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Garlic Mustard Pull On Milwaukee Trail
Updated April 7, 2017 6:09 AM
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(BEDFORD) - A group of volunteers is pulling garlic mustard on the Milwaukee Trail on Saturday, April 15 from 10 to 12, and could use some help.

Spring brings the emergence of wildflowers across southern Indiana; most are welcomed by those who hike the Milwaukee Trail. The flowers are bright, cheerful additions to the landscape along the trail. But a few are a menace to the woodlands along the trail and to other wildflowers and plants. One of those is garlic mustard.

"Our Lawrence County Invasive Group is focused on controlling invasive plants like garlic mustard so people can enjoy the native plants and flowers along the Milwaukee Trail," said Cheryl Coon, a botanist who is working with a fledgling group of volunteers interested in preventing and managing the spread of invasives in Lawrence County.

Coon said garlic mustard is native to Europe and was brought to America as an herb and used in cooking because of its garlic flavor.

"Like many plants from other countries, it has now escaped cultivation and gone rogue," Coon explained. "Garlic mustard is now taking over many woodland areas and the plant crowds out native understory plants and has other more insidious issues."

The roots of garlic mustard have a toxic effect on other plants and actually stop or limit the growth of other plants and trees. This allows the garlic mustard to do better because it's able to corner the market on water and nutrients if it suppresses its competition. Coon explained there are also some issues with native American insects and pollinators that are put at risk from the garlic mustard.

"It's a good plant gone bad," asserts Coon, "because it doesn't belong here, and we need to do our part to remove it."

Coon said the plant is easily pulled up by its roots. She said it has been moving down the Milwaukee Trail and then will move into the adjacent woodland areas if it's not controlled so encourages anyone interested in helping pull the plants to come out and help.

Volunteers should meet at the public access ramp at Williams. Groups will work in both directions for two hours. People are advised to bring water and wear sunscreen.

For questions or more information contact Coon at the Hoosier National Forest office in Bedford at (812) 275-2987 Monday through Friday.

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