Monday, March 05, 2007

Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata noxious weed

I've seen a lot of garlic mustard in waste areas and woods in our neighborhood. I thought it was just another weed but I recently read that it's a much more devastating noxious pest endangering trees and forests. The weed apparently produces a chemical that kills the symbiotic fungi that trees depend on to take up nutrients from the soil. Removing the garlic mustard doesn't help as the toxic chemicals are already in the soil by the time you see the weed. Here's the site of one of the researchers U of Guelph, Ontario ecologist John Klironomos which describes the extent of the problem.

And here's a Michigan State U. site with a lot of information and pictures on this pest.

Now that I think of it, I saw several stands of the weed adjacent to our backyard. I'll have to see if it will affect the birches planted nearby. Or maybe it has already stunted the trees?

Keep it out of your garden if you want your plants to thrive.


Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Oh jeez... I have been waging war against garlic mustard for the two years that I have lived here, and that was BEFORE I knew about its effects on fungi. I've read that I'll be fighting it for at least 7--but probably more, as the neighbors are not so concerned about it in their yard.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Kim, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I wonder how far the toxin spreads? Hopefully it will be localized so your neighbor's unkempt yard won't affect yours. I wonder if there are ways neutralize the toxin and re-populate the soil with the fungi? Something I should look into.

3:55 AM  

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