Good Oak News

Friday, October 16, 2009

In the News: Its Garlic mustard "Whacking" season

As this article on points out, now is a great time of year to get a leg-up on garlic mustard. Garlic mustard is certainly the most destructive herbaceous weed in our midwestern woodlands. It can form dense colonies which virtually wipe out all other plant life. We have a window of opportunity for the next month-and-a-half or so while they are still green and active and it is warm enough to deal with them. So now is the time to take action! Take a look at our recently updated Garlic Mustard Weed ID Sheet for more information on how to control it. If you need help tackling your infestation, feel free to contact us. Now is also a good time of year to begin or start planning for prescribed burns and exotic brush clearing.

Recent research has shown that garlic mustard releases harmful chemicals into the soil that kill soil fungi and other organisms that native plants rely on to help them take up nutrients from the soil. This means that a garlic mustard infestation can have long-term impacts on the ecology of a woodland, yet another reason to control populations while they are small. The good news is that there may be help on the way; a single weevil species has been identified as a potential bio-control agent. The introduction of this weevil is still a few years off, and will not eliminate the garlic mustard threat all on its own, but it will be a big help for land managers who struggle to keep this noxious invasive species in check.