Mariton: Volunteers Making a Difference

April 29, 2019

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

Part of the group that helped pull Garlic Mustard. This is the biggest pile, but not the only one.

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.

Before – one of the areas where we worked.

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.

After – the same area seen in the photo above.

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.

A truck load of Garlic Mustard. Pulling is just part of the process. It also has to be removed.

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.

Volunteers jumping in to make a difference.