Mariton: Volunteers Making a Difference
by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager
Over a dozen folks showed up on Saturday to remove Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) at Mariton. It was a lovely day and an enthusiastic group of people that showed up. Over the years, we have really reduced the amount of Garlic Mustard along the trails. In fact, for such a large group of volunteers, I decided to go to the top of the property where there is still one big patch that persists. In a few hours they pulled a lot of Garlic Mustard.
Not only has our annual pulling of this invasive plant reduced its population on the preserve, it has also boosted the population of wildflowers. Garlic Mustard emits a chemical in its roots that kills Mycorrhizal fungi in the soil. Mychorrhiza are necessary for many native plants, including our trees. Wildflowers have spread out in the forest and become more numerous since we began the annual removal of Garlic Mustard. It is really one of the rewarding success stories when it comes to invasive plants.
It is funny. I knew the volunteers had pulled a lot of Garlic Mustard when I took the group photo. (Unfortunately, some people had to leave before the photo.) But I was amazed that it filled the whole bed of a pick-up truck when I loaded it up for composting. That is a lot of Garlic Mustard. Thank you to all the volunteers dedicated to making a difference.
We still have little pockets of Garlic Mustard that we will be pulling in the next few weeks. If you are interested in helping, please contact me. Some areas will just need a half hour of work while you are here taking a walk. When you walk away from the pile you know you’ve done something, but when you see the wildflowers blooming in our forest you really get a feel for the outcome.