You Can Help!  Pull some Garlic Mustard on your next Hike!

Hand pulling is one way of controlling the spread of garlic mustard and is practical for individuals as they hike our trails. A little effort from as many people as possible will go a long way to help keep this invasive species under control.

Hand pulling needs to be done in April and May while the plants are still in flower. When hand pulling, the entire “s” shaped root should be removed to prevent new growth from the root.

See below for Gary Hall’s full article from the Spring 2018 Edition of the Caledon Comment for more ways to reduce the spread of garlic mustard.  Every little bit helps!


Managing Garlic Mustard on BTC Properties, by Gary Hall

Back in January of 2013, I took on the role as volunteer Land Steward for Hemlock Ridges, a beautiful 57-acre property in the Hockley Valley. I was excited about becoming part of the BTC team entrusted with the task of protecting and enhancing the biodiversity along the Niagara Escarpment corridor. Upon my first property inspection in the spring however, I was shocked and thoroughly discouraged when I discovered the vast areas covered with garlic mustard. How does one go about eliminating large patches of garlic mustard on a 57-acre property? On a larger scale, how does a group of volunteers eliminate garlic mustard on the 19 properties and three easements that we manage along the Caledon Hills section of the Bruce Trail corridor?

The unfortunate answer to the above questions is that we can’t. So, if this is the sad reality, where do we go from here? Well, rather than dwelling on what we can’t do, let’s focus on what we can do. Here are a few manageable ideas:

  • We can target “satellite” communities (i.e. small communities of garlic mustard removed from the main source) to keep invasive species from spreading throughout a property;
  • We can clear a five-metre buffer zone through the large patches of garlic mustard along the trail;
  • We can remove small clusters or isolated plants along the Treadway;
  • Individuals can “adopt a patch” or short section of trail by visiting the site a few times over the spring and summer to remove garlic mustard;
  • We can ask hike leaders during April and May to take a short 20-minute break to clear garlic mustard along the trail;
  • Individuals with high school aged children, grandchildren, neighbours, etc. can spend half a day helping students complete some of their high school volunteer hours;
  • We can place “boot scrubbers” at critical points along the trail to prevent the spread of garlic mustard;
  • We can all learn to recognize what garlic mustard looks like during the various stages of its development;
  • We can avoid encountering garlic mustard when it is in the seed stage. Simply stepping off the trail and brushing against a single plant can cause hundreds of seeds to rain down on your boots and pant legs. Hikers are the leading cause of spreading garlic mustard along our trails;
  • We can keep our dogs on a leash, especially during late summer and through the autumn when the plants are in seed.