On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday AND Friday this week, students from Reynolds Natural Resource Academy fought hard against a new and somewhat unfamiliar invader; Garlic Mustard.
While Garlic Mustard is a relatively new invader to the Columbia Gorge and Willamette Valley, it is prolific in the midwest and east coast. This Early Detection and Rapid Response weed is allelopathic, meaning its roots release chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants on the forest floor including any tree saplings. SOLV volunteers and East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District are working hard to contain and control Garlic Mustard along Beaver Creek before it becomes a widespread invasive (like Reed Canary Grass).
From the Oregonian:
Garlic Mustard crowds out native plants and wildflowers in the forest understory. And it releases chemicals into the soil that kill fungus vital to native plants. That, in turn, can cause problems for native wildlife and healthy streams.
Unlike invasive plants such as Himalayan blackberry, English ivy and Scotch broom, garlic mustard looks unobtrusive. The springtime rosette of leaves grows into a stalk with small, white flowers in early May. The seed pods explode, and one plant can produce thousands of seeds. Seeds are picked up by passing humans and animals, spread by mowing and washed into drainages.
Where the seeds land, they almost invariably grow.
April is the ideal time to pull Garlic Mustard since this is a month before it flowers and starts to produce seeds. Students pulled up and bagged Garlic Mustard including roots. If any part of the plant is left on site, including just a single leaf, it will regenerate and produce seeds. Students ended up filling 15 large SOLV bags! Thank you Reynolds Natural Resource Academy!!