expect the following damage: The knotweed will damage patios, concrete, paths, driveways and other external hard standings. Utilities such as water pipes, waste pipes and electrical cable systems may be compromised. Foundations could be breached, and the plant will grow indoors through walls, floors, sockets and vents. Complete elimination of existing native plants due to lack of light.

Insurers often exclude Japanese Knotweed from their policies if they offer you a policy at all. House values can drop by as much as 50% as a result of having this weed in the garden. Mortage lenders may refuse an application due to the potential drop in house value. Insurers can refuse cover if you live within 50 metres of Japanese Knotweed and house values can be cut in half if a survey highlights this threat.

It’s also challenging to eradicate and can grow underground to a depth of three metres with a horizontal spread of up to seven metres in all directions. House foundations, concrete and patios are no barriers to the proliferation of this pest. This plant is also affecting home and land owners in many other countries.

Multi-Year Chemical Treatment Program chemical injection directly into the hollow stems. There are three ways to get rid of Japanese Knotweed, each has their pros and cons, and prices vary.

The other two options involve the complete dig out and excavation of the land to a depth of three metres. While this is the preferred option for land developers who need to prepare the area for house building, it’s not a practical option for most homeowners, especially if:
The roots traverse several boundaries, you have fences, walls, patios, trees and outbuildings such as sheds etc. that would need to be moved or demolished. We all have a limited budget.

Chemical treatments are a viable option, they work and cost less than a full excavation. They do, however: Pose a risk to the environment so must be used with appropriate care, especially when used near waterways; They take several years to eradicate a Japanese Knotweed infestation entirely.

The process usually involves a chemical called Glyphosate which is sprayed onto the leaves and or injected into the stems of the Knotweed. From here it travels down to the root system. If you need to treat a large area, some of the plants will need to be cut down to gain access.

A typical professional treatment program will involve 2-3 treatments per year for up to 3 years, for stubborn or for prolific Knotweed growth it's up to 5 year’s. This cost is spread over 2-3 years as one treatment is rarely enough to eradicate it permanently.

About: Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia Japonica)

Multi-Year Chemical Treatment Programme 

American Skunk-Cabbage was first recorded in the wild in 1947 in Surrey and was originally introduced to the UK as anornamental bog plant in 1901. Since then it has spread across Britain, particularly in southern and western areas.

Once established the plant can spread quickly and is very invasive, forming dense colonies which can spread by rhizome and by seed, spread by water currents, by birds and mammals. Infestations can dominate large areas and crowd out native species in important habitats such as wet woodlands.

After some years, its huge leaves build dense layers of vegetation that exclude all light and render the water beneath devoid of life. This is especially a problem in ecologically sensitive natural areas.

Plants, new seedlings and rhizomes can be dug out and removed from site for disposal. However, if fragments of rhizome remain, these can regenerate and form new plants with the potential of spreading the infestation further.

The leaves can be effectively treated with herbicide however there are limitations in what herbicides can be used in or near water courses. The plant requires wet conditions to thrive but has no specific soil requirements and will grow well on most wet sites.

Applications should be made between June and October when the leaves are fully grown and when ground conditions are drier. Multiple applications may be required each growing season.

In 2016, American Skunk-Cabbage was banned from sale in the UK. Now gardeners are being urged to make sure that they dispose of plants correctly and ensure they do not discard this species in the natural environment.

This species is not currently Listed as a Schedule 9 species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, although there are calls for it to be added.

If you have an infestation on your property in or around water or even on dryer grounds that requires extinguishment don't hesitate to contact we have many individual with the proper certification and qualifications to complete the job.

Follow-up treatments are needed each year until the seed bank in the soil is exhausted. Fewer seeds should germinate after two to three years. 

About: American Skunk-Cabbage (Lysichiton Americanus)

Eradication Programme 

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is an umbellifer member of the cow-parsley family and its flowering stems are typically 2-3 m in height bearing flower heads up to 80cm across. The lower leaves are often 1m more in size and distinctively spiky. It can easily grow two metres tall, forms dense, impenetrable stands and will outcompete all nearby plants, destroying natural flora and fauna. This dominance out-competes native flowers and reduces species diversity. 

It was introduced into gardens as a curiosity around 1820 and was deliberately planted along riverbanks but also alongside roads, railway lines, rivers and ponds and is now widespread throughout Great Britain.

Giant hogweed reproduces entirely by seeds, it is monocarpic (it reproduces only once in its lifetime). Plants are able to self-fertilise and each plant can produce 20-50,000 seeds, some of which can survive more than 3 years in the soil.

