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, or even late March, depending on how quickly plants are maturing. Field checks show plants have begun bolting, with some plants likely in flower. Continue to check this website for insights on how our management is proceeding.
(last updated: 3/23/15 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.