Welcome to June, everybody! While we’ve entered a new month, this update is from last Friday, at the tail end of May.
As the real start of summer approaches, it’s important to start keeping on eye on these garlic mustard plants before you wade in to pull them. Here in Ann Arbor, we’re seeing the last few flowers and a lot of developed seed pods. As the plants begin to dry and turn yellow, even a light touch can make those seed pods burst, shooting their seeds up to three feet! Seeds can stick to your shoes, clothing, and hair, which means that trying to pull garlic mustard at that point might actually result in spreading seed farther. Let us know how the garlic mustard is doing in your area, and if it’s getting beyond the point of pulling.
But in the meantime, KEEP AT IT! This week we’ve climbed to 33,166 pounds! That’s an increase of almost three tons from where we were last week, which is amazing! And, it’s just over one tenth of our total goal (300,000 pounds). So keep at it, and keep reporting!
In the Heavy Weight Division, West Michigan is still trailing Huron Arbor, but they’re closing the gap. Look out, Huron Arbor!
Huron Arbor: 7,860
West Michigan: 5,354
In the Middle Weight Division, Mid-Michigan inches forward while Southwest Corner makes a mad dash forward. Mid-Michigan is still keeping the lead for now, but they’re going to have to up their game if they want to stay ahead. Headwaters is still hanging back, but who know? They still may be a dark horse in this competition.
Southwest Corner: 3,270
In the Light Weight Division, Raisin Cluster lengthens the gap between themselves and any of their competition!
Lakeplain: 1,530TSN:NE Southeast Hub: 240
Lakes Country (formerly “Northeastern Indiana”) and Western Lake Erie: 0
In the CWMA Division, we’ve got all parties on the board for the first time this Challenge! Out of nowhere, the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network jumps into the lead while the Northeast Michigan holds their ground. RRIP-IT-UP also gets on the board – keep in mind, the growing season that far north will last longer into the summer than it does for many of us. They’ll be able to keep pulling after the rest of us have to stop!
Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network: 300
Northeast Michigan CWMA: 240
Lots of recognition also go to all the great groups outside of our Clusters who are also reporting their pounds to the Garlic Mustard Challenge! 6,300 pounds have been pulled and reported from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Indiana, and New Jersey. Everyone and anyone is welcome to report their pounds to the Garlic Mustard Challenge. Thank you all for your hard work and for being a part of this massive effort!
And finally, thank you David Stier for reporting your Garlic Mustard Free Site – our first on record in Massachusetts! Here’s his story:
“Started two years ago and have made a substantial dent in the population around the neighborhood. Collected about 12 pounds this year in the woods surrounding my property near the Ct. River. Have made my neighbors aware and at least one of them has been collecting around his property. He is astounded by the immensity of the problem. It is so satisfying seeing the decrease, but the roots left from some pulls become quite large plants and I also find little guys flowering at 2-3 inches tall.”
Thanks everybody for your great work! Remember, we only have until June 27th to reach our goal. We may even have less time, depending on when the plants really go to seed. So keep pulling, and keep reporting. Thank you for all you’re doing!