Garlic Mustard: The Burning Question

Copy - _DSC0152During the Garlic Mustard Challenge, we talk primarily about pulling garlic mustard by hand. That’s the easiest way for anybody to get involved. It doesn’t require any special equipment or training, and people of many ages and levels of stewardship experience can participate.

However, many professional organizations (as well as well-versed and well-equipped private landowners) use different management techniques. Herbicides can be effective in dealing with big, dense populations of garlic mustard, as can controlled/ecological/prescribed burns.

With pulling, there’s a very clear way of demonstrating your impact: you end up with a mountain of garlic mustard, roots and all, that won’t go to seed and add to the seed bank. But how can we measure the impact we’ve had when those plants wilt away after an herbicide application or go up in smoke during a burn?

This is not a hypothetical question. We want your input. Really. Every year, people ask us how they can report their burns and their herbicide applications through the Garlic Mustard Challenge. To date, our answer has been “sorry, you can’t.”

Please help us think up a better answer! How could this important work be recognized through the Challenge? What could we use as the metrics? How could those metrics combine with the “pounds pulled” metrics we currently use to determine totals and winners for the Cluster Cups?

Share your thoughts below in the comments section, or share them with us through our Facebook page. We want this to be an active conversation and we want to come out of it with a clear answer. Thank you for input!

Photo by Jack Glaab.

To see more photos of the burn (and of the burn crew looking like a bunch of honest-to-goodness super heroes walking through the smoke and flames), check them out on our Facebook page.


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