Garlic mustard plant

Asked April 27, 2020, 12:27 PM EDT

I understand that, although garlic mustard apparently may be edible, it is in fact an invasive plant that has a very negative impact on the vegetation and soil around it. The best thing is to eliminate it, but how is the safest, most effective way to do so? I live in Takoma Park, which has limitations on the types of weed killers that can be used. And if it has overrun a property, how can it be eliminated en mass. Please advise & with many thanks. I realize your resources for answering message are more limited.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Hi - Yes, garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is edible but you are correct that it is a very invasive plant that alters soil chemistry and outcompetes native plants. It spreads very effectively by seeds and the seeds can remain viable in the soil for ~5-10 years. If you have had these plants in your area for awhile, it may take several years to get them under control because of the seed bank in the soil.


Pull out all that you see, or, for a large area, cut them down with a string trimmer prior to seed development and dispose of the plants in the trash. Limiting seed dispersal is key. On our website you will find details about garlic mustard and how to manage it, https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/garlic-mustard.
Refer to this fact sheet for more specific guidance on mechanical removal, https://www.invasive.org/weedcd/pdfs/wgw/garlicmustard.pdf

Also, here is our video about garlic mustard, https://youtu.be/WvJMab8b7PQ.

Christa