Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spring = Garlic Mustard Pulling

Spring time for the Gorge Steward means time to pull garlic mustard, and that's exactly what our dedicated volunteers have been hard at work doing!

The season started off April 30th with the annual pull at the floodplain forest near the sand flats, down the long stone staircase near 34th Street and West River Parkway in Minneapolis. This area has been overrun with garlic mustard, but volunteers have been coming each spring for several years now to uncover the jack-in-the-pulpits, violets, and other native plants. Garlic mustard seeds can remain viable in the soil for 5 or more years, so we know this area requires a longer term commitment, but we are seeing a difference and starting to expand our garlic mustard-free zone!

The following week, on May 6, volunteers headed to the lovely spring ephemeral patch at Crosby Park in St. Paul that the Gorge Stewards have adopted over the past few years. Here we work to protect the trout lilies, dutchman's breeches, large-flowered bellwort, bloodroot, and other goodies that are fighting the rampant garlic mustard for survival. The majority of these awesome volunteers pledged to return to the site on their own to pull for another 6 hours each by the end of May. To read a volunteer's perspective, check out volunteer Carrie's post about the event on her own blog:

And finally, the Gorge Leadership Team had their first Team Outing of 2009, and again, much garlic mustard was pulled! This team of super volunteers worked in the oak savanna, oak woodland, and prairie bowl at 36th Street & West River Parkway in Minneapolis, where garlic mustard has been largely kept at bay. Each year a few patches crop up, and each year we pull them out!

Along with garlic mustard, volunteers also attacked a recurring (but smaller!) patch of reed canary grass, and a few stubborn buckthorn re-sprouts.


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