Garlic mustard grew as never before in this pandemic year. Congratulations to the 40 volunteers who tackled it with unparalleled tenacity.
Early on people emailed us and wanted to start removing the invasive plants either individually, with family members or with friends and physical distance. When we contacted those who pulled last year, 40 jumped right in, picked up a map and set off to combat the invasive. Sometimes the trail they adopted last year was changed to another area in the Forest, which was more accessible or where Garlic Mustard was more intense.
Compared to last year’s crop, garlic mustard plants this year grew abundantly. The three large compost bins were filled repeatedly as volunteers continually returned to remove the plants that developed at different stages. The encouraging news to keep in mind is this. If one plant can produce up to 1200 seeds, together we prevented millions of seeds being added to the seedbank on the forest floor.
A Shocking Discovery:
In the upland areas we thought Garlic Mustard was located just on the side of trails sometimes up to 20 feet into the forest. But on one of the Copeland’s most beautiful, valley-edge trails, also known as Michelle Special, The Five B’s, Maui Wowie, Tony Peckham of the Barrie Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association (GHTA) discovered a disaster. Garlic Mustard spread across the expansive hillside and down 100 feet towards the lush, moist valley bottom. 50 hours of dedicated manual labor, the rescue of this fragile ecosystem from the invasive has just begun.
The Copeland’s Diverse Ecosystem is Under Attack:
NO other plants survived on the forest floor where healthy Garlic Mustard plants as tall as a person’s shoulder had taken over this lush slope. Garlic Mustard had eradicated 10 different plants and saplings. The future diversity of plants and trees is at risk if we do not take action.
Thank you to everyone who helped in 2020. For those who couldn’t join us in 2020, we look forward to seeing you for the 2021 spring campaign. We will be in touch with all of you. This year we will have leaders in different areas to make sure everyone is informed and comfortable in this large forest.
2021 Garlic Mustard Removal will start early in spring, safely distancing outdoors along with the beautiful spring wildflowers. If you haven’t taken part in this annual event with friends of the Copeland Forest, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org