On two Saturdays in April the Friends of the Shiawassee River will be working to remove garlic mustard, an invasive plant, from woodlots at DeVries Nature Conservancy. To properly and permanently remove this plant, it is necessary to pull individual plants one at at time from the soil surface and dispose of them in a way they cannot regenerate - in a garbage bag and sent to a landfill.
Garlic Mustard plants can be easily identified and their removal helps create better habitat for our native wildflowers and vegetation, such as bloodroot and trillium. Volunteers may even be lucky enough to spot some of these early wild flower blooms during their hunt for invasive species!
Students and others needing volunteer hours are encouraged to participate in this peaceful activity on the DeVries Nature Conservancy property. Volunteers should arrive at DNC by 10 a.m. Please contact the FOSR office (firstname.lastname@example.org or 989-723-9062) for more information on this event.
What is Garlic Mustard?
Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae). It is a biennial, a plant with a two-year life cycle, growing its first year as a seedling and rosette stage plant and flowering the subsequent year. It most often grows in the forest understory or along forest edges but is also able to invade undisturbed forest habitats. It tolerates low light levels and is adapted to take advantage of disturbed habitats such as trails, roadsides and areas where trees have been removed.
Garlic mustard has no significant natural enemies in North America, although a diverse community of herbivores feed on it in its native range in Europe. Populations of garlic mustard can spread rapidly. In a study of high quality woodlots, i.e. typically old growth or undisturbed forest habitat in Illinois, garlic mustard advanced an average of about 20 feet per year, expanding as much as 120 feet in one year. When established, garlic mustard becomes a permanent member of the community, often dominating the ground layer habitat over extensive areas.
Information provided by Michigan State University Integrated Pest Management: http://www.ipm.msu.edu/invasive_species/garlic_mustard/about_garlic_mustard