Garlic mustard spray season is well underway. In case you don’t know, garlic mustard is an invasive species, and it is quickly taking over nearly all of our wooded areas here in southern Wisconsin. In many woodlots, the forest floor is nothing but garlic mustard. Like several other foreign herbaceous invaders, garlic mustard greens up and emerges faster than the majority of our native plants in the spring. This gives garlic mustard a competitive advantage over native plants. But it also gives the restoration practitioner an opportunity to spray it with an herbicide before desirable native species emerge, effectively reducing collateral damage to native plants.
While it can be monotonous spraying plant after plant of garlic mustard, the practitioner must keep a sharp eye out for early riser native plants. The photo below shows wild columbine, left side of photo, and a small clump of garlic mustard covered in a blue dye spray mixture on the right.