You've probably heard about garlic mustard. While sometimes used to make a pesto or as a salad topping, this invasive plant dominates and displaces quality native plants and vegetation.
In its first year, garlic mustard has basal, heart-shaped leaves with scalloped edges. By the second year, this weed produces tiny white flowers and leaves, when crushed, that smell like garlic.
Shown in the image, the lookalike on the left is the kidneyleaf buttercup and is a native wildflower. On the right is garlic mustard. The leaf shapes are similar, but note that garlic mustard leaves are much more wrinkled and smell like garlic. (Photo courtesy: Friends of Cherokee Marsh)
This short video from the UW Extension provides information on how to identify.
By removing the weed by hand, we can reduce the use herbicide. We have identified a number of conservation parks that are invaded and the work need is great.
When Conservation Resource Supervisor, Paul Quinlan was asked if volunteers are needed, he said, "Yes, we can still certainly use volunteers. We identified enough work to keep 10 people busy full-time for at least a month across 8 parks."
The following conservation parks need volunteers. Each link provides a map with invaded areas identified.
- Acewood Conservation Park
- Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park, Mendota Unit
- Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park, North Unit
- Edna Taylor Conservation Park
- Heritage Prairie Conservation Park
- Knollwood Conservation Park
- Meadow Ridge Conservation Park
- Turville Point Conservation Park
Once removed, bag and place at the edge of the park near the trash can or paved path. Be sure to follow up with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to alert us of the location and work completed.
Volunteers are reminded of the following:
- Bring your own bag.
- This is a solo project or done with a member of your household.
- No group projects.
- Use gloves and practice good hand hygiene.
- More recommendations from Public Health Madison & Dane County
This content is free for use with credit to Madison Parks and a link back to the original post.