Photos taken in Sligo Creek Park unless otherwise stated.
Garlic Mustard Casts a Pall on the Forest
New York Times article (May 2, 2006)
Quick Removal Tips
- No tools needed, just wear gloves, long ones if possible to avoid poison ivy.
- Pick EVERY visible plant with stems in mid-April to early May, and look again in early June when new plants have grown. The pulling season ends about June 20, when seeds open.
- It's better to get every plant from one place than to get most plants from two places. Leaving a plant is like sowing a hundred seeds.
- If stems frequently break at the root, wiggle the stem before pulling. Search a bit for a broken root and remove. In dry soil or grass where roots break often, consider cutting the stem to ground level or slightly higher; at that height flowers are highly unlikely to return. Don't forget to bag the cut stems.
- Losing a few roots and missing a few plants is inevitable. A check-up walk will be needed in early June and is easier than removing new plants.
- Bagging is essential to prevent seeds maturing after the plant is picked; this is a major problem with garlic mustard. Bag ALL plants regardless of maturity. Contractor bags from a hardware store are by far the best, but leaf bags also work.
- Be prepared to pick with little talking - it takes concentration to get every plant!
- Pick a handful, and later gather handfuls to larger piles placed prominently on paths. At the end, bag the piles.. Place bags near trash barrels, or at least next to the Parkway for easy pickup, and phone 301-670-8080 with the exact location.
- If you see wilted piles left by well-intentioned walkers, bring them to a trash barrel and tell the RIP Section leader.
- Options if you have no bag: pocket the flower heads, or place plants in a depression in the ground, facing inward. Arranged at the edge of park-mowed grass, lawn mowers should cut any germinating seeds the following year.
- When stems grow closely in loose soil, gather several with one hand motion.
- Priorities: Remove isolated plants, called satellites, before large colonies. Because seeds spread downhill, work across a high point, then across the next highest point, and so on to low ground.