What is the Garlic Mustard Challenge?

The Garlic Mustard Challenge is an annual event, where we encourage folks across the Great Lakes region and beyond to protect their local, native ecosystems by pulling this invasive plant. This year, our goal is to collectively pull 200,000 pounds of garlic mustard and to have 50 garlic mustard free sites reported! It’s a competition. It’s a way anyone can have a positive impact on their environment. It’s a way of showing our collective impact for improving our world.

What is Garlic Mustard?

Garlic Mustard is an invasive plant that was brought over to America by European settlers as an herb. Unfortunately, with none of its native competitors present, garlic mustard has spread virtually unchecked across the country and can be found in over thirty states as well as parts of Canada. Not only do these invasive weeds choke out native wildflowers, out-competing them for space and sunlight, but they also excrete chemicals through their roots further, hurting the chances of native wildflowers grow back in the future.  Sapling growth is similarly limited by monocultures of garlic mustard. Garlic mustard, along with other invasive species, poses a serious threat to the biodiversity and overall quality of beloved natural areas.

Garlic Mustard Identification and Control from Barbara Lucas on Vimeo.

Who can participate?

Anyone! Managing garlic mustard doesn’t require advanced technical training or special tools – it just takes time and people to do the work! Garlic mustard can be pulled by hand, stuffed into sturdy, plastic garbage bags and sent to the landfill with your curbside trash.

What is the Cluster Cup?

The Garlic Mustard Challenge was originally designed as a competition between our Clusters, which are on the ground communities working towards common stewardship goals. The Cluster that pulls and reports the most garlic mustard during the Challenge wins the Cluster Cup!

Who’s running all this?

The Stewardship Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based out of Ann Arbor, MI. Our mission is to increase capacity to care for natural lands and waters. How? By building and maintaining partnerships between all the fantastic people who care for nature. We provide hands-on training for volunteers and professionals working in the field. We share science-based, field-proven land and water management techniques through our conference, our webcasts, and our other online resources. We connect people with the tools and resources they need to steward the lands and waters they love.


2 thoughts on “About

  1. Questions: I see people are using plastic bags. Many municipalities that collect yard waste will take only paper bags. Are they okay to use for this pest? Also, do we have any evidence that all or most landfills do anything special or different with bags marked as containing invasive species?

  2. Great question Sandy! The answer is a little complicated. There are two different facilities in some municipalities: a compost facility and a landfill. The plastic bags marked as invasive species you see are being sent to the landfill. They need to be marked as invasive species because landfills will not accept general yard waste but they will accept invasive plants (at least in Michigan and Wisconsin). We generally do not recommend that you put garlic mustard in paper bags to be sent to the compost facility as yard waste unless you are POSITIVE that your compost facility gets hot enough to kill all of the seeds and is tested on a regular basis. Please email us at garlicmustard@stewardshipnetwork.org if you need any help sorting out what you should do in your community.

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