Friday, June 09, 2017

Garlic Mustard Pulling Party--Sunday, 10am


Join us this Sunday, June 11 at 10am, before the day heats up, to pull garlic mustard before its seedpods have a chance to burst. We'll have some refreshments on hand, the better to socialize while snipping off the seedpods. Veblen House is up the gravel driveway across the street from 443 Herrontown Rd, or walk up from the main Herrontown Woods parking lot off of Snowden (map here).

We should be able to get all the remaining garlic mustards--half having been pulled last week by volunteers. Garlic mustard is a biennial, meaning it bears seeds the second year and then dies. If we bag up all the seeds each year, the population will fade away, which is good news for native wildflowers we want to reestablish here next to Veblen House.


The first year, garlic mustard looks like this, gathering energy for the seedhead that it sends up the second year. The species was brought to America by European settlers wanting to have something green to eat in early spring, after the long winter. Unfortunately, the plant has very aggressively spread into nature preserves, crowding out native species. Even after several centuries, the wildlife still don't eat it enough to keep it in check.

Another invasive we'll cut back is wisteria. We have almost vanquished an acre-sized, kudzu-like clone of wisteria that just last year was smothering much of the garden and weakening trees. This year's mild followup is really important to starve the roots of any chance to rebound.

Bring hand-pruners and loppers, if you have them, gloves and work shoes. We'll also provide some tools.

Here's a weed we'll allow to grow: moth mullein, a few of which have popped up in the horse run next to the house.

Other projects of the Friends of Herrontown Woods (FOHW) to promote sustainable landscaping include caring for a detention basin at nearby Smoyer Park. The basin was converted from turfgrass to native grasses and wildflowers. FOHW is proactively removing highly aggressive weeds like Canada thistle and crown vetch before they can get established, and adding local native wildflowers like this Hibiscus moscheutos to increase diversity and color.

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