When You Have a Garlic Mustard Outbreak

Garlic mustard

You don't have to sit back and watch garlic mustard take over your woods. Here are some options for getting rid of it.

  • Pull it out. Grasp the bottom of the plant firmly and tug it gently to loosen the main root from the soil and pull the entire plant out. This is easiest when the soil is moist. Remove the plants from the site.
  • Cut it off. If there are too many plants to pull by hand, you can cut the flowering stems off within a few inches of the ground, to prevent them from making seeds. If the plant already has seed, you can cut off the stems, bag them, and take them away so the seeds can't scatter.
  • Herbicide. You can apply the herbicide glyphosate at any time of year, if the temperature is above 50 degrees F and it's not going to rain for the next eight hours. This is only appropriate if you can keep the herbicide off of desirable plants.
  • Fire. Burning can control garlic mustard, but, it must be repeated every year for three to five years.

Because garlic mustard seeds remain in the soil, you will have to destroy garlic mustard for several years, until all of the seeds in the soil have run out.

A local extension agent or forester can help you work out how to control garlic mustard on your land--and what native plants you might want to plant instead.

Bonus: Garlic mustard is edible. If you pull or cut the plants, you can make pesto and other tasty treats

The best way to deal with garlic mustard may be to keep it from getting established in the first place.

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