Garlic Mustard

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by Bruce Craig, May 9, 2009.

  1. Bruce Craig

    Bruce Craig Member

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    Location:
    York Region, Ontario, Canada
    Garlic mustard moved into my backyard beneath a maple tree about five years ago. I didn't know anything about this invasive plant and last year when there were well over 1000 plants I knew I had a problem. This spring with over 10,000 plants, I'm pulling them by hand. Does anyone have any sound tips that do not involve chemicals or pesticides? At this point I'm resigned to pulling every plant and monitoring the garden for the next few years until the plant is entirely gone.

    Thanks for any help you can offer.
     
  2. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Yanking, and yanking, and once again yanking is the only solution I've found. I have been doing so for the past few years and the noxious crop does seem to be dwindling. This stuff is biennial, which fact could work to human advantage. If only my daughter's hedgehog would regard it as a delicacy...
     
  3. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    Location:
    SW Ontario, Canada
    The people who brought garlic mustard to North America from Europe (as a salad green) surely had no idea of the scourge they were inflicting.

    My neighbour and I are battling the garlic mustard together. We've been at it for three years and the problem is slowly getting better. Here's what we've learned.

    - GM is allelopathic, which means it inhibits the growth of other plants. No other plant can compete with it. So you'll need to constantly keep at it. There is no easy way to get rid of it.
    - you need to pull the entire plant, root and all. It will regrow from any bit of root left in the ground.
    - you need to get it out before it goes to seed. It seeds prolifically and the seeds stay viable in the ground for years.
    - weeding needs to be done regularly, all year. New plants will pop up pretty much any time from spring through fall, and they can flower and seed before you even know they're up. Plants as short at 2" will form flowers and seed.
    - shake all the dirt from the roots as you pull. Put the pulled plants in a bag-- don't throw them on the ground. They will continue to grow and ripen seed with barest smidgin of soil and moisture on the root.
    - cover thy naked soil. You need to get something else growing in the "bare" area where you pulled the GM. Even though GM outcompetes everything, including grass, establishing a ground cover will decrease the likelihood that the soil will be disturbed (by rain, foot traffic, critters) and expose more seed in the soil. My neighbour and I are trying to establish some natives that cast dense shade: Asarum canadense (wild ginger), Polygonatum commutatum (Solomon's Seal), and Maianthemum dilatatum (False Lily-of-the-Valley).

    Good luck.
     
  4. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Whitehorse, Yukon Zone 0b or 1a
    There's a post below about walnut leaves also being allelopathic. Could you use one to control the other?
    Carl
     
  5. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    The GM in my yard happily grows in the root / leaf-drop zone of a black walnut, so the allelopathic duel has already been settled-- and the GM wins again.
     

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