Just a reminder that we are in the final month of the Garlic Mustard Challenge, which will end on June 26 this year. Of all the invasive plants, this one presents the greatest threat because it spreads so aggressively in sunny and shady areas, drops hundreds of seeds that can survive for 10 years, and can spread readily from yard waste heaps/composting (which don’t kill the seeds) and especially by mowing when in seed. Garlic mustard also releases chemicals in the soil that prevent other plants from growing for several years. See the first flyer below to learn more about garlic mustard.
Another mustard-family plant with purple to pink flowers, dame’s rocket, presents an equal threat to nature. It has longer, pointy, flat leaves that are dark green, and it blooms a little later than garlic mustard. Pull and bag it the same way you do garlic mustard.
So, please pull as much garlic mustard and dame’s rocket as you can, bag them tightly, and dispose of them your regular trash (which is provided for by Michigan invasive species law; if you have any questions about this, I can send you a note from Granger and a copy of the state law). Even pulled garlic mustard can still produce seed, which is why bagging and disposal in the landfill is important! Also, please report the garlic mustard and dame’s rocket you have pulled in the Mid-Michigan Cluster area (Ingham, Clinton, and Eaton Counties) to the Stewardship Network on the simple fill-in form at:
This contest shows us how much we can achieve on a statewide level, and a little friendly competition encourages us to do more than we might do on our own! Right now the Mid-Michigan area has pulled 6,700 lbs in 2015, putting us in third place, behind heavy-hitters Huron-Arbor and West Michigan. Let’s “Go Green!” and surprise them with how much garlic mustard we can pull! Every garlic mustard plant pulled makes room for a trillium, a fern, a native frog, a bird’s nest! Once garlic mustard takes over, they will all be gone.
- Show garlic mustard to your neighbors and schoolkids, and encourage them to control it on a neighborhood-wide basis and in their schoolyard, nearby parks, natural areas and roadsides. Show your community spirit and adopt an area outside your own property where you help control garlic mustard each year!
- It’s fun organizing garlic mustard pulls with clubs or youth groups - a chance to work together in beautiful areas during this gorgeous time of year, and get to know each other better. Think of it as a harvest celebration!
- Make sure folks know that garlic mustard and dame’s rocket should not be mowed when the long green or especially yellow (ready to burst) thin twig-like seed pods are showing in spikes at the top. Mowing when the seeds are nearly developed or rattling loose causes garlic mustard to spread to new areas. It’s also too late to pull once they are releasing seeds, because seeds get carried to other sites in your clothes and treads of your shoes. It is always good practice to brush the bottom and sides of your shoes after you’ve been working in infested areas, to avoid tracking seeds to new areas.
- For areas of large infestation, garlic mustard can be sprayed with normal RoundUp herbicide (if not in a wetland) in late fall or early spring, when it’s in the rosette stage (round leaves clustered close to the ground) and when native plants aren’t out.
For more information, please visit http://garlicmustardchallenge.wordpress.com.