Giant hogweed is one of the worst offending invasive species in Scotland. The sap of this plant is phototoxic causing serious skin burns if exposed to sunlight so if you come across it DO NOT TOUCH! Keep dogs away too as they've known to get burnt as well.

The plant produces a phototoxic sap, which in the presence of sunlight will cause serious skin burns. This makes walking anywhere that giant hogweed is growing extremely hazardous and as such it blocks paths and prevents access for recreation. If you're affected by it, wash the area with soapy water and contact your doctor for advice.

Giant hogweed is a resilient plant and cannot be eradicated by just cutting it down. You must destroy its roots either by digging it up, breaking it up with a spade or sharp trowel, or treating it with Glyphosate.

Giant hogweed can be dug and the tap roots cut, but this is only suitable during the first stage of the growing season on young plants. Roots must be cut at least 15cm below ground level.

There has been experiments using Sheep!! Sheep are know to be immune to its aggressive sap, and the SISI were in the final year of a practical experiment investigating how best land managers could use sheep to control giant hogweed until lockdown restrictions disrupted this experiment. A project officer at SISI had been working at this site since the project began and says the team have learned a lot in that time. They explains how the sheep did too good a job, clearing the area of hogweed but also munching on everything else in their paths.

This type of overgrazing is detrimental to the biodiversity of the area, so the squad made changes.

In 2020 they reduced the number of sheep and reduced the number of sheep grazing days by about half to see what would happen then. With lockdown restrictions in place at the time, the team reporting were unable to monitor the site as they usually would. Covid-19 lockdown made tackling the problem even harder for this unfortunate squad. Hopefully they can finish their experiment in the near future.

If you have Giant Hogweed infestation on your property and need it sorted please get in contact. We apply herbicide using backpack sprayers. The most effective treatment method for giant hogweed is to treat the emerging leaves with herbicide (Glyphosate) in the spring to early summer. Generally treating between March and July and often visit each site twice, to apply a follow up treatment to any late emerging or missed plants.

As the year progresses we see giant hogweed starting to flower so to ensure we prevent any seeding occurring we remove flower buds and flowering heads as well as treating with herbicide. 

Flower heads can be cut off using a long-handled pole saw and herbicide is sprayed to the cut stem and basal leaves. These flower heads can then be burned safely following proper safety precaution. Giant hogweed isn't so dangerous as long as you don't touch its sap.

About: Giant Hogweed (Heracleum Mantegazzianum)
Logger cutting wood with chainsaw

For All Tree Care Services...

Tree surgeons carry out tree work including planting, felling, care, maintenance and hazard assessments.

Tree surgeons are the dynamic chaps and chapettes who cultivate, manage, prune, fell, chop, clip, crown and treat Scotland's trees. Maintaining trees and wood plants to ensure their healthy, safe, and attractive condition including chemical applications, repairing, cabling, fertilizing, watering, pruning, and removal of any dead, diseased or declining trees, or other woody plants. Working in all kinds of locations, from city parks to romantic copses, this lot play a vital role in preserving, protecting and removing hedges, shrubs, bushes and trees. 

Regular tree care and maintenance are essential to the growth and lifespan of your surrounding trees. Dead or broken branches serve your trees no purpose. Not only do they take up vital space but also the nutrients which your trees may be using for growing new branches. Damaged branches are at the risk of falling down, perhaps onto a piece of property, expensive equipment or onto any person below.

Tree Crown Reduction is the process of removing branch tips, pruning back to a growth point further down the branch. This may be carried out to remove dead, diseased and damaged branches, or simply to reduce the overall size of the tree.

Crown Lifting is the removal of lower branches. Crown lifting is carried out to increase the clearance between the ground level and the lower branches either to allow access below the tree, to clear sight lines, improve views or allow light to penetrate to the ground. By removing the lower branches you can: keep them away from traffic, keep them away from buildings, make signs visible that were installed too far off the ground, let in more light, open up a desirable view or just to have a lower trunk free of branches.

Felling is the process of cutting down a tree. You may require Felling a tree if it has out grown its position, if the tree causing damage to property, or if a tree is of poor health and is causing to great a risk to people or property. If a traditional straight fell isn't possible sectional felling is a way to remove a tree from site safely. A tree of any size can be removed safely using suitable climbing and rigging techniques.

