I’ve been “managing” garlic mustard since April and I am amazed at where I am finding it. It’s showing up in places I’ve never seen it before and I am getting just a little discouraged. Now that the ground is getting dried out, it is more difficult to get past the s-shape of the root to dig them out. And the foliage of the other plants is getting high enough that I can’t see all the seedlings still popping up everywhere! I have a feeling the mild 2015-16 winter had something to do with its extraordinary propagation this year.
Last year Martine and Hale of Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania published a paper introducing evidence toward the negative effects of the invasive plant garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) on native mycorrhizal associations. The disruption occurs because garlic mustard produces anti-fungal compounds which not only hamper formation of new associations between native plants and mycorrhizae, but also diminishes the effectiveness of existing connections. Testing shows that native plant species produce less biomass as a result of this loss in the fungi network which means there is diminished carbon storage and indirectly effects things like seedling growth and flowering frequency. This parasitism disruption has the potential to impact biodiversity in far reaching ways. So manage that garlic mustard with a vengeance!
Note: don’t forget to click on the photos to see a larger version with better contrast.