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Garlic Mustard

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Garlic Mustard Plant  


  • Why should we care?
    • The roots of Garlic Mustard secrete a toxic chemical that poisons the soil preventing other plants from growing. Garlic mustard spreads into high quality woodlands upland and floodplain forests, not just into disturbed areas. It is difficult to control once it invades a site. Invaded sites undergo a decline on native herbaceous cover within 10 years. This plant alters habitat suitability for native insects and thereby birds and mammals. It also threatens to overtake native wildflower growing space. 
  • How to Identify
    • Biennial herbaceous plant with weak single stems 12–36 inches high in its second and flowering year. It’s the only plant of this height blooming white in wooded environments in May. The leaves are round, scallop-edged, dark green; first year, rosettes of 3 or 4 leaves; second year plants have alternate stem leaves. Leaves and stems smell like onion or garlic when crushed. The flowers are white, small and numerous, with four separate petals. Each plant has one or two flowering stems on second year plants. The roots consist of a white, slender taproot, that is “S”-shaped at the top.
  • About Plant and Where it came from
    • Alliaria petiolata
    • Is an European exotic plant that occurs in the Midwestern and Northeastern U.S. and in Canada.
    • Has slender capsule that are 1–2.5” long, containing a single row of oblong black seeds. Seeds are viable in the soil for 5 years. 
  • How to Control
    • Cultural control: Hand-pulling in areas of light infestation, flowering stem cutting at ground level, and prescribed burning if there if there is enough fuel to carry the flames.
    • Chemical control: Spot application of 2% glyphosate in early spring or late fall when native plants are dormant.

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