Garlic Mustard
contributed by Ed Hamerstrom -- May 27, 2006

The Fastest-Moving Invasive Alien Plant
in this area

Garlic Mustard is the fastest-moving invasive alien plant affecting this area. It threatens to wipe out most of the native wildflowers in our woods in areas where it becomes established. Research on biological control is proceeding and should eventually bring us some of the insects that control garlic mustard in its native area in Europe, but that will be some years away, maybe.

Right now is a really good time to look around and pull the
second-year flowering plants, especially where there are just a few. You can see it rapidly spreading along the roadsides and with time it moves into the adjacent woods.

Garlic mustard is biennial, and it can actually be controlled if you pull every plant with flowers before they can seed. It will take a few years for existing seeds in the soil to germinate if they are going to.  The plants you pull with flowers should be buried or burned, not left on the ground, since the seeds develop even after the plant is uprooted and it takes more heat to destroy them than ordinary composting generates. My suggestion would be to collect the plants in a pile and cover it with grass cuttings or anything else. I've probably spent 20-25 hours on it just around our house and the road in front.

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Contributed by
Ed Hamerstrom


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