SB6: Rhododendron control

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the rhododendron control item.

How much will be paid

Slope of site Rhododendron height Payment
Level or gentle slope (0 to 11 degree incline) Average height is less than 2.5m tall £2,800 per hectare (ha)
Moderate slope (12 to 18 degree incline) Between 2.5m to 4m tall £3,200 per ha
Steep or very steep slope (19 degrees or more) Average height is over 4m tall £4,400 per ha

The higher rate will apply where the site is classed in 1 or more of these categories, for example if the site is on a steep slope with an average height of less than 2.5m.

Where to use this item

Available for Higher Tier

How this item will benefit the environment

It supports rhododendron control, reducing the negative effect this can have on a site.

Rhododendron reduces the biodiversity value of a site, hindering woodland regeneration and, once established, is difficult and costly to eradicate.

Rhododendron can also be a host for the fungus-like pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, which affects larch.


Agreement holders are likely to need to:

  • check the slope on the ground - it cannot be based solely on map contours
  • destroy all rhododendron within the target area
  • cut all live rhododendron material from the stump, allowing access for chemical spraying of any re-growth
  • treat all stumps with a suitable herbicide on the day of being cut and in frost free and rain free conditions - rain should not be forecast for at least 6 hours
  • dispose of cut material so that it allows access to stumps for chemical spraying of any re-growth
  • control any injurious weed species, when the site regenerates, if there is a risk of spread to pasture land (used by grazing livestock or conserved for forage)
  • chemically treat re-growth with a recommended herbicide - follow the manufacturer’s guidance on application rates and safety requirements
  • keep the operations in line with recommendations in the Forestry Commission practice guide Managing and controlling invasive rhododendron

Removing infected rhododendron

When removing rhododendron infected with Phytophthora ramorum or Phythopthora kernoviae, agreement holders must:

  • clean or disinfect clothing, equipment and vehicles according to advice given in the Forestry Commission biosecurity guidance
  • use disinfectants that have gone through a Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) safety assessment as well as an environmental assessment

Burning waste material

Agreement holders may need to discuss whether to burn cut waste material with their local Forestry Commission or Natural England adviser. If told to burn it, agreement holders must:

  • agree in advance where the burn site will be
  • build bonfires far enough away from trees (at least 10m from the crown of any tree) to avoid damaging them
  • make sure that burning sites and piles of wood are not on patches of ground where they could damage species-rich grassland, anthills or other ecological or archaeological features
  • clean up the site as soon as possible after burning - burning on a metal sheet reduces damage to the soil and makes it easier to remove ash from the site

What the management plan needs to include

When used on a woodland site the woodland management plan needs to both:

  • identify rhododendron as being present
  • identify rhododendron as posing a threat to successful management

These do not apply if rhododendron is being removed due to a tree health issue.

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • an approved woodland management plan (unless the rhododendron is infected by Phytopthora ramorum, Phytophthora kernoviae or within 3km of an Statutory Plant Health Notice and a management plan is not needed)
  • any bank statements, receipted invoices, consents or permissions connected with the work
  • Forestry Commission Management Plan approval letter, if required

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them with the claim:

  • photographs of the completed work

The detailed requirements for this item will be tailored to the Higher Tier site. Higher Tier applicants should discuss and agree these requirements with their adviser.

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this item

The following section gives advice on carrying out this item successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this item.

Assess the slope class

The payment rate depends on the slope of the site and height of the rhododendron.

Applicants can estimate the slope by eye but a clinometer will give a better assessment.

Contours on maps can give an indication of slope but applicants will need to check the slope on the ground.

Slope class Type Percentage incline (%) Degree
1 Level 0 to 10 0 to 6
2 Gentle 11 to 20 7 to 11
3 Moderate 21 to 33 12 to 18
4 Steep 34 to 50 19 to 27
5 Very steep over 51 over 28

Further information

See the Higher Tier manual to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 10 March 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated for 2017 applications.

  2. Information updated for applications in 2016

  3. First published.