Controlling the Invasive Garlic Mustard

Updated: 04/10/2012 12:43 PM
Created: 04/10/2012 12:35 PM

It’s taking over our woodlands and landscapes at a rapid rate as it crowds out native beauties like trillium, spring beauty (Claytonia virginica), and trout lilies (Erythronium).

Help control this invasive weed in your community and backyard. This culprit, Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), produces small white flowers atop garlic-scented leaves in spring. These quickly go to seed before dying, dropping thousands of seeds that will last for years in the soil.

Pull small populations of garlic mustard weeds in spring or cut large populations free of desirable plants just above the soil surface. Remove any weeds that have begun to flower as the flowers continue to develop and form seeds.

Place flowering plants in a clear plastic bag and label as invasive. Allow the sun to cook the plants and kill the seeds Then dump the plants in the garbage if your municipality allows.

A bit more information:

The leaves of garlic mustard have been used by Europeans fresh in salads and steamed, simmered or sautéed for sauces. The long white taproot is grated into vinegar, and used as a substitute for horseradish. These foods as well as its medicinal uses are why settlers probably brought these plants to the United States in the mid 1800’s.

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