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This invasive species may be in your own backyard

Annual Garlic Mustard Pull is cancelled, but homeowners are encouraged to look for the invasive species on their properties
Garlic Mustard
Garlic Mustard. Photo provided by the Invasive Species Centre

NEWS RELEASE
INVASIVE SPECIES CENTRE
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In light of the pandemic, the annual Sault Ste. Marie Garlic Mustard Pull in Sutton Park will be cancelled, but citizens can help tackle this invasive species from their own yards!

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) was introduced by European settlers in the early 1800s as an edible herb. How do you know if you have garlic mustard? The tell-tale proof is the scent of garlic that is released when leaves are crushed.

Garlic Mustard plants can double in size every four years and can displace native flowers such as trilliums and trout lilies. It does not provide a valuable food source for native wildlife.

Garlic Mustard hinders the growth of native plants by interfering with the growth of fungi that bring nutrients to the roots of the plants. It impedes the growth of some of Ontario’s most beloved plants including drooping trillium and the wood poppy. It is one of Ontario’s most aggressive forest invaders. Managing this plant before it sets seed is essential in preventing further expansion.

Since 2015, this invasive species has being tackled in a collaborative effort between the City of Sault Ste. Marie, the Sault Naturalists, Invasive Species Centre, Sault College and the Sault Ste. Marie Regional Conservation Authority. This year, Saultites can take on garlic mustard at home.

“By surveying and managing garlic mustard in your own backyard, homeowners can help stop the expansion of this invasive plant throughout Sault Ste. Marie. One stand of garlic mustard can double in size every four years,” says Lauren Bell, education and community outreach coordinator at the Invasive Species Centre and organizer of the annual Garlic Mustard Pull in Sutton Park.

This week marks the National Invasive Species Awareness Week, a week-long nationwide event aimed at raising awareness of invasive species and how communities can prevent their spread and help protect ecosystems. With garlic mustard emerging here in Sault Ste. Marie, this weekend is the perfect time to pull!

If you think you’ve found garlic mustard in your yard, learn how to remove it here.

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