Now that gardening and individual volunteer work is permitted, five of us decided to continue the work we have done in past years in May for I Love My Park Day to control Garlic mustard on the northern section of the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. We had to forgo I Love My Park Day but we did not want to give up on our beloved trail.
We donned our masks, spread apart on the trail and proceeded to collect 10 large bags of invasive Garlic mustard for disposal. It had rained, so it was easy to pull.
Above you can see me demonstrating how to pull up a flowering Garlic mustard plant.
It is a biennial, so the flowering ones are in their second year getting ready to set seed and spread themselves.
Here I am, hunting out every flowering stalk on this gorgeous hillside of the trail:
Here is my new next-door neighbor Sheela valiantly pulling the plants from the hillside dotted with Christmas ferns. The ferns are thriving since we have been removing the garlic mustard for eight years in a row from that hillside.
If we neglect it, and leave it to its own devices, the Garlic mustard will come roaring back and release harmful chemicals in the soil that suppress the growth of beneficial fungi and crowd out everything else.
Here is Sheela with the two bags she gathered; took about an hour for each bag.
I was worried I had overtaxed her, but here is what she wrote me afterward in an email: “ I truly enjoyed our little adventure picking weeds up on the aqueduct - it was nice to do something for the community - thanks for the opportunity and I am looking forward to the next.”
The other three stalwart volunteers were too preoccupied with their task at hand to document their work; but I can attest to the fact that they each gathered two bags each, for a total of 10.
I hope to recruit others to assist with this task before the garlic mustard spreads its seeds.
Either on your own section of the trail or in the northern section where I will supply the garbage bags and gloves if you need them, which of course you may keep.