Cumberland Times-News

March 19, 2013

You can help fight the spread of garlic mustard in our area

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— Keep your eyes open! The garlic mustard is coming!

Garlic mustard was brought to the United States by the English in the 1860s as a salad plant.

As a non-native, biennial plant, it grew readily and has become invasive, endangering native plants in the Cumberland area and elsewhere along the East Coast and beyond.

Fast growing in shade or sun, in its second year, each plant produces hundreds of seeds, seeds which quickly allow the plant to take over a site and spread from site to site as seeds are spread both by dropping to the ground and by adhering to passing animals.

In Allegany County, the plant will generally appear in April and go to seed mid-summer.

Join the C&O Canal Association in its Garlic Mustard Challenge by both eradicating this plant in your own yards and fields and by formally joining the Association in its fight against garlic mustard along the C&O Canal National Historical Park. (See http://www.candocanal.org/articles/garlic_mustard.html (or contact Jim at vip@candocanal.org) for more information.)

Or, if you’d like to participate on an ad hoc basis, you can contact Nasra at nas_us@yahoo.com (or 301-996-6736) to join scheduled “Garlic Mustard Pulls” in the Spring Gap area in April, May and June.

Training will be provided on recognizing the plant, techniques for pulling it up without leaving roots or dropping seeds, and disposal.

(Note: Do not compost the plant! The seeds will germinate.)

Training also includes some ideas for using the young leaves in salads and other foods.

Nasra Sakran

Potomac