I've been gradually building a house on a site that has been fairly well dominated by wild, unchecked growth of various greenery over the past 15 years. Time has come to turn my attention to the garden / landscaping
Part of the garden is planned to have a vehicle turning circle right where an enormous rhododendron is well established; it's on an embankment that is approx 3m high and the bush itself is another 3m high, with a footprint of probably 5x7m and stems as thick as my arm.
I don't want to just rip into it for two reasons; one that I'm acutely aware it's bird nesting season and I genuinely don't know if birds nest in rhododendron (but I'm not averse to bullying my way in there to have a look). Q1: is it likely to be home to one or more families of birds?
Reason two; I actually really like the plant despite them seeming to have a poor reputation in the U.K as being somewhat invasive and antisocial - people seem to regard them as a similar nuisance to sycamore and leylandii; perfect plants to establish on an order if you want to upset the neighbours. Fortunately I have no neighbours who would care so I'd like to repurpose this one as hedging. Clearly it can grow well on the site soil and seems to have thrived on what is a windy, exposed site (though it is in the building shadow a bit).
Q2: What would I need to do to cultivate it for hedging? Are the existing stems suitable or should I employ some propagation technique to establish a number of smaller plants? I've got a requirement for a lot of hedging; the landscape plan calls for about 200m. Am I embarking on a task whose cost and efforts vastly outweighs the success, beauty and ease of maintenance of the end result, and it would be simpler and easier to order 400 beech hedge whips in a pallet and plant them out? How about the chances of moving the full stems of the plant and re planting them in a large rectangle to make a secluded inner garden; will bare stems establish new green growth down the sides to become a private screen over time?