Professionalism, experience and a comprehensive list of qualifications make us a trusted and well respected choice for all domestic and commercial tree care operations. When you seek our tree care service, you will get specialists who know what needs to be done exactly to ensure the trees remain healthy. When you seek our services, we will recognise signs of infestation or potential disease before they have the chance to do some serious damage or spread to other trees. 

Whenever you work with BROTHER NATURE LTD, you can trust that you’re in great hands.

About: Tree Surgeons

Planting Services 

Plants are considered a critical resource because of the many ways they support life on Earth, providing habitat and food for wildlife and humans and regulate the water cycle. As trees grow, they help absorb and sink the carbon that would otherwise contribute to global heating. In the end, trees end up feeding themselves with the carbon we desperately need to avoid getting to the atmosphere. In addition to the carbon dioxide trees capture, they also help the soil capture and store carbon. In urban environments, trees absorb pollutant gases like nitrogen oxides, ozone, and carbon monoxide, and sweep up particles like dust and smoke.

Commercial Forests provide us a large number of commercial goods which include timber, firewood, pulpwood which is used in making paper, food items, gum, resins, non-edible oils, rubber, fibers, lac, bamboo canes, fodder, medicine, drugs and many more items.

Half of the timber cut each year is used as fuel for heating and cooking. The forestry and forest products industry is focused on wood and its uses. Wood is used to build houses, furniture, flooring, shipping containers, and many other products.

Woodland Creation, planting trees mitigates climate change and so much more, trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere, regenerate degraded areas, creates habitat for native species and provides sustainable economic opportunities for rural communities...

Constantly seeing and being around plants helps people feel more calm and relaxed, thus decreasing levels of anxiety. Increases attentiveness and memory. Being around plants, whether at home or work, helps improve memory and attention span by 20 percent and can increase concentration. Positive impacts on mental health and wellbeing, reducing stress and encouraging outdoor activities. Creating wildlife habitat. Irrespective of color, race, religion or species we all live in the same environment and breathe in the same way.

We must take care of our environment.

About: Tree Planting Services

Eradication Programme 

Cherry Laurel (Prunus Laurocerasus) is an evergreen shrub or tree, reaching about seven metres + in height and spreading out widely. It can form extensive dense shrubberies. It has large long, oval leathery and shiny leaves, with small teeth along their edges. Long, attractive, upright spikes of small pure white flowers are produced abundantly in April and are followed by small cherry like fruits. It's native range lies around the Black Sea, where it grows alongside native Rhododendron Ponticum. It was planted extensively on estates for game cover and beautification. Some woodlands that run pheasant shoots intentionally use the shrub as cover for the birds and we ourselves can make use of it during a sudden downpour. 

By the mid-20th century those innocent plantings were choking demesne woodlands with evergreen thickets, marching along by suckering and layering. Bird-dispersed fruits also allowed the plants to jump into the wild. Laurel is now considered an invasive non native species of high impact because it shades out native plants and degrades habitats. 

There are both positive and negative aspects to this plant’s impact on wildlife. It can be an important nesting facility for birds and provides abundant nectar for many insects. Nectaries are produced both in the flowers and on the underside of the leaves. On the negative side, its rapid growth and the way it casts an all year round dense shade means that it shades out plants from the woodland floor, and generally out competes less vigorous shrubs and young trees. 

Cherry Laurel, having escaped from gardens and can now be found in our woodlands competing with our native species. Like Rhododendron Ponticum with which it often grows, if unmanaged, it will form almost impenetrable shrubberies or understories in woodland and effectively kill off all other vegetation except the mature trees, out competing, crowding out and displacing beneficial native plants that have been naturally growing in Scotland for centuries. 

The plant is very poisonous to humans, with abundant cyanide content, and no parts should be eaten, although the flesh of the berries is reportedly harmless and tasteless. The seeds and leaves contain toxins that are poisonous for humans as well as animals. If ingested, cyanogenic glycosides turn into the dangerous prussic acid hydrogen cyanide, causing poisoning in dogs and cats that may be fatal. 

The problems have arisen because of sales and the planting of this species followed by a lack of subsequent management. Excessive growth of Cherry Laurel can be tackled by cutting back, and a continuing maintenance programme of pruning. However, this plant rapidly regenerates from cut shoots, and frequently produces suckers from the roots. Eradication may be desirable if the infestation is causing undesired effects on natural or semi natural habitats, but this can only be achieved through physical, mechanical means and is expensive and labour intensive. To inhibit regrowth, herbicides are usually applied to cut stumps. Application of herbicides to mature, uncut plants is ineffective.

About: Cherry Laurel (Prunus Laurocerasus)
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