Learn More about Garlic Mustard – Invasive species

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EcoSuperior is hosting a Garlic Mustard Pull to get rid of this invasive species
EcoSuperior is hosting a Garlic Mustard Pull to get rid of this invasive species
EcoSuperior is hosting a Garlic Mustard Pull to get rid of this invasive species
EcoSuperior is hosting a Garlic Mustard Pull to get rid of this invasive species

THUNDER BAY – An invader to the McVicar Creek neighbourhood is spreading rapidly, but citizen action can make a difference. EcoSuperior is inviting concerned neighbours to take part in a Garlic Mustard pull tonight, June 28that 6 pm.  Participants will meet at the McVicar Creek recreation trail head on Court Street (at McVicar Street). There will be free pizza available for volunteers. No experience is necessary and all are welcome.

Melissa Davidson, Invasive Species Intern with EcoSuperior Environmental Programs, says the garlic-scented plant was initially discovered here in Thunder Bay by the Early Detection and Rapid Response EDRR Network Ontario in 2015. In its first year, Garlic Mustard produces a small basal rosette and in the second year, it produces a taller flowering stalk. The second-year plant can produce hundreds of seeds, and if left to go to seed, the plant is quite effective at spreading rapidly.

Davidson will provide a brief talk on the ecology of Garlic mustard, tips for identification, and it impacts in Thunder Bay. Garlic mustard (Allaria petiolata) is a threat to local ecosystems as it can quickly reduce biodiversity.

“It is an allelopathic plant, meaning that it can produce chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants,” adds Davidson. “Garlic mustard can outcompete many native plant species on the forest floor, such as trilliums and native violets.”

Until recently, the only known population of Garlic Mustard was located along McVicar Creek recreation trail, north of Court Street. Efforts by the EDRR, EcoSuperior and other volunteer organizations including the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists, Master Gardeners, and Horticultural Society have been instrumental in controlling the spread of this plant. Garlic mustard pulls have been hosted for the past 2 years to prevent any further additions to the seedbank.

“The efforts have been effective at reducing the seedbank,” says Davidson, “But more work must continue to be done until the seedbank is fully exhausted.”

Surveying performed this season led to an unfortunate discovery of another small Garlic Mustard population along the recreation trails behind the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital. This discovery has only highlighted the importance of controlling the McVicar Creek Garlic mustard population to prevent any further spread within the city. It also highlights the importance of best practices when working or playing near areas containing invasive plants. This can be as simple as cleaning your shoes or bicycle when you leave a recreational area.

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