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It’s Time to Get Rid of Invasive Garlic Mustard!

If you are in an area that is finally seeing spring weather and not snowflakes (like West Michigan), then you know Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is in full bloom. Sure, the white flowers of this biennial are pretty, but this is one invasive plant, native to Europe and Asia, that you don't want to leave around.

It's a voracious spreader that propagates by seed. After flowering, each plant can release thousands of very light seeds, which can be carried by wind and even float on water. Garlic Mustard crowds out other native plants, so when you see it, get rid of it!

Garlic Mustard

What is the best way to get rid of Garlic Mustard?

While I usually recommend cutting weeds at their base vs. pulling them out of the ground (thereby exposing even more weed seeds that are lying dormant) in the ground, I say pull it out in the case of Garlic Mustard. After a few seasons, it will disappear. If your infestation is large and hand pulling isn't possible, by all means, use a herbicide treatment to get rid of it.

Don't put it in your compost; they might root again.

I usually throw them in a pile on top of sand or gravel until they are dead. You could put them in a plastic garbage bag, bake them in the sun until well scorched, and then toss them in the back of the garden.

One last thing, don't confuse Garlic Mustard with Wild Mustard. Wild Mustard (Brassica kaber) has a yellow flower and, while not native to North America, is not considered invasive in most areas. It can be a problem for agricultural fields, but for the occasional plant that pops up in your garden, it won't become a big problem.

Wild Mustard


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