F.A.Q.

Challenge Results About the Challenge

Pulling as an Individual Pulling as an Organization

If you have more questions that you think should be answered on this page, email them to us at garlicmustard@stewardshipnetwork.org.

What are the Weight Classes?

In our heavy weight division, we have the Huron Arbor Cluster and the West Michigan Cluster! In 2015 the West Michigan Cluster won for the second year in a row.

Our middle weight division is made up of the Headwaters(OC CISMA), Mid-Michigan and Southwest Corner Clusters. The Mid-Michigan Cluster won last year!

The light weight division includes the Lakeplain, Grand-Raisin, Western Lake Erie, Southeast Hub (in New Hampshire), Lakes Country Cluster, and Lake St. Clair Cluster (CISMA).

CWMA Reporting Groups - While each of our Clusters acts as a CWMA, there are also other independent CWMAs across the country. For the last couple of years, some of our closest CWMA neighbors competed in their own category, including Northeast Michigan CWMA, the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network, and RRIP-IT-UP. RRRIP-IT-UP won the division in 2015. If you live in their coverage areas and are working with those groups, please indicate them on your reporting form.

Emerging Clusters are areas where partners are coming together to explore the possibilities of becoming a Cluster. These areas are not yet "launched" as fully fledged Clusters, so they don't yet compete for one of the Cluster Cups. However, individuals and organizations in these areas are encouraged to join the Garlic Mustard Challenge and report their pounds through their Emerging Cluster. In 2016, our Emerging Minnesota Cluster is participating this way.

Garlic Mustard Free Sites - Removing all second year plants from a site (or making sure none are there to begin with) is key to stopping the plants from going to seed and spreading.

How do I get involved?

It depends, are you an individual or are you working with an organization? Click on the link that best suits your situation and check out the possibilities. Or, if you have more specific questions or new ideas to share, get in touch with us at garlicmustard@stewardshipnetwork.org.

What Cluster should I report my pounds to?

The one you live in, or the one you're pulling in (if those are different Clusters). You can use that link to check out a map of our Clusters to see where you fit. You can also report your pounds for one of the CWMAs reporting groups. If you don't live in any of those areas, you can report your pounds as "Out of Cluster."

Why do we send pulled garlic mustard to the landfill?

Garlic mustard is a very tricky plant. If you leave the plant on the ground where you pull it, it may re-root. Even if it doesn't, because it's a biennial plant and has plenty of energy stored up in its taproot, a pulled plant may still have enough energy to go to seed after it's been pulled. The majority of compost piles aren't maintained in a way that gets hot enough to break the plant down. That means that you may actually spread the seed with the compost, creating a bigger problem than before. In fact, burning the plant with other yard clippings won't even destroy the seeds.

For example, legislation in Michigan states that:

"Yard clippings shall be... disposed of in a landfill or incinerator, but only if the yard clippings are diseased or infested or are composed of invasive plants, such as garlic mustard... that are collected through an eradication or control program... and are inappropriate to compost." (SB 513 Sec 11521(1)(i))

Please note that it is EXTREMELY important to mark the bags you've pulled as "Invasive Plants." You can do so with a permanent marker and a piece of masking tape that you stick to the bags. This will help ensure that your local waste collection service will know they should pick up those bags.

How do I get my trash pick-up to take my garlic mustard?

Michigan: Refer to "Why do we send pulled garlic mustard to the landfill" (above)

Wisconsin: In Wisconsin yard waste may not be disposed of in landfills. However, NR 40, Wisconsin's invasive species rule allows for the transportation and disposal of NR 40 listed species. There is specific rule language that allows, but does not require landfill operators to accept this material. If a hauler is refusing to pick up garlic mustard, place a note on the bag to the effect of "Garlic Mustard - legally restricted invasive plant, approved for landfilling by WI DNR." Usually that is pretty effective and the bags get picked up. For more information, visit the Wisconsin DNR website.

If you know of specific reference for other states, please share them with us!

Are there other management techniques for garlic mustard?

Yes, there are. Hand-pulling is the best way to get the most people involved. However, depending on the density of your garlic mustard population, and the resources and trainings available to you, herbicides and prescribed burns can also be effective methods. Be sure you are fully trained and prepared if you are interested in trying these methods. If you want more information before getting started, please contact us at garlicmustard@stewardshipnetwork.org and we can connect you with the right people to answer your questions.

What else should I keep an eye out for?

Some people have asked why we focus on garlic mustard when there are many different invasives out there. We focus on garlic mustard as an introduction to invasive plants and how to manage them. If you've been working with Garlic Mustard for a year or two and are interested in working with some other plants, you can also pull Dame's Rocket and Narrow-leaf Bittercress and include them in your bags and bag count.

Dame's Rocket and Narrow-leaf Bittercress come out about the same time as Garlic Mustard, and can also be controlled with persistent hand-pulling.

Where do I report bags?

Through our easy, online reporting form!

What does garlic mustard look like?

Great question! It depends on what stage it's in, and the time of year.

First year plants (or second year plants in early spring) are a rosette with kidney shaped leaves. In fact, they look very similar to violets, but if you crush the leaves they'll smell like garlic.

In their second year, once it gets warm out, those rosettes bolt and develop triangular, toothed leaves. At the top, the plants will develop a cluster of small, four-petaled, white flowers. The seeds fruit into long pods that dry and burst, shooting the seeds up to three feet!

You can also check out the Garlic Mustard ID card.

How are pounds calculated?

We use a simple equation for translating our bags to pounds. A 33-gallon trash bag counts as 30 pounds, and a 13-gallon trash bag (or a "kitchen" trash bag) counts as 15 pounds.

What should I wear to pull garlic mustard?

Closed-toed shoes, longs pants, long sleeves and gloves are all recommended. You should also consider sunscreen, insect repellent, and sunglasses.

Where can I find garlic mustard?

Garlic mustard grows in a lot of different kinds of places, in shade and in full sun. It grows in forests, tree lines, along roads and trails, in railroad and power-line easements, and under thick brush. We need a lot of eyes out monitoring all these different places!

Is garlic mustard safe to eat?

Yes, in moderation. Garlic mustard has no poisonous look a-likes, although you want to be sure your only eating garlic mustard from sites where herbicides have not been used. There are plenty of recipes to be found online, so search around and experiment! Garlic mustard can be used to take the place of other, more common greens in soups, salads, pastas and more. If you come across a great recipe, please share it in a comment here or on our Facebook page!