This post was written by our Land Stewardship crew. Look for weekly posts from them throughout the summer, in addition to the posts from Cam Mannino!
The crew has been working on removing garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), an invasive plant, in Blue Heron Environmental Area, Cranberry Lake Park, and O’Connor Nature Park. Today they collaborated with Six Rivers Land Conservancy, Oakland County Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (OC CISMA), and Paint Creek Trailways Commission to host a volunteer work day pulling garlic mustard along the Paint Creek Trail. Thirty volunteers joined us, mostly from Fiat-Chrysler Automotive. We collected a total of 36 garbage bags full of Garlic Mustard! Great work!
Garlic mustard is originally from Europe and was brought to North America in the 1800s for cultivation as a garden herb. It escaped cultivation and spread through natural areas across the US. It is detrimental to natural areas due to its lack of natural predators, early growing season, and ability to produce up to 3,000 seeds per plant. It also releases a chemical that inhibits the growth of nearby native plants that provide food and habitat for native wildlife. Together, these traits allow this aggressive plant to quickly take over many areas, including intact woodlands. Check out the before and after pictures below!
You can control garlic mustard effectively by hand pulling the second year flowering plants before they set seed, taking care to remove as much of the root as possible. So if you see it in your yard, help out your native Michigan plants and wildlife by pulling it out!
Check out the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network website for identification tips and more information on Garlic Mustard: https://www.misin.msu.edu/facts/detail/?project=misin&id=22&cname=Garlic+mustard