First ever Garlic Mustard Pull this Saturday!

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Weeding is synonymous with lawns but when it comes to controlling an invasive species in the forest, weeding then elevates to what is called a ‘pull’ as a means of controlling an ecological problem.

On Saturday, May 28, members of the public are invited to take part in the First Annual Sutton Park Garlic Mustard Pull. Sutton Park, located along the Hub Trail in the city’s east end, has been identified as an invasive species hot spot for Garlic Mustard.

“The growth of Garlic Mustard creates a significant ecological problem that can impact not only Sutton Park but also surrounding private properties, and eventually, other natural spaces in our city,” says Deane Greenwood, Sault Ste. Marie Regional Conservation Authority (SMRCA).

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 (Alliaria petiolata) was introduced by European settlers in the early 1800s as an edible herb. Although the basal leaves of the plant look similar to several plants in the carrot, daisy and violet family, the tell-tale proof of identity is the scent of garlic that is released when leaves are crushed.

“Garlic Mustard hinders the growth of native plants by interfering with the growth of fungi that bring nutrients to the roots of the plants,” says Taylor Wright, Invasive Species Centre. “It is considered to be one of Ontario’s most aggressive forest invaders.”

This invasive species is being tackled through a co-operative effort of the City of Sault Ste. Marie, together with the Sault Naturalists, Invasive Species Centre and Sault Ste. Marie Regional Conservation Authority.

Volunteers from the Invasive Species Centre and the Sault Naturalists will be on site to answer questions about Garlic Mustard or any other invasive species.

“Our goal is to remove as many plants as possible before they set seed,” says David Euler, Sault Naturalists Club. “We really need the public’s assistance in eradicating this species before it spreads further.”

The First Annual Sutton Park Garlic Mustard Pull will take place on Saturday, May 28 from 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Participants are encouraged to register in advance at the Early Detection and Rapid Response website. Pull participants are encouraged to bring their garden gloves and dress accordingly for weather and potentially wet ground conditions.

Further information on the Sault Naturalists of Ontario and Michigan can be found at www.soonats.pbworks.com. Additional information on invasive species and what is being done in Ontario to manage them can be found at Invasive Species Centre. This project is possible thanks to the Early Detection and Rapid Response Project, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.