Jump to content


Garlic Mustard From Neighbor's Yard

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 msr


    Taken Root

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts

Posted 08 June 2012 - 08:35 AM

Not sure which topic this should go under (maybe multiple ones or maybe a new category called "problems with invasives") ---

This photo was taken at a client's house in Beverly Hills, MI. Her flower bed was professionally designed and installed a few years ago and looked quite elegant at the time. However, it is now being invaded by garlic mustard coming from the neighbor's yard. The elderly neighbor used to do a decent job of taming it, but this year, health problems have ended his gardening days.



I'd hate to see my client's bed overrun ... any suggestions?

#2 Janet Macunovich

Janet Macunovich


  • Moderators
  • 429 posts

Posted 10 June 2012 - 06:34 PM

Absolutely no easy answer to garlic mustard. Even if neighboring areas are well tended, it gets in to open ground, now that it's in our region/neck of the woods at all. The seed blows in or rolls in with groundwater. But certainly where you can SEE it near your garden that's not two problems but one and the best answer is to deal with both areas.
problem to be addressed as one.

Would the neighbor allow that other crop to be cut down, do you think? Even if no one has the time to pull it or kill it or smother it, if it's whipped or mowed there is less seed. Then you can have some hope of weeding it out of the beds in your care.

Weed it we do. Pull it, mostly. Throw lots of people at it... and where we once felt that was an answer that could only be met with "There MUST be a better way" we know differently, now. We participated in an invasives workshop in a botanical garden in Tennessee, taught by a firm the garden uses that specializes in that work, and one of their main tactics was to string a line of people across the area -- spaced so if we spread our arms our fingertips touched the person on either side -- and have everyone advance a step at a time pulling as they go. Looking at the line, we felt like we were in the movies helping police comb an area for clues!
Besides that, timing is important, they told us. Killing, pulling, smothering the seedlings in fall, in this case because they get started then and have such a good purchase by spring and energy enough to come back from a root fragment.

Perhaps there's someone reading who's tried other things that work. We always hope.

(Re where you posted - anywhere is fine. If we think a topic's location is too confusing we will move it and leave a "forwarding address." We could have created but decided not to start right off with a "weeds" folder as we had on our gardening school's site back when. It was never a popular place! This time we thought we'd wait and see where people put them. I was betting they'd end up in "Lawn" or "Tending". )

#3 Your Letters

Your Letters

    Well Established

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 70 posts

Posted 24 June 2016 - 05:19 PM

I have a good friend who has a major garlic mustard outbreak area of her yard.  Would you recommend something for me to help her with it? -D.B.-

#4 Janet Macunovich

Janet Macunovich


  • Moderators
  • 429 posts

Posted 24 June 2016 - 05:23 PM

As above, no miracle cures in the case of Alliaria petiolata.


Begin by pulling it or applying an herbicide to it. (First-year, non-blooming plants can be pulled or treated with herbicide but second year, blooming plants should be pulled as they may still set seed even as the herbicide kills them.).  Patches that are in their first year and not extensive might be killed under a smothering layer of paper and mulch.


GarlicMustSdlg4457s.jpg (We wrote about this in our newsletter, too: At GardenAtoZ.org, go to What's Coming Up 177, Confident Weeds.)


Areas you've cleared must then be mulched well and/or covered with a layer of some other very-fast sprouting, dense growing plant so garlic mustard seed in that spot can't germinate. Pre-emergent herbicides can help prevent new invasions by seed. However, keep in mind that garlic mustard seed will sprout almost any time so a single application in spring, as for crab grass, is insufficient against this pest.


If garlic mustard is relatively new in your yard, do what you can to locate and control the seed source. Often, it's an established infestation upwind or uphill that's sending its seed your way.


Persistence is key. Where we are battling garlic mustard we are perpetually on patrol. We reach down and pull the plants even if we're just walking by to gather a forgotten tool.

#5 Michele A

Michele A

    Well Established

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 32 posts

Posted 28 August 2016 - 08:38 AM

I have so often waited until I see this blooming in the Spring. Good to know I should be on the look out at plucking it out now.

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users