Garlic mustard, originally from Europe and Asia, has become a very troublesome invasive plant across the Midwest. Introduced originally as a food plant, this species is now a serious concern in forests across Pennsylvania.
Garlic mustard is a threat to the forest ecosystems outcompeting understory plants including tree seedlings. Garlic mustard produces allelopathic compounds that can limit seed germination in other species.
It’s a perfect invasive. Each two-year-old plant can produce 500 to 1,500 seeds that can be spread by wind, water, birds, or human activity. Seeds are viable for up to six years. Because it is so widespread, the ANF has to target specific areas. “We’ve been working over the years to maintain habitat for our native plants. It’s easy to pull out when the soil is moist.
According to experts, the best way to get rid of garlic mustard is manual, i.e. pulling it up and discarding it. In the months of April and May, the wet soil is looser making it easier to pull up the plants. Contests such as who can pick the most garlic mustards are being organized n several counties.
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