Invasive garlic mustard on conservation authority hit list

Half a dozen volunteers gathered on the weekend at Camp Cedarwin to pull garlic mustard, an invasive plant that competes with native wildflowers for food and space.
Garlic mustard, an invasive plant that competes with native wildflowers for food and space, was originally brought to North America as a herb. (Iowa Parks Foundation)

Half a dozen volunteers gathered at Camp Cedarwin to pull a nasty weed from the woods.

Garlic mustard is an invasive plant that competes with native wildflowers for food and space.

Garlic Mustard was brought to America by European settlers as an herb.

The Essex Region Conservation Authority organizes the garlic mustard pull every year.

"The last few years we've definitely seen an improvement but it's a  yearly thing that has to be done because the seeds can stay in the ground for up to 30 years," said ERCA's Ali Carnevale.

According to ERCA, garlic mustard has also been found to excrete a toxin into the soil, which affects the health of nearby trees.

The volunteers hauled garbage bags full of the plant away from the camp, which is between Harrow and Kingsville.

Alan Batke has been volunteering since the conservation authority started the event nine years ago.

"If we didn't pull the garlic mustard out, then we would end up losing all our wildflowers in this wonderful bush," Batke.

The Stewardship Network, a grassroots conservation organization based out of Ann Arbor, Mich, hosts the annual Garlic

Mustard Challenge, an annual event, where people across the Great Lakes region and beyond are encouraged to pull the invasive species.

The goal is to report 50 garlic mustard free sites.

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