To Compost, or Not To Compost, That is the Question…

We encourage you to take all of your bagged Garlic Mustard to the curb for rubbish pick up, or to a landfill.

Yup, we said it.  Landfill.

Why? To make sure the plants break down properly. If a compost pile doesn’t achieve high enough temperatures (the vast majority of composts do not)  Garlic Mustard is able to start growing again in your compost. What could possibly be worse?!

This: Even if the plant breaks down, the seeds can stay viable in the soil for 5-7 years (Some studies have reported viability up to 10 years!)  That means, after you and your microorganism colleagues so work hard to recycle nutrients, enhance the soil’s structure, and re-integrate the new dirt into your growing area, you would also be sowing thousands of garlic mustard seeds on your property. Research has also shown that burning the garlic mustard with other yard waste will not destroy the seeds either. Yikes.

Sometimes municipalities have their own composts that do reach the required temperatures, but before handing over the bags, make sure you check out their invasive plant policy. You want to be certain that they are willing to accept your pull and that they test the pile regularly to make sure nothing is germinating. We don’t want a big hill of invasive seedlings after all your hard work!

Obviously, city compost is the more eco-friendly of the two options, but this resource isn’t available to most of our volunteers, and incorrect disposal of the plants can lead to Big problems. Plant material can be collected like normal waste as long as it is sealed well and clearly labeled “Invasive Plants”. We recommend good old masking tape and permanent marker. More information can be found on our FAQ page. Check with your municipality to see what your options are.

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One thought on “To Compost, or Not To Compost, That is the Question…

  1. Pingback: The Plastic Bag | Garlic Mustard Challenge

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