Please join me for a brief flash back… *cue harp music and blurry zoom in*.
It’s April – finally spring! The snow is starting to melt, or maybe you’re already seeing bare ground. Not much life in the leaf litter yet, but you can spot some teeny tiny garlic mustard rosettes. Soon, you’ll be out there in the woods – without snow pants! – pulling those guys up with abandon, and you can’t wait.
Right around this time, you see the first post on the Garlic Mustard Challenge blog. The goals this year are announced: 200,000 pounds pulled and 50 Garlic Mustard Free sites reported.
Join me again in the present, where some good news is waiting for you. We’re a quarter of a way to our poundage goal! This week, our collective total weighs in at 57,563.1 pounds!
But what about our goal for Garlic Mustard Free sites? Unfortunately, we haven’t had any reported yet. Garlic Mustard Free means free of second year plants, which are the ones that will bolt, flower, and add their seeds to the seed bank. We advise leaving the first year plants for next year, because a harsh winter or crowded growing conditions may off some of those plants for you and reduce your workload for the next year.
As with any invasive plant, Early Detection and Rapid Response is this most efficient management method. Getting rid of an invasive plant before it establishes a dense population means less work overall. By all means, pull garlic mustard from your heavily invaded sites until they’re Garlic Mustard Free and report your pounds. But also, monitor your sites where you don’t think you’ll find any. After checking, you can report the site as Garlic Mustard Free by emailing the name and address of the property to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you do happen to find a few plants, you can pull them now and nip that invasive problem in the bud.
And now for the numbers…
Huron Arbor is trying to catch up this week, but West Michigan is lengthening their lead and putting in even more distance between the two. At our week’s end, West Michigan is ahead with 19,005 pounds and Huron Arbor has 9,482 pounds.
Mid-Michigan powers on in the lead, ending Week 7 with 6,692.9 pounds. Southwest Corner packs in the pounds, pulling into second place with 3,392 pounds. Headwaters is still pushing forward, with 2,554.7 pounds.
Upset in the Light Weight Division! Grand-Raisin regains the lead, ending week 7 with 3,352 pounds. Lakeplain’s not far behind, with 3,165 pounds in the bag. Lake St. Clair Cluster/CISMA pushes forward with 1,455 pounds, and Western Lake Erie is hot on their heels with 1,452 pounds.
Things are heating up in the CWMA Division! Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network makes an impressive jump up to 1,835.5 pounds this week. Northeast Michigan CWMA gets on the board with 191 pounds reported from Tawas Point State Park – thanks Donette Spiekerman, Ausable Valley Audubon, and the Tawas Point Birding Festival! RRIP-IT-UP isn’t far behind, jumping on the board with 135 pounds reported by Nick Cassel with the Eastern U.P. CWMA. Nice work focusing on those outlier populations, Nick! I bet you guys have some Garlic Mustard Free Sites to report.
We’re working with organizations, volunteers, and landowners in northeast Minnesota to launch one or more Clusters in their region. While we haven’t fully launched those groups yet, anybody pulling garlic mustard there can already get involved by reporting their pounds pulled to our Emerging Minnesota Cluster reporting group. We’re looking forward to working with you more in the coming months and years!
Out of Cluster:
My apologies to our Out-of-Cluster reporters! I did some bad math last week when I was posting your total. At the end of week 7, your collective total is 4,851 pounds. While that may look smaller after last week, it’s definitely nothing to sneeze at! In fact, that a little heavier than an adult male walrus (in case anyone was wondering).
Get out there this weekend an pull! There are lots of opportunities posted to our searchable events calendar. Join one near you!