Crow’s Nest: the week in land management

May 13, 2011

We’ve had a glorious week of weather in our region that has allowed me to catch up with the rampant rain-fed spring growth. All of the trails that are normally open by this time of year have now been mowed twice; there are a couple spots that don’t ever dry out before June that are still too wet to mow.

I settled into a nice routine this week: controlling invasive shrubs and vines each morning, followed by an hour or two of pulling garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), then mowing trails and turf in the late afternoon. Add to that a few children’s nature club programs and a little goat tending and it made for some satisfying accomplishments.

There are just a few places on the preserve where garlic mustard, an invasive biennial herb, has populations small enough to be controlled and so we do. Now that second-year plants are flowering I pull it, bag it, and carry it out since viable seed will still develop on plants pulled from the ground but left on site. Garlic mustard is thought to inhibit the mycorrhizal fungi that some native plants depend upon so removing it allows many other plants to flourish. Places where we have been successful controlling garlic mustard have come up in native ephemeral wildflowers and look more like a healthy forest.