Garlic mustard is an unwanted guest in Sligo. It had no predators. Even deer won’t eat it. It’s invasive, crowding out native plants that pollinators and other insects, and animals, depend upon.
Through the Parks Dept, the Weed Warriors program has taken on this invasive with special removal techniques. In a springtime race against its maturing seed pods, called siliques, Weed Warriors pull and bag the entire plant. This prevents the seedpods from flinging the tiny seeds to gain a foothold in new areas. In fact, the primary goal with this biennial is to prevent new seeds from entering the seed bank in the soil. The Parks Dept takes the bagged plants to the Dept’s composting facility which generates high enough composting temperatures to kill the seeds.
To protect Sligo, it’s important to eliminate garlic mustard from your property to reduce sources of seed. Garlic Mustard research into bio-controls and other techniques for ecologically sound management continues. For now, hand pulling is the best effective practice. Bag pulled plants and place them in the trash. Home composting temperatures aren’t high enough to render the seeds inactive.
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) Garlic mustard has a two-year life cycle, and one plant can produce more than 7,000 seeds before dying. © Rachel Rogge Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy