Removing Garlic Mustard, an Invasive Species

By Kelly Vowels

Garlic MustardGarlic mustard (Alliaria petiolate) is an invasive species that Bernheim has removes from the Wilson Creek valley and other isolated places. It is native to Europe and is very difficult to get rid of once it establishes itself in an area. It displaces native and desired plants in a short amount of time, and one plant can produce thousands of seeds.

It is a biennial, cool season plant, which means it produces flowers in the second year. It forms flowers in April and will produce seed by May. It can grow in shaded floodplains along creeks and rivers, forests, roadsides, edges of woods, lawns, and anywhere there is disturbed soil. Introduced to the United States in 1868 in Long Island, New York as an herb, it has quickly spread throughout the U.S.

Due to its invasiveness, it is extremely important to remove garlic mustard anywhere it is found. It can be sprayed with herbicide before it forms flowers, and can be hand pulled. Once the plant produces flowers, it is very important to bag and remove the plant since it self-pollinates and can still produce seed even if removed from the ground.

Bernheim has been removing this invasive plant from Bernheim for years, and because of its aggressiveness and long seed life, we will continue to remove it until it has vanished from Bernheim. You can help by removing this plant from your property, or by letting the Bernheim staff know if you find it anywhere in Bernheim.


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