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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

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What is being done about it?

The City of Portland hires licensed contractors to survey and treat garlic mustard plants along roads and stream corridors in Portland during the spring and summer.  Treatments will likely resume in early April, depending on how quickly plants are maturing.  Field conditions demonstrate plants remain in rosette form, though that will likely change in the next two weeks.  Continue to check this website for insights on how our management is proceeding.   

(last updated: 3/2/15 MRB)

Areas treated by Environmental Services so far include:

 

Areas managed in 2015 Treated on
No roadside treatments have been done in 2015  
   
locations in bold were treated in the last 14 days  

 

Current Phase (in bold)

Description of Garlic Mustard In Each Phase

Rosette

 

Like many plants, garlic mustard changes form several times over its lifetime. A typical garlic mustard plant forms as a seedling in the spring and overwinters as a rosette: a low-growing cluster of leaves typically one to six inches tall. The rosette form is easily confused with several native species, and is often hard to find under winter's leaf litter.

 

Bolting

 

With longer, warmer days in March and April, garlic mustard rosettes undergo a change called bolting. The stems lengthen and leaves go from round to triangular.  Buds form at the top of the rising cluster of leaves.

 

Flowering

 

After a sufficient number of warm, light days in April or May, the buds atop bolting plants will open into garlic mustard's characteristic four-petaled white flowers. The flowering stage of garlic mustard typically lasts three to four weeks. Herbicide treatment is most effective during this phase. Roots not removed during pulling will likely form a new flowering plant in a few weeks.

 

Seeds Forming

 

Seed formation occurs over the course of two to three weeks. Many plants will display flowers at one end of the bud cluster and new seed pods at the other end. By the time all flowers have formed seeds, it is typically early June in the Portland area. Careful herbicide treatment can halt seed maturation in this phase. Pulling should still attempt to remove all roots. All pulled plants should be bagged and disposed of in the trash, to prevent spread in yard debris.

 

Seeds Ripening

 

Mature seeds ripen for four to six weeks until the plants begin to dry out, typically in early to mid-July. Pulling can be done in this phase, without regard for root re-growth, but MUST stop when plants begin drying. Herbicide treatment will have no effect during this phase and should not be attempted.

 

Seeds Ripe Don't pull!

 

Newly-dry seedpods will explode at the slightest touch, depositing seeds in clothes and hair and making the well-meaning puller an ideal vector for infesting new areas.