Battling Against Invasive Garlic Mustard

As warm spring weather gently coaxes new growth from the ground, all of us here at Heritage Conservancy are happy to see a variety of flora making a comeback from the long winter! Not all of the plants sprouting up are “good guys,” however. There are a large number of invasive species that have cropped up in our area that are not native to the United States and are negatively impacting the local environment.

Our stewardship team works hard to remove these pesky invaders. One of the species they are targeting this season is a flowering, smelly plant called garlic mustard, which prefers to grow along hedges, in woodland areas, and basically anywhere that has a decent amount of shade.

“Spring is the time to manage it,” says Jim Drennan, Land Conservation Manager. “We will be picking it mostly from now until the end of May.” The plant, which hails from Europe and parts of Asia, is fast-spreading, produces thousands of seeds, and easily outcompetes and displaces native species. To effectively remove it, you must yank out the long tap root; fortunately, according to Jim, this is not a very strenuous task: “It is the easiest of invasive plants to work on as they usually pull right up out of the ground. I’ve had young children help me pull it.”

Help the natives in our area thrive on your property: if you happen to find a patch of this invasive greenery (see above photo to identify it), feel free to do your part and pull it out on your own!