It's time. (posted 5-13-08)
Pull the garlic mustard.
This week in Batavia, you will see the garlic mustard biennial in two stages of life: a very short rosette of kidney shaped leaves that lie close to the ground and a 1-2' stalk with small white flowers and triangular pointy leaves. The shorter version is a young plant, recently germinated. The second version has lived slightly over a year and is getting ready to drop its seeds.
Here are a couple of pictures which represent what garlic mustard looks like around Batavia this week.
1st yr 2nd yr Field of Garlic Mustard
Pictures from Elizabeth Czarapata, Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin
Notice how the leaves change as the plant matures. There are many, many descriptions and pictures on the internet. Here is one link: http://dnr.wi.gov/invasives/fact/garlic.htm.
You will see them everywhere - along the prairie path, in parks and yards. They like some shade and moist soil.
But now is the time to pull it, before those seeds drops. The roots of the older plant are weak and they are easier to pull. You can leave the young plants for next year. Don't forget.
Here a couple of tips.
• Pull all the root. Don't use a weed wacker because it will encourage more flowering. Yikes.
• The seeds of this weed will survive about 5 years in the soil. So mark your calendar for next year, and the next, and the next ...
• Discard the plants in the trash. These very aggressive plants can re-root.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, "Garlic Mustard is a rapidly spreading woodland weed that is displacing native woodland wildflowers. It dominates the forest floor and can displace most native herbaceous species within ten years. This plant is a major threat to the survival of woodland herbaceous flora and the wildlife that depend on it."
So let's get it out.